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Human Rights

    July 16, 2016

    Following yesterday's attempted coup by elements of the Turkish armed forces, Amnesty International's Director for Europe John Dalhuisen said:

      "Upholding human rights and the rule of law is the job of elected governments. The coup plotters in Turkey forgot this; it is crucial that President Erdogan and the authorities do not.   "Investigations and accountability should now begin, but this is no time for further rights regression in Turkey. Fair trials must be ensured and there must be no return to the death penalty in the country, which would deliver justice for no-one."
    July 15, 2016

    In response to the Ugandan police beating hundreds of supporters of the opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party in the capital Kampala, Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes, said:

    “Amnesty International is appalled by the deliberate and senseless beating of unarmed opposition supporters, the latest episode in the now all too familiar and systematic pattern of police brutality in Uganda. The beating of people gathering peacefully is cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment under international law, which Uganda must respect. In severe cases it may even amount to torture.”

    “The relevant authorities must immediately order an independent, impartial, efficient and transparent investigation into these incidents. Where sufficient, admissible evidence points to responsibility of individuals, including command responsibility, such persons must be prosecuted in fair trials.”

    The Inspector General of Police, Kale Kayihura, was quoted in the Ugandan press today as saying the beatings were justified “because when you are beaten, you don’t die.”

    July 14, 2016

    Citing concerns about human rights violations at protests in the U.S. over the last couple of years, Amnesty International will deploy teams of human rights observers to both the Republic National Convention in Cleveland, OH, and the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, PA, to monitor any protests and law enforcement response.

    Amnesty International has a long history and depth of expertise monitoring protests and investigating police conduct. Since the organization’s founding 55 years ago, it has deployed researchers and independent human rights observers to a range of situations, including the Gezi Park protests in Turkey and in Egypt for  the Arab Spring protests. In the United States, AIUSA has recently monitored protests both in Ferguson, MO, and Baltimore, MD, in the wake of police killings – documenting multiple violations of the human rights of protestors, journalists, and others. After additional killings by police in the U.S. in recent weeks, protesters and journalists have reported a range of human rights violations.

    July 14, 2016

    A decision by El Salvador’s Supreme Court to declare the country’s Amnesty Law unconstitutional is a historic and long awaited step forward for justice, Amnesty International said.

    “Today is an historic day for human rights in El Salvador. By turning its back on a law that has done nothing but let criminals get away with serious human rights violations for decades, the country is finally dealing with its tragic past,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    “El Salvador must waste no time and bring all those suspected of criminal responsibility for the tens of thousands of unlawful killings and enforced disappearances that were committed during the internal armed conflict to justice. Victims should not be made to wait for justice, truth and reparation for a second longer.”

    According to a UN Truth Commission, more than 75,000 people were tortured, unlawfully killed and forcibly disappeared during the internal armed conflict in El Salvador between 1980 and 1992.

    The Salvadorian army was responsible for a number of massacres in villages accused of supporting guerrilla groups.

    July 14, 2016

    South Sudanese security forces are deliberately blocking people from leaving the country in violation of their right to freedom of movement, Amnesty International can reveal.

    The organisation has received reports from two charter companies that National Security Service officers have ordered them not to carry South Sudanese nationals, particularly men. It has also been told by an NGO that one of its South Sudanese staff was prevented from boarding a flight to Entebbe, Uganda.

    “This arbitrary conduct by the South Sudanese security forces is totally unacceptable. South Sudan must respect people’s right to freedom of movement, including the right to leave their own country,” said Elizabeth Deng, Amnesty International’s South Sudan Researcher.

    “It is absolutely critical that both parties to the conflict do not obstruct safe passage of civilians fleeing to places of refuge both inside and outside of the country.”

    Thousands of South Sudanese people have reportedly gathered at the country’s southern border seeking to enter into Uganda, but they are also being prevented from crossing over.

    July 12, 2016

    As a renewal of violence in South Sudan threatens to plunge the country back into full-scale civil war, Amnesty International has published a list of seven recommendations for the African Union, ahead of the 27th AU Summit in Kigali, Rwanda.

    From rhetoric to action lays out concrete steps leaders should take to guide the continent towards a culture that respects human rights, including in countries in the region that continue to be rocked by armed conflict.

    “The latest horrific bloodshed in South Sudan demonstrates the urgent need for African leaders gathering in Kigali to take steps not only to resolve such conflicts but also to tackle their root causes,” said Netsanet Belay, Africa Director, Research and Advocacy, Amnesty International.

    July 11, 2016

    Authorities in Jammu and Kashmir must ensure that people injured in shootings by security forces have access to medical assistance, and medical professionals can carry out their work without interference, Amnesty International India said today.

    Security forces must use live ammunition only as a last resort to protect against a threat to life, and not use pellet-firing shotguns against protestors.

    At least 23 people, including two children, have been killed in firing by security forces during demonstrations following the killing of a leader of the Hizbul Mujahideen, a banned armed group, on Friday. Over 200 have been injured.  A policeman was killed after his vehicle was pushed into a river by a mob in Anantnag district. The state police have reported attacks on police stations and other public property, and looting of weapons. It said that scores of policemen have been injured.

    Local newspapers have reported that injured people had been assaulted while on their way to or while being treated at hospitals.

