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    October 06, 2017

    The Cambodian authorities’ attempts to shut down the main opposition party ahead of next year’s general election is the latest move in a relentless effort to crush all forms of dissent, however peaceful, Amnesty International said today.

    The Interior Ministry today filed a complaint with the Supreme Court asking for the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) to be dissolved ahead of the elections scheduled for July 2018.

    “Prime Minister Hun Sen and his government seem intent on turning Cambodia into a criticism-free state by any means necessary. The attempts to disband the opposition party ahead of next year’s crucial vote is a blatant power grab and another escalation in the authorities’ crackdown on all forms of dissent,” said James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

    “The international community cannot stand idly by and simply watch as the human rights situation backslides rapidly in Cambodia. Key countries must immediately push the Cambodian government to end the sweeping restrictions on opposition figures’ and human rights defenders’ rights to liberty and to freedom of expression.”

    October 06, 2017

    The international community has caved in to political pressure again, underplaying the suffering of hundreds of Yemeni children, by watering down criticism of the Saudi Arabia-led coalition’s grave violations of international law in the UN Secretary General’s annual Children and armed conflict report (CAAC), said Amnesty International.

    “Every time the United Nations makes concessions that allow perpetrators of crimes under international law to evade criticism or justice, it emboldens others to commit violations that cause immense misery to people around the world,” said Sherine Tadros, Head of UN office in New York for Amnesty International.

    “While we welcome the overdue listing of the Saudi Arabia-led coalition in the CAAC report, it is a shame that the UN caved in to pressure and included it in a new category specifically designed to limit condemnation of the coalition.”

    As a result of diplomatic pressure from Saudi Arabia, the report - which covers the year 2016 - contains a new category that acknowledges the efforts of the coalition to “put in place measures during the reporting period to improve the protection of children”.

    October 05, 2017

    By Tirana Hassan, Crisis Response Director at Amnesty International.

    In her five young years, Buthaina has witnessed the type of violence and brutality that powerful people and governments often want to keep hidden.

    Pulled from the rubble of her family home in Yemen’s capital Sana’a, viral images show her sitting up in a hospital bed, clutching a teddy bear. Badly bruised, she struggles to pry open a swollen eye with her fingers, to look out on a world that has dealt her such cruelty. “She had five siblings to play with. Now she has none,”her uncle Ali al-Raymi told Amnesty International.

    October 02, 2017

    Amnesty International can confirm that at least 17 people have been killed by the security forces following yesterday’s protests in several towns of the Anglophone regions in Cameroon. Ilaria Allegrozzi, Amnesty International’s Lake Chad researcher said:

    “The worrying escalation witnessed over the weekend has now reached a crisis point. The use of excessive force to silence protests in the West and South-West regions of Cameroon is not the solution.

    “All deaths related to these protests must be promptly and effectively investigated.”

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    Media contact: Jacob Kuehn, Media Relations at (613) 744-7667 ext 236 or jkuehn@amnesty.ca 

    October 02, 2017

    The Egyptian authorities have arrested 22 people over the past three days alone, stepping up a campaign of persecution against LGBTI people in the country which began after a rainbow flag was displayed at a Mashrou’ Leila concert in Cairo provoking a public outcry, Amnesty International said today.

    The arrests bring the total number of people who have been detained based on their perceived sexual orientation to 33 - 32 men and one woman - since the Public Prosecutor announced an investigation into the rainbow flag “incident” on 25 September. The Forensic Medical Authority has carried out anal examinations on at least five of those arrested.

    “In a matter of days the Egyptian security forces have rounded up dozens of people and carried out five anal examinations signalling a sharp escalation in the authorities’ efforts to persecute and intimidate members of the LGBTI community following the rainbow flag incident,” said Najia Bounaim, North Africa Campaigns Director at Amnesty International.

    “Forced anal examinations are tantamount to torture – there is no scientific basis for such tests and they cannot be justified under any circumstances.

