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Crimes Against Humanity

    January 14, 2015

    Satellite images released by Amnesty International today provide indisputable and shocking evidence of the scale of last week’s attack on the towns of Baga and Doron Baga by Boko Haram militants. 

    Before and after images of two neighbouring towns, Baga (160 kilometres from Maiduguri) and Doron Baga (also known as Doro Gowon, 2.5 km from Baga), taken on 2 and 7 January show the devastating effect of the attacks which left over 3,700 structures damaged or completely destroyed. Other nearby towns and villages were also attacked over this period. 

    December 24, 2014

    The series of attacks, allegedly by armed groups, on unarmed civilians in Assam that has led to the death of at least 50 people and serious injuries to several others is highly condemnable and shows contempt for human lives. Authorities must step up security for civilians and bring the perpetrators to justice.

    The Assam Police said the killings started at Sonitpur district in northern Assam where more than 23 people were killed on 23 December. Several others were killed and injured in Kokrajhar districts as well. Authorities have blamed members of the Songbijit faction of the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB-S) for the attacks.

    The men, women and children killed and injured in these attacks were mostly members of the Adivasi community who traditionally work in the tea gardens of the region.

    This region has witnessed several incidents of violence in the past. In July 2012, clashes broke out between Bodo and Muslim communities, killing over 75 people and displacing thousands from their homes. In May 2014, at least 27 civilians were killed in Kokrajhar and Baksa districts in attacks authorities blamed on NDFB-S. 

    November 18, 2014

    A key UN vote has sent a clear message to the North Korean government that those responsible for crimes against humanity must face justice, Amnesty International said.

    On Tuesday, the UN General Assembly Third Committee in New York passed a resolution condemning North Korea for systemic, widespread and gross human rights violations, including crimes against humanity, that continue to be committed in the country.

    Nicole Bjerler, Amnesty International’s representative at the UN in New York commented:

    “UN Member States have today sent an unequivocal message to the North Korean government that those responsible for crimes against humanity in the country must face justice.

    “This is a landmark resolution in which the international community makes clear it stands with the victims of human rights violations in North Korea, where the gravity and nature of the abuses are without parallel in the modern world.

    November 18, 2014

    United Nations member states should vote in favor of a landmark resolution on the human rights situation in North Korea which seeks to advance justice for crimes against humanity, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights said today. The General Assembly will consider the resolution, which has been cosponsored by more than 50 UN members, in its third committee on November 18, 2014.

    September 02, 2014

    Released 3 September 00:01 BST

    The brutal suppression of protest in Sudan must end, and members of the security forces responsible for killing, injuring, and torturing protesters must be held to account, said Amnesty International and the African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS) in a report published today.

    The report, Excessive and deadly: The use of force, detention and torture against protesters in Sudan documents allegations of human rights violations committed by the security forces against mostly peaceful protesters over the past two years. It reveals a disturbing pattern of arbitrary arrest and detention, torture and excessive use of force, including the use of live ammunition resulting in scores of deaths and injuries. It also reveals a widespread state of impunity in which those allegedly responsible for these violations are not held to account.

    “The violent crackdown on dissent has meant that people expressing genuine grievances at government repression and economic austerity measures are met with batons, beatings and bullets,” said Manar Idriss, Amnesty International’s Sudan researcher.

    August 22, 2014

    The Iraqi authorities must properly investigate the unlawful killing of dozens of worshippers at a Sunni mosque north-east of the capital Baghdad today, Amnesty International said.

    About 70 people are believed to have been killed and dozens injured by a suicide bomb at a mosque in Diyala province during Friday prayers, amid conflicting reports about who was responsible for the attack.

    “The Iraqi authorities must launch an urgent and independent investigation into this massacre and bring those responsible to justice. Any resulting prosecutions must be conducted fairly and without resort to the death penalty,” said Said Boumedouha, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director.

    “Once again, civilians in Iraq are bearing the brunt of the conflict. All warring parties must do more to ensure they are protected.”
    Some reports have said Shia militias carried out the attack, while the Iraqi military said the Sunni jihadist group Islamic State (formerly known as ISIS) is responsible.

     

    August 07, 2014

    Today’s decision convicting two of Cambodia’s most senior former Khmer Rouge officials for crimes against humanity at the country’s UN-backed Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) is an important step towards justice, Amnesty International said.

    Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia-Pacific Director Rupert Abbott said: “This long-awaitedruling is an important step towards justice for the victims of the Khmer Rouge period and highlights the importance of addressing impunity.”

    “But the earlier refusal of senior Cambodian government officials to give evidence, as well as allegations of political interference in other ECCC cases, is troubling and raises concerns around the fairness of the proceedings and respect for victims’ right to hear the full truth regarding the alleged crimes.” 

    “Fair and effective trials are crucial if the ECCC is to leave a lasting legacy which strengthens Cambodia’s very fragile judicial system and contributes towards ending the deep culture of impunity.

    July 23, 2014

    The Honourable John Baird
    Minister of Foreign Affairs
    125 Sussex Drive
    Ottawa, Ontario
    K1A 0G2

    22 July, 2014

    Dear Minister Baird,

    Amnesty International has repeatedly spoken out about widespread violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights standards since the most recent crisis in Gaza and Israel erupted on 8 July.   We are writing this Open Letter to you, on behalf of more than 80,000 Amnesty International members across Canada, with an urgent request that the Canadian government similarly speak out and insist that these rapidly mounting violations – by both sides of this conflict – must end immediately. 

    We have of course noted the frequent comments made by the Prime Minister, you personally and other members of the government, criticizing Hamas for the indiscriminate firing of rockets into Israel.  Amnesty International has similarly consistently condemned those actions, underscoring that such actions constitute violations of international humanitarian law.

