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    October 10, 2017

    Amnesty International has unveiled the first ever, monumental ‘Aubusson’ tapestry designed by Colombian artist and sculptor Fernando Botero at Bogota’s international airport.

    The twenty square metre tapestry, ‘The Musicians’, woven over the past several months by artisan weavers at Ateliers Pinton, in France, was commissioned by Art for Amnesty on behalf of Amnesty International to promote the human rights of millions across Colombia.

    “I’m very honoured that Amnesty International selected me for this present to Colombia. This tapestry will show all visitors to Colombia how important art and culture are here,” said Fernando Botero.

    “Colombia is going through one of the most hopeful and challenging moments in its recent history. After the signing of the peace agreement between the government and the former Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia nearly a year ago, all eyes are on the authorities to ensure justice prevails for the millions of victims of the country’s five decade long war,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    October 10, 2017

    ‘The new criminal proceedings against Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe are as baseless as the original ones’ - Kerry Moscogiuri

    Responding to news from Richard Ratcliffe that his wife Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe - a British-Iranian charity worker who has been unjustly jailed in Iran for the past year-and-a-half - may be facing additional criminal charges and a further prison sentence, Amnesty International UK’s Campaigns Director, Kerry Moscogiuri, said:

    “Coming against a backdrop of last year’s blatantly unfair trial and sentence, this is very depressing news and a really worrying development.

    “The new criminal proceedings against Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe are as baseless as the original ones, and once again criminalise this charity worker’s peaceful exercise of her rights to freedom of expression and association through her work with Reuters and the BBC.

    “The Iranian authorities have a track record of bringing fresh criminal charges against prisoners of conscience who they wish to keep in jail.

    October 09, 2017
    Reacting to the news that a boat has capsized in the Naf river separating Bangladesh and Myanmar today, killing at least 12 people including children, James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Director of Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said:   “Today’s drowning and tragic loss of life is yet more evidence of the desperate situation still prevailing in Rakhine state. While the Myanmar military has engaged in a campaign of violence, there is mounting evidence that Rohingya women, men and children are now also fleeing the very real threat of starvation.   “The Myanmar authorities are actively blocking aid groups from reaching affected areas in northern Rakhine State, where people are on the brink of survival. These restrictions show a callous disregard for human life and must end immediately.”

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    Media contact: Jacob Kuehn, Media Relations at (613) 744-7667 ext 236 or jkuehn@amnesty.ca 

    October 09, 2017
    ·         Taner Kiliç added to indictment of Istanbul 10 ·         Charges against the 10 increased to include “membership of a terrorist organisation”   Responding to news that a prosecutor has filed an indictment calling for jail terms of up to 16 years on terror charges for 11 human rights activists including İdil Eser and Taner Kiliç, the director and chair of Amnesty International Turkey, John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Europe Director said: “This outrageous indictment contains no new evidence but instead repeats absurd allegations against some of Turkey’s most prominent human rights defenders. “These brave activists have languished in jail for months on end for no reason other than their belief in human rights. For them to have spent even day behind bars is a gross injustice.
    October 06, 2017

    By Béatrice Fihn, Martin Butcher and Rasha Abdul Rahim (@Rasha_Abdul)

    October 06, 2017

    The Cambodian authorities’ attempts to shut down the main opposition party ahead of next year’s general election is the latest move in a relentless effort to crush all forms of dissent, however peaceful, Amnesty International said today.

    The Interior Ministry today filed a complaint with the Supreme Court asking for the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) to be dissolved ahead of the elections scheduled for July 2018.

    “Prime Minister Hun Sen and his government seem intent on turning Cambodia into a criticism-free state by any means necessary. The attempts to disband the opposition party ahead of next year’s crucial vote is a blatant power grab and another escalation in the authorities’ crackdown on all forms of dissent,” said James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

    “The international community cannot stand idly by and simply watch as the human rights situation backslides rapidly in Cambodia. Key countries must immediately push the Cambodian government to end the sweeping restrictions on opposition figures’ and human rights defenders’ rights to liberty and to freedom of expression.”

    October 06, 2017

    The international community has caved in to political pressure again, underplaying the suffering of hundreds of Yemeni children, by watering down criticism of the Saudi Arabia-led coalition’s grave violations of international law in the UN Secretary General’s annual Children and armed conflict report (CAAC), said Amnesty International.

    “Every time the United Nations makes concessions that allow perpetrators of crimes under international law to evade criticism or justice, it emboldens others to commit violations that cause immense misery to people around the world,” said Sherine Tadros, Head of UN office in New York for Amnesty International.

    “While we welcome the overdue listing of the Saudi Arabia-led coalition in the CAAC report, it is a shame that the UN caved in to pressure and included it in a new category specifically designed to limit condemnation of the coalition.”

    As a result of diplomatic pressure from Saudi Arabia, the report - which covers the year 2016 - contains a new category that acknowledges the efforts of the coalition to “put in place measures during the reporting period to improve the protection of children”.

    October 05, 2017

    By Tirana Hassan, Crisis Response Director at Amnesty International.

    In her five young years, Buthaina has witnessed the type of violence and brutality that powerful people and governments often want to keep hidden.

    Pulled from the rubble of her family home in Yemen’s capital Sana’a, viral images show her sitting up in a hospital bed, clutching a teddy bear. Badly bruised, she struggles to pry open a swollen eye with her fingers, to look out on a world that has dealt her such cruelty. “She had five siblings to play with. Now she has none,”her uncle Ali al-Raymi told Amnesty International.

