Select this search icon to access the amnesty.ca search form

Main menu

Facebook Share

Human Rights

    March 30, 2017

    US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will reportedly lift human rights conditions on an arms sale to Bahrain, despite that country’s record of oppression against dissidents and participation in a Saudi Arabia-led coalition that has bombed thousands of civilians in Yemen. Yemen is one of the six Muslim-majority countries included in Trump’s revised travel ban executive order.

    Sunjeev Bery, an advocacy director with Amnesty International USA, made the following statement in response:

    “While getting weapons from the USA, Bahrain’s government is silencing critics at home and participating in a military coalition that is bombing civilians in Yemen. This deal sends a dangerous signal to Bahrain and all other countries that engage in serious human rights violations. It is particularly galling to arm these governments while simultaneously barring those fleeing violence entrance to the USA. These deals place the USA at risk of being complicit in war crimes, and discourage other countries, like Saudi Arabia, from addressing their own human rights records.”

    +++++++

    March 29, 2017

    The Chinese authorities’ detention of a Taiwanese NGO worker on vague national security grounds raises fears the authorities are broadening their attack against those carrying out legitimate activism, Amnesty International said today, as it urged the authorities to provide further details for his detention.  

    On Wednesday, Chinese officials confirmed that Lee Ming-cheh was being held on suspicion of “endangering national security”. He went missing after he crossed the Gongbei border from Macao to Zhuhai, China. He was last heard from on 19 March.

    “Lee Ming-cheh’s detention on vague national security grounds will alarm all those that work with NGOs in China. If his detention is solely connected to his legitimate activism he must be immediately and unconditionally released,” said Nicholas Bequelin, East Asia Director at Amnesty International. 

    “The unchecked powers the authorities now have to target NGOs and their partners is frightening.”

    March 29, 2017

    Uttar Pradesh authorities must bring to justice those responsible for recent racist attacks against black African students and ensure the students’ safety, said Amnesty International India today.

    “The recent attacks in Uttar Pradesh show how black people in India - particularly African students - continue to face racist discrimination and violence. Many of those injured were targeted merely because of the colour of their skin. These are hate crimes, and authorities need to ensure that those responsible are punished,” said Makepeace Sitlhou, Campaigner at Amnesty International India.

    Several black African students have been attacked in a series of hate crimes in Greater Noida over the last three days. On Wednesday, a Kenyan woman was pulled out of a taxicab and beaten in Greater Noida. On 27 March, four Nigerian men were beaten up by locals holding a protest march demanding justice for a 17-year-old who had died two days earlier from a suspected drug overdose. The boy’s family had accused their five Nigerian neighbours of murder and demanded their arrest. The men were arrested, and later released due to lack of evidence.

    March 29, 2017

    NEW YORK – US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said that human rights should be an integral part of the UN Security Council’s mission when the United States assumes the presidency of the council next month.

    “Ambassador Haley’s welcome remarks today prioritizing human rights are certainly encouraging, and she must follow through on these promises as the US assumes the presidency of the Security Council,” said T. Kumar of Amnesty International USA.

    “President Trump’s previous statements expressing hostility to the United Nations raised serious concerns about the commitment of the US to international human rights law. We hope that Ambassador Haley’s remarks show that the U.S. will honour its obligations, including not reducing funding to the UN.”  

    +++++++

    For media requests, please contact Jacob Kuehn, Media Relations: jkuehn@amnesty.ca // 613-744-7667 x 236

    March 29, 2017

    In response to the sentencing today of human rights defender Dr Nasser bin Ghaith at the Federal Appeal Court in Abu Dhabi Amnesty International’s Lynn Maalouf, Deputy Director for Research at the organization’s Beirut office said:

    “Today’s sentencing of prominent economist, academic and human rights defender Dr Nasser bin Ghaith to 10 years in prison is yet another devastating blow for freedom of expression in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). By imposing this ludicrous sentence in response to his peaceful tweets, the authorities have left no room for doubt: those who dare to speak their minds freely in the UAE today risk grave punishment.

