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Human Rights

    July 24, 2017
      The Philippine government must ensure that human rights are protected during its campaign against militants in Mindanao, as martial law remains in place, Amnesty International said today.   President Rodrigo Duterte today extended martial law in the southern island of Mindanao first imposed on 23 May 2016, for a further six months, to 31 December 2017. Since 23 May, Philippines armed forces have battled against the Maute group, which has pledged allegiance to the armed group calling itself the Islamic State, in Marawi City, the capital of Lanao Del Sur province in northern Mindanao. The extension followed a vote by lawmakers at a special joint session in Congress.   “Ongoing martial law in Mindanao must not mean that human rights take a back seat at a time when people need crucial protections more than ever. The Philippines armed forces must show the utmost restraint to ensure that civilians are safeguarded during operations in Marawi” said James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Director of Southeast Asia and the Pacific.  
    July 19, 2017
      Following the news that the European Union has threatened to trigger Article 7 against Poland if currently tabled judicial reforms are passed into law, Iverna McGowan Director of Amnesty International’s European Institutions Office said:   “Triggering Article 7 would be an unprecedented move, and the strong message sent by the EU today that it is close to making that step is a welcome demonstration of the seriousness with which it’s taking the assault on judicial independence in Poland.   “The Law and Justice Party’s ongoing efforts to dismantle Poland’s system of checks and balances is at a critical phase. The prosecution service and the Constitutional Tribunal of the country’s justice system is already under the political control of the government. Successful passage of these current reforms would amount to a wholesale political takeover of the judiciary. The consequences of this for the future integrity of Polish justice are far reaching and deeply concerning.’’  
    July 07, 2017
    Two decades of attacks on the political opposition, independent media and human rights defenders have created a climate of fear in Rwanda ahead of next month’s election, Amnesty International warned in a new report today. The organization is urging the government to prevent harassment of opposition candidates and their supporters ahead of the August poll, but also to initiate far-reaching reforms that will open up political space before the 2024 elections, allowing genuine debate and diverse opinions to be freely expressed. “Since the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front took power 23 years ago, Rwandans have faced huge, and often deadly, obstacles to participating in public life and voicing criticism of government policy. The climate in which the upcoming elections take place is the culmination of years of repression,” said Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International's Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.
    June 15, 2017

    Ahead of the appeal against a 10-year sentence handed down to a Syrian man for committing an “act of terror” during clashes with Hungarian border guards at a Serbia-Hungary border, an Amnesty International team is in court and available for interviews.

    The man, a permanent resident of Cyprus who can only be identified as Ahmed H., was convicted in November. Ahmed admitted to throwing three objects at the Hungarian police during the clashes.

    “The conviction of Ahmed H was a blatant misuse of terrorism provisions against a man who was helping his family flee Syria,” said Todor Gardos, Amnesty International’s Hungary researcher.

    “This absurd verdict reflects the febrile atmosphere in Hungary where anti-terror powers have been ramped up amid a crackdown on the rights of migrants. Ahmed’s actions cannot credibly constitute an act of terrorism and his conviction should bequashed.”

    Follow Amnesty International’s researchers@todorgardos and @demeteraaronfor updates.

    June 12, 2017

    Following the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit’sruling against President Trump’s discriminatory Muslim ban, Margaret Huang, Amnesty International USA’s executive director, released the following statement:

    “It’s always been crystal clear that this policy is discriminatory and cruel at its core. Rather than keeping anyone safe, this ban demonizes millions of innocent people and creates anxiety and instability for people who want to visit a relative, work, study, return to the country they call home, or just travel without fear. The Trump Administration must drop all defenses of this bigoted ban. If they won’t drop their appeals, Congress must step in and nullify this order once and for all.”



     

    June 12, 2017

    A crackdown on peaceful protests across Russia in which hundreds of people were arrested and numerous others beaten by police demonstrates the authorities’ utter contempt for fundamental human rights, Amnesty International said today.

    “The right to peaceful assembly is guaranteed by the Russian Constitution, though you wouldn’t know it from the alarming scenes today. After trying to intimidate protesters into abstaining from these demonstrations with blackmail and harassment, the authorities in Moscow, St Petersburg and elsewhere have punished hundreds of those who turned up with beatings and arrests,” said Denis Krivosheev, Deputy Director for Europe and Central Asia at Amnesty International.

    “The Russian authorities’ stranglehold on freedom of expression grows tighter by the day. Peaceful protest is a fundamental human right, not a privilege to be bestowed or refused on a whim. We are calling for all peaceful protesters swept up in these arrests to be immediately freed, and the right to hold peaceful rallies fully and genuinely respected.”

    May 30, 2017
    Activists, leaders and experts from across Canada will discuss human rights, diversity and reconciliation at a free, all-day event on Saturday, June 3rd, 2017. Tareq Hadad, Syrian refugee and founder of Peace by Chocolate to deliver Keynote address

    The University of Calgary and Amnesty International are pleased to host a national human rights conference in Calgary on June 3rd, 2017. Prominent speakers, leaders and activists will address the conference theme of “Living Together: Understanding Human Rights and Diversity and Working Towards Reconciliation.” Admission is free and open to the public.

    May 25, 2017

    Iran has demonstrated its utter disregard for children’s rights by executing a man arrested for a crime committed while he was 16 years old in a brazen violation of international human rights law, said Amnesty International.

    The man, who has been identified in state media only by the name “Asqar”, was sentenced to death by public hanging nearly 30 years ago. He was executed at Karaj’s Central Prison near Tehran on 23 May 2017.

