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Human Rights

    September 25, 2017

    NEW YORK – Following a revision of President Trump’s travel ban to now include restrictions on travelers from Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen, Naureen Shah, senior campaigns director for Amnesty International USA, released the following statement:

    “Since this ban was implemented 10 months ago, we’ve seen families torn apart and whole nations of people demonized for the crimes of a few. The order was a catastrophe not just for those seeking safety but for those who simply want to travel, work, or study in the United States. Today’s action neither relieves this tension nor keeps anyone safe.

    “Just because the original ban was especially outrageous does not mean we should stand for yet another version of government-sanctioned discrimination. It is senseless and cruel to ban whole nationalities of people who are often fleeing the very same violence that the U.S. government wishes to keep out. This must not be normalized.”

    September 25, 2017

    Research released by Amnesty International today reveals how a shell company in the heart of London’s West End acted as an intermediary in huge prospective arms deals to war-torn South Sudan and other countries, thanks to regulatory gaps which are making the UK a hotspot for companies involved in illicit arms transfers.

    Commercial documents name S-Profit Ltd, a tiny UK-registered company, as the ‘supplier’ in a 2014 deal to provide at least US$46m worth of small arms, light weapons and ammunition to the South Sudanese government. The report, From London to Juba: a UK-registered company’s role in one of the largest arms deals to South Sudan, also reveals that the UK government has been aware of similar practices taking place on British soil for more than eight years, without taking effective regulatory action.

    September 22, 2017

    Myanmar: Video and satellite evidence show new fires still torching Rohingya villages

    Amnesty International has assessed three new videos taken inside Rakhine State as recently as Friday afternoon showing large plumes of smoke rising from Rohingya villages, one of which was already deserted, as well as satellite imagery with smoke visible over burnt-out structures.

    Local sources in northern Rakhine State claim the fires were started by members of the Myanmar security forces and local vigilante mobs.

    September 22, 2017

    Amnesty International has serious fair trial concerns in the case of opposition MP, Faris Maumoon, who faces a hearing on Monday on charges stemming from his attempt to move a vote of no-confidence in the Speaker of Parliament.

    Faris Maumoon was arrested by the Maldivian authorities on 18 July 2017, amid charges that he attempted to bribe parliamentarians into supporting a vote of no-confidence against Abdullah Maseeh, the Speaker of Parliament and a key ally of Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen. Maumoon’s home was raided and property taken, including documents, over the course of four hours.

    “The Maldives has long denied members of the political opposition a fair trial. There have been convictions on trumped-up charges, for all sorts of alleged offences from trespassing to terrorism. There are serious concerns that Faris Maumoon will suffer the same fate. He must be given a fair trial in line with international standards,” said Biraj Patnaik, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director.

    September 22, 2017

    21 September 2017, Ottawa – On July 28, 2017, the French investigative judge issued a notice about the end of investigations in Dr. Hassan Diab’s case, the Canadian citizen and sociology professor who was extradited to France in November 2014. However, the decision has been delayed as the prosecutor is yet to submit written arguments.



    September 21, 2017

    The bomb that destroyed a residential building in Yemen's capital last month, killing 16 civilians and injuring 17 more - including five-year-old Buthaina whose photograph went viral in the aftermath of the strike - was made in the USA, Amnesty International reveals today.

    Amnesty International’s arms expert analysed remnants of the weapon found it bore clear markings that matched US-made components commonly used in laser-guided air-dropped bombs.

    The 25 August air strike hit a cluster of houses in Sana’a, severely damaging three of them, and killing seven children including all five of Buthaina’s brothers and sisters. Eight other children were injured, amongst them was two-year-old Sam Bassim al-Hamdani, who lost both his parents.

    “We can now conclusively say that the bomb that killed Buthaina’s parents and siblings, and other civilians, was made in the USA,” said Lynn Maalouf, Research director for the Middle East at Amnesty International.

    September 21, 2017

    The Ugandan authorities must end their absurd attempts to silence people opposed to scrapping the presidential age limit, said Amnesty International today, as a motion on the controversial proposal was brought to parliament.

    Earlier today the mayor of the country’s capital, Kampala, was arrested by the police and bundled into a pick-up truck outside his home on suspicion that he was headed to a protest against the proposed change.

    Some opposition MPs were blocked from accessing parliament to participate in the debate, which has now been postponed. Demonstrations against the change were also banned.

    “It is ironic and absurd that as the bill is tabled in parliament, the government is blocking citizens from debating the issue,” said Michelle Kagari, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    “All Ugandans must be allowed to freely express their views for or against issues of national importance to them. The actions the government is taking in this case amount to criminalizing dissent and contravene both Ugandan and international law.”

    September 21, 2017

    The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution passed today aimed at holding the armed group calling itself Islamic State (IS) accountable for war crimes and human rights abuses in Iraq falls short of what is needed to stamp out a dangerous culture of impunity and could fuel further abuses, said Amnesty International.

    The unanimously adopted resolution, tabled by the United Kingdom, establishes an "Investigative Team" of experts to support the Iraqi government in collecting, preserving and analyzing evidence of serious crimes. However, the resolution crucially fails to include any provisions to ensure accountability for crimes committed by Iraqi forces and others responsible for grave violations of international law, including war crimes, during the conflict.

