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    October 15, 2019

    On Monday evening, the Metropolitan Police issued a revised section 14 order saying demonstrators protesting in London after 21:00 BST could be arrested.

    Allan Hogarth, Head of Advocacy and Programmes at Amnesty International UK, said:

    “Imposing a blanket ban on Extinction Rebellion protests is an unlawful restriction on the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. Under UK and international human rights law, the Government has an obligation to facilitate the exercise of these rights. 

    “The majority of those protesting have been doing so peacefully, removing and prosecuting activists for engaging in non-violent direct action to raise their voice is deeply worrying. Overly harsh and disproportionate charges will have a chilling effect on rights.

    “This is a heavy-handed and unacceptable move by the Metropolitan Police. Certain disruption to ordinary life for protesting is natural, and it needs to be tolerated. The police must respect the rights of those peacefully protesting and ensure that the voices of those demanding action on tackling the climate crisis are allowed to be heard.”

    September 09, 2019

    The on-going uncertainty around Brexit poses serious human rights issues, Amnesty International said today.

    While Amnesty does not take a position on the Referendum result or whether the UK leaves the EU with or without a deal, the human rights organization has pinpointed serious human rights issues.

    These include a potential shortage of access to food and medicine, as well as concerns over the future of EU citizens in the UK, the right to immigration and asylum, and the future of the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland.

    Kate Allen, Amnesty International UK Director, said:

    “The reassurances from the Government to date have simply not been good enough. Deal or no deal, Brexit poses serious human rights concerns to UK residents.

    “The Government and politicians of all parties must do everything they can to ensure that the human rights of those living in the UK are protected and respected, not degraded or undermined.

    “We’re calling on the leaders of all parties to make a statement to this effect, making clear what they’ll do to ensure our concerns are met.”

    June 20, 2019

    AI UK Release

    Ruling is first time UK court has acknowledged risks of continued arms sales to Saudi Arabia

    UK has sold more than £4bn of arms to Saudi Arabia since Yemen conflict began

    ‘We welcome this judgment as a major step towards preventing further bloodshed’ - Lucy Claridge

     

    Amnesty International has welcomed a judgment from the Court of Appeal today which has found that the UK Government’s decision to continue licensing exports of military equipment to Saudi Arabia is unlawful.

    The ruling came in a judicial review brought by Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT), which was joined by Amnesty, Human Rights Watch and Rights Watch UK.

    Lucy Claridge, Amnesty International’s Director of Strategic Litigation, said:

    “This judgment is a rare piece of good news for the people of Yemen.

    December 10, 2018
    ‘This whole case will send a shiver down the spine of anyone who cares about the right to protest in our country’ - Kate Allen

    Following guilty verdicts today in the case of 15 people tried in relation to their attempt to prevent what they believed was the unlawful deportation of a group of people at Stansted Airport last year, Amnesty International has reiterated its strong concern over the decision to charge the human rights defenders with a terrorism-related offence.

    The 15 people - known as the “Stansted 15” - took non-violent direct action at Stansted in March 2017 to prevent the deportation of 60 people on a charter flight bound for Ghana and Nigeria.

    The Stansted 15’s actions prevented the flight from leaving. Of the 60 individuals due to have been deported, ten are currently pursuing asylum claims in the UK, and at least one has since been granted permission to remain in the UK.

    October 25, 2018

    “It seems to be the only way to get the Government to finally do the right thing” - Rachel Logan

    Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Rights Watch UK will be intervening in an appeal over the UK’s arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

    The case, which was originally brought by Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT), is seeking to test the legality of the Government’s decision to issue licences for arms exports to Saudi Arabia despite the risk of the weapons being misused in the conflict in Yemen.

    Last year the High Court in London dismissed CAAT’s case, which had argued that arms transfers to Saudi Arabia should be halted because of the clear risk that the weapons supplied would be used to commit serious violations of international humanitarian law in Yemen. Among other things, the ruling (paragraph 209) discussed the significance of the “finely-balanced” nature of the decision said to be confronting officials and ministers.

