Select this search icon to access the amnesty.ca search form

Main menu

Facebook Share

USA

    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

    June 18, 2015

    •        Nine states and the District of Columbia lack any laws on the appropriate use of deadly force
    •        Laws in 13 states are out of step even with protections under US constitutional law
    •        No official statistics to track fatalities, but estimates range from 400 to 1,000 deaths annually
    •        African Americans disproportionately affected by the police use of lethal force

    All 50 US states and the District of Columbia fail to comply with international standards on police use of lethal force, a new Amnesty International USA report found today.

    Deadly Force: Police Use of Lethal Force in the United States calls for reform at the state and federal levels to bring laws in line with international law and standards, which require that lethal force should only be used as a last resort when strictly necessary for police to protect themselves or others against imminent threat of death or serious injury.

    June 12, 2015

    A legal ruling that will mean the continued incarceration for long-suffering Albert Woodfox piles further injustice on a man who has suffered for decades in solitary confinement, said Amnesty International today.

    On Monday 9 June a federal court ordered the immediate release of Albert Woodfox and denied the state the opportunity to try him again. The state protested that ruling and today the 5th Circuit Court decided to keep Albert Woodfox in detention, until the appeal is heard.  

    “Today’s heartbreaking ruling from the 5th Circuit Court means Albert Woodfox, who has already spent 43 years in prison, faces yet further barriers to his freedom. Amnesty International supporters from all over the world had hoped to rejoice with Albert today as he walked free from incarceration, but his continued detention is a yet another cruel blow for a man who has spent more than 40 years in intolerable solitary confinement,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    Albert Woodfox's conviction had already been overturned on three separate occasions.

    June 09, 2015

    The imminent release of Albert Woodfox, who has spent around 40 years in isolation after a flawed murder trial in Louisiana, is a long-awaited legal triumph, said Amnesty International today.

    “In granting Albert Woodfox’s release the federal court has taken a significant step towards addressing the injustice and cruelty he has suffered for decades," said Tessa Murphy, USA Campaigner at Amnesty International.

    In a surprise turn, a judge yesterday issued an unconditional writ ordering Albert's immediate release and barring a retrial.  

    "This 68-year-old man has suffered intolerably cruel treatment in prison while fighting to overturn a conviction for a crime for which he has always maintained he was innocent. After two flawed trials and a legal process spanning decades, which has seen his conviction overturned in both federal and state courts, finally Albert is getting the freedom he deserves.” 

    May 13, 2015

    Passage of the USA Freedom Act has to be the beginning, not the end of real surveillance reform, Amnesty International said today, as the bill passed a House of Representatives vote.

    The act attempts to end indiscriminate bulk collection of phone call records but does not cover many other aspects of government mass surveillance revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2013—including the surveillance of millions of people around the world.

    "This vote shows the tide is turning against surveillance. But the USA cannot simply tinker with an abusive system. We need proper checks and balances that are cut out for the digital age," said Naureen Shah, Director of Amnesty International USA's Security and Human Rights Programme.

    “There are significant limitations to the bill, which should by no means be seen as a sufficient reform. It neither sufficiently reins in the collection of personal data beyond phone records nor ensures meaningful oversight of security agents by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.”

    May 07, 2015

    The US government’s mass surveillance of communications received a major setback today with a court of appeals ruling that the National Security Agency's bulk collection of phone records is illegal, said Amnesty International.

    "For almost two years since the Snowden revelations, the US government has claimed the bulk collection of phone records is legitimate. Today's decision is a sign that the case for mass surveillance programmes is crumbling," said Sherif Elsayed-Ali, Deputy Director of Global Issues at Amnesty International.

    "This is just one of several court challenges questioning the legal basis of the mass surveillance programs pursued by the USA and its allies. This should be the beginning of the end as governments are forced to face facts and admit that their surveillance programs have gone far beyond the remit of the law. This decision should spur Congress to let the sun set on section 215 of the USA Patriot Act which has been used to conduct surveillance far beyond even our worst fears.

    April 29, 2015

    From Amnesty International USA

    (Baltimore,MD) Amnesty International USA is sending a human rights observer delegation to Baltimore today to observe police and protester activity in the wake of the death of Freddie Gray in police custody. The delegation will be monitoring compliance with human rights standards for the policing of protests. 

    "We are calling on the police in Baltimore to exercise restraint, and to ensure that peaceful protesters can assemble and the media can do its job without undue interference,” said Amnesty International USA’s executive director, Steven W. Hawkins. “Confronting protestors in a manner more appropriate for a battlefield may put law enforcement in the mindset that confrontation and conflict is inevitable rather than possible.” 

    April 28, 2015

     From Amnesty International USA

    (Baltimore, MD) —Following protests over the death of Baltimore resident Freddie Gray in police custody, Amnesty International USA Executive Director Steven W. Hawkins issued the following statement:

    "The police-related death of another young unarmed black man has understandably sparked anguish and protests in the streets of Baltimore this week. While we await the findings of a prompt, impartial and independent investigation into the death of Freddie Gray, we call on the Baltimore Police to exercise restraint during the protests, to prioritize non-violent means and only use force when absolutely unavoidable, in a manner designed to minimize injury.

