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    March 10, 2017

    Azeri human rights activists, journalists and political dissidents have been the targets of a fraudulent and sustained ‘spear phishing’ campaign using emails and Facebook chat, apparently aimed at gaining access to their personal information and private communications, said Amnesty International in a new report launched today.

    The investigation reveals that the attacks, which can compromise passwords and contacts, have been directed at various government critics for the past 13 months. Victims told Amnesty International they believed the Azerbaijani authorities are behind the attacks.

    “Our research reveals that a targeted and coordinated cyber campaign is being waged against critical voices in Azerbaijan, many of whom are long-time victims of government repression,” said Claudio Guarnieri, Senior Technologist at Amnesty International.

    “The malware used has been designed with the express intention of gathering as much private information as possible about a target. Given the profiles of those targeted, it is not hard to see why victims believe the authorities are responsible.”

    March 09, 2017

    Amnesty International has corroborated new evidence the Saudi Arabia-led coalition recently fired Brazilian-manufactured rockets containing banned cluster munitions striking three residential areas and surrounding farmland in the middle of Sa’da city, injuring two civilians and causing material damage.

    The attack, which took place at 10.30pm on 15 February 2017, is the third confirmed use of Brazilian-manufactured cluster munitions documented by Amnesty International in the last 16 months.

    “The Saudi Arabia-led coalition absurdly justifies its use of cluster munitions by claiming it is in line with international law, despite concrete evidence of the human cost to civilians caught up in the conflict,” said Lynn Maalouf, Director of Research at the Beirut regional office.

    March 07, 2017

    The Indonesian authorities must immediately and unconditionally release three people convicted under the country’s blasphemy laws for peacefully practicing their beliefs, Amnesty International said today.

    Ahmad Mussadeq, Mahful Muis Tumanurung, and Andri Cahya are three members of a now disbanded religious minority group known as Gafatar who were sentenced for blasphemy by the East Jakarta District Court on Tuesday.

    “The sentences show how Indonesia’s vague, coercive and discriminatory blasphemy laws are being used to punish people for peacefully exercising minority beliefs,” said Josef Benedict, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

    “These individuals must be released immediately and unconditionally, and the blasphemy law, which flies in the face of Indonesia’s human rights obligations, should be repealed.”

    March 07, 2017

    Nepal’s authorities must promptly investigate the security forces who opened fire on a crowd of protestors in Saptari district in the Tarai, Nepal’s southern plains, killing three people and injuring 16, Amnesty International said today.

    “This was an unlawful use of lethal force. There must be a prompt, effective and impartial investigation, and those responsible must be held accountable,” said Aura Freeman, Amnesty International’s Nepal campaigner.

    On Monday, supporters of the Samyukta Loktrantrik Madhesi Morcha (SLMM) gathered to protest against an election rally of the Unified Marxist-Leninist (UML) party. The SLMM, an alliance of Madhes based parties, are boycotting the election as no changes have been made to the constitution. There were clashes between protesters and the security forces policing the rally. Some of the protesters allegedly threw stones and other objects at the security forces, who  then fired tear gas grenades and used firearms against them. According to a government official, police had first tried to disperse the protesters with batons and tear gas before firing their guns.

    March 07, 2017

    The forced displacement of 300 people from a community in North West Colombia by a paramilitary group is tragic evidence that the armed conflict is far from over, said Amnesty International.

    Over the weekend, some 200 armed men identified as members of paramilitary group the Gaitanista Self-Defence Forces of Colombia (Autodefensas Gaitanistas de Colombia, AGC) entered the town of Peña Azul, Alto Baudó, Chocó, in North Western Colombia.

    Witnesses claim the paramilitaries entered the town looking for members of the guerrilla group National Liberation Army ELN (Ejército Nacional de Liberación) and effectively forced 399 people (128 families) to flee out of fear for their lives. The whereabouts of eight families of these families still remains unknown.

    March 07, 2017

    Member states of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) must demand a proper investigation into alleged chemical attacks by Sudanese government forces in the Jebel Marra region of Darfur, said Amnesty International today, as the OPCW’s Executive Council begins its four-day meeting in The Hague.

    In a shocking report published in September 2016, Amnesty International revealed credible evidence of the repeated use of what are believed to be chemical weapons, against civilians, including very young children, from January to August 2016.

    “These brutal attacks left an estimated 200 to 250 people dead and scores more with horrific injuries, and the OPCW must fully and independently investigate them. Failure by member states to trigger the investigation would be a monumental and shameful abdication of duty,” said Michelle Kagari, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    March 03, 2017

    DUBLIN, 3 March 2017 - Amnesty International has called on the Irish government to ensure that the Commission of Investigation into ‘Mother and Baby Homes’ fully investigates alleged human rights abuses, following the discovery of ‘significant’ quantities of human remains in Tuam, Co. Galway.  The organisation had broadly welcomed the establishment of a Commission of Investigation into allegations of serious human rights abuses at ‘Mother and Baby’ homes around Ireland, though it cautioned that the Commission needed to conduct an effective and comprehensive investigation that is fully compliant with Ireland’s human rights obligations.

    March 02, 2017

    Sara Beltran Hernandez, a 26-year-old mother who fled violence in El Salvador and has been detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Texas for 15 months, has granted bond. She is expected be released this evening to be with her family and to seek treatment for a brain tumor.

