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

Main menu

Facebook Share

International Justice

    April 13, 2011

    Amnesty International has condemned the use by the Swaziland authorities of state of emergency-style measures to crush peaceful anti-government protests taking place across the country and urged the authorities to return to the rule of law.

    "We are alarmed by the levels of state violence in the past 24 hours and the numbers of arbitrary and secret detentions witnessed during this period and fear that those targeted may be at risk of torture," said Amnesty International.

    Amnesty International has learned that union leaders who had been released from custody late yesterday were placed under unlawful house arrest today.

    The security forces used excessive force yesterday in dispersing protests.

    Today heavily armed security force members again besieged the headquarters of the Swaziland National Association of Teachers and are currently conducting a search without a warrant inside the building. Union members and possibly also both national and foreign journalists are present.


     

    John Tackaberry,
    Media Relations,
    Amnesty International Canada
    613-744-7667, ext 236

    April 12, 2011

    A UN report on accountability for war crimes committed in the Sri Lankan armed conflict must be made public, Amnesty International said today as a panel of experts submits their findings to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

    “Sri Lankans must be allowed to see the panel’s findings. The report concerns a critical period in their recent history and they deserve to read it in full,” said Sam Zarifi, Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Director. 

    “Ban Ki-moon said that ‘accountability is an essential foundation for durable peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka’. He must stick to his word - accounting for violations committed in the recent conflict is the first step to future reconciliation”.

    The UN Panel of Experts was appointed in June 2010 to advise the Secretary General on accountability issues relating to violations of international human rights and humanitarian law alleged in the final stages of the armed conflict in Sri Lanka, which ended in May 2009.

    April 11, 2011

    Amnesty International has today revealed fresh evidence of extrajudicial executions apparently committed by Colonel Mu'ammar al-Gaddafi's forces near the town of Ajdabiya in recent days.
     
    Amnesty International  researchers in eastern Libya yesterday saw the bodies of two opposition fighters who had been shot in the back of the head after their hands had been bound behind their backs.
     
    Today they saw a body of another man who had been shot dead while his hands and feet were bound.
     
    “Based on what our delegates have seen in eastern Libya over the last six weeks, the circumstances of these killings strongly suggest that they were carried out by the forces loyal to Colonel al-Gaddafi," said Malcolm Smart, Amnesty International’s director for the Middle East and North Africa.
     
    “The deliberate killing of captured fighters is a war crime. All those responsible for such crimes - those who ordered or sanctioned them as well as those who carried them out - must be left in no doubt that they will be held fully accountable,” said Malcolm Smart.
     

    April 06, 2011

    Hundreds of bodies found in a mass grave in Zimbabwe may never be identified unless professional forensic experts carry out the exhumations, Amnesty International warned today.

    Bodies recently discovered in the Mount Darwin area in northern Zimbabwe, have been shown on Zimbabwean television being bundled into plastic bags and old sacks to await re-burial increasing the risk that evidence of serious human rights violations could be lost.

    “This is a crime scene and exhumations require professional forensic expertise to enable adequate identification, determination of cause of death and criminal investigations,” said Michelle Kagari, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Africa.

    ”Families of the victims expect the bodies to be identified and to be given decent burials in line with traditional and religious practice.  As such, these bodies cannot simply be consigned to history without proper forensic tests to determine who they are and how and why they died.”

    April 05, 2011

    The international community must play a more active role if Yemenis are to get accountability for the bloody killings of recent weeks, Amnesty International said as it released a new report into human rights violations in Yemen over the last year.

    Moment of Truth for Yemen documents the brutal repression of a wave of protests against the rule of President Ali Abdullah Saleh which has left 94 dead according to the organization’s latest figures. The protests have been fuelled by frustration at corruption, unemployment and repression of freedoms.

    “The Yemeni government has an abysmal record of failing to investigate or prosecute those responsible for unlawful killings and torture or other ill-treatment,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Middle East and North Africa."

    “The international community has provided development and security assistance to the Yemeni authorities when asked. It is now time for it to step in and help deliver justice for the families of those who have lost their lives during this turbulent period.”