    “Dr Nasser bin Ghaith is a prisoner of conscience, imprisoned for the peaceful expression of his conscientiously held beliefs. He should never have been forced to spend a single minute behind bars, let alone 10 years. He has already been forcibly disappeared, held in secret detention for months and subjected to beatings and deliberate sleep deprivation. He is another victim of the UAE’s repressive crackdown on dissent, which also saw the prominent human rights activist Ahmed Mansoor arrested last week.”

    March 28, 2017

    Hundreds of civilians have been killed by airstrikes inside their homes or in places where they sought refuge after following Iraqi government advice not to leave during the offensive to recapture the city of Mosul from the armed group calling itself Islamic State (IS), said Amnesty International. Survivors and eyewitnesses in East Mosul said they did not try to flee as the battle got underway because they received repeated instructions from the Iraqi authorities to remain in their homes.

    The shocking spike in civilian casualties from both US-led coalition airstrikes and ground fighting between the Iraqi military and IS fighters in recent months has also raised serious questions about the lawfulness of these attacks. In one of the deadliest strikes in years just days ago on 17 March 2017, up to 150 people were reported killed in a coalition airstrike in the Jadida neighbourhood of West Mosul, eventually leading the coalition to announce that it is investigating the incident.

    March 28, 2017

    South Sudanese authorities must release all people detained without charge by the security agencies, including 28 men currently held at the headquarters of the national intelligence agency in the capital Juba, said Amnesty International’s Secretary General today in an open letter to President Salva Kiir.

    The call comes after the president publicly pledged to release all political detainees.

    “Hundreds of people, mostly men, have been arrested without charge by security agents and held in torturous conditions for long periods of time, since the conflict began more than three years ago. Others have disappeared without a trace at the hands of National Security Service and Military Intelligence agents,” said Salil Shetty.

    “While President Kiir’s pledge was welcome, we call on him to go a step further and order a full investigation into arbitrary detention practices of government security agencies, enforced disappearances, deaths in custody, torture and other ill-treatment.”

    March 27, 2017

    Belarusian authorities must immediately and unconditionally release all those arrested before and during peaceful protests and end their vicious crackdown against demonstrators, Amnesty International said after dozens of ‘Freedom Day’ demonstrators were violently arrested and human rights observers detained.

    Amnesty International’s monitors witnessed the arrest of dozens of peaceful protesters at demonstrations in Minsk, and saw instances of excessive use of force by the police. They did not witness a single incident of violence on the part of demonstrators. These arrests followed the preventative arrest of prominent civil society leaders and opposition figures and detention of around 60 human rights observers.

    “Freedom Day proves this year more than ever, how little genuine freedom the people of Belarus have. We have seen peaceful protesters viciously beaten on the streets of Minsk today and an elderly woman knocked to the ground by riot police,” said Denis Krivosheev, Deputy Director for Europe and Central Asia at Amnesty International.

    March 27, 2017

    Russian opposition leader, Aleksei Navalny, and all the peaceful protesters detained after the mass demonstrations across Russia on Sunday, must be immediately released, said Amnesty International, after he was today sentenced to 15 days in jail.

    “By detaining hundreds of protesters, the Russian authorities have demonstrated their profound disdain for the right to freedom of expression and assembly,” said Sergei Nikitin, Director of Amnesty International Russia.

    “Russia has broken its own sad record for mass detentions by arresting more than one thousand people on the same day in Moscow alone. Amnesty International monitor witnessed elderly people pushed down stairs, teenagers beaten by police and bystanders and journalists arbitrarily detained.”

    March 24, 2017

    The killing of the third journalist in a month in Mexico raises new alarms about the state of free expression in the country, said Amnesty International. 

    Miroslava Breach, a reporter for La Jornada and el Norte de Juarez, was shot dead while she was in her car outside her home in the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua. Miroslava was known for reporting on issues including organised crime and drug trafficking. 

