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    February 23, 2018

    The Philippines authorities must immediately drop all charges and release prisoner of conscience Senator Leila de Lima, an outspoken critic of President Duterte who has been jailed on politically motivated drug charges, Amnesty International said ahead of the anniversary of her arrest.

    Senator Leila de Lima was arrested on 24 February 2017 on three separate spurious charges under the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act. In the lead up to her arrest, President Duterte and other supporters had led a vicious campaign of harassment and intimidation against the Senator and falsely tried to implicate her in the drug trade.

    "The charges against Senator Leila de Lima are pure fiction. She has been singled out and targeted for nothing but her courageous opposition to President Duterte's appalling policies. We consider her to be a prisoner of conscience and urge the authorities to release her immediately and unconditionally," said James Gomez, Amnesty International's Director of Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

    February 06, 2018

    In response to Hong Kong’s Court of Final Appeal overturning the jail sentences for three prominent pro-democracy activists, Mabel Au, Director of Amnesty International Hong Kong, commented:

    “The Court of Final Appeal has today corrected an injustice. The government’s vengeful pursuit of harsher sentences led to the trio being jailed and it is right this has now been overturned.

    “All politically motivated prosecutions aimed at silencing those promoting democracy in Hong Kong must be dropped. The government’s unyielding stance is having a chilling effect on the human rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression.”

    Background

    In August 2017, Hong Kong’s Court of Appeal handed Joshua Wong, Alex Chow and Nathan Law between six and eight months in prison for their roles in a demonstration that helped spark the city’s 2014 pro-democracy Umbrella Movement. The trio were released on bail in October and November 2017 pending their appeal.

    January 31, 2018

    The Thai military government must end its far-reaching crackdown on peaceful demonstrations, Amnesty International said today as nine activists - including the first person arrested for protesting after the military coup in 2014 - are facing criminal proceedings.

    They join hundreds of people who have been harassed or jailed simply for speaking out peacefully against military government or its policies over the past three years. Just yesterday, authorities announced plans to charge a further seven activists with sedition for staging pro-democracy protests.

    "Thailand's military rulers are not only continuing to tie up hundreds of real or perceived critics with long-running criminal proceedings, but have escalated a crackdown on peaceful dissent in recent months. Authorities must honour their promise to lift the absurd and unjustifiable restrictions they have now been imposing for almost four years, ostensibly in the name of national security," said James Gomez, Amnesty International's Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

    January 29, 2018

    More than one million people from 194 countries have demanded the release of Amnesty International’s Turkey Chair, Taner Kılıç and the dropping of charges against him and 10 other human rights defenders as their trial resumes in Istanbul on 31 January.

    The 11 face trumped up “terrorism” charges in what can only be described as a politically motivated prosecution aimed at silencing critical voices within Turkey. If convicted they could face jail terms of up to 15 years.

    “With overwhelming evidence of his innocence and none of any wrongdoing Taner’s release is long overdue. The fact that he has spent almost eight months behind bars speaks volumes about Turkey’s flawed justice system and the government’s ruthless pursuit of those who stand up for human rights,” said Gauri van Gulik, Amnesty International’s Director for Europe.

    “Today’s hearing offers yet another opportunity to end this glaring miscarriage of justice allowing this principled and passionate human rights defender to return to his family and resume his vital work. The court must acquit Taner and the other 10 human rights defenders and end this farce once and for all.”

    January 26, 2018

    Reacting to today’s verdict sentencing two environmental activists affiliated with the NGO Mother Nature to prison for one year plus fines, James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Southeast Asia and Pacific Director, said:

    “This is a farcical sentence that must be overturned immediately. The two Mother Nature activists have done nothing but peacefully campaigned for the protection of Cambodia’s environment and should have never been charged in the first place. Instead of going after the messenger, the authorities should do more to curb the illegal trade in natural resources that Hun Vannak and Doem Kundy activists were trying to expose.

    “Today’s ruling is yet more evidence of the politicised nature of Cambodia’s courts. Far from seeking justice and fairness, they too often act as an arm of the government to harass, intimidate and imprison human rights activists.

    “The backslide on human rights in Cambodia over the past year has been alarming. Unless the world wakes up and acts to demand change, space for peaceful activism and expression will shrink further as the government tightens its grip ahead of elections due this July.”

    January 15, 2018

    Reacting to the news that the Philippines authorities have ordered the closure of the independent media outlet Rappler, James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Director of Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said:

    “The moves by the Philippines authorities to shut down Rappler is an alarming attempt to silence independent journalism. The government must immediately reverse this decision and end all efforts to stifle free press in the country.

    “This is a politically motivated decision, pure and simple, and just the latest attempt to go after anyone who dares to criticise the government. Rappler has been fearless in holding those in power to account, including by consistently criticising the government’s murderous ‘war on drugs’. It has faced persistent harassment by government supporters and even the President himself.

    “The Philippines government should focus on ending and investigating violations, mostly against poor communities, in the ‘war on drugs’, not trying to silence the messenger.”