    March 31, 2011

    Canada’s standing as an international human rights champion has dropped. In the days leading to the election all parties must make concrete commitments to help to restore its leadership role, says Amnesty International. As Canadians go to the polls they have a crucial opportunity to reflect on these fundamental issues.

    “Deep at the core of the well-being, safety and prosperity of a country, and its place in world, is the approach a country takes to human rights issues,” says Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International. “Canada must reclaim its leading role in human rights.”

    In a report released today Getting Back On The “Rights” Track , Amnesty International outlines a human rights agenda for Canada. It provides a blueprint for leadership at home and a consistent and principled stand for Canada abroad that should be adopted by all politicians during the election campaign. And it must be implemented by those who win the election.

    March 30, 2011

    Thousands of people, many who left North Africa following recent unrest, are stranded on the Italian island of Lampedusa in appalling conditions, an Amnesty International delegation on the island said today.

    The unequivocal assessment by Amnesty International's delegation on the island came as Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi pledged “to clear Lampedusa within 48-60 hours".

    There are currently about 6,000 foreign nationals on the island, mostly from Tunisia.
     
    “The Italian government must immediately deal with this humanitarian crisis that has been caused by its failure to organise timely and orderly transfers from Lampedusa to facilities on the Italian mainland," said Anneliese Baldaccini, part of Amnesty International’s delegates on the island.

    About 22,000 people who have arrived in Lampedusa in recent weeks, with many already having been moved to other parts of Italy.

    March 21, 2011

    The Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir is holding hundreds of people each year without charge or trial in order to ‘keep them out of circulation’, a new Amnesty International report released today shows.

    A ‘Lawless Law’: Detentions under the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act, documents how the Public Safety Act (PSA) is used to secure the long-term detention of individuals against whom there is insufficient evidence for a trial.

    Estimates of the number detained under the PSA over the past two decades range from 8,000-20,000, with 322 reportedly held from January to September 2010 alone.

    “The Jammu and Kashmir authorities are using PSA detentions as a revolving door to keep people they can’t or won’t convict through proper legal channels locked up and out of the way,” said Sam Zarifi, Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Director.

    “Hundreds of people are being held each year on spurious grounds, with many exposed to higher risk of torture and other forms of ill-treatment.”

    March 17, 2011

    Amnesty International today revealed evidence of the Bahraini security forces’ systematic use of excessive force in cracking down against protesters, as fresh violence left as many as eight people dead.

    In a new report released today, Bloodied but Unbowed: Unwarranted State Violence against Bahraini Protesters, the organization documents how security forces used live ammunition and extreme force against protesters in February without warning and impeded and assaulted medical staff trying to help the wounded.

    The report, which is based on firsthand testimonies given to an Amnesty International team in Bahrain, comes as the country is gripped by further violence, after Saudi Arabian and UAE forces entered the small Gulf state three days ago and Bahrain's King declared a national state of emergency.

    "It is alarming to see the Bahraini authorities now again resorting to the same tactics that they used against protesters in February but on an even more intensive scale,” said Malcolm Smart, Amnesty International’s director for the Middle East and North Africa.

    March 17, 2011

    Amnesty International has urged several US states to abandon planned legislation that would drastically restrict workers' rights.

    States including Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma and Tennessee have proposed bills severely limiting the collective bargaining rights of trade union members. A similar bill was passed in Wisconsin on Friday.

    "State governors must withdraw support for these measures which, if adopted, would violate international law," said Shane Enright, Amnesty International’s trade union adviser.

    “The US has an obligation to uphold the rights of American workers - including the specific right to organize and bargain collectively."

    Wisconsin governor Scott Walker signed a bill on Friday that undermines the ability of unions in the public sector to protect workers. The legislation also takes away nearly all collective bargaining rights for most public employees, limiting their negotiation rights only to wages.  

    March 14, 2011

    Amnesty International has urged the Yemeni authorities to identify and prosecute members of the security forces responsible for the killings of at least eight anti-government demonstrators over the weekend.