    June 05, 2014

    Amnesty International has obtained details of a horrific raid in which 15 civilians, including seven children, were summarily killed on 29 May in a village in northern Syria raising fears of further attacks against residents in the area. 

    The killings in the village of al-Tleiliye in al Hassake governorate are believed to have been carried out by members of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). Arab farming families were targeted, apparently for their perceived support of a Kurdish armed group, the YPG (People’s Protection Unit) or because they were mistaken for Yezidi Kurds. 

    The killings took place shortly after clashes escalated between ISIS and YPG forces in the nearby villages of Tal Khanzeer and al-Rawiya.

    “These cold-blooded killings serve as a bitter reminder of how complete impunity for the war crimes and crimes against humanity in Syria is fuelling brutality and inhumanity,” said Philip Luther, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Program at Amnesty International. 

    May 30, 2014

    Tuesday June 3, 2014, Parliament Hill, Ottawa

    10:00 am – Press Conference, Charles Lynch Room, Centre Block
    10:30 am – Commemoration Reception, Room 505 Victoria Building, 140 Wellington Street

    On the 25th anniversary of the brutal crackdown of student demonstrations in Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989, three Canadians will present their first-hand accounts of the events in the square that night at a 10:00 am press conference at Charles Lynch hosted by David Sweet, MP on Parliament Hill.  They will be introduced by Cheuk Kwan, Chair, Toronto Association for Democracy in China and will bear witness to a massacre that the Chinese government is anxious to erase from our memory.

    Ms. Liane Lee 李蘭菊, representative of the Hong Kong Federation of Students in 1989
    Mr. Yuguo Chen 陳育國, lecturer in political science at Beijing University in 1989
    The Hon. Jim Munson, CTV Beijing Bureau Chief in 1989

    The press conference will be followed by a 10:30 am commemoration reception hosted by the Hon. Consiglio Di Nino at 505 Victoria Building. They will be joined by:

    April 26, 2014

    Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi and Libya’s former intelligence chief, Abdallah al-Senussi, are among 37 former government officials who are standing trial in Libya on charges relating to the 2011 uprising and subsequent armed conflict. Their court proceedings – via video link for some of the defendants – resumes on Sunday, 27 April.

    Libya has repeatedly insisted it is able to ensure a fair trial for all defendants. However, Amnesty International has serious doubts about the capacity of Libya’s judiciary to guarantee a fair trial for former members of the al-Gaddafi regime.

    The International Criminal Court (ICC) has also charged Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi and Abdallah al-Senussi with crimes against humanity.

    On 14 April a court ordered that Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi, who remains in militia custody, and six other defendants held in Misratah may be tried via video link, a move that will seriously undermine their rights to a fair trial. For further information see: Libya: Trial of former al-Gaddafi officials by video link.

    April 11, 2014

    Background

    The Seleka militia (meaning “alliance” in Sango, the national language) was responsible for widespread and systematic human rights abuses in the Central African Republic (CAR) over the course of 2013. After a murderous rampage that started in the north-east, the Seleka spread out across the country, seizing the capital Bangui and ousting then-President François Bozizé in March 2013. Over the following 10 months, Seleka forces killed countless civilians, burned numerous villages, and looted thousands of homes. (See Amnesty International, CAR: Human rights crisis spiralling out of control, AFR 19/003/2013.)

    April 06, 2014

    Posted at 0001hrs GMT 7 April 2014

    The international community has collectively failed to act on the lessons of the Rwandan genocide, said Amnesty International today as the world marks the 20th anniversary of the human catastrophe which left around 800,000 dead.

    “In 1994, the world was shamed when it turned a blind eye to the desperate cries for help coming from Rwanda. Africa and the rest of the international community wrung their hands as hundreds of thousands were slaughtered,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.

    “The message is clear – this must never be allowed to happen again. Yet while leaders have accepted their mistakes, 20 years on it’s evident that the lessons have not been put into practice. Governments are still failing to take action to protect those in need in the looming catastrophes we face today.”

    Twenty years later, echoes of the events in Rwanda are reverberating in the Central African Republic (CAR) and South Sudan - and beyond.

    April 02, 2014

    The European Union (EU)’s deployment of up to 1,000 troops must only be the beginning of the international community’s renewed response to the violence and ethnic cleansing in the Central African Republic (CAR), Amnesty International said as a key EU-Africa Summit opened in Brussels today.

    For months now, the ethnic cleansing of Muslims, as well as war crimes and crimes against humanity, being perpetrated in the CAR have demanded a swift and robust response. The EU military operation, EUFOR RCA, is expected to deploy soon and is intended as a “bridging mission” to support the existing 8,000 African Union and French troops until a full-fledged UN peacekeeping force can deploy later this year.

    “The Central African Republic is gripped by a human rights and humanitarian crisis of historic proportions. By failing to respond more robustly and urgently, the international community has shown a callous disregard for the country’s embattled civilians, abandoning them in their moment of need,” said Christian Mukosa, Central Africa Researcher at Amnesty International.

    March 13, 2014

    •        Thousands of people to attend vigils held in more than 40 countries
    •        Banksy creates a #WithSyria reworking of his iconic “girl with a red balloon” image
    •        Nelson’s Column, the Lincoln Memorial and Eiffel Tower to be lit up in message of hope at the vigils
    •        115 humanitarian and human rights groups join prominent names and Syrian voices in demanding immediate action to ensure Syrians in need – including civilians in areas under siege, can access aid
    •        Stunning #WithSyria animation released with exclusive music from Elbow, who have given their song “The Blanket of Night” as the soundtrack

    Across the world from Moscow to Washington thousands of people will mark the 3rd anniversary of the crisis in Syria on Thursday with candlelit vigils, the lighting up of iconic locations and the release of Banksy inspired red balloons carrying messages of hope to Syrians.

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