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Human Rights

    November 06, 2017

    Governments must take urgent steps to crack down on tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance by wealthy individuals and companies, Amnesty International said today, after the leaked Paradise Papers shed new light on the murky dealings of the offshore financial industry.

    “When people do not pay their fair share of tax, it’s the poor who suffer the most. At a time when governments around the world are slashing spending on health, education, housing and welfare support, it’s shameful that so many wealthy individuals and companies are being allowed to stow away billions of dollars in tax havens,” said Iain Byrne, Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Advisor at Amnesty International.

    “Governments must do more to stop tax havens - and the accountants, lawyers and consultants who work in them - from aiding and abetting this grand-scale tax abuse. We’ve heard too many empty promises. The time has come for action.”

    October 31, 2017

    The impunity enjoyed by the perpetrators of the 1984 Sikh massacre must end immediately and authorities should ensure that all those responsible, including those with command responsibility, are brought to justice, Amnesty International India reiterated today in a new briefing, “Chauraasi Ki Nainsaafi: The continuing injustice for the 1984 Sikh massacre”.

    Marking the 33rd anniversary of the 1984 carnage, the briefing gives a glimpse into the lives of the families of 15 victims and survivors, and their struggle for justice for over three decades.

    “It is shameful that thousands of victims and survivors are still waiting for justice. If the government wants to revive the faith of these people in the justice system, it must end the impunity around the massacre and bring closure to those who have suffered,” said Asmita Basu, Programmes Director at Amnesty International India.

    October 26, 2017

    Following a decision by an Izmir court not to release human rights defender, Taner Kılıç, Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General said:

    “Over the last 24 hours we have seen the twin hands of Turkey's fickle justice system at play. While one grants liberty, the other, confronted with no less baseless charges, takes it away.”

    “The release of the Istanbul 10 late last night restored some faith in Turkey's justice system. Today, that faith has been washed away.

    “Turkish authorities have repeatedly and publicly presumed Taner Kılıç’s guilt, on the basis of innuendo and unsupported allegations.

    “We will continue undaunted to campaign for the release of our chair and the dropping of the charges against all human rights defenders in Turkey.

    BACKGROUND

    The judge accepted the prosecutor's application to join Taner's case with the case against the 10 human rights defenders arrested at a workshop outside Istanbul on the tenuous grounds that he was aware of the preparations for the meeting and in contact with Amnesty International Turkey director İdil Eser about her attendance at it.

     

    October 25, 2017

    Campaigners vow to continue fight to free Amnesty International’s Turkey Chair

    Following a decision by a court in Istanbul to conditionally release eight human rights defenders while their trial continues, Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General said:

    “Today, finally, we celebrate that our friends and colleagues can go back with their loved ones and can sleep in their own beds for the first time in almost four months.

    “But any joy is tainted by the ongoing detention of Amnesty International's chair, Taner Kılıç, whose separate trial is due to start tomorrow.

    “These politically motivated prosecutions are an attempt to silence critical voices within Turkey but have only served to highlight the importance of human rights and those who dedicate their lives to defending them.

    “Tonight we take a brief moment to celebrate, but tomorrow we will continue our struggle to ensure that Taner, İdil and their colleagues are acquitted of these baseless charges. We will not stop until the charges are dropped and all of them are free.”

    BACKGROUND

    October 24, 2017

    · Amnesty team analysed satellite imagery, videos, photos and dozens of testimonies

    · Lootings, arson and house demolition targeted predominantly Kurdish areas

    · At least 11 civilians killed by indiscriminate attacks

    · Tens of thousands now displaced afraid to go back home

    Satellite images, videos, photos and dozens of testimonies collected by Amnesty International show that civilians were forced to flee their homes after fierce clashes erupted between Iraqi government forces, supported by the Popular Mobilization Units, and Kurdish Peshmerga forces in Iraq’s multi-ethnic city of Tuz Khurmatu on 16 October 2017.

