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    January 23, 2017

    On Thursday 26 January the UK High Court will rule on whether two Niger Delta communities whose environment and livelihoods were destroyed by oil spills can have their claims against Shell heard in the UK. The case could set a precedent for holding other UK-based multinationals to account for abuses committed overseas.

    “This ruling will have wide-ranging implications for corporations based in the UK that abuse human rights abroad. If the court rules that the communities cannot have their case heard in the UK it would effectively be a green light for UK multinationals to profit from human rights abuses and environmental destruction around the world,” said Audrey Gaughran, Director of Global Issues at Amnesty International.

    Two separate legal actions have been brought against Shell on behalf of more than 42,000 people from the Ogale and Bille communities in Nigeria’s Rivers State, who live with appalling pollution caused by oil spills.

    November 29, 2016

    The opening of the trial of former Malian junta leader Amadou Haya Sanogo is an important first step to put an end to an agonizing three-year-long wait for justice for those who suffered torture, as well as the murder and enforced disappearances of loved ones, at the hands of his soldiers, Amnesty International said today.

    Sanogo and several soldiers under his command will be tried on 30 November by the Assize Court in Mali’s capital, Bamako, on charges linked to the abduction and murder of soldiers accused of supporting the ousted President, Amadou Toumani Touré. The charges also include the enforced disappearances of 21 soldiers between 30 April and 1 May 2012, whose bodies were later found in a mass grave.

    “Sanogo’s brief rule was characterized by torture, disappearances and extra-judicial executions. For the victims and their families this trial brings a fresh hope of justice,” said Gaëtan Mootoo, Amnesty International’s West Africa Researcher.   

    November 04, 2016

    Spokespeople available

    The High Court in Kenya will on Monday 7 November hear a petition filed by two civil society organizations challenging the government’s decision to close down Dadaab refugee camp and disband the Department of Refugee Affairs (DRA).

    Amnesty International is participating in the proceedings as an interested party and has filed submissions on Kenya’s obligations under international law to ensure the rights of asylum seekers and refugees.

    The petition, filed by the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights and Kituo Cha Sheria, seeks to have the government’s closure decisions declared unconstitutional.

    “The closure of Dadaab would be a disaster for the tens of thousands of refugees still living there who have nowhere else to go. Their repatriation back to Somalia is not voluntary - they are being forced to return when the conditions that forced them to flee in the first place have not improved,” said Michelle Kagari, deputy director of Amnesty International’s East Africa regional office.

    November 04, 2016

    Spokespeople available for interview

    Fears for the safety of civilians in eastern and western Aleppo city are mounting amid the looming threat of a resumption and possible escalation of fighting and bombardment by Syrian government forces with Russian support, and non-state armed groups once a humanitarian pause comes to an end later today, said Amnesty International today.

    Media reports indicate that a fleet of Russian warships have made their way to Latakia on the Syrian coast in recent days indicating that Syrian and Russian forces are preparing a final bloody assault to seize control of the city.

    “Even in times of wars, there are fundamental rules that all parties must obey. Civilians must never be deliberately targeted. And armed forces must never indiscriminately bombard populated areas.  Syrian government forces, with Russian support, have systematically violated international humanitarian law in eastern Aleppo and throughout Syria, unlawfully killing tens of thousands of civilians. And armed opposition groups have indiscriminately bombarded civilian areas in in western Aleppo and elsewhere. ”

    November 01, 2016

    AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL
    MEDIA ADVISORY

    CANADA: Rampant resource development in northeast BC puts Indigenous women and girls at HEIGHTENED risk of VIOLENCE

    Vancouver – On November 3, Amnesty International will launch a new report at a press conference in Vancouver documenting how unchecked resource development and government policy failures have put Indigenous women and girls at increased risk of violence and human rights violations in northeast British Colombia, Canada.

    The report, Out of Sight, Out of Mind, demonstrates how resource development has eroded the land base that provides the foundation for First Nations and Métis health and wellness in the region, while influxes of transient workers have driven up local prices and strained the social fabric. Increased rates of violent crime and diminished access to social services have placed Indigenous women and girls at increased risk of harm, while denying them the protections and support they need.

    October 27, 2016
             Spokespeople at the court and available for interview

    Ahead of the expected verdict in the trial of a Syrian man charged with committing an “act of terror” during clashes with Hungarian border guards at a Serbia-Hungary border crossing last year, an Amnesty International team is in court and available for interviews.

    The man, a permanent resident of Cyprus who can only be identified as Ahmed H., could face a life sentence if found guilty. His elderly parents were convicted previously of unlawful entry and mass rioting, in relation to the same incident at the Röszke border crossing in September 2015.

     

    “This trial is symptomatic of the Hungarian government’s vilification of people seeking protection in Europe,” said Kartik Raj, Amnesty International’s regional campaigner.

    October 20, 2016

    Geneva, Switzerland – Amnesty International spokespeople are available for interview from Geneva, where Canada will be under review by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) on October 24th. This is the first review by the UN body since 2008, when the Committee outlined numerous shortcomings in Canada’s progress toward the elimination of discrimination against women and girls. 

    Amnesty International made a formal submission to the CEDAW as part of Canada’s review process. It finds that Canada is not doing enough to protect the human rights and safety of women and girls, especially First Nations, Metis, Inuit and migrant and refugee women and girls. Amnesty International is particularly concerned that many past recommendations from the Committee remain unimplemented.

    ++++++++++++++

    September 21, 2016

    Released 00.01 22 September 2016 CET

             One year on from promises to relocate over 66,000 asylum-seekers from Greece, less than 6% relocated

     

             Press resource pack with case studies, data and photographs

     

             Spokespeople available for interview

     

    A year after EU leaders agreed on an emergency relocation scheme to share responsibility for asylum-seekers, tens of thousands remain stranded in appalling conditions in Greece, Amnesty International revealed in a new briefing published today.

