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Media advisories

    February 27, 2016

    The worsening humanitarian conditions at the Greece-Macedonia border crossing of Idomeni have reached crisis point as an increasing number of refugees and asylum-seekers are stuck in dire conditions after Macedonia and Serbia closed their borders to Afghanis, said Amnesty International experts on the border.

    The discriminatory measures have exacerbated a humanitarian bottleneck in Idomeni and set a dangerous precedent as refugees and asylum-seekers attempt to cross through the Balkans.

    “With the Greek asylum and reception systems under strain, the humanitarian situation here is only getting worse as entire families are sleeping rough, without access to adequate reception conditions,” said Giorgos Kosmopoulos, Director of Amnesty International Greece.

    “EU member states need to immediately step up and share responsibility in responding to this crisis. The situation in Idomeni is at breaking point and EU leaders hold the lives of thousands of asylum-seekers in the balance.”

    February 26, 2016

    Today Palestinian residents and activists in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron are holding demonstrations marking 22 years since the Israeli authorities first closed al-Shuhada Street, formerly the city’s commercial centre. They are protesting against illegal Israeli settlements and demanding the removal of the restrictions on their movement, which are applied only to Palestinians and not to Israeli settlers.

    Following a surge in violence and civilians in Hebron and elsewhere in the occupied West Bank in October 2015, the Israeli military intensified the long-standing restrictions, declaring parts of Hebron’s Old City a “closed military zone” and barring access to Palestinians living elsewhere in the city, as well as human rights defenders. There has also been an escalation in attacks on human rights defenders – Palestinian, Israeli and international – by Israeli forces and settlers in and around the Old City.

    February 11, 2016

    Organizations from across Canada are urging Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to take immediate action to halt construction of the Site C dam in north-eastern British Columbia

    In an open letter released today, more than 25 organizations, including Amnesty International, the David Suzuki Foundation, and Sierra Club BC, denounced the project for violation of rights protected under Treaty 8, the Canadian Constitution, and international human rights law.

    Although promoted by the government of BC as a “clean” source of renewable energy, the joint federal-provincial environmental impact assessment panel concluded that the Site C dam would severely and permanently undermine Indigenous peoples’ use of the land and destroy important cultural sites and a unique ecosystem.

    February 08, 2016

    Released Tuesday 9 February 2016, 00:01 GMT

    Mexico is facing a human rights crisis of epidemic proportions with disappearances, torture and brutal murders becoming the hallmarks of the country, said Amnesty International ahead of a state visit by Pope Francis.

    “As soon as he sets foot on Mexico City, Pope Francis will come face-to-face with one of the most troubling human rights crises in the whole of the Americas,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    “From the tens of thousands of people who have gone missing, to the widespread use of torture and rising numbers of killings of women, to the utter lack of ability to investigate crimes, human rights abuses have become shorthand for Mexico.”

    February 05, 2016

    The Iraqi authorities’ failure to protect Sunni civilians from a wave of reprisal attacks by Shi’a militia last month is another example of widespread impunity for what are clearly war crimes, said Amnesty International today.

    Abductions, killings and burning of homes and property of the Sunni community in and around the city of Muqdadiya started on 11 January after appalling bomb attacks that killed at least 27 civilians, carried out by the armed group calling itself Islamic State.

    The Iraqi authorities failed to stop reprisal attacks by Shi’a militias and have subsequently failed to effectively investigate or bring a single person to justice. Scores of Sunni men in Muqdadiya and surrounding areas are still unaccounted for and are feared dead.

    “Instead of holding Shi’a militias to account the authorities have turned a blind eye to this shocking rampage. In some cases abductions and killings took place in full view of local authorities, who failed to intervene,” said James Lynch, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Program.

    January 22, 2016

    In an open letter sent this week, five national organizations that have been deeply involved in efforts to expose and address violence against Indigenous women and girls call on the federal government to ensure that the forthcoming national inquiry can:

    January 08, 2016

    New testimony from residents living inside besieged Syrian villages gathered by Amnesty International, describing their desperate struggle to feed themselves through the winter months, highlights the crucial need to allow unimpeded humanitarian access to all civilians in need and lift all sieges on civilian populations across country.

    The organization has spoken to residents in the besieged town of Medaya in the Damascus Countryside governorate, and gathered fresh accounts of conditions in al-Fouaa and Kefraya in the Idleb Countryside governorate.  The starving residents described how families are surviving on little more that foraged leaves and boiled water. The villages are due to resume receiving aid following a deal involving the Syrian government, struck on 7 January 2016.

    December 17, 2015

    Five years since fruit-seller Mohamed Bouazizi sparked wide-ranging protests in Tunisia and the wider region after setting himself alight in protest at police harassment in the town of Sidi Bouzid, ongoing human rights violations across the region are increasingly reminiscent of repressive and abusive measures of the past, Amnesty International warned today.

    In a fact sheet published today Amnesty International gives a brief overview of human rights developments in the countries where there were uprisings five years ago.

