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Security Legislation

    September 04, 2017

    The Myanmar authorities’ restrictions on international aid in Rakhine state is putting tens of thousands of lives at risk in a region where mainly Rohingya people are already suffering horrific abuses from a disproportionate military campaign, Amnesty International said today.

    Aid workers told Amnesty International of an increasingly desperate humanitarian situation in Rakhine state, where the military has been engaged in a large-scale operation since attacks on dozens of security posts on 25 August, claimed by the armed group Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army.

    “Rakhine state is on the precipice of a humanitarian disaster. Nothing can justify denying life-saving aid to desperate people. By blocking access for humanitarian organizations, Myanmar’s authorities have put tens of thousands of people at risk and shown a callous disregard for human life,” said Tirana Hassan, Amnesty International’s Director for Crisis Response.

    “These restrictions will affect all communities in Rakhine State. The government must immediately change course and allow humanitarian organizations full and unfettered access to all parts of the state to assist people in need.”

    June 20, 2017

    Extensive national security reforms announced by the federal government today, in tabling Bill C-59, the National Security Act, 2017, represent a mix of welcome progress, disappointing tinkering, and lost opportunities.

    Amnesty International had urged that the government use this lengthy and comprehensive review of Canada’s national security framework, including widespread public consultations, to explicitly confirm that Canada approach to national security is grounded in full respect for the Charter of Rights and binding international human rights standards. The organization had recommended that national security laws be amended to explicitly affirm and require that legislation would be interpreted and applied consistent with those obligations. Beyond a preambular reference to according with the rule of law and respecting the Charter, Bill C-59 contains no such provisions.

    October 04, 2016

    "If true, this news will greatly undermine trust in the internet. For a company to secretly search all incoming emails of all its customers in response to a broad government directive would be a blow to privacy and a serious threat to freedom of expression,” said Sherif Elsayed-Ali, head of technology and human rights at Amnesty International.

    "Tech companies want us to believe that they are pushing back against intrusive government surveillance but these reports could cast their ability to do so - if not their willingness - into doubt."

    “If true, this would demonstrate the failure of US government reforms to curb NSA’s tendency to try and indiscriminately vacuum up the world’s data. The NSA has clearly not changed its spots. This is a clear sign that people can trust neither their government nor their service providers to respect their privacy: only end-to-end encryption that keeps their communications away from prying eyes will do. Free speech online, and in society in general, cannot thrive in a world where governments can pry into our private lives at will.” 

    May 11, 2016

    The Polish government is today putting before parliament an anti-terrorism bill to consolidate power in the hands of the Polish Internal Security Agency (ISA). In its bid to have the new law in place by 1 June 2016, the government has failed to seek input from human rights or other civil society organizations. In response to the proposed bill, Julia Hall, Amnesty International’s expert on counterterrorism and human rights, said:

    “The Polish government is trying to rush through a dangerous anti-terrorism bill that would give seemingly unlimited powers to its intelligence services without allowing for democratic oversight of its operations. The Polish parliament must reject this bill and call for an effective oversight mechanism to be put in place with a view to ensuring that human rights are protected."

    The bill includes provisions for banning assemblies and public protests, as well as long pre-trial detention periods and discriminatory measures targeting foreigners in Poland. It will also give the ISA new powers to access data held by virtually every government agency and private companies. 

    February 03, 2016

    Posted at 0001hrs GMT  4 February 2016

    Heavy-handed emergency measures, including late night house raids and assigned residence orders, have trampled on the rights of hundreds of men, women and children, leaving them traumatized and stigmatized, according to a new briefing released by Amnesty International today ahead of Friday’s French parliamentary debate on entrenching emergency measures in the constitution. 

    Upturned lives: The disproportionate impact of France's state of emergency details how, since the state of emergency was declared shortly after the 13 November 2015 Paris attacks, more than 3,242 house searches have been conducted and more than 400 assigned residence orders imposed. Most of the 60 people Amnesty International interviewed said that harsh measures were applied with little or no explanation and sometimes excessive force. One woman said that armed police burst into her house late at night as she minded her three-year old child. Other people told Amnesty International that the stigma of being searched had caused them to lose their jobs.

    July 31, 2015

     

    Tunisia’s new counterterrorism law imperils human rights and lacks the necessary safeguards against abuse, eight nongovernmental organizations said today. The law grants security forces broad and vague monitoring and surveillance powers, extends incommunicado detention from 6 to up to 15 days for terrorism suspects, and permits courts to close hearings to the public and allow witnesses to remain anonymous to the defendants. Tunisia’s parliament should reduce the risk of abuse that the new law has created, including by amending the Code of Criminal Procedures to ensure that all detainees have the right to see a lawyer, as soon as they are detained and also prior to and during interrogation, the organizations said.

    “Terrorism endangers everyone in Tunisia, but so does a law that allows the police to interrogate suspects without a lawyer for 15 days,” said Eric Goldstein, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch.

    May 17, 2015

    Released 00:01 GMT 18 May 2015

    Plans to lower the age at which children can be prosecuted as adults in Brazil will dramatically undermine children’s rights and could result in teenagers being sent to notoriously dangerous adult prisons where they could face horrendous violence, abuse and grooming, said Amnesty International today.

    Brazil’s congress is currently considering reducing the age a person could be prosecuted as an adult from 18 to 16 years old. If passed, the legislation would mean some children would be tried as adults, face the same criminal penalties and could be sent to adult prison.

    April 30, 2015

    By Alex Neve, Amnesty International Canada's Secretary General. Follow Alex on Twitter @AlexNeve Amnesty

    The rushed passage through Parliament of Bill C-51, the furthest-reaching national security reforms in Canada since 2001, continues.  It is soon to be passed by the House of Commons and then head off to the Senate.  And all signs are that the government intends to push it through the Senate as quickly as possible, with an eye to the Bill becoming law before the summer Parliamentary break.

    March 31, 2015

    By Alex Neve, Secretary General, Amnesty International Canada. Follow Alex on Twitter: @AlexNeveAmnesty

    How best to describe the rushed hearings the House of Commons’ Public Safety Committee held over the past few weeks examining Bill C-51, the government’s anti-terrorism law reforms?  Circus, farce and disgrace all come to mind.  I know, I was there on Amnesty International’s behalf earlier this month.

    Having “heard” from the experts, today the Committee turns its attention to the text of the Bill itself.  Indications are that the government is only open to a handful of tweaking amendments, so expectations are low.

    Concern about these sweeping reforms grows daily. Experts representing the perspectives of Indigenous peoples, human rights and civil liberties groups, Muslim Canadians, environmental organizations, the legal community, the country’s privacy watchdog, immigrants and refugees, the labour movement, former judges and politicians and others have enumerated numerous shortcomings. 

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