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USA

    January 16, 2017

    By Amnesty International Staff

    Today we honour the birthday of Martin Luther King, American civil rights activist and champion of non-violent resistance. Here we remember some of his more powerful words.
      On justice

    1. “The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.”

    2.  “We want all of our rights, we want them here, and we want them now.”

    3. “Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.”
     

    On non-violence

    4. “We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence.”

    5. “Here is the true meaning and value of compassion and nonviolence, when it helps us to see the enemy’s point of view, to hear his questions, to know his assessment of ourselves. For from his view we may indeed see the basic weaknesses of our own condition, and if we are mature, we may learn and grow and profit from the wisdom of the brothers who are called the opposition.”

    January 13, 2017

    Amnesty International USA Release

    The Pardon Snowden campaign delivers signatures to White House; prominent supporters call for President Obama to pardon whistleblower before Jan. 20

    (New York) - Today the Pardon Snowden campaign delivered more than 1 million signatures to President Barack Obama, urging him to pardon whistleblower Edward Snowden before he leaves office on January 20. The signatures delivered to the White House, totaling 1,101,252 in number, were collected by the campaign, the American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Demand Progress and CREDO Action.

    “People from all over the world have come together to show their support for Edward Snowden and thank him for the public service he performed in standing up for their human rights. Edward Snowden is a hero, not a traitor, and that he remains in limbo years after sparking such an important global debate about surveillance and privacy is a gross injustice. He deserves better than a life in exile,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.

    January 11, 2017

    On Saturday, January 21, the day after the US presidential inauguration, Amnesty International supporters will be amongst the hundreds of thousands of people marching in Washington, DC in support of women’s rights. Not able to travel to Washington, DC? Join one of the solidarity marches taking place across Canada.

    January 11, 2017

    Amnesty International USA Release

    In response to the announcement that Dylann Roof was sentenced to death after being convicted in the killing of nine people at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, Margaret Huang, executive director of Amnesty International USA issued the following statement:

    “We have seen over the course of Dylann Roof’s trial and sentencing the horrific suffering he inflicted and the disgusting racial animus that motivated his actions. However, sentencing him to death is not justice. The death penalty is an ineffective punishment that strips all individuals of their human rights, and has itself embodied racism in the criminal justice system. It will not heal the deep racial wounds that continue to wreak violence in our nation.”

    For more than two decades, death sentences and executions have steadily declined in the United States because the punishment is costly, ineffective, and unjust. 2015 saw the fewest executions of any year since the reinstatement of capital punishment in 1976. Today’s sentence is a step in the wrong direction, away from human rights and true justice.

    January 10, 2017

    10 January 2017 AI Index: AMR 51/5441/2017

    On 1 January 2017, the USA took a three-year seat on the UN Human Rights Council, after being voted onto this key UN human rights body by the General Assembly late last year. In its election “manifesto” in support of its candidacy, the USA promised to champion the rights contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to abide by its human rights treaty obligations, and to engage meaningfully with UN treaty monitoring bodies.

    Ten days later – 11 January 2017 – sees the 15th anniversary of detentions at the US naval base at Guantánamo Bay in Cuba, detentions that are entirely antithetical to the Universal Declaration, and indeed the USA’s human rights obligations, and the recommendations of UN treaty monitoring bodies of those obligations. However, when it comes to its human rights obligations, the USA all too often takes a pick and choose approach, and at Guantánamo it chose to ignore them from the outset.

    January 10, 2017

    Amnesty International USA Release

    In anticipation of the Senate confirmation hearings for President-elect Donald Trump’s cabinet nominees this week, Margaret Huang, executive director of Amnesty International USA issued the following statement:

    “If they are confirmed, these nominees will make decisions that affect the human rights of millions of people in the U.S. and around the world. Some of these nominees have expressed views on torture, discrimination, and oppressive governments that are troubling. They should be questioned vigorously, and they must commit to protecting human rights.

    “President-elect Trump’s campaign was marked with dangerous rhetoric, and these nominees could be tasked with making that rhetoric a reality. We cannot let that happen.”

    AIUSA has raised questions about several of the nominees, including:

    December 12, 2016

    NEW YORK – Responding to reports that President-elect Donald Trump’s intends to nominate Rex Tillerson to serve as Secretary of State and John Bolton to serve as Deputy Secretary, Eric Ferrero, director of communications for Amnesty International USA released the following statement:

    “These reported nominations are deeply troubling and could undermine human rights in the US and abroad.As Secretary of State, Tillerson would be the U.S.’s chief diplomat and, as such, will be the face of Trump’s policy around the world. We know that Tillerson has been successful in safeguarding the interests of a massive oil company – will he be as invested in safeguarding human rights abroad?

