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Media advisories

    November 17, 2011


    On 22 November Amnesty International is releasing a new report Broken Promises: Egypt's Military Rulers Erode Human Rights.

    The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) has repeatedly pledged to break the cycle of repression entrenched over the past 30 years, but it has resorted to familiar patterns of abuse.

    Released ahead of the start of elections on 28 November, the report analyses how the rhetoric has obscured the increasing suppression of people who dare to defy, question or criticize Egypt’s military rulers.

    When: 0001hrs GMT on 22 November.

    Spokespeople: Egypt researchers Said Haddadi and Mohamed Lotfy (English, Arabic, French) and Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director (English, French) will be available for interview from London.


     

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

    October 26, 2011

    Ladysmith BC – The Hul’qumi’num Treaty Group (HTG) will hold a media briefing conference call on Friday, October 28, 2011, following the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) hearing on the merits of their land rights claims.  This case is significant because it is the first time that IACHR is considering a Canadian indigenous land rights issue.

    “This represents a historic opportunity to address a human rights issue in Canada that could have far-reaching implications for the indigenous movement worldwide,” said Robert Morales, Chief Negotiator for the HTG.

    HTG has had a longstanding petition against Government of Canada for failing to secure, recognize and safeguard the property rights of the Hul’qumi’num indigenous peoples in their ancestral lands.

    Morales added: “We are not asking to turn back the clock and investigate historic wrongs; rather urging effective resolution of land rights and consultations with the Hul’qumi’num indigenous peoples regarding the on-going deforestation and development activities by private corporations.”

    WHAT: Press briefing conference call following IACHR hearing on Hul’qumi’num land rights case.

    October 07, 2011

    The government of Canada has an obligation to start an investigation into former US President George W. Bush’s alleged involvement in, and responsibility for crimes under international law, including torture, while he is visiting Canada on 20 October, says Amnesty International. A memorandum, that has been given to the government, will be made public at a press conference in the Charles Lynch Theatre, Centre Block, House of Commons on Wednesday 12 October at 10:30 a.m.

     
    Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada (English branch) and Beatrice Vaugrante, Director General of the Francophone branch of Amnesty International Canada, will present the details of the extensive submission outlining the responsibilities of the Canadian government. The submission asserts that Canada must investigate the role of the former US President in these crimes and secure his presence in Canada during that investigation.

    Speakers:    Alex Neve, Secretary General, Amnesty International Canada (English branch)
                          Beatrice Vaugrante, Director General, Amnesty International Canada
                          (Francophone branch)

    June 03, 2011

    Amnesty International launches a short campaign document calling on the Rwandan authorities to review ‘genocide ideology’ and ‘sectarianism’ laws that are being used to suppress political dissent and stifle freedom of speech in the country.

    The months leading up to the August 2010 presidential elections, which President Kagame won with 93 per cent of the vote, were marked by a clampdown on freedom of expression through regulatory sanctions, restrictive laws and criminal defamation cases.

    The Rwandan government has expressed a commitment to review laws which are used to criminalize criticism, but recent trials of journalists and opposition politicians suggest that Rwanda’s critics still face prosecution and imprisonment.

    Amnesty International is calling on President Kagame to allow opposition politicians, journalists and human rights defenders to express their views without fear for their safety.

     


     

    Beth Berton-Hunter,
    Media Relations,
    Amnesty International Canada
    416-363-9933, ext. 332

    May 31, 2011

    The struggle for basic rights in Zimbabwe will be examined in meetings and talks this week in Ottawa by Jenni Williams, the Executive Director of powerful social justice movement led by and for women called Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA).

    Jenni Williams is in Ottawa after attending a special joint Annual General Meeting of the English and French branches of Amnesty International Canada in Montreal 28-29 May marking 50 years of work by the international organization.

    WOZA was formed in 2003 to defend human rights amidst the political violence in Zimbabwe, and continues their work today by mobilizing to improve living conditions for all Zimbabweans. At the age of 47, Jenni Williams has experience more brutality than most of us will face in a lifetime. WOZA members constantly experience harassment and abuse by the police for engaging in peaceful forms of activism.

