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USA

    April 25, 2017

    “These first 100 days show how dangerous Trump’s agenda is, and they’re also a roadmap for how to stop it and protect human rights in the U.S. and around the world.”

    WASHINGTON – As the first 100 days of President Donald Trump’s administration come to a close, Amnesty International has compiled a list of 100 ways the Trump administration has tried to threaten human rights in the U.S. and around the world – sometimes succeeding, and sometimes being blocked by a powerful and growing resistance movement.

    April 24, 2017

    Amnesty International USA Release

    NEW YORK – Arkansas executed Jack Jones today, the second of four prisoners scheduled to be executed before the state’s supply of lethal injections expires at the end of the month. Jones was sentenced to death despite the fact that the jury was not told of his serious mental disabilities. The execution of Marcel Williams, also scheduled for tonight, remained under appeal at the time of Jones’ death.

    “Tonight Arkansas continues its shameful backslide against prevailing trends away from the death penalty. The sentences of Jack Jones and Marcel Williams are another heinous example of how the death penalty is applied to people with severe mental impairments and history of abuse. This conveyer belt of death must stop immediately by commuting the remaining sentences, and abolishing the death penalty once and for all.”

    April 21, 2017

    Amnesty International USA Release

    NEW YORK – Arkansas executed Ledell Lee today, the first of four prisoners scheduled to be executed before the state’s supply of lethal injections expires at the end of the month. This was the first execution in the state since 2005. Lee’s final appeals had requested DNA testing that could potentially prove his innocence, but those appeals were denied.

    A report released earlier this month by Amnesty International showed that for the first time since 2006, and only the second time since 1991, the U.S. is not among the world's five biggest executioners. The number of executions (20) in 2016 reached the lowest level recorded in any year since 1991. The number of executions has fallen every year since 2009, (except 2012, when it stayed the same).

    "Today is a shameful day for Arkansas, which is callously rushing the judicial process by treating human beings as though they have a sell-by date,” said James Clark, Senior Campaigner at Amnesty International USA.

    April 21, 2017

    On 20 April, the Governor of Virginia commuted the death sentence of Ivan Teleguz, a Ukrainian national who was scheduled to be executed on 25 April and who has continued to maintain his innocence.

    Ivan Teleguz was sentenced to death for hiring Michael Hetrick to commit the murder of Stephanie Sipe in Harrisonburg, Virginia on July 23rd 2001. Michael Hetrick, Edwin Gilkes and Aleksey Safanov each received deals in exchange for testifying against Ivan Teleguz. Michael Hetrick avoided the death penalty, while Edwin Gilkes was given a deal that would allow his release in 2018. Edwin Gilkes testified that Ivan Teleguz was involved in another arranged murder in Ephrata, Pennsylvania. The prosecutor urged jurors to sentence him to death based on this evidence of a pattern of how he “solves problems” with arranged murder.

    April 17, 2017

    NEW YORK – The Supreme Court will not hear a case brought by more than two dozen families who have been ordered deported without having their full cases heard by an immigration judge. The families fled horrific violence and human rights abuses in Central America. Many of the families have been held for more than a year in immigration detention facilities, most recently in Berks County, Pennsylvania. The denial by the Supreme Court could result in the families being deported imminently.

    “These families cannot be sent back to certain danger. The United States has an international obligation to grant asylum seekers a fair hearing. They must not be deported, or detained any longer, and must have their full cases heard by an immigration judge,” said Margaret Huang, executive director of Amnesty International USA. “Families fleeing danger who pose no threat to anyone else should not be treated like criminals. They deserve justice.”

     

    April 15, 2017

    NEW YORK – An Arkansas judge has temporarily blocked six executions from taking place after the company that manufactured the drugs to be used in the executions filed a complaint that the drug was not meant to be used for lethal injection.

    A state Supreme Court judge had previously halted the execution of a seventh man earlier in the day, and an eighth execution was put on hold earlier. Arkansas had originally scheduled eight executions in the span of 10 days because their lethal injection supply was set to expire at the end of the month.

    “The people of the United States have spoken out against this horrific conveyer belt of death and we are relieved that the judge has temporarily stopped these executions. We continue to call on Governor Hutchinson to use his executive authority to permanently stop this assembly line of death,” said James Clark, senior campaigner with Amnesty International USA. “The fight will not be over until this cruel and inhumane punishment is abolished once and for all.”

    April 13, 2017

    The US state of Arkansas must halt the execution of eight death row prisoners, seven of whom are due to be killed in an 11-day period this month, Amnesty International said today, highlighting legal concerns and the fact that two of the men facing death have serious mental disabilities.

    Arkansas has not put anyone to death for more than a decade, but plans to execute two men per day on 17, 20 and 24 April, and one man on 27 April, because its supply of the controversial execution drug midazolam will expire at the end of the month.

    “The close scheduling of these executions is unprecedented in modern US history. Just four months after the USA recorded its lowest execution total for a quarter of a century, Arkansas is preparing to buck this positive trend in a shameful race to beat a drug expiration date,” said Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    April 12, 2017
    ​​​​​​​Rawya Rageh,Crisis Response Senior Adviser with Amnesty International

    By Alex Neve, Secretary General, Amnesty International Canada

    It is so important to understand the impact of President Trump’s travel ban.

    When the first Executive Order from the US President came into force in January, banning entry to the United States of nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries, a research team led by Amnesty's Crisis Response Senior Advisor Rawya Rageh (pictured above) was immediately sent to locations along the Canada-US border to investigate the impact of such a clearly discriminatory order.