    “In this role, Tillerson would have to exert pressure on governments worldwide to comply with human rights standards, including Russia. The Senate should question him vigorously about his relationship to a government with such a poor human rights record. The U.S. must have a Secretary of State that will hold all countries accountable for human rights violations – even countries that have profited from his business.

    December 06, 2016

    NEW YORK – Responding to President Obama’s speech today on counterterrorism, Naureen Shah, director of Amnesty International USA’s Security with Human Rights program, released the following statement:

    “Today President Obama made the case for a national security policy that respects human dignity and human rights. With a president-elect who has enthusiastically embraced waterboarding, a special registry for Muslims and expansion of indefinite detention at Guantanamo, it cannot be overstated that these legal boundaries must be drawn – repeatedly. 

    “Regardless of who is president, the U.S. has international human rights obligations. The U.S. cannot live up to those obligations if it returns to systematic torture and continues to hold people indefinitely without charge.

    December 04, 2016

    Following reports that the Army Corps of Engineers will halt construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline under the Missouri River near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, Amnesty International USA issued the following statement:

    “This is an important victory for Indigenous people who fought to protect the water and their rights,” said Eric Ferrero with Amnesty International USA. “While we celebrate this hard-fought victory, we also call on Congress to ensure that Indigenous communities are always consulted in decisions like this. 

    “It is critical that Indigenous communities be full participants in any decision that may affect their human rights, and the government must seek their free, prior and informed consent before any major infrastructure project moves forward. That was not what happened with the Dakota Access Pipeline, and we are heartened by the government’s announcement today.”

    December 02, 2016

    World-renowned Chinese artist Ai Weiwei is joining forces with Amnesty International to mobilize hundreds of thousands of supporters around the world to inundate the White House with messages in support of Edward Snowden, as part of the world’s biggest human rights campaign, launched today.

    The Write for Rights campaign, from 2-16 December, is also taking on 10 other human rights cases, including a jailed Egyptian photojournalist “Shawkan” at risk of execution, Azerbaijani activists tortured after graffitiing a statue, and an Indonesian teacher imprisoned for the simple act of waving a flag. (See annex for full list of cases.)

    November 24, 2016
    By Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General

    That which unites us is always greater than that which divides us. Yet, around the world, the forces of division seem to be gathering momentum. Walls rising up along borders, hatred and fear welling up within and between populations, repressive laws assailing basic freedoms.

    The US election campaign, the latest development in this deeply troubling trend, caused global shockwaves. After campaigning with a constant refrain of misogyny and xenophobia, Donald J. Trump will be the next US President. Since the election, the world has been coming to terms with this fact, though its implications have yet to be fathomed fully.

    For human rights activists in particular, who already find themselves embattled and “undesirable” in many countries, it raises the stakes immensely that the President-elect of one of the world’s most powerful nations put forward a political platform that championed hate, threatening to disavow many basic human rights protections.

    November 18, 2016
    President Elect Donald Trump

    By Margaret Huang

    This letter originally appeared on Medium

    Dear President-elect Trump:

    November 14, 2016

     By Margaret Huang, executive director of Amnesty International USA

    In the very early hours of November 9, we voiced our grave concern about statements that President-elect Donald Trump made over the course of the election and his promises to ban Muslims from entering the U.S., build a wall on our country’s southern border, restrict access to healthcare and return to the practice of torture.

    Already in the U.S. there have been reports of a spike in hate-driven actions and threats. This is not a coincidence – it is further proof that Trump’s irresponsible proposals must never become U.S. policy.

     

    November 09, 2016

    WASHINGTON – In response to the election of Donald Trump to the United States presidency, Amnesty International released the following statements. 

    Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International, said: “President-elect Trump has provoked grave consternation at many points throughout his election campaign, and raised serious concerns about the strength of commitment we can expect to see from the United States towards human rights in the future. He must now put this behind him and both reaffirm and abide by the United States’ obligations on human rights, at home and abroad.”

    Margaret Huang, Executive Director of Amnesty International USA, said: “In the lead up to this week’s election, the United States has witnessed disturbing and, at times, poisonous rhetoric from President-elect Trump and others. This rhetoric cannot and must not become government policy. The xenophobic, sexist and other hateful remarks made by Trump have no place in government. 

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