    May 30, 2011

    A new brief by the international human rights organization Amnesty International calls for an independent review of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) response to ongoing land rights protests in the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory.

    The brief, based on extensive eye-witness interviews, access to information requests, and a review of court transcripts, demonstrates that the deployment of large numbers of heavily armed police, including snipers, and the aggressive tactics used, were not only excessive, but could easily have led to the loss of life.

    The brief calls for urgent action to ensure that key recommendations of the Ipperwash Inquiry are properly implemented by the provincial government and the OPP.

    Confirmed Speakers:          

    Alex Neve, Secretary General, Amnesty International Canada

    Larry Hay, former Chief of Police, Tyendinaga Mohawk Police Service

    Jim and Rhonda Kunkel, bystanders arrested at gunpoint during the April 2008 protests

    Nicole Storms, Tyendinaga community member, para-legal, and eyewitness

    May 20, 2011

    Action must be taken by Canada to pressure Syria to respect human rights. Amnesty International Canada and Canadian citizens who have been victims of human rights violations in Syria will outline a series of proposals for  the Canadian government at a press conference.

     Amnesty International has repeatedly urged the Syrian government to rein in its security forces, cease unlawful killings and other excessive force, and for independent investigations and accountability - with those responsible for human rights violations being brought to justice. The Syrian authorities have failed to take these steps. Canada must join the international community in adopting  measures to increase pressure on the Syrian government to do so. Petitions calling for an end for killings, respect for the right of peaceful protest, and to refer Syria to the International Criminal Court (ICC) will be presented to Syrian officials around the world, including to the Syrian Embassy in Ottawa following the press conference. 
     
    Speakers will highlight actions that should be taken by the Canadian government to put further pressure on Syria to ensure the protection of human rights.

    May 13, 2011

    Amnesty International will on 19 May release a new report Egypt rises: Killings, detentions and torture in the '25 January Revolution'.
    The 123-page report will be released two days in advance of the trial of former Interior Minister Habib El Adly and six close aides, who are accused of ordering the shooting of protesters. The report covers human rights violations that took place between 25 January and 7 March, when the new interim cabinet was sworn into office.

    The report documents the cases of 93 individuals killed or injured by security forces using excessive force, focusing on casualties in Greater Cairo, Alexandria, Beni Suef governorate, Suez, Port Said and the industrial heartland of El Mahalla. It charts the waves of arrests in Cairo, particularly from 25 January to 3 February, and the many cases of torture of those detained. It describes the unlawful killings of prisoners in the context of the prison unrest.

    February 10, 2011

    Fair-trade roses will be delivered to the Embassy of the Republic of Zimbabwe on Thursday, February 10th at 2pm, in advance of Valentine’s Day, to call for the protection of women’s human rights defenders in Zimbabwe.

    Every Valentine’s Day, members of the organization Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) march in the streets of Bulawayo and Harare to call for peace and justice.  Formed in 2003, WOZA has over 35,000 members in Zimbabwe. They engage in peaceful protest to demand access to education, food, and health care, and an end to oppression.  They hand out paper roses, calling on the government for change.  And every year in response to their peaceful protest, WOZA members are beaten, harassed, detained and tortured.

    Amnesty International members across Canada will take action to support WOZA on Valentine’s Day.  In Ottawa, Alex Neve, Secretary-General of Amnesty International Canada, along with representatives of Oxfam Canada, will attempt to deliver fair-trade roses, donated by Canadians, to the Embassy of the Republic of Zimbabwe, to call for peace, justice and the protection of women’s human rights defenders.

    February 09, 2011

    Rallies are being held across at least 30 cities in 12 countries.


    On Saturday 12 February Amnesty International will be part of a rally being held on Parliament Hill in Ottawa between 1- 3 p.m supporting peaceful protestors in Egypt and in the wider region. Alex Neve, the Secretary-General of Amnesty International Canada will speak at the event.

