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    November 30, 2017
    Verified photographs show Soviet-made cluster munitions used over densely populated areas by Syrian government forces Doctors describe dire humanitarian situation – including widespread malnutrition – amid tightening siege Witnesses recount indiscriminate attacks killing civilians as Syrian forces commit daily war crimes

    Syrian government forces’ increasing use of banned Soviet-made cluster munitions to carry out indiscriminate attacks and direct attacks on civilians amid a tightening siege in rebel-held Eastern Ghouta has killed at least 10 civilians and brought the area’s humanitarian crisis to breaking point, Amnesty International can reveal today.

    The organization interviewed five people currently under siege in Eastern Ghouta, among them activists and medical professionals, who described a severely deteriorating situation as the government has escalated its bombing campaign of this rebel-held enclave, near the capital, Damascus, since 14 November.

    November 30, 2017

    The Canadian Coalition on Human Rights in China today released an Open Letter calling Prime Minister Trudeau to place human rights at the top of his agenda during his visit to China this week, including by rigorously pursuing human rights protections in discussions related to trade and by firmly calling for the release of prisoners of conscience – including 16 individuals with close Canadian connections - unjustly imprisoned in the country.

    November 23, 2017

    Amnesty International welcomes the federal government’s promise of a rights-based national housing strategy aimed at improving access to housing in Canada, including through “new legislation that promotes a human rights-based approach to housing and prioritizes the housing needs of Canada’s most vulnerable. “

    “The adoption of a human rights-based national housing strategy, backed up by legislation, is a positive step toward fulfilling Canada’s international legal obligations to uphold economic, social and cultural rights,” says Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada. “It stands to help address grave concerns raised by the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights during its 2016 review of Canada’s human rights record and recommendations brought forward by several other UN human rights bodies as well, including with respect to homelessness, inadequate housing and a persisting social and economic gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.”

    November 22, 2017

    Today’s conviction of the former Bosnian Serb war leader, general Ratko Mladić, for crimes under international law, including genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes has finally – after more than 20 years - delivered justice to tens of thousands of the victims of 1992-95 armed conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina, said Amnesty International.

    He was sentenced to life imprisonment.

    The verdict handed down by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague recognizes his individual criminal responsibility as Commander of the Bosnian Serb Army, and his participation in joint criminal enterprises, including to terrorize the population of Sarajevo and eliminate Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica.

    “This landmark verdict marks a significant moment for international justice and sends out a powerful message around the world that impunity cannot and will not be tolerated,” said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Europe Director.

    “Whilst it does not end the suffering of those relatives who have waited more than 20 years to see this day, seeing justice delivered might offer them some closure.”

    November 22, 2017

    Responding to today’s decision by the Istanbul Court to continue the pre-trial detention of Amnesty International’s Turkey Chair, Taner Kılıç, John Dalhuisen said:

     

    “Today in court lawyers for the defence and an independent expert witness demolished the prosecution’s arguments. All the evidence shows Taner is innocent but this evening he was nevertheless sent back to the overcrowded cell where he has spent more than five months.”

    “The court’s decision to ignore this evidence and continue his detention flies in the face of reason. It is yet another opportunity missed to correct a gross injustice. We will continue to fight for his release and for the dropping of all charges against both him and the Istanbul 10.”

    The next court hearing has been set for 31 January, 2018

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

     

    November 20, 2017

    The Kenyan government must take immediate steps to de-escalate tensions between communities, protect people and ensure their safety as opposition supporters protest against today’s Supreme Court verdict upholding President Uhuru Kenyatta’s re-election, said Amnesty International.

    Following the verdict, violence broke out in opposition strongholds including the Mathare and Kibera slums in Nairobi, and Migori and Kisumu in western Kenya. The violence came after the Supreme Court dismissed the two petitions that sought to invalidate the outcome of the 28 October presidential election re-run. Initial reports said four people were killed in the clashes.

    A witness told Amnesty International that groups of young men in Kondele, Kisumu, were carrying out house searches today, looking for ethnic Kikuyu residents, harassing them and looting their homes. He said three groups tried to enter his compound and that his neighbour’s gate was torn down and he and his family were forced to flee for their own safety. There were also media reports of an attempt by protesters to burn down Kondele Police Station.

    November 17, 2017

    Kenyan police must stop firing live ammunition during opposition protests and instead protect all people gathering in public, said Amnesty International today amid running battles in which three opposition supporters are feared to have been shot dead.

    “We have received reports of at least three deaths, and live TV footage shows another man being shot in the leg. Firearms can only be used when strictly unavoidable in order to protect life,” said Abdullahi Halakhe, Amnesty International’s East Africa Researcher.