    “Initiatives that can help ensure justice for victims of atrocities by IS members in Iraq are of course welcome news. But, this flawed resolution sends a dangerous message to all the other parties to the conflict who have also committed serious violations and crimes that they are above justice,” said Sherine Tadros, Head of the UN Office in New York for Amnesty International.

    September 19, 2017

    September 19, 2017 — Today, 40 organizations and individuals from across Canadian civil society issued a joint letter to government that lays out overarching concerns with Bill C-59, An Act respecting national security matters. Bill C-59 makes some meaningful and necessary improvements to Canada’s national security regime, but it fails to reverse the legacy of its unpopular predecessor, Bill C-51, and introduces serious new problems. It specifically falls short in mitigating the discriminatory impact national security activities continue to have on vulnerable minorities, which has in the past included conduct that contributed to the torture of Canadians. 

    The signatories all share the concern that — despite the message clearly delivered by Canadians during the federal government’s extensive public consultation on national security — the rights and freedoms guaranteed in the Charter are still not where they belong, at the core of Canada’s national security framework.

    September 19, 2017

    Reacting to today’s speech by Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s State Counsellor and de facto leader, on the crisis in Rakhine State, James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said:

    “Aung San Suu Kyi today demonstrated that she and her government are still burying their heads in the sand over the horrors unfolding in Rakhine State. At times, her speech amounted to little more than a mix of untruths and victim blaming.

    “There is overwhelming evidence that security forces are engaged in a campaign of ethnic cleansing. While it was positive to hear Aung San Suu Kyi condemn human rights violations in Rakhine state, she is still silent about the role of the security forces in this.

    September 18, 2017

    By Olof Blomqvist, Amnesty International

    The stories I heard from Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar, the south-eastern tip of Bangladesh, are haunting. Almost 400,000 people have fled across the border from Myanmar in less than three weeks, and many of them tell you they have seen their family members shot dead or their villages burned to the ground by Myanmar security forces just days before. There is no question that ethnic cleansing is unfolding across the border.

    But amid the tales of horror, there is also incredible humanity on display.

    September 14, 2017
    More than 80 sites set ablaze in orchestrated campaign since 25 August More than 370,000 Rohingya fled across border in less than three weeks Testimonies show attacks were planned, deliberate and systematic

     

    Amnesty International can reveal new evidence pointing to a mass-scale scorched-earth campaign across northern Rakhine State, where Myanmar security forces and vigilante mobs are burning down entire Rohingya villages and shooting people at random as they try to flee.

    The organization’s analysis of active fire-detection data, satellite imagery, photographs and videos from the ground, as well as interviews with dozens of eyewitnesses in Myanmar and across the border in Bangladesh, shows how an orchestrated campaign of systematic burnings has targeted Rohingya villages across northern Rakhine State for almost three weeks.

    September 13, 2017

    The Peruvian government is neglecting the health of hundreds of Indigenous people whose only sources of water are contaminated by toxic metals and who lack access to adequate health care, Amnesty International said in a new investigation published today.

    A Toxic State reveals how the Peruvian government has failed to provide adequate healthcare for Indigenous communities in Cuninico and Espinar, in the country’s Amazonian and Andean regions, respectively. Studies found that their only sources of fresh water were contaminated with toxic metals harmful to human health.

    “For decades, Indigenous Peoples across Peru have been treated like second class citizens,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General at Amnesty International.

    “The fact that the Peruvian authorities choose to do very little in the face of evidence that hundreds of Indigenous people have been exposed to toxic metals is not only cruel, but a violation of their right to health.”

    September 12, 2017

    A quarter of a century after the start of the conflict, more than 20,000, survivors of wartime sexual violence in Bosnia and Herzegovina are still being denied justice, said Amnesty International in a new report.

    “We need support, not pity:” Last chance for justice for Bosnia’s wartime rape survivors reveals the devastating physical and psychological consequences of these crimes and the unjustifiable barriers preventing women from accessing the support they need and the legal redress to which they are entitled.

    “More than two decades after the war, tens of thousands of women in Bosnia are still piecing together their shattered lives with little access to the medical, psychological and financial assistance they desperately need,” said Gauri van Gulik, Amnesty International’s Deputy Europe Director.

    “As each year passes, so does the prospect of ever attaining justice or receiving the support to which they are entitled. These women can not forget what happened to them and neither should we.”

    September 12, 2017

    A young Saudi Arabian Shi’a man who claims he was tortured to “confess” alleged crimes committed when he was 16 years old faces imminent execution, in the latest shocking example of Saudi Arabia’s ruthless clampdown on dissent, said Amnesty International today.

    The family of Abdulkareem al-Hawaj, now 21, were yesterday informed that the Supreme Court upheld his death sentence for his alleged role in anti-government protests. He has now exhausted all his appeals and faces execution as soon as King Salman ratifies his sentence, which could happen at any time.

    Al-Hawaj, who was sentenced to death in July 2016 after a grossly unfair trial, denies participating in any of the acts attributed to him.

    “Saudi Arabia’s vicious crackdown on dissent appears to know no bounds. Its latest victim, a child at the time of his alleged crimes, now faces death at the hands of a repressive regime that uses the death penalty as a tool to crush dissent,” said Lynn Maalouf, Middle East Research Director at Amnesty International.

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