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    July 01, 2016

    WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, the Obama administration disclosed its assessment of the number of individuals killed by U.S. drone strikes since 2009. In response, Naureen Shah, Director of Amnesty International USA’s Security and Human Rights Program, issued the following statement:

    “Today’s disclosure is a crucial shift away from the Obama administration’s longstanding policy of concealing information about civilians killed in drone strikes. It is a vital step in dismantling the dangerous precedent of a global, secret killing program.

    “Amnesty International has consistently called on the United States government not only to be more transparent about its data and policy standards, but about it counts as a civilian. Without information on the administration’s definitions and legal standards for these strikes, any meaningful assessment of the numbers will be incomplete. This is not the end of the public conversation on U.S. drone strikes, but just the beginning.   

    May 23, 2016

    AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL USA PRESS RELEASE

    Following the verdict in the second of several trials related to the death of Freddie Gray in police custody, Amnesty International USA called for widespread reform of laws governing the use of lethal force by police.

    “The courts are an important component of seeking accountability for the tragic death of Freddie Gray, but there is still a critical need to reform laws related to lethal force by police across the country,” said Jamira Burley, senior campaigner with Amnesty International USA.

    “Lives are at stake. All states must bring lethal force laws in line with international standards that require that such force should be used only as a last resort.”

    AIUSA also expressed concern for the protection of peaceful protesters following the verdict.

    April 12, 2016

    Amnesty International USA Release

    JACKSON, Ga. – The state of Georgia is scheduled to execute Kenneth Fults this evening at 7:00 p.m. despite concerns

    about Fults’ mental state, racial bias, and lack of adequate representation during his trial. Fults has an IQ of 74 and several jurors have said that his lawyer was sleeping during the proceedings.

    One juror signed a sworn statement eight years after the fact saying: 

    “I don’t know if he ever killed anybody, but that nigger got just what should have happened.

    Once he pled guilty, I knew I would vote for the death penalty because that’s what the nigger deserved.”

    “Mr. Fults’ death sentence is tainted by undeniable racism,” said James Clark, senior death penalty campaigner with Amnesty.

    “This case shows the fundamental flaws in the death penalty system. Georgia authorities must halt this execution immediately and end the death penalty once and for all.”

    Fults was convicted of murdering Cathy Bonds in her home in May 1997.

     

    March 21, 2016

    Posted at 0001hrs GMT  22 March 2016

    Government attacks on the encryption of online communication threaten human rights around the world, warned Amnesty International in a briefing published today as tech giant Apple challenges the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in court over an order to provide software to bypass iPhone encryption.

    The briefing, Encryption: A Matter of Human Rights, which is Amnesty International’s first official stance on encryption and human rights, says that people everywhere should be able to encrypt their communications and personal data as an essential protection of their rights to privacy and free speech.

    “Encryption is a basic prerequisite for privacy and free speech in the digital age. Banning encryption is like banning envelopes and curtains. It takes away a basic tool for keeping your private life private,” said Sherif Elsayed-Ali, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Global Issues.

    February 22, 2016

    Amnesty International USA Statement

    WASHINGTON—Today, the last imprisoned member of the Angola 3, Albert Woodfox, was released after more than four decades in solitary confinement. In response, Jasmine Heiss, Senior Campaigner at Amnesty International USA’s Individuals and Risk Campaign, issued the following statement:

    "After four decades of isolation, Albert Woodfox’s release is long overdue and undeniably just. Nothing will truly repair the cruel, inhuman and degrading solitary confinement that the state of Louisiana inflicted upon him. But this belated measure of justice, on Woodfox’s 69th birthday, is something he has been seeking for more than half his life. Amnesty International USA joins his supporters around the world in celebrating Woodfox and his legal team’s tireless pursuit of justice.  While the State of Louisiana did not release Woodfox’s fellow Angola 3 prisoner Herman Wallace until he was on death’s door, it has made a just and humane decision in ensuring Woodfox’s freedom.

    February 19, 2016

    Today, we celebrate the long-awaited release of Albert Woodfox, after more than four decades in solitary confinement! 

    Woodfox was the last imprisoned member of the Angola 3, 

    "After four decades of isolation, Albert Woodfox’s release is long overdue and undeniably just. Nothing will truly repair the cruel, inhuman and degrading solitary confinement that the state of Louisiana inflicted upon him. But this belated measure of justice, on Woodfox’s 69th birthday, is something he has been seeking for more than half his life," said Jasmine Heiss, Senior Campaigner at Amnesty International USA’s Individuals and Risk Campaign.

     

    After four decades of isolation, Albert Woodfox’s release is long overdue and undeniably just.

    - Jasmine Heiss, Senior Campaigner at Amnesty International USA’s Individuals and Risk Campaign

     

    February 02, 2016

    Edward Snowden faces up to 30 years in prison. Instead of investigating the abuses he brought to light, the US government is intent on making sure the next whistleblower remains silent. 

    In June 2013, National Security Agency (NSA) subcontractor Edward Snowden exposed unlawful and wide-sweeping surveillance programs run by the NSA and the secret  “Five Eyes” alliance of the US, UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. These governments are intercepting, storing and analyzing the private information of people around world on a massive scale. 

    The revelations also confirmed that human rights organizations including Amnesty International have been under surveillance, placing our research and partnerships at risk.