    October 02, 2017

    NEW YORK – Following a mass shooting last night in Las Vegas, Margaret Huang, Amnesty International USA executive director, released the following statement:

    “Last night’s shooting in Las Vegas demonstrated an utter contempt for human life, and our thoughts are with the victims of these attacks and the city of Las Vegas. But thoughts must be backed up with actions to protect people from this kind of violence. No one’s life should be threatened just by walking down the street, going to school or attending a concert.

    “The U.S. government must uphold its obligations under international law and address gun violence as the human rights crisis that it is. It is critical to reform the current patchwork of federal, state and local laws to ensure everyone’s safety and security.”

    As a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the U.S. government is obligated to protect people from gun violence.

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    October 02, 2017

    Responding to clashes between police and protesters around today's Catalan referendum, John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International Europe and Central Asia Director said:

    "Spanish police have clearly been obstructed in the exercise of their duties at numerous polling stations today, but there is plenty of footage to suggest that police officers have used excessive and disproportionate force at at least some of them. With tensions running high, it is essential that both Spanish law and international human rights law is respected.

    “Spanish police must avoid the excessive use of force; and whenever the lawful use of force is unavoidable, they must use it with restraint and in proportion to the seriousness of the law enforcement objective.”

    A delegation of Amnesty International researchers has been deployed in Catalonia throughout the day to monitor the respect for human rights. The organisation will publish more detailed findings tomorrow.

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    For more information please contact: Jacob Kuehn, Media Relations 613-744-7667 ext 236 or jkueyn@amnesty.ca

    September 29, 2017

    By Audrey Gaughran, Amnesty International’s Director of Global Issues.

    *This article was originally published in The Diplomat. 

    For the past month, the world has watched in horror as Myanmar’s army has carried out a brutal campaign of ethnic cleansing against members of the Rohingya minority in the west of the country. Almost 500,000 women, men and children have already crossed the border into Bangladesh, leaving behind dead family members, burned villages and a shattered homeland.

    While the international community has rightly focused on the horrors precipitating the mass exodus of Rohingya from Myanmar, Myanmar’s neighbors remain woefully unprepared to handle the spillover effects of the crisis.

    September 28, 2017

    The Egyptian authorities must drop all charges against Alaa Abdel Fattah, a blogger and human rights activist who rose to prominence during the 2011 uprising, and at least 23 other defendants, who could face up to four years in prison simply for criticizing the country’s flawed justice system, said Amnesty International.

    A Cairo criminal court is due to hand down its verdict in the case against a total of 25 defendants, on Saturday 30 September. At least 24 of the defendants including Alaa Abdel Fattah, Egyptian politician Amr Hamzawy, and former Member of Parliament Essam Sultan, have been charged with defamation for their legitimate criticism of the Egyptian judiciary as biased and a puppet in the hands of the state.

    “This trial is an attempt to silence criticism of a judiciary that has itself become a source of human rights violations. ‘Insulting’ public institutions or officials is not a criminal offence under international law, and no one should stand trial - let alone face imprisonment - for peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression,” said Najia Bounaim, North Africa Campaigns Director at Amnesty International.

    September 27, 2017

    Today’s conviction of Ilmi Umerov, a prominent critic of the Russian occupation and leader of the Crimean Tatar people, is the latest encroachment on fundamental rights and freedoms on the peninsula, and must be immediately quashed, said Amnesty International. Ilmi Umerov was sentenced by a de facto court in Crimea this morning to two years in a penal colony.

    Last week, the same court handed Ukrainian journalist Mykola Semena a two and a half year suspended prison sentence. Both men stood accused of threatening territorial integrity of the Russian Federation on account of their public opposition to the Russian occupation and annexation of Crimea.