    “With this execution, the Iranian authorities’ repeated claims to the UN and EU that they are moving away from the use of death penalty against juvenile offenders ring horrifically hollow. It is absolutely appalling that two decades after it ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Iran continues to display such a chilling disregard for children’s rights,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

    May 24, 2017

    The US Army failed to keep tabs on more than $1 billion worth of arms and other military equipment in Iraq and Kuwait according to a now declassified Department of Defense (DoD) audit, obtained by Amnesty International following Freedom of Information requests.

    The government audit, from September 2016, reveals that the DoD “did not have accurate, up-to-date records on the quantity and location” of a vast amount of equipment pouring into Kuwait and Iraq to provision the Iraqi Army.

    “This audit provides a worrying insight into the US Army’s flawed – and potentially dangerous - system for controlling millions of dollars’ worth of arms transfers to a hugely volatile region,” said Patrick Wilcken, Amnesty International’s Arms Control and Human Rights Researcher.

    “It makes for especially sobering reading given the long history of leakage of US arms to multiple armed groups committing atrocities in Iraq, including the armed group calling itself the Islamic State.”

    May 23, 2017

    Responding to the terror attack at the Manchester Arena last night, Kerry Moscogiuri, Director of Campaigns at Amnesty International UK said:

    “Amnesty International condemns in the strongest terms this cowardly act that has taken the lives of so many innocent people.

    “The thoughts of everyone at Amnesty are with all those affected by this horrific attack on children, young people and parents enjoying a night out at a concert.

    “The response to this kind of attack must always be more love, just like we've seen from the people of Manchester coming together to offer lifts, tea and places to stay to concert-goers and those looking for their loved ones.

    “Politicians and the media must ensure their language and actions do not stoke hatred and division, and use all their influence to stress that we have more in common than that which divides us.”

    May 23, 2017

    The Indian Army’s decision to present an award to a soldier suspected of having a man tied to a moving military jeep in Jammu and Kashmir last month gives the impression that it condones human rights abuses, Amnesty International India said today.

    “Rewarding an officer who is under investigation for a human rights violation suggests that the Army seems to be willing to not just overlook, but actually valorise an act of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment amounting to torture,” said Aakar Patel, Executive Director at Amnesty International India.

    May 16, 2017

    As US President Donald Trump prepares to host Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at the White House, Amnesty International USA’s Executive Director Margaret Huang said:

    “While these two leaders sit and congratulate each other in the White House, the damage is mounting from their spiralling assaults on human rights.

    “President Trump recently praised President Erdoğan for winning a referendum in which dissenting opinions were ruthlessly suppressed, and has been silent on Turkey’s alarming crackdown on the media, which has led to more than 120 journalists being jailed pending trial. This is a disturbing reflection of President Trump’s contempt for human rights – trampling the freedoms of journalists and protestors is no cause for celebration.

    “The world is watching - this meeting is an opportunity to shine a spotlight on the way that President Trump and President Erdoğan are contributing to a global climate of toxic and dehumanizing politics, and the grave deterioration of the human rights situation in Turkey.”

    Background

    May 12, 2017

    Responding to the ongoing detention of Oğuz Güven, the web editor of the prominent Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet after he was taken into police custody this morning, Andrew Gardner, Amnesty International’s Turkey Researcher, said:

    “Since their crackdown on the media escalated dramatically following the coup attempt last July, the Turkish authorities have been relentless in their hounding of Cumhuriyet, which is now one of the country’s last remaining opposition newspapers. 12 Cumhuriyet staff members are currently held in prison pending trial, and Oğuz Güven’s detention is yet another demonstration of the authorities’ intent to stamp out independent journalism for good.

    “Reports that Oğuz Güven was apparently detained on the basis of a single headline reflect the terrifying new reality for journalists in Turkey, where one word out of place can get you locked up. His detention is another dark day for media in Turkey, which since last year, has held the disgraceful record for being the world’s biggest jailer of journalists.”

    Background

    May 12, 2017

    In response to today’s release of Iranian Kurdish human rights defender and journalist Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa Magdalena Mughrabi said:

    “The release of Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand today, after a decade-long ordeal in prison, is long overdue. He was wrongfully imprisoned on trumped up charges and it is utterly deplorable that he was forced to spend the past 10 years of his life behind bars. His case is yet another illustration of the extreme lengths to which the Iranian authorities will go to criminalize the legitimate work of human rights defenders and journalists.”

    Throughout his time in prison, Mohammad Sadiq Kabduvand’s health sharply deteriorated. He suffered from heart and kidney problems and rarely received adequate medical treatment.

    “The Iranian authorities have a decade of appalling injustice against Mohamed Sadiq Kabduvand to make up for. They can make a start by quashing his conviction and ensuring that he is free to continue his peaceful human rights and journalistic activities,” said Magdalena Mughrabi.

    May 12, 2017

    Responding to the extradition of three Turkish men suspected of links to Turkey’s Gülen movement, who had been arbitrarily detained under SOSMA, Malaysia’s draconian security law, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, Josef Benedict, said:

    “By sending these three men suspected of links to Fethullah Gülen back to Turkey, the Malaysian authorities have put their liberty and well-being at risk. They have already suffered a harrowing ordeal, being arbitrarily detained and held incommunicado. Now, they have been extradited to Turkey, where they could face arbitrary detention, unfair trial and a real risk of torture.”

    Background

    Turgay Karaman, Ismet Ozcelik and Ihsan Aslan had been arrested and detained under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (SOSMA). The Malaysian authorities said they were being investigated under Section 130J of the Penal Code (read together with SOSMA) for allegedly soliciting, giving support to terrorist groups or for the commission of terrorist acts.

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