    “The indiscriminate use of live ammunition is totally unacceptable. Firearms must never be used to disperse crowds.”

    According to Amnesty International research, at least 66 people have been killed by police in election-related violence since August. At least 33 of them died in the aftermath of the 8 August elections and another three were killed during the October re-run.

    The opposition supporters were trying to get to Uhuru Park in downtown Nairobi, where they expected Raila Odinga to address them, just hours after he had returned from an eight-day trip to the US.

    November 17, 2017

    The USA, UK and France must immediately cease supplying arms to the Saudi Arabia-led coalition fighting in Yemen, which is impeding humanitarian assistance, including items indispensable to the survival of civilians, said Amnesty International today. According to the UN and humanitarian agencies food and medicine are being blocked and vital supplies will run out in a matter of weeks.

    Since the Saudi Arabia-led coalition tightened the blockade after a missile was fired at Riyadh, 29 ships carrying essential supplies have been prevented by the coalition from reaching Hodeidah port. Mitigating measures announced by the coalition, such as opening Aden’s port, are woefully inadequate to meet humanitarian needs. More than 20 million people are now living in dire need of assistance.

    “The looming prospect of famine is becoming a reality because of the new restrictions by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition, which appear to amount to collective punishment of Yemen’s civilians,” said Philip Luther, Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

    November 17, 2017

    Civilians on the island of Mindanao paid a high price with dozens killed and widespread destruction of homes and property amid the ‘battle of Marawi’ that pitted the Philippine military against militants allied to the armed group calling itself Islamic State (IS) between May and October this year, Amnesty International said in a report today.

    The ‘Battle of Marawi’: Death and destruction in the Philippines is the first detailed human rights analysis of the conflict, based on a research trip to Lanao del Sur, Mindanao in September. It documents how IS-allied militants targeted Christian civilians for the worst of the abuses, including at least 25 extrajudicial killings, mass hostage-taking, and extensive looting of civilian property.

    Philippine armed forces, meanwhile, detained and ill-treated fleeing civilians, and also engaged in looting. Their extensive bombing of militant-held areas of Marawi city wiped out entire neighbourhoods and killed civilians, highlighting the need for an investigation into its compliance with international humanitarian law. 

    November 13, 2017

    In response to findings released today after the Myanmar military’s internal investigation into violence in northern Rakhine State since 25 August, James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said:

    “Once again, Myanmar’s military is trying to sweep serious violations against the Rohingya under the carpet.

    November 13, 2017

    Whole civilian populations who have suffered horrific sieges and been subjected to intensive bombardments have been given no choice but to leave or die under so-called “reconciliation” agreements between the Syrian government and armed opposition groups, said Amnesty International in a comprehensive new report published today.

    The government’s campaign of sieges, unlawful killings and forced displacement, which has uprooted thousands of civilians and forced them to live in dire conditions, constitutes crimes against humanity.

    “We leave or we die”: Forced displacement under Syria’s ‘reconciliation’ agreements examines four of these local pacts and documents associated violations dating back to 2012. Reached between August 2016 and March 2017, the agreements led to the displacement of thousands of residents from six besieged areas: Daraya, eastern Aleppo city, al-Waer, Madaya, Kefraya and Foua.

    November 10, 2017

    The arrest and detention of Dalit rights activist Chandrasekhar Azad under the National Security Act a day after he was granted bail is a brazen attempt to sidestep human rights safeguards in the ordinary criminal justice system, Amnesty International India said today.

    Chandrasekhar Azad was arrested by the Uttar Pradesh state police under the National Security Act (NSA) on 3 November, a day after he was granted bail by the Allahabad High Court after four months in jail. Newspaper reports had quoted the court stating that the cases against Chandrasekhar Azad appeared to have been politically motivated. Under the NSA, he is at risk of being detained for up to 12 months without charge or trial.

    November 07, 2017

    Mauritania must immediately and unconditionally release human rights defender Mohamed Mkhaïtir, who has been sentenced to death for criticizing the use of Islam to justify discriminatory practices against minority ethnic groups in the country, Amnesty International said ahead of his appeal trial.

    The case of Mohamed Mkhaïtir, who was sentenced to death in December 2014 for a “blasphemous” post he made on Facebook, will be heard for a second time by an appeal court in the north-western town of Nouadhibou tomorrow.

    “This case is absurd and represents a real setback for freedom of expression in a country that has not imposed punishment for apostasy in more than 50 years of independence,” said Kiné-Fatim Diop, Amnesty International’s West Africa Campaigner.

    “Mohamed Mkhaïtir is a prisoner of conscience who has been in detention for three years solely for exercising his right to freedom of expression and standing-up against discrimination. His scandalous death sentence must be quashed and he should be immediately and unconditionally released.”

    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.

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