Select this search icon to access the amnesty.ca search form

Main menu

Facebook Share

Human Rights

    November 24, 2016
    By Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General

    That which unites us is always greater than that which divides us. Yet, around the world, the forces of division seem to be gathering momentum. Walls rising up along borders, hatred and fear welling up within and between populations, repressive laws assailing basic freedoms.

    The US election campaign, the latest development in this deeply troubling trend, caused global shockwaves. After campaigning with a constant refrain of misogyny and xenophobia, Donald J. Trump will be the next US President. Since the election, the world has been coming to terms with this fact, though its implications have yet to be fathomed fully.

    For human rights activists in particular, who already find themselves embattled and “undesirable” in many countries, it raises the stakes immensely that the President-elect of one of the world’s most powerful nations put forward a political platform that championed hate, threatening to disavow many basic human rights protections.

    November 18, 2016

    The release of a prominent Venezuelan opposition leader unfairly imprisoned since 2014 as punishment for his human rights work must mark a profound shift in the government’s approach to dissent and freedom of speech, said Amnesty International.

    Rosmit Mantilla, Member of Parliament, human rights activist and prisoner of conscience was released after spending more than two years in pre-trial detention at the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service facilities in Caracas.

    “Rosmit’s long awaited release is great news for human rights in Venezuela. He should have never been made to spend a second behind bars. The Venezuelan authorities must now build on this positive step and release all imprisoned activists and political leaders whose only ‘crime’ was to disagree with the government,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    Rosmit Mantilla is an activist for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people (LGBTI) and a member of the opposition party Voluntad Popular.

    November 10, 2016

    In response to the appointment of China's Vice Minister of Public Security, Meng Hongwei, to head global police agency Interpol, Nicholas Bequelin, East Asia Director at Amnesty International commented:

    "The appointment of Meng Hongwei is alarming given China's long-standing practice of trying to use Interpol to arrest dissidents and refugees abroad. It seems at odds with Interpol's mandate to work in the spirit of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

    "There now needs to be close scrutiny of the kind of notices that Interpol issues at the request of the Chinese government."

     

    November 09, 2016

    WASHINGTON – In response to the election of Donald Trump to the United States presidency, Amnesty International released the following statements. 

    Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International, said: “President-elect Trump has provoked grave consternation at many points throughout his election campaign, and raised serious concerns about the strength of commitment we can expect to see from the United States towards human rights in the future. He must now put this behind him and both reaffirm and abide by the United States’ obligations on human rights, at home and abroad.”

    Margaret Huang, Executive Director of Amnesty International USA, said: “In the lead up to this week’s election, the United States has witnessed disturbing and, at times, poisonous rhetoric from President-elect Trump and others. This rhetoric cannot and must not become government policy. The xenophobic, sexist and other hateful remarks made by Trump have no place in government. 

    November 07, 2016

    The Chinese government must immediately repeal a new cyber-security law that gives the authorities carte blanche to curb the right to freedom of expression and the right to privacy, said Amnesty International.

    On Monday, China’s legislature passed the law which defines “cyber-security” in broad and vague terms, and requires internet companies to be complicit in censorship and share personal information of users with the authorities with virtually no safeguards.

    “The new cyber-security law tightens the authorities’ repressive grip on the internet. It goes further than ever before in codifying abusive practices, with a near total disregard for the rights to freedom of expression and privacy,” said Patrick Poon, China Researcher at Amnesty International.

    “This dangerous law commandeers internet companies to be de-facto agents of the state, by requiring them to censor and provide personal data to the authorities at a whim.”

    November 07, 2016

    In response to today’s announcement by the United Nations that it will investigate last week’s US-led airstrikes in Kunduz province, in which more than 30 civilians were killed, Champa Patel, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director said:

    “The horrific events in Kunduz last week are the latest in a growing list of incidents which have resulted in Afghan civilians being killed or injured in attacks that appear to have violated international humanitarian law

    “We hope that this UN investigation into the circumstances surrounding the bombing represents a step towards truth and justice for the victims and their families.

    “If the investigation ultimately does show that the attack violated international humanitarian law, it is critical that US/NATO forces are held accountable. If there is evidence of war crimes, those responsible must be prosecuted in fair trials.”

    Background:

    October 26, 2016

    A 10-year jail sentence handed to Giyas Ibrahimov, a 22-year-old youth activist detained after spraying graffiti on a statue of the former President of Azerbaijan, is a shocking assault on freedom of expression, Amnesty International said today.

    “Giyas Ibrahimov’s sentence is an absolute travesty of justice. He was arrested simply for painting a slogan on a statue, and was later tortured into ‘confessing’ to serious drug crimes. The authorities now want him to spend the rest of his youth behind bars on these fabricated charges,” said Denis Krivosheev, Deputy Director for Europe and Central Asia at Amnesty International.

    “It is deeply disturbing to see the lengths to which Azerbaijani authorities will go to silence their critics. We are calling on them to quash this sentence based on trumped-up charges and immediately release Giyas Ibrahimov, and to carry out an independent investigation into the torture and other ill-treatment he has been subjected to.”

    October 26, 2016

    US-led Coalition forces carrying out air strikes in Syria must conduct thorough investigations into reports of civilian casualties from its operations and disclose their findings, said Amnesty International. Eleven Coalition attacks examined by the organization appear to have killed some 300 civilians during two years of strikes targeting the armed group calling itself Islamic State (IS).