    The story of Fatima* is not uncommon, and illustrates why Amnesty International must be there to defend the rights of individuals affected by the ban, and needs your help to campaign against the travel ban.  

    April 11, 2017

    An Amnesty International team recently returned from the US-Mexico border where they investigated how President Trump’s executive orders on immigration and border security threaten to affect thousands of people. 

    This is what they found.

    What did you find at the border? 

    We spent almost two weeks visiting towns and cities on both sides of the US-Mexico border, talking to migrants, asylum seekers, human rights activists and government officials. We travelled the entire length of the land border, something that no other international human rights organization has done since Trump took office. We knew this was essential to get a clear picture of what was happening in what has become one of the most talked-about places on earth. 

    We were surprised by what we found. 

    Most places were quiet – but the kind of edgy quiet before a big storm kicks in. Because President Trump’s executive orders are setting the scene for what could turn into a full-blown refugee crisis. 

    April 11, 2017

    By Madeleine Penman, Mexico Researcher at Amnesty International

    The sight of one of the most infamous borders on earth – roughly 1,000 kilometers of porous metal fence dividing lives, hopes and dreams between the USA and Mexico, is undoubtedly overwhelming, but not in the way we expected it to be.

    While it has been one of the most talked about issues since last year’s USA election campaign, the stretch of land that separates the USA and Mexico now lies eerily quiet.

    April 04, 2017

    Some of the world’s largest companies are selling food and cosmetics containing palm oil that is tainted by shocking human rights abuses, including forced and child labour. Corporate giants, such as Nestlé , Kellogg’s, Colgate, Unilever and Procter & Gamble are turning a blind eye to the exploitation of workers in their palm oil supply chain. These companies reassure their customers that they are using “sustainable” palm oil, yet Amnesty’s research reveals that the palm oil is anything but.

    These companies buy palm oil from plantations run by Wilmar in Indonesia. Amnesty has discovered severe labour abuses at Wilmar’s plantations, including unsafe working conditions, discrimination against women, unrealistic targets and penalties, and children doing hazardous work.

    Write a lettter:

    Contact the makers of Dove soap, KitKat chocolate bars, Knorr soup, Pantene shampoo, Gerber baby cereal, Colgate toothpaste, Palmolive dish soap and Magnum and Parlour ice cream and demand that they take responsibility for human rights abuses in their palm oil supply chain.

    April 04, 2017

    Governments around the world go through many efforts to cover a veil of secrecy upon their cruel practices of torture. Ammar al Baluchi's story shows the ways in which the US has tried to cover their brutal, extensive use of torture.

     

    Ammar al Baluchi faces charges, including the death penalty, for an alleged role in the 9/11 attacks.

    In April 2003, Ammar was abducted and taken into US custody in Pakistan. For the next three years, the CIA subjected him to enforced disappearance, moving him to different CIA-operated "black sites". Throughout this time, Ammar was brutally tortured by CIA authorities as part of their interrogation program. Acts of torture that he was forced to endure include: water torture similar to water boarding; continuous high volume music; extreme sleep deprivation; forced nudity, and beatings that have resulted in a painful traumatic brain injury.

     

    March 30, 2017

    Following a preliminary injunction against the Muslim ban in Hawaii, Margaret Huang, executive director of Amnesty International USA, had the following reaction:

    “The courts have once again clearly rejected the Muslim ban. Like the previous travel ban, the new order is indefensibly discriminatory. Rather than make people safer, the order has caused thousands of people to live in fear and uncertainty. President Trump must abandon this failed agenda and immediately revoke the ban.”

    +++++++

    For media requests, please contact Jacob Kuehn, Media Relations: jkuehn@amnesty.ca // 613-744-7667 x 236

    March 30, 2017

    US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will reportedly lift human rights conditions on an arms sale to Bahrain, despite that country’s record of oppression against dissidents and participation in a Saudi Arabia-led coalition that has bombed thousands of civilians in Yemen. Yemen is one of the six Muslim-majority countries included in Trump’s revised travel ban executive order.

    Sunjeev Bery, an advocacy director with Amnesty International USA, made the following statement in response:

    “While getting weapons from the USA, Bahrain’s government is silencing critics at home and participating in a military coalition that is bombing civilians in Yemen. This deal sends a dangerous signal to Bahrain and all other countries that engage in serious human rights violations. It is particularly galling to arm these governments while simultaneously barring those fleeing violence entrance to the USA. These deals place the USA at risk of being complicit in war crimes, and discourage other countries, like Saudi Arabia, from addressing their own human rights records.”

    +++++++

    March 29, 2017

    NEW YORK – US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said that human rights should be an integral part of the UN Security Council’s mission when the United States assumes the presidency of the council next month.

    “Ambassador Haley’s welcome remarks today prioritizing human rights are certainly encouraging, and she must follow through on these promises as the US assumes the presidency of the Security Council,” said T. Kumar of Amnesty International USA.

    “President Trump’s previous statements expressing hostility to the United Nations raised serious concerns about the commitment of the US to international human rights law. We hope that Ambassador Haley’s remarks show that the U.S. will honour its obligations, including not reducing funding to the UN.”  

    +++++++

    For media requests, please contact Jacob Kuehn, Media Relations: jkuehn@amnesty.ca // 613-744-7667 x 236

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