    Residents reported that at least 11 civilians were killed by indiscriminate attacks, while hundreds of properties were looted, set on fire and destroyed in what appears to be a targeted attack on predominantly Kurdish areas of the city.

    October 23, 2017

    Over 40 Supporters, including Organizations, Academics and Politicians, Formally Call for Hon. Minister Hussen’s Reconsideration

    October 23, 2017, OTTAWA—Over 40 prominent civil society organizations, elected officials, university professors and professionals have sent letters in support of human rights activist Chelsea Manning, who was recently turned away at the Canadian border. The letters are united in their call to reverse the government’s decision to bar Ms. Manning from Canada, and were submitted by her legal counsel as part of a formal request for reconsideration to the Hon. Minister Ahmed Hussen on Friday morning.

    Chelsea Manning is an internationally recognized human rights activist and whistleblower. She has received numerous awards for her work as a prominent advocate for civil liberties, government transparency, LGBTQ rights, and prisoners’ rights.

    October 20, 2017

    More countries need to step up and pledge their support for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh amid an unprecedented humanitarian crisis, Amnesty International said today.

    The meeting of high-level representatives of donor countries at the UN’s office in Geneva on Monday must include pledges of new money, including from countries in the region, to support rising numbers of Rohingya refugees who have sought shelter in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar district.

    The recent influx estimated to be nearly 600,000 people has brought the total Rohingya refugee community in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar district to more than 800,000.

    “This is an unprecedented crisis that needs an immediate and sustained response from the international community. This means that more countries, particularly those from the region, need to play a much bigger role and share the burden of responsibility. Bangladesh, a poor country which has shown extraordinary generosity, cannot be left to deal with this situation alone,” said Omar Waraich, Deputy South Asia Director at Amnesty International.

    October 19, 2017

    On 20 October Amnesty International will launch a new briefing at the UN General Assembly, setting out measures to bring the use and transfer of armed drones in line with international human rights and humanitarian law.

    The briefing, Key principles on the use and transfer of armed drones, has been developed in response to the rapid proliferation of armed drones, and their use in extrajudicial executions and other unlawful killings around the world.

    “The past few years have seen an alarming growth in the use of armed drones by states including the USA and the UK, yet the circumstances in which they are deployed remain shrouded in secrecy,” said Rasha Abdul Rahim, Arms Control Campaigner at Amnesty International.

    “What we do know is that their use has created a situation in which the whole world can be treated as a battlefield, and virtually anyone can count as collateral damage. Armed drones have been used to carry out unlawful killings with minimal oversight and accountability, and with devastating consequences for civilians in countries like Yemen and Afghanistan.

    October 19, 2017

    The Egyptian authorities must immediately and unconditionally release the journalist and human rights defender, Hisham Gaafar, who will complete two years in arbitrary pre-trial detention on 21 October, Amnesty International said. He is being held in inhumane conditions and prolonged solitary confinement causing his health to deteriorate seriously.

    Security forces arrested Hisham Gaafar on trumped up charges in October 2015. Since then, a judicial panel has repeatedly renewed his pre-trial detention without examining the scant evidence prosecutors have presented against him.

    “It is disgraceful that Hisham Gaafar has been forced to spend two years behind bars. His arbitrary and prolonged pre-trial detention is another shameful illustration of how Egypt’s judiciary is abusing the criminal justice system to punish peaceful critics and dissidents,” said Najia Bounaim, North Africa Campaigns Director at Amnesty International.

    October 18, 2017
    European Parliament President calls for release of Amnesty Turkey Director Spokespeople available

    Ahead of the 19-20 October European Council meeting, which is expected to issue conclusions on Turkey, Iverna McGowan, Director of Amnesty International’s European Institutions Office, said:

    “EU leaders must publicly condemn the brutal and protracted crackdown on human rights defenders and journalists in Turkey, and stand firmly on the side of human rights. They must call for the immediate and unconditional release of all those wrongfully imprisoned in Turkey, including our colleagues.”