    Two protesters were killed and over 1,000 injured in the capital Sana’a on Saturday when security forces opened fire on members of a protest camp during their early morning prayer, while pro-government “thugs” were reported to have attacked ambulances trying to attend to the wounded.

    At least six other protesters were killed on Saturday and Sunday after being shot in the cities of Aden and al-Mukalla, bringing the total death toll among protesters since calls for reform in the country began last month to at least 40.

    “It is disturbing that Yemeni security forces appear to be targeting protesters in a way that maximizes death and serious injury,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

    “To strike when protesters are most vulnerable, such as during prayer, and to then prevent medical staff from doing their work shows that the security forces are acting above the law.”

    March 14, 2011

                                
    Amnesty International has condemned the killing of a settler family on Friday evening and called on Israel to halt a continuing wave of reprisal attacks by West Bank settlers against Palestinians.

    Five members of the Fogel family were stabbed to death in their home in the West Bank settlement of Itamar, near Nablus.

    Since Saturday morning, Israeli settlers have reportedly used stones, Molotov cocktails, guns, clubs and knives to attack Palestinians in vehicles and in their homes in villages and towns across the West Bank. Settlers have also burned fields, cars and property.  

    “We utterly condemn the killing of the Fogel family in Itamar. There must be a prompt and effective investigation to identify those suspected of involvement and ensure that they are brought to justice in a fair trial,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.  

    “The Israeli security forces must act to prevent reprisals against Palestinian civilians by armed Israeli settlers and bring those responsible to justice”

    March 01, 2011

    Human rights law and standards requires that investigations and prosecutions of the crimes of rape and sexual violence must be undertaken with careful attention given to the task of
    challenging stereotypes, which tend to undermine women’s equality before the law. The integrity of investigations and prosecutions should not be tainted by stereotypical
    assumptions, including assumptions about sexual violence towards men and boys, as well as towards women and girls.

    All references to the term ‘consent’ within the Elements of Crimes must be interpreted consistently with a fuller, more accurate and human-rights based understanding of the word
    consent – that a consensual decision is a decision made without force, threat of force, coercion, or taking advantage of a coercive environment. Where evidence of force, threat of force or coercion is present, there should absolutely be no additional element of law of consent for the prosecution to prove.

    February 28, 2011

    Campaigners today called on governments meeting at the United Nations to ensure no weapons or munitions are sold to human rights abusers. The call came as delegates meet this week to resume negotiations on the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), a legally-binding treaty to regulate the global arms trade.

    “The killings and injuring of peaceful demonstrators in the Middle East and North Africa show the urgent need for stringent controls on a wide range of arms that are likely to harm innocent citizens. Governments of arms producing countries need to understand that people will no longer accept the free-for-all in selling their weapons to leaders who have no shame in using them against their own citizens,” said Salah Abdellaoui of Amnesty International.
       
    Top of the agenda will be discussions around the criteria against which transfers of arms should either be authorized or denied. Campaigners stress that if there is a substantial risk that weapons, munitions or related equipment will be used for serious human rights violations, the sale of arms should not be authorized.

    February 24, 2011

    Amnesty International has urged Serbia’s authorities to help bring to justice all those involved in the 1999 murder of hundreds of Kosovo Albanians and subsequent cover-up, following the conviction at The Hague of former police general Vlastimir Ðorðevic.

    Vlastimir Ðorðevic, 62, was convicted yesterday at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia of being responsible for the murder of at least 724 Kosovo Albanians, most of them unarmed civilians, and a cover-up operation involving the removal of nearly 900 bodies from Kosovo for burial in Serbia.

    “Amnesty International welcomes the conviction of Vlastimir Ðorðevic, but calls on the Serbian authorities to redouble their efforts to ensure that all police officers and others suspected of the murder of ethnic Albanians and involvement in the cover-up operation, are brought to justice,” said Nicola Duckworth, Director of the Europe and Central Asia Programme.

    “They, and in particular the Ministry of Interior Police, must provide every assistance to the War Crimes Prosecutor to bring those responsible to justice.”

    Pages

    Subscribe to International Justice
    rights