    April 22, 2015

    Embargoed until: April 22, 2015 at 12:01 a.m. ET (05:01 London time)

    Nearly 80 per cent of U.S. public companies analyzed by human rights groups are failing to adequately check and disclose whether their products contain conflict minerals from Central Africa, a new report by Amnesty International and Global Witness reveals today.

    The report, Digging for Transparency, analyzes 100 conflict minerals reports filed by companies including Apple, Boeing and Tiffany & Co under the 2010 Dodd Frank Act (Section 1502), known as the conflict minerals law. The findings point to alarming gaps in U.S. corporate transparency.

    Under the law, more than one thousand U.S.-listed companies that believe they may source minerals from Central Africa submitted reports to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in 2014, the first year they were required to do so. The law is designed to reduce the risk that the purchase of minerals from Central Africa contributes to conflict or human rights abuses.

    April 08, 2015

    by Kristin Hulaas Sunde, editor of Wire magazine for @AmnestyOnline

    Amnesty activists took action for Chelsea Manning an incredible 241,289 times – including by sending her over 17,000 letters and cards – during our global Write for Rights campaign last December.

    In return, the former army intelligence analyst sent us this message of thanks from her prison cell in Kansas, USA, where she is serving a 35-year sentence for leaking classified US government documents to the website WikiLeaks.

    Chelsea’s letter to Amnesty's activists worldwide:

    I wanted to thank all of you so very much for your actions of support and solidarity. I understand that over 200,000 actions were taken - that’s absolutely incredible!

    I am also so grateful for all the heartfelt support from the tens of thousands of people out there who took the time to write to me and the President [Barack Obama, asking him to pardon and release her].

    March 24, 2015

    Utah’s decision to turn to the firing squad if it is unable to secure drugs for lethal injection is the latest attempt by a US state to keep alive a punishment that should have long ago been consigned to the history books, said Amnesty International today.

    “Whether by shooting, lethal injection, hanging, asphyxiation or electrocution, the death penalty is a cruel, brutalizing and outdated punishment that is a symptom of violence, not a solution to it. The Utah legislature should be expending its energies on abolishing the death penalty, not trying to fix the unfixable,” said Rob Freer, USA researcher Amnesty International.

    On Monday 23 March, Utah Governor Gary Herbert signed a law allowing the use of firing squads when the drugs needed to administer the lethal injection was not available.

    This move clearly goes against the global and national trend towards abolition of the death penalty. Since 2007 six US states have abolished the death penalty for all crimes and the governors of Oregon, Washington and, in 2015, Pennsylvania have established moratoriums on executions in their states.

    February 09, 2015

    Today’s abrupt halt of the US military court hearing of five alleged plotters of the 11 September 2001 attacks is just the latest in a string of serious incidents that have marked the inherently unfair military commission process at Guantánamo Bay, Amnesty International said.

    Minutes after the hearing began, the military judge called a recess after one of the defendants, Yemeni national Ramzi bin al-Shibh, told the court he had previously seen a court-appointed interpreter in CIA black sites where detainees had been tortured.

    "If these allegations are true, then the interpreter's presence alongside the former black site detainees is deeply unsettling. The defence teams should be able to interview him as a likely witness to torture and enforceddisappearance,” said Anne FitzGerald, Director of the Research and Crisis Response Programme at Amnesty International, who was present in the courtroom in Guantánamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba.

    February 06, 2015

    The worldwide movement of Amnesty International stands behind the growing calls for the immediate release of Native American activist Leonard Peltier.

    As of this month, Leonard Peltier has spent 39 years behind bars. Peltier was convicted in connection with the 1975 murder of two FBI agents, Jack Coler and Ronald Williams, who were killed during a confrontation involving members of the American Indian Movement (AIM) on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.  Peltier has always maintained that although he was present during the confrontation, he did not kill the two agents. 

    Amnesty International has never taken a position on whether Peltier is innocent or guilty of this very serious crime. We have however consistently spoken out against the injustices on which his continued imprisonment rest.

    January 09, 2015

    We will never stop speaking out for the human rights of all individuals at home and abroad. It is part of who we are as a people and what we stand for as a Nation
    President Barack Obama, 9 December 2014.

    Thirteen months of detentions at Guantánamo was already far too long. By then, February 2003, the Secretary of Defense had authorized interrogation techniques that violated the international ban on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

    Thirteen years is a human rights outrage. Detainees held for year after year without charge or trial. Torture and other ill-treatment, enforced disappearance, arbitrary detention, excessive force, force feeding, a handful of prosecutions under a  military commission system that does not meet international fair trial standards.

    There were 245 detainees still held at the base at the end of President President Barack Obama committed his administration to closing the Guantánamo detention facility “promptly” and at the latest by 22 January 2010.

    Pages

    Subscribe to USA
    rights