    October 02, 2017

    Amnesty International can confirm that at least 17 people have been killed by the security forces following yesterday’s protests in several towns of the Anglophone regions in Cameroon. Ilaria Allegrozzi, Amnesty International’s Lake Chad researcher said:

    “The worrying escalation witnessed over the weekend has now reached a crisis point. The use of excessive force to silence protests in the West and South-West regions of Cameroon is not the solution.

    “All deaths related to these protests must be promptly and effectively investigated.”

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    Media contact: Jacob Kuehn, Media Relations at (613) 744-7667 ext 236 or jkuehn@amnesty.ca 

    October 02, 2017

    The Egyptian authorities have arrested 22 people over the past three days alone, stepping up a campaign of persecution against LGBTI people in the country which began after a rainbow flag was displayed at a Mashrou’ Leila concert in Cairo provoking a public outcry, Amnesty International said today.

    The arrests bring the total number of people who have been detained based on their perceived sexual orientation to 33 - 32 men and one woman - since the Public Prosecutor announced an investigation into the rainbow flag “incident” on 25 September. The Forensic Medical Authority has carried out anal examinations on at least five of those arrested.

    “In a matter of days the Egyptian security forces have rounded up dozens of people and carried out five anal examinations signalling a sharp escalation in the authorities’ efforts to persecute and intimidate members of the LGBTI community following the rainbow flag incident,” said Najia Bounaim, North Africa Campaigns Director at Amnesty International.

    “Forced anal examinations are tantamount to torture – there is no scientific basis for such tests and they cannot be justified under any circumstances.

    October 02, 2017

    NEW YORK – Following a mass shooting last night in Las Vegas, Margaret Huang, Amnesty International USA executive director, released the following statement:

    “Last night’s shooting in Las Vegas demonstrated an utter contempt for human life, and our thoughts are with the victims of these attacks and the city of Las Vegas. But thoughts must be backed up with actions to protect people from this kind of violence. No one’s life should be threatened just by walking down the street, going to school or attending a concert.

    “The U.S. government must uphold its obligations under international law and address gun violence as the human rights crisis that it is. It is critical to reform the current patchwork of federal, state and local laws to ensure everyone’s safety and security.”

    As a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the U.S. government is obligated to protect people from gun violence.

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    October 02, 2017

    Responding to clashes between police and protesters around today's Catalan referendum, John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International Europe and Central Asia Director said:

    "Spanish police have clearly been obstructed in the exercise of their duties at numerous polling stations today, but there is plenty of footage to suggest that police officers have used excessive and disproportionate force at at least some of them. With tensions running high, it is essential that both Spanish law and international human rights law is respected.

    “Spanish police must avoid the excessive use of force; and whenever the lawful use of force is unavoidable, they must use it with restraint and in proportion to the seriousness of the law enforcement objective.”

    A delegation of Amnesty International researchers has been deployed in Catalonia throughout the day to monitor the respect for human rights. The organisation will publish more detailed findings tomorrow.

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    For more information please contact: Jacob Kuehn, Media Relations 613-744-7667 ext 236 or jkueyn@amnesty.ca

    September 29, 2017

    By Audrey Gaughran, Amnesty International’s Director of Global Issues.

    *This article was originally published in The Diplomat. 

    For the past month, the world has watched in horror as Myanmar’s army has carried out a brutal campaign of ethnic cleansing against members of the Rohingya minority in the west of the country. Almost 500,000 women, men and children have already crossed the border into Bangladesh, leaving behind dead family members, burned villages and a shattered homeland.

    While the international community has rightly focused on the horrors precipitating the mass exodus of Rohingya from Myanmar, Myanmar’s neighbors remain woefully unprepared to handle the spillover effects of the crisis.

    September 28, 2017

    The Egyptian authorities must drop all charges against Alaa Abdel Fattah, a blogger and human rights activist who rose to prominence during the 2011 uprising, and at least 23 other defendants, who could face up to four years in prison simply for criticizing the country’s flawed justice system, said Amnesty International.

    A Cairo criminal court is due to hand down its verdict in the case against a total of 25 defendants, on Saturday 30 September. At least 24 of the defendants including Alaa Abdel Fattah, Egyptian politician Amr Hamzawy, and former Member of Parliament Essam Sultan, have been charged with defamation for their legitimate criticism of the Egyptian judiciary as biased and a puppet in the hands of the state.

    “This trial is an attempt to silence criticism of a judiciary that has itself become a source of human rights violations. ‘Insulting’ public institutions or officials is not a criminal offence under international law, and no one should stand trial - let alone face imprisonment - for peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression,” said Najia Bounaim, North Africa Campaigns Director at Amnesty International.

    September 27, 2017

    Today’s conviction of Ilmi Umerov, a prominent critic of the Russian occupation and leader of the Crimean Tatar people, is the latest encroachment on fundamental rights and freedoms on the peninsula, and must be immediately quashed, said Amnesty International. Ilmi Umerov was sentenced by a de facto court in Crimea this morning to two years in a penal colony.

    Last week, the same court handed Ukrainian journalist Mykola Semena a two and a half year suspended prison sentence. Both men stood accused of threatening territorial integrity of the Russian Federation on account of their public opposition to the Russian occupation and annexation of Crimea.

    “The sentencing of Ilmi Umerov, who is 60 and has Parkinson’s disease, marks yet another stage in the de facto government’s lengthy persecution of him. His imprisonment follows a series of politically-motivated trials, arbitrary arrests and intimidation against critics of Russian authorities in Crimea. It is a clear violation of freedom of expression,” said Oksana Pokalchuk, Director of Amnesty International Ukraine.

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