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Refugees and Migrants

    June 15, 2017

    An already dangerous journey for tens of thousands of refugees has become deadlier thanks to President Trump’s Executive Order on border control and immigration as well as entrenched reckless practices in Mexico, Amnesty International said in a new report based on intensive investigations on both sides of the border.

    Facing Walls: USA and Mexico’s violation of the rights of asylum seekers explores the catastrophic impact of a catalogue of new policies and ongoing practices that result in unlawful push-backs of asylum seekers at the USA-Mexico border, and threaten to unlawfully lock up thousands more families, including babies and children, in immigration detention centres in the USA.

    June 14, 2017

    A landmark settlement that forces the Australian government to pay more than AUS $70m in compensation to nearly 2,000 refugees and asylum seekers for illegally detaining them on Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island amid horrific conditions must lead to their safe resettlement, Amnesty International said today.

    “While the compensation deal is important, it does not remedy the injustices visited upon the refugees and asylum seekers on Manus Island or change their present circumstances. The Australian government must finally face up to the inescapable reality that their offshore detention policies are unsustainable and bring all of the people trapped by them to safety in Australia,” said Kate Schuetze, Amnesty International’s Pacific Researcher.

    “While this settlement is long overdue, it is a welcome recognition of the harm that refugees and people seeking asylum have endured on Manus Island. Now, the Australian government must dismantle its illegal offshore detention centre and safely resettle these people.”

    June 07, 2017

    Moroccan authorities are flouting their international obligations to give protection to refugees by entrapping a group of 25 Syrian refugees in a desert area on the border between Morocco and Algeria and denying them access to asylum and urgent humanitarian assistance said Amnesty International.

    The group of Syrians, including 10 children, have been stuck for the past two months in a buffer zone within Moroccan territory, 1km from the oasis of Figuig in Morocco and 5km away from Beni Ounif in Algeria. They had been surviving on informal assistance and supplies from locals in Figuig facilitated by the Moroccan border police, but according to the refugees this stopped on Friday morning. The Moroccan border police has thus far not given Moroccan human rights groups and humanitarian organizations, including the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), access to the area.

    June 07, 2017

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    June 7, 2017

    NEW YORK – Amnesty International USA is launching a global campaign today to urge Ivanka Trump to intervene on behalf of the women and children held at Berks County Residential Center in Pennsylvania. Amnesty has sent a letter to Trump on June 7 urging her to visit Berks. Currently, there are as many as 60 infants, toddlers, children, fathers and mothers jailed at Berks, one of three such family detention centers, which are akin to jails, in the United States. Some have been held for more than 600 days.

    “Berks is a clear symbol of the cruelty of this country’s immigration system. The women and children held at Berks fled horrific violence in their home countries, only to be put behind bars in the United States,” said Margaret Huang, executive director at Amnesty International USA. “Parents are facing an impossible choice: stay and risk violence or flee to the U.S. and risk tearing their family apart or raising a family in jail. We are asking Ms. Trump to witness, firsthand, what these families are experiencing as they seek refuge in this country.”

    Amnesty’s letter reads, in part:

    May 26, 2017
    Afghan woman and children outside Elliniko camp in Greece

    Outside the unused airport in the Elliniko area of Athens, a group of Afghan women take off their sandals before sitting down on a blue blanket. Behind them is the old terminal building, which has been their temporary “home” for months, for many more than a year.

    There’s rubbish everywhere, shattered windows have turned into gaping holes and some places reek of urine.

    “I have been in this camp for 1 year and two months without a destiny”, a woman with a burgundy headscarf said, tears trickling down her face.

    The government is now starting the process of evacuating the camp. But for these women, their destiny is still unknown. No one we talk to knows exactly what will happen to them.

    “The uncertainty is killing us”,  Afghan woman.

    Amnesty has visited the Elliniko camps several times since they opened around a year and a half ago. Every time the stories have been the same and this visit is no different: appalling living conditions, lack of security, severe anxiety caused by former traumas and not knowing what the future will bring.

    “We’ve been through hell here,” one woman said.

    May 25, 2017

    Amnesty International USA Statement:

    Following a ruling by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals blocking President Trump’s revised Muslim ban, Margaret Huang, executive director Amnesty International USA had the following reaction:

    “Over and over we are seeing the courts and the public soundly reject this blatant attempt to write bigotry into law. Rather then wait for yet another court to rule against it, Congress can and must take action that will end this discriminatory and dangerous policy once and for all.”

     

     

    April 18, 2017

    Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International, blogs from Beirut, Lebanon. Follow Salil on Twitter @SalilShetty

    At a time of extreme contestation of what constitutes truth, and an era where “fake news” is almost celebrated, the rule of law based on real evidence is more essential than ever.

    International human rights law and humanitarian law are long-established standards and norms, and are critical to be able to distinguish right from wrong.

    Human rights give us a framework to interpret and describe why what we see is wrong. And they give us a legal architecture to hold governments to account and demand change.

    And what is the alternative to addressing the massive challenges the world faces without international solidarity and accountability, without a shared commitment to uphold the equal and inalienable rights of every person?

    April 13, 2017

    By: Marium Yousuf

    On a beautiful, crisp sunny day last weekend, Amnesty International, Sojurn House, Culture Link and the Centre for Victims of Torture held an event in Toronto to mark Canada’s Refugee Rights Day (April 4). The tone was deliberately celebratory, with performances from the Nai Syrian Kids Choir, poet Ama Luna and poet/singer, song-writer Ruth Mathiang that left the audience captivated all afternoon.