     They will be joining thousands of Amnesty International supporters, Egyptian activists, trade unionists, students and others on 12 February at rallies in at least 30 cities across the world to mark a “Global Day of Action” in solidarity with protestors in Egypt and the wider Middle East and North Africa region who are demanding greater human rights.

    Protests will be held in cities across Australia, Benin, Canada, Germany, France, Mali, Norway, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, UK, the USA and others. Demonstrators have been asked to wear red, black or white (the colours of the Egyptian flag) clothing and face paint.

    February 02, 2011

    "Security, Peace and Order"?: Violations in the wake of elections in Belarus highlights violations of the rights to freedom of assembly, association and expression; ill-treatment and disproportionate use of force, arbitrary detention, fair trial concerns and medical care for the detained.

    The document presents the case of opposition presidential candidate Andrei Sannikau and his wife who were severely beaten and injured by riot police and unlawfully arrested. His sister Irina Bogdanova told Amnesty International:  “Most of the information we are getting from the news. In what conditions they are held there we don’t know, how badly my brother is beaten up we don't know, whether they are getting any medical care or not, we don't know.”

    In its latest briefing, Amnesty International is reiterating its call to the Belarusian authorities to release all prisoners of conscience who are detained solely for the peaceful expression of their political views.

    January 20, 2011

    On Friday 21 January, at a press conference in Port-au-Prince, Amnesty International’s expert on Haiti, Gerardo Ducos, will provide an update on the organization’s engagement with the Haitian authorities regarding the legal case against former president Jean Claude Duvalier. Amnesty International has documented hundreds of human rights abuses committed during Duvalier’s rule (1971-1986), including detention without trial, systematic torture, enforced disappearances and extrajudicial executions.

    Jean-Claude Duvalier returned to Haiti on 16 January after nearly 25 years in exile in France. He was briefly arrested on 18 January and is currently facing corruption-related charges.

    When: Friday 21 January, 9.30am Local Time (14:30Hs GMT).

    Where: Hotel Le Plaza, Salle Therese 2, 10 Rue Capois, Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

    Who: Gerardo Ducos, Researcher on Haiti at Amnesty International.

    For more information, please contact:
    In Port-au-Prince: Carolina Roman, +509 3784 4619.
    In London: Josefina Salomon, +44 7778 472 116, jsalomon@amnesty.org

    January 07, 2011

    An Amnesty International delegation has recently returned from Juba in southern Sudan.

    While in Juba, the three-delegate team met with government officials, diplomatic missions, civil society and United Nations representatives in order to make an assessment of the human rights situation ahead of the forthcoming referendum on southern independence.

    Now back in London, the team is available to talk about their findings in English, French and Arabic. Specifically:

    January 07, 2011

    Amnesty International’s expert on Haiti, Gerardo Ducos, will be in Haiti between 8 and 22 January 2011. As part of the visit, Ducos will launch the report Aftershocks: Women speak out against sexual violence in Haiti’s camps at a press conference on Tuesday 11 January in Port-au-Prince. The report, which features the stories of over 50 survivors of sexual abuse, looks at the continuing failure to protect girls and women living in makeshift camps from the risk of rape and sexual assault.

    Survivors of sexual violence, who are already struggling to overcome the trauma suffered after losing their loved ones, their homes and livelihoods after the earthquake, have no access to medical care and have little hope to see their attackers brought to a court.

    When:

    Tuesday 11 January, 10am local time.

    Where:

    GARR offices (Groupe d'Appui aux Rapatriés et Réfugiés) 69, Christ Roi, Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

    Who:

    December 22, 2010

    As the UN Human Rights Council (the Council) prepares to hold a Special Session on the situation of human rights in Côte d'Ivoire on 23 December in Geneva, Amnesty International is calling on the Council’s members to end the ongoing human rights violations.

    Amnesty International calls on the Council to:

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