    September 28, 2018

    Amnesty International considers the 15 to be human rights defenders

    ‘We’re concerned the authorities may be using a sledgehammer to crack a nut with this case’ - Kate Allen

    Amnesty International will be observing the trial of 15 human rights defenders set to go on trial at Chelmsford Crown Court next week (Monday 1 October) relating to their attempt to prevent what they believed was the unlawful deportation of a group of people at Stansted airport.

    The protesters - known as the “Stansted 15” - are facing lengthy jail sentences for their non-violent intervention in March last year.

    Amnesty is concerned that the serious charge of “endangering safety at aerodromes” may have been brought to discourage other activists from taking non-violent direct action in defence of human rights. The organisation has written to the Director of the Crown Prosecution Service and the Attorney General calling for this disproportionate charge to be dropped.

    The trial is currently expected to last for approximately six weeks.

    July 04, 2018

    Amnesty International will be debating proposals to tackle the devastating human rights consequences of misguided attempts by countries to criminalise and restrict abortion and to punish people for using drugs.

    Delegates from around the world will be gathering in Warsaw, Poland, over July 6-8 to hold crucial votes on the organisation’s positions on safe and legal abortion and how States control the production, sale and use of drugs.

    “We want to make sure we are well placed to fight for the human rights of millions of people whose lives are impacted by how governments criminalise or restrict access to abortion and by the prohibition of drugs. Both issues require a much more compassionate approach from governments to protect the rights of the people who are most at risk,” said Tawanda Mutasah, Amnesty International’s Senior Director for Law and Policy.  

    Access to abortion

    June 27, 2018

    Responding to the news that the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has voted to pass the UK’s resolution to create a mechanism to identify the perpetrators of chemical weapons attacks, Anna Neistat, Amnesty International’s Senior Director of Research, said:

    “Amnesty International welcomes the decision allowing the OPCW to attribute responsibility for chemical weapons attacks as a crucial step towards bringing perpetrators of war crimes to account.

    “Today’s decision signals to victims of chemical weapons attacks in Syria and elsewhere that the international community has not abandoned them, and to perpetrators that they will be brought to justice.

    “It is absolutely vital that the OPCW’s findings and evidence can now be used in international, or national, investigations and prosecutions.”

    Background

    The OPCW member states today voted, by an 82 to 24 margin, in favour of a UK-led proposal to grant new powers to an OPCW mechanism to attribute responsibility for attacks with banned toxic munitions.

     

    April 10, 2018

    This is part 5 of 6 of the blog series: 25 years working for human rights in the Niger Delta

    Written by Amnesty's Businses and Human Rights volunteer, Ian Heide

    Confronting Shell Oil … Again!

    Three years after the ground-breaking report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) on oil pollution in Ogoniland, the people of Ogoniland continued to suffer the effects of fifty years of an oil industry that has polluted their land, air and water. The oil company Shell and the Nigerian Government both failed to implement recommendations made in the UNEP report and put an end to the abuse of the communities’ rights to food, water and a life free of pollution.

    The 2011 UNEP Report made 27 recommendations, including the establishment of a $1 billion fund for the clean-up and compensation. In August 2014, Amnesty issued a report titled “No Progress”, with Amnesty's assessment that NONE of the recommendations had been completed. The Government of Nigeria and Shell had taken almost no meaningful action to implement any of the recommendations.

    April 04, 2018

    This is part 4 of 6 of the blog series: 25 years working for human rights in the Niger Delta

    Written by Amnesty's Businses and Human Rights volunteer, Ian Heide

    United Nations Confirms Massive Pollution

    In 2011-2012, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) confirmed the massive scale of pollution in its landmark report based on a scientific assessment of one region, Ogoniland. The report particularly highlighted how pollution has created a public health emergency in the Niger Delta as a result of high levels of contamination of people’s sources of water.