    “The sentencing of Ilmi Umerov, who is 60 and has Parkinson’s disease, marks yet another stage in the de facto government’s lengthy persecution of him. His imprisonment follows a series of politically-motivated trials, arbitrary arrests and intimidation against critics of Russian authorities in Crimea. It is a clear violation of freedom of expression,” said Oksana Pokalchuk, Director of Amnesty International Ukraine.

    September 27, 2017

    Victims of Stadium Crimes Awaiting Trial



    (Conakry, September 27, 2017) – Guinea should move ahead to deliver justice, truth, and reparation for the grave crimes committed on September 28, 2009, at a Conakry stadium, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the Association of Victims, Parents and Friends of the September 28 Massacre said today in advance of the massacre’s eighth anniversary. On that day, security forces massacred more than 150 peaceful protesters, and more than 100 women were raped. Hundreds of injuries and widespread looting were also documented.



    An investigation into the crimes by a panel of Guinean investigating judges, opened in February 2010, has yet to be completed – eight years after the crimes were committed.



    “The judges investigating the September 28, 2009 massacre have made impressive progress,” said Elise Keppler, associate international justice director at Human Rights Watch. “But the investigation needs to be completed so that those responsible for the stadium massacre can be tried without further delay.”



    September 27, 2017

    The Ugandan authorities must stop threatening to close media outlets simply for doing their job, said Amnesty International today after the country’s media regulator vowed to close down media houses for broadcasting live.

    The threats come the day after a brawl between MPs in Uganda’s parliament was broadcast live by media outlets in the country.

    “It is unacceptable that Uganda’s media regulator is threatening to close down media houses simply for doing their job and broadcasting live news events. Ugandans have a right to know what their elected representatives are doing, a right the authorities must facilitate rather than hinder,” said Michelle Kagari, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    “These threats, harassment and intimidation are an attempt to gag the media, and have no place in any society that respects human rights. The media must be left alone to independently inform and educate the public, including on the ongoing debates about the proposed constitutional amendment.”

    September 26, 2017

    (Kinshasa, September 26, 2017) – Democratic Republic of Congo authorities should immediately and unconditionally release nine Congolese human rights and pro-democracy activists wrongfully detained for their participation in peaceful activities, 45 Congolese and international human rights organizations said today. Four activists were arrested on July 14 and 15, 2017 in Mbuji-Mayi and five others on July 31 in Lubumbashi.



    “The Congolese authorities have thrown activists in jail for joining peaceful protests calling for elections and for Congo’s constitution to be respected,” said Ida Sawyer, Central Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “The government should release them immediately and ensure that all Congolese have the right to peacefully demonstrate and express their political views.”



    September 25, 2017

    NEW YORK – Following a revision of President Trump’s travel ban to now include restrictions on travelers from Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen, Naureen Shah, senior campaigns director for Amnesty International USA, released the following statement:

    “Since this ban was implemented 10 months ago, we’ve seen families torn apart and whole nations of people demonized for the crimes of a few. The order was a catastrophe not just for those seeking safety but for those who simply want to travel, work, or study in the United States. Today’s action neither relieves this tension nor keeps anyone safe.

    “Just because the original ban was especially outrageous does not mean we should stand for yet another version of government-sanctioned discrimination. It is senseless and cruel to ban whole nationalities of people who are often fleeing the very same violence that the U.S. government wishes to keep out. This must not be normalized.”

    September 25, 2017

    Research released by Amnesty International today reveals how a shell company in the heart of London’s West End acted as an intermediary in huge prospective arms deals to war-torn South Sudan and other countries, thanks to regulatory gaps which are making the UK a hotspot for companies involved in illicit arms transfers.

    Commercial documents name S-Profit Ltd, a tiny UK-registered company, as the ‘supplier’ in a 2014 deal to provide at least US$46m worth of small arms, light weapons and ammunition to the South Sudanese government. The report, From London to Juba: a UK-registered company’s role in one of the largest arms deals to South Sudan, also reveals that the UK government has been aware of similar practices taking place on British soil for more than eight years, without taking effective regulatory action.

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