    “In Mexico a ‘war’ is raging against journalists. The country has turned into a no-go zone for anyone brave enough to talk about issues including the increasing power of organised crime and the collusion of these groups with the authorities,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    “Journalism should not be a life threatening profession. Instead of looking the other way and ignoring this bloodshed, the Mexican authorities must take concrete measures to protect journalists and anyone daring to talk about the country’s ills. This crime should be urgently investigated and those responsible, brought to justice.”

    March 24, 2017

    Ahead of the sixtieth anniversary of the Rome Treaty, Iverna McGowan, Director of Amnesty International’s European Institutions Office has called for Europe to uphold its founding principles of the protection and promotion of human rights:

     “At this key juncture in its history, it is vital that leaders recall and recommit to the EU’s founding spirit of protecting human dignity even in dark times. As they celebrate the past and plot the way for the future, a strong joint stance on the importance of human rights is imperative.

    “The EU’s response to the challenges of the global refugee crisis, countering terrorism and to the global crackdown on human rights defenders have left many questioning its commitment to human rights in practice. At this cross roads, EU leaders must recall its founding principles and commit to upholding them. Reeling in those member states that are flagrantly violating their EU Treaty obligations on human rights would be an obvious and good place to start”.

     

     

    March 24, 2017

    Belarusian authorities must ensure that rallies planned in the capital Minsk and elsewhere on Freedom Day, 25 March, are allowed to go ahead unhindered by excessive use of police force or arbitrary detentions of peaceful protesters such as those witnessed in recent weeks, Amnesty International said.

    This year’s turnout is expected to be the largest in years, fueled by public discontent over a punitive bill against the jobless and a notable drop in living standards in Belarus.

    “Belarusian authorities must honour their international obligations and finally come to recognize peaceful protest as a fundamental right. In practice this means refraining from banning public rallies, using force against peaceful protesters or otherwise persecuting them,” said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Director for Europe and Central Asia.

    “Public officials must stop depicting dissenters as a ‘fifth column’, and instead ensure the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly for all.”

    March 24, 2017

    In response to the attack in Westminster, London, earlier this week, Kate Allen, Director of Amnesty International UK, said: 

    “Our thoughts are with all those affected by the terrible attack in Westminster.

    “This reprehensible attack at the heart of our democracy and on innocent people was a grave breach of human rights.

    “In difficult times such as these, it is important to remain kind and compassionate to one another.

    “Our common humanity must not be undermined by those who seek to divide us. We must stand together against hatred.”

    March 24, 2017

    Responding to today’s International Criminal Court (ICC) order awarding reparations to victims in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Germain Katanga case, Solomon Sacco, Amnesty International’s Senior Legal Adviser said:

    “Today's decision by the ICC is an important step towards addressing the horrific suffering of the victims of the atrocities committed by Germain Katanga including murder, destruction of property and pillaging.”

    “Providing full and effective reparation will help the victims of these war crimes and crimes against humanity to rebuild their lives. But we must not forgot that there are hundreds of thousands of other victims of similar crimes in the DRC, and whom the ICC will not be able to assist.”

    “Today’s decision should be a catalyst to end this impunity and demand that the DRC government ensures justice, truth and reparation for all victims across the country.”

    Background:

    March 24, 2017

    An internationally mandated fact-finding mission to look at human rights violations in Myanmar is welcome, urgently needed and long overdue, Amnesty International said today.

    “The announcement of an independent international fact-finding mission to look into human rights violations in Myanmar is long overdue. After the Myanmar government’s failure to establish a credible investigation into the security forces’ crimes against the Rohingya in northern Rakhine State, there is an urgent need for a team of international experts examine alleged violations there, in Kachin and in northern Shan State,” said Champa Patel, Amnesty International’s Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

    “The Myanmar government should welcome the fact-finding mission and assist it in every possible way with its work. The world has a right to know the full truth of events after Amnesty International and the UN both found that human rights violations against the Rohingya may amount to crimes against humanity.”

    Background

    Pages

    Subscribe to Human Rights
    rights