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Human Rights Abuses

    July 19, 2016

    US-led coalition forces carrying out airstrikes in Syria must redouble efforts to prevent civilian deaths and investigate possible violations of international humanitarian law, Amnesty International urged amid growing reports that scores of men, women and children were killed in their homes in al-Tukhar village, near Manbij, on 18 July.

    Since June, more than 100 civilians are reported to have been killed in suspected coalition attacks on the Manbij area of northern Syria, which has been controlled by the armed group calling itself Islamic State (IS).

    “The bombing of al-Tukhar may have resulted in the largest loss of civilian life by coalition operations in Syria. There must be a prompt, independent and transparent investigation to determine what happened, who was responsible, and how to avoid further needles loss of civilian life. Anyone responsible for violations of international humanitarian law must be brought to justice and victims and their families should receive full reparation,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, interim Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.

    July 18, 2016

    Authorities must investigate the gruesome attack on Saturday on a woman with albinism and bring those suspected of the crime to justice, Amnesty International said today following the latest in a series of such attacks.

    According to media reports, unidentified men targeted 51-year-old woman in Chitipa District in the northern region, chopping off her right hand with a machete after forcing their way into her home in the early hours of 16 July 2016.

    “The authorities’ inaction puts people with albinism in Malawi at constant risk of violent attack,” said Muleya Mwananyanda, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Southern Africa.

    “Just last month, the Malawian authorities assured Amnesty International that they are stepping up their efforts to prevent and punish these superstition-based attacks. It is time to go beyond words and to take effective measures to protect this vulnerable group.”

    Background

    July 18, 2016

    As the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, begins his four-day visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo today, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes, Michelle Kagari said:

    “We are witnessing a crackdown of dissenting voices in the DRC ahead of elections supposed to be held in November. Arrests of activists and harassment of civil society are becoming commonplace.”

    “The High Commissioner’s visit should mark a turning point away from this repression. He should call on the authorities to honour their international obligations to uphold human rights, including the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly.”

    Amnesty International requests that the High Commissioner makes the following calls on the DRC authorities:

    July 18, 2016

    Iran’s authorities are callously toying with the lives of prisoners of conscience and other political prisoners by denying them adequate medical care, putting them at grave risk of death, permanent disability or other irreversible damage to their health, according to a new report by Amnesty International published today.

    The report, Health taken hostage: Cruel denial of medical care in Iran’s prisons, provides a grim snapshot of health care in the country’s prisons. It presents strong evidence that the judiciary, in particular the Office of the Prosecutor, and prison administrations deliberately prevent access to adequate medical care, in many cases as an intentional act of cruelty intended to intimidate, punish or humiliate political prisoners, or to extract forced “confessions” or statements of “repentance” from them.

    July 08, 2016

    “Last night’s shootings are a devastating reminder that gun violence in the U.S. is a human rights crisis that impacts everyone.
    Our thoughts are with the victims and their families,” said Margaret Huang, Amnesty International USA interim executive director.
    “Killings both by and of police demand justice. The right to life is universal and everyone – both civilians and officers alike – should be able live free from fear and feel safe in their communities."

    “We must remember that the public’s response to the deaths of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile
    and Jerry Williams have been overwhelmingly peaceful. Last night’s tragedy should not affect
    the ability and the safety of those who will continue to exercise their right to protest peacefully.
    We call on law enforcement officers to facilitate that right.”

     

    For further information, please contact Elizabeth Berton-Hunter, Media Relations

    416-363-9933 ext 332 Email: bberton-hunter@amnesty.ca

     

     

    July 07, 2016

    “I cannot understand how a crime that took place in view of cameras, where the whole world saw how boys playing on the beach were massacred mercilessly, can pass like that without any criminals held to account.” Sobhi Bakr, relative of four boys killed in an Israeli air strike on 16 July 2014.

    Tomorrow, 8 July 2016, marks the second anniversary of the start of a 50-day Israeli military offensive which brought unprecedented death and destruction to the Gaza Strip.

    In a new briefing issued today, Amnesty International asks why no genuine criminal investigations have been launched, and why no one has yet been held to account for atrocities in spite of war crimes being committed by both sides.

    “During 50 days of attacks, Israeli forces wreaked massive death and destruction on the Gaza Strip, killing close to 1,500 civilians, more than 500 of whom were children,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme Director.

    July 06, 2016

    People forced to eat human flesh and to disembowel dead bodies during South Sudan’s civil war that began in 2013 are among thousands suffering from trauma and psychological distress amid a chronic shortage of mental healthcare services in the country, Amnesty International said today as the country marks its fifth anniversary.

    In a new report, “Our hearts have gone dark”: The mental health impact of South Sudan’s conflict, the organisation documents the psychological impact of mass killings, rape, torture, abductions and even a case of forced cannibalism, on the survivors and witnesses of these crimes.

    “While the death and physical destruction caused by the conflict and preceding decades of war are immediately apparent, the psychological scars are less visible and neglected,” said Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    June 23, 2016
    Delegation of Human Rights Defenders travels to Ottawa, demands substantive dialogue between Prime Minister Trudeau and President Peῆa Nieto on Mexico’s dire human rights crisis.   

    The deadly and steadily growing human rights crisis in Mexico must be at the top of the agenda in the upcoming meetings between Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau and Mexican Prime Minister Peῆa Nieto, said a delegation of Mexican human rights defenders, Amnesty International and the Nobel Women’s Initiative.