    July 08, 2016

    By Anna Neistat, Senior Director for Research at Amnesty's International Secretariat

    NATO leaders meet for their summit in Warsaw Friday buffeted by crises and conflicts on all sides. Many of them could have been averted. Much of today’s global instability stems from the failure to adequately respond to human rights violations, especially if other political or economic interests are at stake.

    From the global refugee crisis to conflicts across the world, much of today’s global instability stems from world leaders’ failure to adequately respond to human rights violations, especially if other political or economic interests are at stake. Instead, when a crisis breaks out, the bodies start piling up, and refugees flee in thousands, leaders say they didn’t know and start yet another discussion about the necessity of new, more advanced early warning systems.

    July 07, 2016

    “Once again another horrifying video has emerged that begs for answers, and once again we are calling for a thorough, impartial and independent investigation,” said Jamira Burley, campaign manager with Amnesty International USA. “The laws that govern when police can use lethal force in need to be reformed and they need to be reformed now. International law is clear that lethal force must only be used as a last resort against an imminent threat of death or serious injury. Philando Castile should not have had to fear for his life during a traffic stop. How many more wrenching videos do we need to see before there is real change?”  

    Amnesty International United States released a report last year finding that all 50 states fail to meet international standards for the use of lethal force. More on AIUSA’s work on this issue can be found here: ‪http://www.amnestyusa.org/our-work/campaigns/lethal-force

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    July 06, 2016

    In response to today’s publication of the Iraq Inquiry, Sir John Chilcot’s much-awaited report on the UK’s involvement in the 2003 Iraq war, Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International said:

    “In the lead-up to the invasion, Amnesty International urged that the potentially grave consequences of military action be carefully assessed. And on the eve of the US-led invasion we urged full respect for international human rights law and international humanitarian law.

    “Tragically, our fears about the safety of the civilian population were well-founded. Thousands of civilians were killed and injured, including in unlawful attacks; millions of people were forced from their homes; and the whole country was thrown into chaos as the occupation forces failed to fulfil their obligation to maintain security.

    July 05, 2016

    Amnesty International is launching a new app to document the use of firearms in Rio de Janeiro before the 2016 Olympic Games.

    Cross-fire will allow people living across Rio de Janeiro to report incidents of gun violence, which have been increasing over the last few years.

    “Brazil has one of the highest levels of homicides across the world, with around 42,000 people killed with guns every year. Those living in the most marginalized areas of the city are disproportionally affected by this crisis,” said Atila Roque, Brazil Director at Amnesty International.

    “The application is a tool to give more visibility to the tragic reality thousands of people across Rio de Janeiro have to live with every day and a way to urge the authorities to take some real steps to tackle this crisis.”

    July 05, 2016

    By Rebeca Lerer, Campaigner at Amnesty International Brazil

    Several promises and thousands of nice words fill the three volumes of the candidacy dossier for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Since 2009, when the country won the Olympic bidding process, Brazilians have been living with high expectations for hosting the world’s largest mega-event.

    July 04, 2016
    By Tawanda Mutasah, Senior Director International Law and Policy at Amnesty International

    Ten years since it was first created the UN Human Rights Council is facing a stark moment of truth.  The credibility of the world’s top human rights body, which was set up to ensure that it is able to effectively address human rights violations without being undermined by geopolitics and competing national interests, is being called into question because of the abysmal track record of one of its members – Saudi Arabia - and the failure of other members to call it to account.

    Since it joined the UN Human Rights Council in January 2014 Saudi Arabia has carried out gross and systematic human rights violations both at home and in neighbouring Yemen.  

    It has consistently ranked as one of the world’s top executioners, has presided over a ruthless crackdown against peaceful dissent and human rights activism in Saudi Arabia and most recently lead a military coalition which stands accused of carrying out war crimes in Yemen.

    July 01, 2016

    A shocking increase of 135% in the number of people killed by police officers in the city of Rio de Janeiro in the run up to the Olympics lays bare the security services’ chilling disregard to the right of life, said Amnesty International today.

    According to the Instituto de Segurança Pública (ISP), in the city of Rio de Janeiro alone, 40 people were killed by police officers on duty in the month of May: an increase of 135% compared to 17 during the same period in 2015. Across the State as a whole, the numbers rose from 44 to 84, an increase of 90%.

    "The soaring death count ahead of this major sporting event represents an epic failure on the part of the authorities to protect the most fundamental human right–the right to life,” said Atila Roque, Executive Director of Amnesty International's national office in Brazil.

    “It is completely unacceptable that these numbers are increasing despite all the warnings and complaints of Rio inhabitants of the excessive use of force by police. The authorities must act immediately to rein in the worst excesses of the security forces, stem the cycle of violence, and ensure the right to life is assured.”

    June 29, 2016

    Saudi Arabia has committed “gross and systematic violations of human rights” abroad and at home, and used its position on the UN Human Rights Council to effectively obstruct justice for possible war crimes, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said in a joint statement today, making a resounding call for the UN General Assembly to suspend the country’s membership of the world’s top human rights body.

    The groups are calling for Saudi Arabia to be stripped of its rights of membership in the Human Rights Council until it ends unlawful attacks by the military coalition it leads in Yemen and these are credibly and impartially investigated.

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