    “My sole motive is to inform the public as to that which is done in their name and that which is done against them.”

    January 10, 2016

    Posted at 0001hrs 11 January 2016
     

    Guantánamo: The USA must turn its back on international symbol of injustice

    The US Congress’ obstruction to shutting the detention center at Guantánamo Bay risks placing the US alongside countries who consistently disregard internationally agreed standards of justice and human rights, said Amnesty International ahead of the 14th anniversary of the first transfers to the detention center.

    "Guantánamo remains open because politicians are exploiting the public’s genuine fear of terror attacks. Instead of identifying effective and legal measures to prevent attacks, members of Congress are busy playing politics with the lives of dozens of men who could die behind bars without ever facing a trial,” said Naureen Shah, Director of Amnesty International USA's Security and Human Rights Programme.

    October 15, 2015

    The US Congress must launch an immediate independent inquiry into the Obama administration’s drone strikes overseas, Amnesty International said following today’s publication of a series of files and documents disclosing long-standing secrets of the global killing program.

    “The Drone Papers”, leaked by an anonymous whistle-blower to the online media outlet The Intercept, reveal the startling human costs of armed drone use and highlight chronic flaws in the decision-making process behind the strikes carried out in multiple countries.

    “These documents raise serious concerns about whether the USA has systematically violated international law, including by classifying unidentified people as ‘combatants’ to justify their killings,” said Naureen Shah, Director, Security with Human Rights at Amnesty International USA.

    “This warrants an immediate congressional inquiry into why the Obama administration has kept this vital information secret, including the real identities of all those killed in this global killing programme.

    October 02, 2015

    Amnesty International U.S.A. Release 2 October 2015 10:00 am EDT 

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – Amnesty International is calling on a U.S. court to reconsider a decision protecting some of the world’s largest companies from having to tell consumers that they were unable to prove their products have not funded armed groups contributing to conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and neighboring countries.

    Section 1502 of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act requires companies to publicly report whether their products contain certain minerals whose trade helps fuel violence in Central Africa. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) adopted a rule to implement Section 1502. That rule requires companies to use specific language when describing their products that contain those minerals, saying that the products have “not been found to be DRC-conflict free.”

    September 02, 2015

    Work on Maher Arar’s case has been one of our most intensive campaigns for justice spanning well over a decade. Here are some of the highlights:

    August 26, 2015

    US authorities must ensure that the re-opened investigation into the alleged killing of some 18 Afghan civilians by US Special Forces is rigorous and thorough, Amnesty International said. The Afghan victims and family members must obtain the justice and reparations they deserve.

    Media reports indicate that the US military has renewed an inquiry into a Special Forces Unit believed to have been responsible for extrajudicial killings, torture and enforced disappearances between November 2012 and February 2013. The unit allegedly killed up to 18 people in Wardak province’s Nerkh and Maidan Shahr districts.

    “This is a welcome but overdue move by US military authorities. It is shocking that the Afghan victims’ family members are still waiting for justice, despite overwhelming evidence that the Nerkh and Maidan Shahr killings amounted to war crimes,” said Richard Bennett, Amnesty International’s Asia Director.

    August 21, 2015

     

    Chelsea Manning is serving a 35-year prison sentence for leaking classified US government documents to the website WikiLeaks. Two years after she was first sentenced, Chelsea tells us why speaking out against injustice can be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

     

    Q. Why did you decide to leak documents about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? 

    These documents were important because they relate to two connected counter-insurgency conflicts in real-time from the ground. Humanity has never had this complete and detailed a record of what modern warfare actually looks like. Once you realize that the co-ordinates represent a real place where people live; that the dates happened in our recent history; that the numbers are actually human lives – with all the love, hope, dreams, hatred, fear, and nightmares that come with them – then it’s difficult to ever forget how important these documents are.

    August 07, 2015

    As the nation marks the one-year anniversary on Sunday of unarmed teenager Michael Brown’s death at the hands of Ferguson, MO police officer Darren Wilson, Amnesty International USA executive director Steven W. Hawkins released the following statement:

    “Michael Brown’s death and similar tragic incidents around the nation highlight a disturbing pattern of use of lethal force and racially discriminatory conduct by law enforcement officers. One year later, there is still a pressing need for reform at the local, state and federal levels.

    “Legislators in Missouri and around the country must bring laws concerning the use of lethal force in line with international standards, limited to instances in which it is necessary to protect life. Our own research found that the laws of every state in the country fail to meet this standard.

    In the wake of Brown’s killing and the militarized response to street protests, a Justice Department investigation found widespread misconduct and racial bias in the Ferguson police department. 

    June 26, 2015

    Amnesty International USA release

    The Supreme Court of the United States today delivered a historic ruling affirming the right of same-sex couples across the country to legally marry.

    “This is a joyous day not just for loving and committed same-sex couples, but for everyone who believes in human rights and equality for all,” said Steven W. Hawkins, executive director of Amnesty International USA.

    “The ability to marry the partner of your choice and raise a family is a human right enshrined in international law. While much work remains to be done to ensure that all forms of discrimination against LGBT people are eliminated once and for all, this long-awaited and significant decision affirms that same-sex couples and their families deserve the same respect and recognition as anyone else.”

     

    For more information, please contact Elizabeth Berton-Hunter, Media Relations 416-363-9933 ext 332 bberton-hunter@amnesty.ca

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