    Amnesty International had campaigned for her release and mobilized its 1.2 million members across the country to flood ICE with phone calls asking for Sara to be freed.

    “Sara and her family are overjoyed that she will finally be able to be with her loved ones and receive medical care after being unjustly detained for over 400 days,” said Eric Ferrero of Amnesty International USA.

    “Sara never should have been held for so long in the first place, let alone with a medical issue. It is unconscionable to treat people fleeing violence and danger as if they are criminals. Applying for asylum should not mean giving up one’s human rights in the process.”

    February 28, 2017

    Russia and China have again abused their veto power at the United Nations Security Council today, following a vote on a draft resolution that would have helped ensure accountability for the use and production of chemical weapons by all parties to the conflict in Syria, said Amnesty International.

    “By vetoing this resolution Russia and China have displayed a callous disregard for the lives of millions of Syrians. Both states are parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention– there is simply no excuse for their vetoes today,” said Sherine Tadros, head of UN office in New York for Amnesty International.

    “For six years Russia, with the support of China, has blocked Security Council decisions that would have punitive consequences for the Syrian government. This behavior prevents justice and emboldens all parties to the conflict in Syria to act with indifference to international law. The message coming from the international community is that when it comes to Syria, there are no red lines.” 

    February 28, 2017

    The Israeli authorities’ administrative detention of Muhammed al-Qiq, a Palestinian journalist is unjust and cruel, said Amnesty International after a military judge approved an order confirming his detention for three months, which can be renewed indefinitely.

    Muhammed al-Qiq, who was placed in solitary confinement following his arrest, has been on hunger strike since 6 February in protest at his detention. According to his lawyer his health has deteriorated in recent weeks and he is in need of specialized medical care. Israel uses administrative detention to jail Palestinians indefinitely without charge or trial based on secret evidence.

    “Today’s decision to approve the administrative detention of Muhammed al-Qiq is an affront to justice. Israel’s administrative detention which is predominately used to detain Palestinians without charge or trial is arbitrary and abusive. The Israeli authorities must end this practice, which itself can amount to cruel and inhuman treatment, once and for all,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International. 

    February 24, 2017

    Authorities must ensure adequate protection for all refugees and migrants living in South Africa, amid the current protests in Pretoria and the escalating xenophobic tension and attacks in different parts of Gauteng Province, Amnesty International said today.

    Two protests are currently underway in different parts of Pretoria, Atteridgeville and Mamelodi, against high inequality, poverty and unemployment. Another march is also taking place in the same area against xenophobia. A team from Amnesty International is on the ground monitoring developments, with spokespeople available for interview. The situation remains tense, with confrontations and violence occurring   between the groups.

    “The situation in Pretoria is precariously balanced and could easily escalate into serious violence. To avoid a bloody and wholly unnecessary conclusion to this standoff, the authorities must take all measures necessary to ensure that violence does not escalate and to facilitate the assembly of those who are demonstrating peacefully,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southern Africa.

    February 20, 2017

    Amnesty International is deeply troubled by reports that Iqra Khalid, Member of Parliament for Mississauga – Erin Mills, and her staff have received a large number of hateful, racist, bigoted and misogynistic voice mail and email messages and threats in response to Ms. Khalid’s introduction of House of Commons Motion 103: Systemic racism and religious discrimination. 

    Motion 103 speaks to concerns about systemic racism and religious discrimination in Canada, with a particular focus on Islamophobia.  It has become the subject of a heated and divisive debate in Parliament and now faces a competing Motion which removes the specific reference to Islamophobia.

    February 14, 2017

    President Donald Trump must use his upcoming meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to make clear that the US government opposes the construction of Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, said Amnesty International in an open letter published today.

    February 10, 2017

    After days of speculation and rumours, the first official meeting between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Donald Trump has been scheduled. To say there is much anticipation would be understatement. The meeting comes in a moment of great uncertainty for the relationship between the two countries, as the new US administration has called into question some of the very underpinnings of Canada’s deepest partnership.

    Of particularly grave concern is the fact that President Trump has rapidly undertaken to translate some of his most toxic campaign rhetoric into official policy. Some of those policies and positions blatantly undermine fundamental human rights. Others go further, directly violating of international law.  Canadians have been aghast at these developments and have taken to the streets and social media in unprecedented numbers.

    February 09, 2017

    Despite efforts by civil rights and human rights groups to delay his confirmation, Senator Jeff Sessions was confirmed today as Attorney General. Following is a statement from Margaret Huang, executive director of Amnesty International USA.

    “As Attorney General, Jeff Sessions must remember that his duty is to uphold the law and protect everyone’s human rights. Attorneys General do not have the option of choosing which people should enjoy their rights, or which rights are worthy of being protected. Amnesty International’s 1.2 million members and supporters in the U.S. will be monitoring his actions closely and will hold him accountable at every turn.

    “This administration has already shown a disregard for people’s human rights with an executive order that writes anti-Muslim bigotry into policy and refuses to help refugees, some of the most vulnerable, at-risk people in the world. Jeff Sessions must leave behind his deeply troubling record on human rights, including his past racist statements and his fight to allow U.S. officials to torture people.

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