    Staggering levels of human rights violations have been documented in Mexico. More than 100,000 people have been killed and 27,000 people reported missing or ‘disappeared’ in the last decade. There has been a marked increase in reports of grave abuses committed by police and security forces, including enforced disappearances and widespread use of torture.  Violence against women and girls is endemic. Impunity is rampant: with more than 7,000 complaints of torture officially filed between 2010 and 2013, there have only been 15 convictions in the last quarter century.

    June 20, 2016

    Days before the state visit to Canada of Mexico’s President and the North American Leaders Summit, four courageous women human rights defenders from Mexico are visiting Ottawa with a compelling message: it’s time to break the silence and take meaningful action to confront an acute human rights crisis in Mexico.

    The women are in Ottawa from June 21 to 23. They will hold a press conference on June 23 to make public devastating personal experiences they are sharing with Canadian government officials, MPs, Senators and members of civil society organizations, as well as the actions needed to stop the explosion of human rights violations in Mexico.

    A press conference will take place on Thursday June 23 at 10:30 AM

    in the Charles Lynch Press Room, Centre Block, House of Commons, Ottawa

    Speakers:

    June 09, 2016

    Failed responses to the sharp increase in hate crimes across Germany – including attacks on shelters for asylum-seekers – expose the need to urgently step up protection and launch an independent inquiry into possible bias within the country’s law enforcement agencies, said Amnesty International in a report released today.

    The report, Living in insecurity: How Germany is failing victims of hate crimes, details how 16 times as many crimes were reported against asylum shelters in 2015 (1,031) as in 2013 (63). More generally, racist violent crimes against racial, ethnic and religious minorities increased by 87% from 693 crimes in 2013 to 1,295 crimes in 2015.

    “With hate crimes on the rise in Germany, long-standing and well-documented shortcomings in the response of law enforcement agencies to racist violence must be addressed,” said Marco Perolini, Amnesty International’s EU Researcher.

    June 08, 2016

    The shooting of students peacefully protesting in Port Moresby, the capital of Papua New Guinea, is a disgraceful attack on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and expression, Amnesty International said today.

    The organisation has received information that there are 38 people injured, including four in critical condition. Three people are still being assessed in emergency.

    “The shooting of students peacefully protesting is reminiscent of the worst excesses of repressive regimes in the region,” said Rafendi Djamin, Amnesty International’s Director for South East Asia and the Pacific.

    “Papua New Guinea’s authorities must establish a prompt, impartial and independent investigation to determine who is responsible for the unnecessary and excessive use of force.”

    The Papua New Guinea police opened fire today on a group of students at Papua New Guinea University who were peacefully protesting against the alleged corruption of Prime Minister Peter O’Neill.

    Several eye-witnesses have come forward to say they saw students beaten and shot at, including one case where a student was shot in the head.

    June 06, 2016

    The Colombian authorities must ensure that the security forces, in particular the ESMAD anti-riot police, refrain from using disproportionate and excessive force against demonstrators, Amnesty International said today as a nationwide protest by rural communities enters its second week.

    According to local social and human rights organizations, at least 179 demonstrators have been injured and three Indigenous protestors killed since Indigenous, Afro-descendant and peasant farmer communities began a national mobilization on 30 May. There are also reports that members of the security forces have been injured.

    The demonstrators are protesting at what they argue is the Colombian government’s failure to comply with numerous agreements on a range of rural issues. These include agrarian reform; education; health; free, prior and informed consent; and mining.

    The security forces have a duty to guarantee public order but this must not be used as an excuse to ignore international standards on the use of force by the security forces.

    June 03, 2016

    Authorities in Ethiopia should immediately stop the ill treatment of political opposition members and human rights defenders who were beaten in detention and then forced to appear before the court inadequately dressed, Amnesty International said today.

    The 22 defendants, including political opposition leaders Gurmesa Ayano and Beqele Gerba, Deputy Chief of the Oromo Federalist Congress, were brought today before the court inadequately dressed. According to complaints lodged with the court by Beqele Gerba, some defendants were beaten while in detention, and prison officials confiscated all the defendant’s black suits, which they intended to wear to court. The rest of their clothes were taken by other prisoners.

    “Aside from the beatings they suffered in detention, degrading the defendants by making them attend court in their underpants is a new low in the behavior of the prison authorities and a total outrage,” said Michelle Kagari Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Eastern Africa and the Great Lakes.

    June 02, 2016

    The Ethiopian Government must end its escalating crackdown on human rights defenders, independent media, peaceful protestors as well as members and leaders of the political opposition through the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation (ATP) says a group of civil society organisations (CSOs).

    “The government’s repression of independent voices has significantly worsened as the Oromo protest movement has grown,” said Yared Hailemariam, Director of the Association for Human Rights in Ethiopia (AHRE). “The international community should demand the end of this state-orchestrated clampdown and the immediate release of peaceful critics to prevent the situation from deteriorating further.”

     

    June 02, 2016

    Brazil is on a fast-track course to repeat the deadly mistakes it has been making around policing for decades, made even more evident during the 2014 World Cup, which left a long trail of suffering, Amnesty International said today in a briefing two months ahead of the Olympic Games’ opening ceremony.

    Violence has no place in these games! Risk of human rights violations at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games reveals how Brazilian authorities and sports governing bodies in Rio de Janeiro have put in place the same ill-conceived security policies which led to a sharp increase in homicides and human rights violations by security forces since the 2014 World Cup. This jeopardizes the promised Olympic legacy of a safe city for all.

    “When Rio was awarded the 2016 Olympic Games in 2009, authorities promised to improve security for all. Instead, we have seen 2,500 people killed by police since then in the city and very little justice,” said Atila Roque, Director at Amnesty International Brazil.

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