    According to UNEP, oil seeped below the surface layers of soil and contaminated the groundwater in Ogoniland. The report also referred to increased concentrations of petroleum hydrocarbons in the air and drinking water, which could lead to long-term health issues.

    April 03, 2018

    We all want to be good, responsible people, don't we? But sometimes doing the right thing in our daily lives is made next-to-impossible by forces well beyond us. At these times, we need to work together, creatively, to do what's right. 

    Amnesty International's palm oil campaign gives you a chance to help fix a serious problem hidden in your breakfast cereal and possibly in the toothpaste you used this morning. Palm oil and palm oil ingredients are now in half of all consumer products, yet the harvesting of this product is leading to the exploitation of children, and human rights abuses of women and workers. 

    We have a plan to stop these abuses, and it starts with your signature.

    March 14, 2018

    This is part 1 of 6 of the blog series: 25 years working for human rights in the Niger Delta

    Written by Amnesty's Businses and Human Rights volunteer, Ian Heide

    On November 10, 1995, Amnesty International released this statement: “AI has learned with dismay that Ken Saro-Wiwa and the eight other Ogoni supporters were executed on 10 November 1995.”

    The world was shocked. The trial was widely criticized by human rights organizations and the governments of other states The Commonwealth of Nations, which had pleaded for clemency, suspended Nigeria's membership. The United States, the United Kingdom, and the EU all implemented sanctions—but not on petroleum.

    What was the role of Shell oil in this? And how has the situation evolved since then? This six-part blog series explores the human rights impact of oil pollution in the Niger Delta, the mounting evidence against Shell, the courageous activism of affected communities,  and the on-going fight for justice.

    February 22, 2018
    Amnesty International publishes State of the World’s Human Rights report for 2017 to 2018 “Last year our world was immersed in crises, with prominent leaders offering us a nightmarish vision of a society blinded by hatred and fear. This emboldened those who promote bigotry, but it inspired far more people to campaign for a more hopeful future,” says Salil Shetty, head of Amnesty International

    The world is reaping the terrifying consequences of hate-filled rhetoric that threatens to normalize massive discrimination against marginalized groups, Amnesty International warned today as it launched its annual assessment of human rights.

    Nevertheless, the organization found that a growing movement of both first-time and seasoned activists campaigning for social justice provides real hope of reversing the slide towards oppression.

    The report, The State of the World’s Human Rights, covers 159 countries and delivers the most comprehensive analysis of the state of human rights in the world today.

    August 28, 2017

    By Anna Neistat, Senior Director for Research, Amnesty International 

    Winter is coming. 

    Even if you haven’t seen Game of Thrones, you know the iconic, sinister saying. In the TV show, it is muttered meaningfully as a warning not only that after a long summer a harsh winter is ahead, but that winter brings with it an existential threat to the world—an army of the dead. This threat makes all the vicious scheming, treachery and feuding look insignificant and petty. 

    As a human rights defender watching leaders around the world scapegoating and dividing to score political points, I can’t help thinking that winter may be coming for all of us—a dark future where protection of human rights won’t mean much anymore. 

    The “summer” was long and fruitful. Seventy years ago the world came together in 1948 and adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which stated for the first time that human rights must be protected across “all peoples and all nations.”  

    May 23, 2017

    Responding to the terror attack at the Manchester Arena last night, Kerry Moscogiuri, Director of Campaigns at Amnesty International UK said:

    “Amnesty International condemns in the strongest terms this cowardly act that has taken the lives of so many innocent people.

    “The thoughts of everyone at Amnesty are with all those affected by this horrific attack on children, young people and parents enjoying a night out at a concert.

    “The response to this kind of attack must always be more love, just like we've seen from the people of Manchester coming together to offer lifts, tea and places to stay to concert-goers and those looking for their loved ones.

    “Politicians and the media must ensure their language and actions do not stoke hatred and division, and use all their influence to stress that we have more in common than that which divides us.”

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