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    May 10, 2017

    Responding to news that outspoken feminist academic Stella Nyanzi has been released on bail after four weeks in prison, Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes, said:

    “It is a great relief that Stella Nyanzi is no longer behind bars, as she should never have been arrested in the first place. The government’s attempt to prosecute her for speaking out for the rights of Uganda’s women and girls, is an affront to freedom of expression.

    “The authorities must now let common sense prevail by immediately and unconditionally dropping all the charges against her. The continuation of this farcical case blatantly violates Uganda’s constitution, and its regional and international human rights obligations.”

    Background

    Nyanzi appeared in court in the capital Kampala this morning looking in need of medical care.

    The charges against her under the Computer Misuse Act of 2011 are based on her social media statements, including one where she referred to President Yoweri Museveni as “a pair of buttocks”. She denies any wrongdoing.

    May 08, 2017

    The continuing rise in abductions at the hands of militias highlights how the absence of the rule of law in Libya is fuelling chaos and lawlessness and leaving civilians in the country living in fear, said Amnesty International today. Kidnappings of civilians by militias, often for ransom, have risen sharply since 2014, particularly in the west of the country, where hundreds have gone missing and abductions have become a feature of daily life.

    Among the latest victims to go missing is Tripoli University professor Dr. Salem Mohamed Beitelmal, who was abducted over two weeks ago not far from his home in the area of Siyyad on the outskirts of Tripoli. His whereabouts remain unknown and his family have had no contact with him since his abduction.

    May 04, 2017

    Authorities in Brazil are increasingly turning a blind eye to a deepening human rights crisis of their own making, Amnesty International said in a report to the United Nations Human Rights Council ahead of a review of the country on 5 May.

    Since Brazil last faced scrutiny at the UN’s Universal Periodic Review in 2012, a spike in violence has seen killings by the police in Rio de Janeiro nearly doubled to 182 in the first two months of 2017, as well as soaring rates of killings and other human rights violations elsewhere in the country.

    “Since the last review at the United Nations, Brazil has not taken enough steps to tackle the shocking levels of human rights violations across the country, including soaring police homicide rates that leave hundreds of people dead every year,” said Jurema Werneck, Executive Director at Amnesty International Brazil.

    May 03, 2017

    The ruling of the Supreme Court of Peru marking the end of the trial for land invasion against the human rights defender Máxima Acuña Atalaya is a landmark decision for environmental defenders in the country, Amnesty International said today.

    After almost five years of proceedings in relation to unfounded criminal charges of land invasion, the Supreme Court of Justice ruled that there was no reason to pursue the groundless trial of the defender for land invasion.

    “Many environmental defenders in Peru have been criminalized through the use of groundless criminal proceedings which seek to prevent them from carrying out their legitimate work to defend human rights, by exhausting their physical and emotional strength and their limited resources, in addition to publicly portraying them as criminals,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    It is fundamental that the authorities take effective measures to stop the use of the criminal justice system to intimidate and harass human rights defenders.”

    April 27, 2017

    Citizens’ groups, Indigenous peoples, human rights and environmental organizations are asking British Columbia MPs to take a message to Ottawa.

    “British Columbia’s Site C dam is one of the largest megaprojects of our generation,” said Andrea Morison, Executive Director of the Peace Valley Environment Association. “Our political leaders cannot continue to ignore the devastating impacts it will have on our waters and on the rights of Indigenous peoples.”

    More than 120,000 people have signed petitions, postcards and letters calling for an immediate halt to construction. Petitions were presented to BC MPs today as they prepared to return to the House of Commons after a Parliamentary break.

    Organizers included Amnesty International Canada, Leadnow, Sierra Club BC, the Peace Valley Environment Association, KAIROS, Keepers of the Water, Peace Valley Landowners Association, Alliance4Democracy and the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative.

    April 27, 2017

    Attacks on civilians in the first three months of this year and the inability of the Afghan government to ensure their adequate protection show that Afghanistan remains an unsafe country for refugees to be returned to, Amnesty International said today.

    “At a time when civilian casualties remain high, with women and children suffering the worst of the violence, it is reckless of governments to claim that Afghanistan is safe for refugees to return,” said Horia Mosadiq, Amnesty International’s Afghanistan Researcher.

    Since the withdrawal of the international military forces from Afghanistan at the end of 2014 the security situation in the country has seriously deteriorated with increased civilian casualties and a growing internal displacement crisis in the country. The Taliban now control more territory than at any point since 2001.

    The UN Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) recently released a report on civilian casualties containing data documenting 715 deaths and 1,466 injuries during the first quarter of 2017.

    Kabul, the Afghan capital, suffered the highest levels of civilian casualties, followed by Helmand, Kandahar and Nangarhar provinces.

    April 26, 2017

    Venezuelan authorities are using the justice system to illegally increase persecution and punishment of those who think differently, says Amnesty International in a new report published today amidst an increase in protests around the country which have resulted in several deaths and hundreds of people injured and imprisoned.

    Silenced By Force: Politically-Motivated Arbitrary Detentions in Venezuela provides details on a catalogue of illegal actions on the part of the Venezuelan authorities to repress freedom of expression.

    These include arrests conducted by the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (Servicio Bolivariano de Inteligencia Nacional, SEBIN) without a warrant, the prosecution of non-violent activists for crimes ‘against the homeland’ and the unjustified use of pre-trial detention and smear campaigns in the media against members of the political opposition, among other measures.

    April 25, 2017

    Bahrain’s authorities have dramatically escalated their crackdown against perceived critics with 32 people summoned for questioning by the Public Prosecution within the past five days and charges brought against the majority of them, said Amnesty International, less than a week ahead of the country’s UN human rights review session in Geneva on 1 May.

