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Human Rights

    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.

    February 05, 2017
    NEW YORK – Following a federal court ruling against an immediate reinstatement of President Trump’s Muslim ban, Eric Ferrero, Amnesty International USA spokesman, released the following statement:   “With this appeal, the government is trying to defend a Muslim ban that is truly indefensible. Congress must intervene and stop this once and for all. This ban has torn families apart and thrown people into chaos around the world. It is dangerous, discriminatory, and unlawful, which is why most Americans oppose it.”    
    February 03, 2017

    In a landmark judicial review case on 7, 8 and 10 February, the UK High Court will determine the legality of the UK government’s arms transfers to Saudi Arabia amid the current armed conflict in Yemen.

    Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Rights Watch (UK) and Oxfam will make submissions to the Court, in a legal challenge brought by Campaign against Arms Trade (CAAT).

    “The UK government’s repeated refusal to halt arms transfers beggars belief, given the extensive and credible reporting showing the Saudi Arabia-led coalition’s ongoing serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, including possible war crimes,” said James Lynch, Head of Arms Control and Human Rights at Amnesty International.

    “It is a sad state of affairs that NGOs have to go to court in an effort to force the UK government to do the right thing for the people of Yemen. 

    February 02, 2017

    With Prof. Homa Hoodfar, Mohamed Fahmy and other ex-prisoners of conscience.

    Friday, February 3, 2017, 6:30 to 8:30 PM

    University of Toronto Earth Sciences Building Auditorium,

    5 Bancroft Avenue, Toronto

    Launching a campaign for the release of Saeed Malekpour, a Canadian permanent resident unjustly locked in Iranian prisons for over 8 years. 

    Saeed Malekpour is an Iranian-born computer programmer who immigrated to Victoria B.C. and was arrested while on a trip to Iran in 2008. Initially sentenced to death on charges of “spreading corruption on earth,” he is now condemned to life in prison and has already served over eight years, and endured torture and solitary confinement. Malekpour’s indictment was based on confessions obtained under torture and he has been deprived of a fair trial. 

    February 02, 2017

    In an Open Letter released today, Amnesty International is calling on Prime Minister Trudeau to raise critical human rights concerns during his first meeting with United States President Trump. No date has yet been confirmed for the first official meeting, which is expected to take place in the very near future.

    “Our message to Prime Minister Trudeau is clear.  It has already become abundantly clear that under President Trump’s leadership the United States has embarked on a deeply troubling course which undermines and violates universal human rights.  That cannot and will not be okay in the relationship between our governments, and would have direct consequences with respect to areas where cooperation between our countries is essential,” said Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada’s English Branch.

    February 01, 2017

    The Israeli authorities’ authorization of the construction of 3,000 further illegal settlement homes in the occupied West Bank today - the fourth such announcement within weeks - highlights their shocking willingness to flout international law, said Amnesty International. 

    In the weeks prior to this the Israeli authorities announced plans to build 3,219 more homes in the occupied West Bank including 719 homes in East Jerusalem. All the announcements have come since the inauguration of US President Donald J. Trump, a staunch ally of Israel’s current government.

    “Since the start of 2017 the Israeli authorities have made clear that they plan to accelerate the construction of illegal settlement homes and seize further Palestinian territory in flagrant violation of international law,” said Magdalena Mughrabi Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

    “The flurry of recent announcements signals that the Israeli government, emboldened by the Trump administration, feels no need to hide its brazen violations of the rights of the occupied Palestinian population.

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