    The Nai Syrian Kids Choir immediately captured everyone’s attention as they streamed through the room in their yellow uniforms. Ranging between the ages from 6-12, it was hard to imagine that these smiling young faces had experienced war and loss, having recently resettled in Canada as Syrian refugees. The Choir is an initiative of Culture Link and serves as a space for children to deal with their loss, grief and hope through music, while their parents practice conversational English with ESL teachers. Their performances did not disappoint: singing songs in Arabic, French and English, while their beaming parents cheered them on.

    April 11, 2017

    An Amnesty International team recently returned from the US-Mexico border where they investigated how President Trump’s executive orders on immigration and border security threaten to affect thousands of people. 

    This is what they found.

    What did you find at the border? 

    We spent almost two weeks visiting towns and cities on both sides of the US-Mexico border, talking to migrants, asylum seekers, human rights activists and government officials. We travelled the entire length of the land border, something that no other international human rights organization has done since Trump took office. We knew this was essential to get a clear picture of what was happening in what has become one of the most talked-about places on earth. 

    We were surprised by what we found. 

    Most places were quiet – but the kind of edgy quiet before a big storm kicks in. Because President Trump’s executive orders are setting the scene for what could turn into a full-blown refugee crisis. 

    April 11, 2017

    By Madeleine Penman, Mexico Researcher at Amnesty International

    The sight of one of the most infamous borders on earth – roughly 1,000 kilometers of porous metal fence dividing lives, hopes and dreams between the USA and Mexico, is undoubtedly overwhelming, but not in the way we expected it to be.

    While it has been one of the most talked about issues since last year’s USA election campaign, the stretch of land that separates the USA and Mexico now lies eerily quiet.

    April 04, 2017

    Released 00:01 BST on 05 April 2017

    A major corporation responsible for running the Australian government’s refugee “processing” centre on Nauru is making millions of dollars from a system that amounts to torture of refugees and people seeking asylum, Amnesty International said today.

    A new briefing, ‘Treasure I$land’, exposes how Spanish multinational Ferrovial and its Australian subsidiary Broadspectrum are complicit in, and reaping vast profits from, Australia’s cruel and secretive refugee “processing” system on the Pacific island.

    “The Australian government has created an island of despair for refugees and people seeking asylum on Nauru, but an island of profit for companies making millions of dollars from a system so deliberately and inherently cruel and abusive it amounts to torture,” said Lucy Graham, Amnesty International’s Researcher on Business and Human Rights.

    “By knowingly enabling the continuation of this system, which is specifically designed to cause suffering and deter people from travelling to Australia by boat to seek asylum, Broadspectrum and Ferrovial are unequivocally complicit in this abuse.”

    March 09, 2017

    By Rawya Rageh, Senior Crisis Response Advisor at Amnesty International. Follow Rawya on Twitter @RawyaRageh.

    It was an excruciating choice that no family should ever have to make.

    Should they stay together with their two young daughters and miss perhaps their only chance to escape the horrors of war, or should they make a break for freedom but leave their year-old baby behind in a foreign land half-way around the world?

    This was the devil’s dilemma facing US-Yemeni dual national Baraa Ahmed (not his real name) and his wife, who were separated from their breastfeeding baby in the wake of President Trump’s discriminatory travel ban.

    “I would have never left my daughter behind in Malaysia and flown back [to the States] if it weren’t for the decision by the President. Nothing would have made me leave my daughter behind … But [Trump’s executive order] really compelled us to do what we did,” Baraa Ahmed told Amnesty International.

    What brought them to entrust their baby’s care to friends in Malaysia, a country 15,000 km away where they have no close ties?

    March 07, 2017
    New packaging, same fear and hate.

    Donald Trump's Executive Order on immigration may have been revised, but it remains blatantly discriminatory. 

    Thinly disguised as a national security measure, Trump’s travel ban reinstates many of the most repellent elements of the original blocked by US courts.

    The US president has effectively shut America’s door to anyone - including refugees - from Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. These six countries have two main things in common: they are predominantly Muslim, and many of their citizens are trying to seek asylum abroad to escape serious human rights violations like persecution, indiscriminate bombing, and torture.

    Rather than curbing the excesses of the first travel ban, the revised version shows a xenophobic policy towards Muslims which is mutating, virus-like, into an ever more resilient strain. And like a virus, its effects cannot be easily contained.

    February 09, 2017

    In response to today’s court ruling blocking the Kenyan government’s unilateral decision to shut Dadaab refugee camp, Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes, said:

    “Today is a historic day for more than a quarter of a million refugees who were at risk of being forcefully returned to Somalia, where they would have been at serious risk of human rights abuses. This ruling reaffirms Kenya’s constitutional and international legal obligation to protect people who seek safety from harm and persecution.

    Stopping the imminent closure of Dadaab refugee camp is an essential first step in respecting and protecting refugee rights in Kenya. Now Kenya and the international community must work towards finding alternative solutions for refugees including local integration options.”

    Background

    In his ruling, Justice JM Mativo said the government’s orders were discriminatory and amounted to collective punishment. He also described the orders as excessive, arbitrary and disproportionate.

    February 07, 2017

    NEW YORK – Following a filing by the Department of Justice to an appeals court weighing President Trump’s Muslim ban, Naureen Shah, director of Amnesty International USA’s Security With Human Rights program, released the following statement:

    “President Trump continues to defend his indefensible Muslim ban as more and more Americans are rejecting it. From polls to protests, Americans are sending a clear message to Congress: Step in and block this Muslim ban now. Congress must intervene immediately and stop this once and for all.”

    This statement can be found online here:http://amnestyusa.org/news/press-releases/trump-s-defense-of-muslim-ban-is-out-of-step-with-americans

     

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