    So far the US authorities have provided no response to a memorandum Amnesty International sent to the US Department of Defense on 28 September 2016 to raise questions about the conduct of Coalition forces in Syria. The memorandum compiles and analyzes information from various sources, including eyewitnesses to attacks, which suggests that US Central Command (CENTCOM), which directs Coalition forces in Syria, may have failed to take necessary precautions to spare civilians and carried out unlawful attacks that have killed and injured civilians.

    “We fear the US-led Coalition is significantly underestimating the harm caused to civilians in its operations in Syria,” said Lynn Maalouf Deputy Director for Research at Amnesty International’s Beirut regional office.

    October 19, 2016

    We, the undersigned organisations, recognise that the Turkish government has the right and responsibility to investigate the violent events of the July 2016 coup attempt and to bring all those responsible to justice.  We also recognise that the immediate aftermath of the attempted coup is the type of exceptional circumstance in which a government could legitimately invoke a state of emergency but still has to comply with their human rights obligations. 

    We are however increasingly concerned that the far-reaching, almost unlimited discretionary powers exercised by the Turkish authorities during the first three months of the state of emergency – now extended for a further three months - endanger the general principles of rule of law and human rights safeguards.

    We call on the Government of Turkey to revoke the measures under the state of emergency, the application of which, in practice is incompatible with Turkey’s human rights obligations.

    October 10, 2016

    Hold Security Forces, Attackers on All Sides to Account for October 2015 Abuses

    (Dakar, October 10, 2016) – Authorities in Guinea should take concrete and immediate steps to ensure justice for the victims and the families of those who were shot, raped, or beaten to death during the 2015 presidential election period, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said today in a joint letter to President Alpha Condé.

    Guinea’s authorities should ensure that members of the security forces and mobs linked to both the ruling party and opposition groups are held accountable for the killing of 12 people, several rapes, and the looting of several markets in Conakry, the capital, during the election period. To date, no one has been brought to justice in relation to these crimes.

    October 05, 2016

    Fresh protests in Ethiopia since dozens of protesters were killed in a stampede at a religious festival on 2 October underline the need for the Ethiopian government to ensure a full investigation into how the protest was handled, said Amnesty International today.

    Protests have broken out in the capital Addis Ababa, as well as in the Oromia and Amhara regions, since the deadly stampede at a large-scale traditional ceremony in the town of Bishoftu on Sunday. Protest groups blame the tragedy on security agents firing live bullets and tear gas into the massive crowd assembled in a confined space, a charge the government has denied.

    “We have documented multiple complaints of police using excessive force, including lethal force, against largely peaceful protesters since demonstrations began in the Oromia region in November last year,” said Michelle Kagari, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    September 30, 2016

    Responding to Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s latest outburst, where he likened himself to Hitler and vowed to “slaughter” three million people, Josef Benedict, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said:

    “With this latest outburst, President Duterte has sunk to new depths. Governments - both in the region and around the world – should speak out immediately and condemn these outrageous statements. The words President Duterte used are not just extremely distasteful, they are extremely dangerous. They serve no discernible purpose other than to put more lives at risk.

    “Since coming to power, there has been a surge of state-sanctioned violence and unlawful killings across the Philippines. Instead of stopping and condemning these human rights violations, and ensuring those responsible are held to account, he has vowed to escalate them. Mass killing under President Duterte must end.”

    ++++++++++++++++++++

    September 23, 2016

    As the trial begins today of Ahmed H., a Syrian man charged with committing an “act of terror” during clashes with Hungarian border guards on the Serb-Hungarian border last year, an Amnesty International team is in court and available for interviews. Amnesty International’s Balkans researcher, Todor Gordos said today:

    “The use of anti-terror powers to target an asylum seeker involved in clashes on the border is an absurd and chilling demonstration of Hungary’s sledgehammer response to the refugee crisis.”

    “I witnessed the alleged “mass attack” by migrants at the Roszke border and what we documented were chaotic and desperate scenes, sporadic acts of violence and the excessive use of force by police and border guards.”

    ·         Spokespeople on the ground and available for interview

    *************

    For media inquiries, please contact Jacob Kuehn // 613-744-7667, ext 236 // email: jkuehn@amnesty.ca 

    September 22, 2016
    (Nairobi, September 22, 2016) – Sudanese authorities have yet to provide justice to victims of a violent crackdown on anti-austerity protesters in Khartoum in September 2013, the African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS), Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said today.   “Although it seems like Sudan has succeeded in sweeping the horrific violence of September 2013 under the carpet, victims’ families still demand justice,” said Mosaad Mohamed Ali, Executive director at ACJPS “The UN Human Rights Council, currently holding a session on Sudan, should press Sudan to hold those responsible to account for the appalling bloodshed on the streets of Khartoum and other towns, and provide meaningful justice to victims of killings, assaults and other abuses.”   Sudanese authorities responded with a violent crackdown to large-scale protests that swept the country following the announcement of austerity measures on September 22, 2013, with security forces and armed men allied to them using live ammunition, tear gas and batons.  
    September 21, 2016

    Responding to news that the government of Turkey has postponed the visit of Juan E. Méndez, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Director for Europe said:

    “The postponement this visit is a setback for those concerned about human rights in Turkey. Following the failed coup, credible evidence emerged that detainees were being subjected to beatings and torture in official and unofficial detention centres. There have also been allegations of severe overcrowding and poor conditions in many places of detention across the country.”

    “Whilst official statements that Turkey has a policy of zero tolerance policy toward torture are welcome, these need to be backed up with greater transparency. Despite pledges by the Turkish authorities to allow independent international monitors to visit all detainees in the places they are being held, so far only one body - the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) - has been granted such access.”

    Pages

    Subscribe to Human Rights