     

    Our hope is broken provides detailed case studies, evidence and data on the ways in which European governments’ lack of political will is condemning extremely vulnerable people to crippling insecurity and hardship. It reveals that less than 6% of the commitments for relocation from Greece have been fulfilled.

     

    August 26, 2016

    As the Prime Minister begins his first trip to China, the Canadian Coalition on Human Rights in China is releasing an Open Letter, documenting serious human rights concerns and laying out recommendations for human rights reforms in China.  The Coalition has also urged the Prime Minister to press for freedom for thirteen prisoners.

    The Prime Minister’s first trip to China comes at a critical time.  There has been a clampdown on human rights lawyers and activists and intensified measures to curtail freedoms of expression, association and assembly.  These are indications of a deteriorating climate for human rights protection in the country.   

    Event:             Press Conference

    Speakers:      Sonam Chokey, National Director, Students for a Free Tibet Canada

                         Gloria Fung, Director, Canada-Hong Kong Link 

    June 20, 2016

    Days before the state visit to Canada of Mexico’s President and the North American Leaders Summit, four courageous women human rights defenders from Mexico are visiting Ottawa with a compelling message: it’s time to break the silence and take meaningful action to confront an acute human rights crisis in Mexico.

    The women are in Ottawa from June 21 to 23. They will hold a press conference on June 23 to make public devastating personal experiences they are sharing with Canadian government officials, MPs, Senators and members of civil society organizations, as well as the actions needed to stop the explosion of human rights violations in Mexico.

    A press conference will take place on Thursday June 23 at 10:30 AM

    in the Charles Lynch Press Room, Centre Block, House of Commons, Ottawa

    Speakers:

    May 13, 2016
             Amnesty International never given access to Giwa barracks          Report findings shared with Nigerian authorities in advance          Evidence in the report incontrovertible          “We have to do it”: President Buhari’s acknowledgment that Amnesty International’s findings must be investigated is welcome

    The claim by Brigadier General Rabe Abubakar that Amnesty International was granted access to Giwa barracks detention centre and that it had “accessed the facilities” is completely false.

    Amnesty International has repeatedly requested access to the detention centre and it has never been granted.

    May 11, 2016

    The Ugandan authorities must halt the shameful assault on human rights that has cast a stain on the country’s electoral and post-electoral period, said Amnesty International today, on the eve of President Yoweri Museveni inauguration for a fifth five-year term.

    “President Museveni’s inauguration comes amidst a crackdown on the rights to the freedoms of expression, association and assembly,” said Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    “The arbitrary detention of political opposition leaders and their supporters, the recent ban on live media coverage of opposition activities and the violent disruption of peaceful opposition gatherings in the lead up to and since election day not only violate Uganda’s own Constitution, but also fly in the face of its regional and international human rights obligations.”

    Read more:

    Uganda: Violations against opposition party impeding its efforts to contest election outcome (26 February 2016)

    May 09, 2016

    Spokespeople available

    While today’s trial of former first lady Simone Gbagbo is an important step towards ending impunity in Côte d’Ivoire, Amnesty International maintains that the Ivorian authorities should reconsider their refusal to comply with their obligation to surrender her to the International Criminal Court (ICC) pursuant to an arrest warrant against her on charges of crimes against humanity.

    Simone Gbagbo is set to go on trial today in Abidjan on charges of crimes against humanity related to the post-election violence in 2010-2011. More than 1,000 people were killed in the violence that ensued when her husband Laurent Gbagbo refused to relinquish power after losing an election.

    “Unless Côte d’Ivoire applies to the International Criminal Court to again challenge the admissibility of her case they must immediately surrender Simone Gbagbo to the ICC,” said Gaëtan Mootoo, West Africa researcher for Amnesty International.

    May 06, 2016

    An upcoming UN plan for addressing the unprecedented global refugee crisis could be a game-changer if governments back it up with concrete and long-term commitments, said Amnesty International today.

    UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will publish a report on 9 May proposing a “Global Compact on responsibility-sharing” to create a more predictable and equitable way of responding to large movements of refugees. As part of the “Global Compact”, it will also call on governments to resettle at least 10% of the global refugee population (which currently stands at 19.5 million) annually.

    “The UN plan could be a game-changer, if it manages to deliver a clear, coordinated system that will ensure that the world’s wealthiest and most powerful countries pull their weight and collectively protect people fleeing war and persecution. But its success will hinge on governments agreeing a permanent system for sharing the responsibility to host and assist refugees ahead of the UN Refugee Summit in September. The ball is in their court,” said Sherif Elsayed-Ali, ‎Deputy Director of Global Issues at Amnesty International.

    May 04, 2016

    A woman who was tortured for 15 hours to confess to a crime and has been languishing in prison for nearly four years must be released without delay, said Amnesty International ahead of a key decision on the case.

    Yecenia Armenta Graciano was arrested in July 2012 by local police officers in the northern state of Sinaloa. She was raped, asphyxiated and hung from her feet upside down until she was forced to confess to murdering her husband. The only direct evidence presented against her was the statement obtained under torture. She has been in prison since then.

    The Sinaloa Attorney General has a deadline of 5 May to inform the judge in charge of the case whether he thinks Yecenia should be convicted or acquitted. This is the same authority responsible for the torture of Yecenia.

    “Yecenia is one of thousands of victims of Mexico’s wicked judicial system, one that all too often relies on confessions extracted under torture and other ill-treatment to sentence people,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International. 

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