    Background

    January 04, 2018
    Iranian authorities must ensure the right to peaceful protest, investigate reports that security forces have unlawfully used firearms against unarmed protesters and protect hundreds of detainees from torture and other ill-treatment, Amnesty International said today amid concerns that the crackdown against demonstrations that have spread across Iran in the past week is intensifying.   Official statements have confirmed that at least 22 people, including two security officers, have been killed since 28 December, when thousands of Iranians began flocking to the streets to speak out against poverty, corruption, political repression and authoritarianism.   “Law enforcement officials have the right to defend themselves, and a duty to protect the safety of the public. However, reports of the use of firearms against unarmed protesters by security forces are deeply troubling and would contravene Iran’s human rights obligations under international law,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.  
    January 04, 2018

    The trial today of a Tibetan language education activist, who could face up to 15 years in jail for “inciting separatism”, has exposed how ludicrously unjust the case against him is, Amnesty International said.

    December 07, 2017

    Following the decision today by the Bangkok Military Court to postpone a decision on whether to indict Sulak Sivaraksa, on charges of lèse majesté for comments he made about a battle in 1593, James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Director of Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said:

    “To prosecute a scholar for comments he made about a battle that took place more than four centuries ago would be patently absurd. This case is an ugly reminder of the Thai authorities’ increasing use of the lèse majesté law as a tool of suppression.

    “Aside from being an outrageous attack on freedom of expression and academic freedom, Sulak Sivaraksa’s case appears to be based on a wilful misinterpretation of the existing repressive law on lèse majesté. While it should doubtless be abandoned in its entirety, the law as it currently stands does not apply to historical members of the monarchy.

    “The Thai authorities must end their gross misuse of this law and immediately drop these ridiculous charges.”

    Background

    December 04, 2017

    States around the world are failing in their duty to effectively protect people who defend human rights, leading to an escalation in preventable killings and enforced disappearances, Amnesty International said today.

    The organization’s new report, Deadly but Preventable Attacks: Killings and Enforced Disappearances of Those who Defend Human Rights, highlights the growing risks faced by human rights defenders – people from all walks of life who work to promote and defend human rights.

    The report includes testimonies from friends, relatives and colleagues of human rights defenders, including environmentalists, LGBTIQ and women’s rights activists, journalists and lawyers, who have been killed or disappeared. Many described how victims’ pleas for protection had been repeatedly ignored by the authorities and how the attackers had evaded justice, fuelling a deadly cycle of impunity.

    October 31, 2017

    Israel’s decision to deny an Amnesty International USA staff member entry to the occupied West Bank, apparently as retaliation against the organization’s human rights work, is a dangerous indication of the Israeli authorities’ growing intolerance of critical voices, the organization said today.

    October 24, 2017
    Trumped up terror charges against the Istanbul 10 exposed Forensic analysis shows Amnesty Chair did not download Bylock Spokespeople available on the ground for trials on October 25 & 26

    Click here to follow the trial on Twitter

    Trumped up terror charges against 11 human rights defenders, including Amnesty International’s Turkey director and chair, do not stand up to the slightest scrutiny, said Amnesty International as court proceedings begin in Istanbul and Izmir.

    The charges against them - carrying jail terms of up to 15 years and set out in two indictments to be heard in two separate trials – are entirely baseless.

    “From the moment of their detentions, it has been clear that these are politically motivated prosecutions aimed at silencing critical voices within Turkey,” said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Europe Director.

    October 17, 2017

    Baseless allegations against 11 human rights defenders, including Amnesty International’s Turkey director and chair, should have been rejected in their entirety, said Amnesty International after an Istanbul court accepted the indictment today.

    “This indictment fails to provide a shred of incriminating evidence to substantiate the trumped up terrorism charges it contains. In accepting this indictment the Istanbul Court has missed a golden opportunity to bring this grotesque miscarriage of justice to a halt,” said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Europe Director.

    “This is politically motivated prosecution aimed at silencing the work of some of Turkey’s most prominent human rights defenders. It beggars belief that anyone who has read the fantastical allegations laid out in the indictment could see it in any other way.”

    For more information or to arrange an interview contact Elizabeth Berton-Hunter, Media Relations 416-363-9933 ext 332 bberton-hunter@amnesty.ca

    October 17, 2017

    Ottawa -- Days after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s state visit to Mexico, nine leading Mexican human rights experts are in Ottawa to seek strengthened Canadian support for their efforts to address an acute and worsening human rights crisis in Mexico.

    While Canada has been vocal in its support for the victims of two severe earthquakes that hit Mexico in September, the visiting Mexican human rights experts want Canada to respond with even greater attention to the hundreds of thousands of victims of an acute human rights emergency that worsens with each day.

    October 12, 2017
    Stars of stage and screen have added their voices to the global demand for the immediate and unconditional release of a group of prominent human rights defenders in Turkey, one hundred days after they were detained.   More than 20 artists and celebrities, including Zoë Kravitz, Ben Stiller, Mark Ruffalo, Whoopi Goldberg and Zach Galifianakis, signed a letter sent by Amnesty International USA to the Turkish ambassador. They join a host of other celebrities including Annie Lennox, Bono, Peter Gabriel, Juliette Binoche, Jane Birkin, Angélique Kidjo, and Patrick Stewart, who have called for the release of the activists that include Amnesty International’s Turkey Director, İdil Eser, and Chair, Taner Kiliç.   Ten activists were arrested on 5 July whilst Amnesty International’s Turkey Chair, Taner Kılıç, was arrested a month earlier. On 4 October a prosecutor filed an indictment calling for jail terms of up to 15 years for all 11 human rights defenders on absurd and trumped up terrorism charges.  

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