    Amnesty International yesterday held a birthday party for its Turkey Director Idil Eser in the European Parliament. This was joined by a number of MEPs, including the Chair of the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights Antonio Panzeri and the European Parliament President Antonio Tajani who both called for her release.

    October 18, 2017

    On 16 October, a judge of the Audiencia Nacional ordered the pre-trial detention of Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Cuixart, the presidents, respectively, of the pro-Catalan independence organisations the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) and Omnium Cultural. They have been charged with sedition under article 544 of the Spanish Criminal Code in connection with protests they organized in Barcelona on 20 and 21 September. The protests opposed and sought to obstruct an operation conducted by law enforcement and judicial authorities in several governmental buildings to prevent the organization of the referendum on the independence of Catalonia on 1 October.

    The police and judicial operation conducted on 20 and 21 September was based on a judicial order issued by a court in Barcelona and involved the searches of several official governmental buildings. On 7 September, the Constitutional Court had ruled that the referendum was illegal and against the Spanish Constitution.

    October 16, 2017

    Authorities Should Rein in Law Enforcement for Repeat Election



    (Nairobi, October 16, 2017) – Kenyan police killed at least 33 people, possibly as many as 50, and injured hundreds more in some parts of Nairobi, the capital, in response to protests following the August 8, 2017 elections, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said in a joint report released today.



    The 37-page report, “‘Kill Those Criminals’: Security Forces’ Violations in Kenya’s August 2017 Elections,” documents excessive use of force by police, and in some cases other security agents, against protesters and residents in some of Nairobi’s opposition strongholds after the elections.



    Researchers found that although police behaved appropriately in some instances, in many others they shot or beat protesters to death. Other victims died of asphyxiation from inhaling teargas and pepper spray, from being hit by teargas canisters fired at close range, or from being trampled to death by fleeing crowds.



    October 13, 2017

    Groups Warn Bill c-47 IS INCOMPLETE AND DOES NOT COVER THE Majority of CanadIAN Arms ExportS

    Canada’s welcome commitment to accede to the global Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) risks being fundamentally undermined by troubling shortcomings in the federal government’s proposed approach to implementation, warns a group of ten human rights, arms control and disarmament organizations in a briefing paper submitted to Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development.

    October 13, 2017
    More than 500 people detained in towns including Bamenda and Buea Wounded protestors flee hospitals for fear of arrest Arrested protestors forced to pay 60 USD bribe to be released

    At least 500 people remain detained in overcrowded detention facilities following mass arbitrary arrests in the Anglophone regions of Cameroon, and many wounded protestors fled hospitals to avoid arrest, Amnesty International said today.

    Those detained were arrested following protests in dozens of towns in North-West and South-West Cameroon on 1 October, in which more than 20 people were unlawfully shot dead by security forces.

    “This mass arrest of protestors, most of whom were acting peacefully, is not only a violation of human rights, but is also likely to be counter-productive,” said Ilaria Allegrozzi, Amnesty International’s Lake Chad researcher.

    “The Cameroonian authorities should release anyone detained only for exercising their right to peaceful protest.”

    October 11, 2017

    The United Nations must take firm action in response to credible new evidence that UN peacekeepers drugged and raped a young woman in the Central African Republic, Amnesty International said today after interviewing the victim and 10 others with direct knowledge of the case.

    The organization’s on-the-ground research revealed that one or more Mauritanian peacekeepers allegedly raped a 19-year-old woman in the central town of Bambari on the evening of 30 September 2017.

    “We have uncovered compelling evidence suggesting that at least one Mauritanian peacekeeper, and possibly more, raped a young woman,” said Joanne Mariner, Senior Crisis Response Adviser at Amnesty International. “The public authorities in the town of Bambari have confirmed the rape, and the UN is investigating it.

    “If substantiated, these serious rape allegations should result in the repatriation, suspension, and prosecution of any troops suspected of criminal responsibility. The UN must also ensure the victim receives support and damages. Its peacekeepers are in CAR to protect civilians from violence, rather than perpetrate it.”

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