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    May 16, 2013

    A senior US diplomat has said his government will be quick to sign the new Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), a move Amnesty International said raises hopes for swift implementation of the potentially lifesaving treaty around the world.

    Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Countryman said on Wednesday that the USA would sign the ATT “in the very near future”. Many other governments are also indicating that they will soon sign the treaty which will be open for signature and ratification at the United Nations in New York on 3 June 2013. At least 50 states must ratify the treaty into their national law before it can come into force.

    The USA – by far the world’s largest arms producer and exporter – is a key state to support the ATT. Despite playing an obstructive role earlier in the treaty process, US support during the final round of UN negotiations in March this year was an important factor in finally achieving the overwhelming vote of 155 states to adopt the treaty in the General Assembly on 2 April.

    May 07, 2013

    “Given the uncertainty and anxieties surrounding their prolonged and apparently indefinite detention in Guantánamo, it is scarcely surprising that people’s frustrations boil over and they resort to such desperate measures.”  High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay on the latest Guantánamo hunger strikes

    May 02, 2013

    The US state of Maryland has joined the overwhelming global trend towards ending the death penalty, Amnesty International said today after Governor Martin O’Malley signed the abolition of capital punishment into law.

    The abolition bill, passed by the state legislature in March 2013, makes Maryland the 18th US state to relinquish use of the death penalty since the US Supreme Court approved new capital laws in 1976.

    “Maryland has abandoned a punishment that should have no place in a society that claims to respect human dignity, and that in the USA is riddled with discrimination and error,” said Brian Evans, Amnesty International USA’s Abolish the Death Penalty campaign director.

    “More than a third of US states have now abolished the death penalty, and we urge the remaining 32 states, and the federal government, to follow suit.”

    Amnesty International urges Governor O’Malley to commute the death sentences of the five men who remain on death row in Maryland despite today’s abolition bill. This would avoid the cruel prospect of the state applying a punishment that it has rightly rejected.

    April 22, 2013

    The US authorities must urgently end indefinite detention at Guantánamo Bay, Amnesty International said today after it was confirmed that more than half the detainees are now on hunger strike.

    As of 21 April, 84 of the 166 detainees held at the US naval base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, were recognized by the military authorities as being on hunger strike.

    Detainees began their protest in early February, in reaction to what they said were abusive cell searches and deteriorating conditions.

    The military authorities have rejected the claims, but have acknowledged a sense of despair among detainees because they think the US administration has abandoned its efforts to close the detention facility.  

    “The current situation in Guantánamo serves as another reminder of the abject failure of the USA to resolve these detentions,” said Rob Freer, USA researcher at Amnesty International.

    April 17, 2013

    (Washington, D.C.) – The Supreme Court today dismissed the closely-watched case of Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co in a severe blow for victims of human rights abuses in the Niger Delta, and severely limited the reach of the Alien Tort Statute (ATS), a law enacted in 1789.

    The Court’s decision significantly reduces access to the U.S.courts for all survivors of human rights abuses committed abroad, a radical departure from its own precedent and a decision that Amnesty International believes flies in the face of the trend toward enhancing accountability for serious human rights violations.

    The Court’s ruling was in relation to the case of Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co. The suit was brought by members of the Ogoni community in the Niger Delta in relation to human rights violations committed against them and their families in the mid-1990s by the military government in power in Nigeria at the time.

    March 14, 2013

    US President Barack Obama must take the lead in securing a strong global Arms Trade Treaty, a group of 18 Nobel Peace Prize winners said in an open letter delivered to their fellow laureate at the White House today. 

    Amnesty International, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War and Dr. Óscar Arias are among the Nobel Laureates, who also include leaders on human rights, humanitarian and disarmament issues from Africa, the Americas, Europe, and the Middle East and North Africa.

    The letter was delivered ahead of talks starting on 18 March at the UN in New York to conclude the negotiations on an historic treaty aimed at bringing the poorly regulated global arms trade under control.

    “The US and other arms supplier states have both a moral duty and a national security interest to help achieve [a strong] Treaty in order to protect human rights and save the lives of innocent civilians caught in the crosshairs of conflicts fuelled by the irresponsible international conventional weapons trade,” the Nobel Laureates said in the letter.

    January 21, 2013

    The use of lethal force by the US government must be in accordance with international law, Amnesty International said amid reports the USA is finalizing a “manual” for targeted killings including drone strikes.

    US media over the weekend reported that the administration of Barack Obama is finalizing guidelines setting out its counterterrorism policies.

    “There already exists a rulebook for these issues – it is called international law. Any policy on so-called ‘targeted killings’ by the US government should not only be fully disclosed, but must comply with international law,” said Susan Lee, Americas Program Director at Amnesty International.

    To date, the justifications publicly offered by senior Obama administration officials have shown only that US government policy appears to permit extrajudicial executions in violation of international law.

     

    December 3rd, 2014 marks the 30th anniversary of the Bhopal industrial disaster in India. Within two weeks of that horrific chemical leak, over 8,000 people had died. Another 12,000 have died since from gas-related diseases. Some 500,000 survivors have suffered injury and disability.

    US President Donald Trump has issued another Executive Order that still bans people from six Muslim majority countries from travelling to the US, and reinstates the suspension of the USA’s refugee resettlement program. This new Executive Order is the same hate and fear as his first executive order with new packaging. 

    Join us for a short solidarity action and photo on March 16th – the day the new order takes effect – to send the message that we won’t stand for these divisive and discriminatory actions by President Trump. 

    Meeting point: Stairs at York and Sussex. 

    Please email amorgan-welden@amnesty.ca with any questions or accessibility concerns. 

     

    Children in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) inhale toxic dust as they mine the cobalt that powers the batteries we rely on for our phones and laptops. Yet electronics manufacturers – global brands including Apple and Samsung – won’t tell us if their cobalt supply chains are tainted by child labour. They have a responsibility to do so –to check for and address child labour in their supply chains, setting an example for the rest of the industry to follow.

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