    Those summoned include human rights defenders, political activists, lawyers, a journalist and relatives of victims of human rights violations, raising fears that they are being targeted as part of a deliberate attempt to stop them – and deter others - from criticizing Bahrain ahead of and during its upcoming review at the UN Human Rights Council.

    “The intensified crackdown against Bahraini dissidents in recent days is highly alarming and exposes the shocking extremes to which Bahrain’s authorities are prepared to go to silence criticism of their human rights record,” said Samah Hadid Director of Campaigns at Amnesty International’s Beirut Office

    April 25, 2017

    Reacting to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe vote to reintroduce full monitoring of the ‘functioning of democratic institutions’ in Turkey, Andrew Gardner, Amnesty International’s Turkey researcher said:

    “This welcome decision sends a clear and powerful message that Turkey must end its crackdown on human rights.

    “With this vote, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has made it clear to the authorities that human rights cannot be trampled underfoot without scrutiny and ultimately consequences.

    “It sends a strong signal to Turkish civil society, journalists and victims of human rights abuses that the Council of Europe is willing to use all the available tools to bring Turkey back to compliance to the commitments it signed up to when it joined the organisation.”

    On 3 May World Press Freedom Day, Amnesty International will turn the spotlight onto Turkey’s treatment of journalists, calling for their release from pre-trial detention.

    Background

    April 25, 2017

    With mounting evidence of government involvement in thousands of extrajudicial executions in Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s ‘war on drugs’, Amnesty International is calling on regional leaders to take a stand against possible crimes against humanity as they meet at the 30th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Manila this week.

    “While they meet in their comfortable surroundings, ASEAN leaders should spare a thought for the thousands of people who have been killed as part of Duterte’s brutal crackdown. The vast majority are from marginalized and neglected communities, making it effectively a war on the poor,” said Champa Patel, Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific at Amnesty International.

    “As the death toll mounts, so does evidence of the Philippines authorities’ role in the bloodshed. That the Philippines is chairing the ASEAN Summit against this horrifying backdrop is a scandal, and should prompt the government to make independent and effective investigations into unlawful killings an immediate priority. They must send a clear message that there will be accountability and an end to such shocking violations.”

    April 25, 2017
    Reports Saudi Arabia-led coalition is gearing up for major military offensive Key port city of Hodeidah is a major entry point for humanitarian aid UN donor conference under way in Geneva

    Fears are growing for the safety of civilians in the strategic western port city of Hodeidah amid reports that a major offensive by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition is due to get under way soon, said Amnesty International as UN states meet at a donor conference in Geneva on 25 April.

    As well as putting civilian lives at grave risk, an assault on the country’s fourth most populated city that seriously disrupts the functioning of the port risks cutting off a crucial lifeline to a country that is 80% dependent on imports exacerbating an already dire humanitarian situation.

    April 25, 2017

    “These first 100 days show how dangerous Trump’s agenda is, and they’re also a roadmap for how to stop it and protect human rights in the U.S. and around the world.”

    WASHINGTON – As the first 100 days of President Donald Trump’s administration come to a close, Amnesty International has compiled a list of 100 ways the Trump administration has tried to threaten human rights in the U.S. and around the world – sometimes succeeding, and sometimes being blocked by a powerful and growing resistance movement.

    April 24, 2017

    The conviction and sentencing of a journalist by a military court in Cameroon to 10 years in prison after an unfair trial is a travesty of justice, Amnesty International said today.

    Ahmed Abba, a journalist for Radio France Internationale's Hausa service was handed down 10 years of imprisonment after having been convicted on 20 April on charges of "non-denunciation of terrorism" and "laundering of the proceeds of terrorist acts”. He was also fined 84,000 euro. The journalist was acquitted of the charge of "glorifying acts of terrorism."

    “Ahmed Abba’s conviction, after torture and an unfair trial, is clear evidence that Cameroon’s military courts are not competent to try civilians and should not have jurisdiction in these cases,” said Ilaria Allegrozzi Amnesty International’s Lake Chad researcher.

    April 21, 2017

    The killing of six Indigenous people in the past week raises serious doubts about the effectiveness of the measures implemented by the government to advance the peace process in Colombia, says Amnesty International.

    In the past week, six Indigenous people have been killed in the departments of Chocó, Cauca and Nariño, affecting the Wounan, Nasa and Awá Indigenous Peoples, communities who have historically been seriously affected by the armed conflict.

    On 19 April, the leader of the Kite Kiwe Indigenous council in Timbío, Cauca, south-eastern Colombia, was killed after being shot repeatedly by a contract killer while leaving a community meeting. Gerson Acosta had been granted protection measures by the National Protection Unit (Unidad Nacional de Protección) due to threats he had received related to his work as a human rights defender.

    Several days earlier, on 16 April, Pedro Nel Pai Pascal, Jhonny Marcelo Cuajiboy Pascal and Ever Goyes, members of the Awá Indigenous community, were killed in the department of Nariño.

    April 21, 2017

    #FreeAJStaff support new #FreeTurkeyMedia campaign

    The three former Al Jazeera journalists imprisoned in Egypt for more than 400 days have joined thousands of other journalists, artists and activists in an Amnesty International campaign to demand the release of more than 120 journalists jailed in Turkey in the wake of last summer’s failed coup.

    Mohamed Fahmy, Peter Greste and Baher Mohammed added their voices to the Free Turkey Media campaign which will culminate in a global day of action on World Press Freedom Day, 3 May.

    “In the purge that followed the failed coup, Turkey has become the world’s biggest jailer of journalists. Many have been held for months and still have no idea of what they’ve been charged with,” said Gauri van Gulik Amnesty International’s Deputy Europe Director.

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