    “Many dared to hope that the ‘Arab Spring’, as it became known, would augur real change in the relationship between the rulers and those they ruled – greater power-sharing, social justice, transparency, accountability, and greater respect for human rights. The reality is that across the region, conflict and harsh repression remain the order of the day,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme.

    December 11, 2015
    Delayed trial of renowned human rights lawyer due to start on Monday Amnesty International’s human rights experts on China available for interview

    The Chinese authorities must end their persecution of prominent human rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang, Amnesty International said, ahead of his trial which is set to begin on Monday in Beijing.

    According to his lawyers, Pu Zhiqiang faces up to eight years in prison on the charges of “picking quarrels and provoking troubles” and “inciting ethnic hatred”, primarily on the basis of seven social media posts, in total around 600 characters, in which he criticized the government.

    “The chances of Pu Zhiqiang receiving a fair trial are close to zero. He is being punished solely for standing up to the Chinese government in his courageous defence of human rights,” said Patrick Poon, China Researcher at Amnesty International.

    December 01, 2015

    NGOs and human rights defenders have come under increased scrutiny and pressure from the Huthi armed group in areas of Yemen under its control over the past six months, said Amnesty International in a new statement published today.

    At least 27 NGOs have been raided and shut down since the Huthi armed group took control of the Yemeni capital, Sana’a, and human rights activists have reported coming under increased monitoring from the group and even received death threats towards their family members.

    “By harassing and intimidating human rights defenders and shutting down NGOs the Huthi armed group is fuelling a climate of repression and sending a clear message that dissenting voices will not be tolerated in areas under its control,” said James Lynch, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director for Amnesty International.

    November 15, 2015

    World leaders must show true statesmanship and refrain from bowing to a knee-jerk anti-refugee agenda in the wake of the despicable attacks in Paris, urged Amnesty International today.

    “The tragic events in Paris have sickened and stunned the world and our hearts and thoughts go out to all those affected by this atrocious attack. The threat of terrorism must always be responded to resolutely, with the utmost regard for security and respect for human rights,” said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Director of Europe and Central Asia.

    “Now is also the time for world leaders to show true statesmanship and refuse to bow to the conflated anti-refugee rhetoric which is already emanating from some quarters. We have to remember that many of those trying to gain sanctuary have fled violence, fear and conflict, and indeed often by the very same group known as the Islamic State in both Syria and Iraq.”

    November 10, 2015

    •    20 years on from his execution, Ken Saro-Wiwa’s struggle continues

    •    Thousands still blighted by oil pollution

    •    Shell is yet to clean up the Niger Delta

    As hundreds of people remember the killing of environmental activists Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other Ogoni activists executed 20 years ago, Amnesty International urged oil giant Royal Dutch Shell and Nigerian authorities to clean up the oil pollution in the Niger Delta.

    “It is heartbreakingly tragic to see how 20 years after the execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa, who campaigned bitterly for the clean-up of the oil pollution in the Niger Delta, we see very little has changed: the oil spills have not stopped, and Shell has still not cleaned up this huge environmental degradation,” said Amnesty International Nigeria Director M K Ibrahim.

    October 30, 2015

    Spokespeople available for interviews

    Azerbaijan’s dire human rights record is rapidly deteriorating as people prepare to head to the polls on Sunday 1 November amid a backdrop of crackdowns on freedom of expression and the right to assembly, said Amnesty International today.

    “Azerbaijani authorities must uphold their human rights obligations and immediately release all prisoners of conscience, as well as stop persecuting civil society activists, including human rights defenders,” said Denis Krivosheev, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director of Europe and Central Asia.

    At least 20 people are currently imprisoned in the country merely for having challenged the government’s policies or having attempted to help victims of human rights abuses. Most of the country’s independent human rights organizations – around 20 – have been shut down, with their most prominent leaders arrested or forced into exile.

    October 21, 2015

    South African police must use restraint in response to students participating in nationwide protests, said Amnesty International.

    Police have used teargas, rubber bullets and stun grenades against students in Cape Town and Port Elizabeth.

    University students have been protesting against proposed fee hikes for 2016.

    “We are alarmed by reports of police officers using teargas and rubber bullets against peaceful protesters. Students have a right to express their grievances peacefully and police must respect this right,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Director for Southern Africa.

    “Law enforcement officials must comply with international standards governing the use of force in policing protests,” said Deprose Muchena. 

     

    For further information contact John Tackaberry, Media Relations
    (613)744-7667 #236  jtackaberry@amnesty.ca

    October 21, 2015

    The Algerian government must cease its relentless campaign of censorship of private broadcasters if it is going to live up to its pledge to uphold and strengthen media freedoms in the country, said Amnesty International as the country marks National Press Day on 22 October.

    Only last week police raided and shut down El Watan TV, confiscating equipment and escorting staff out of the station’s office in the capital Algiers after it broadcast an interview with a controversial government critic.

    In 2014 the government introduced restrictive licensing laws which have left many broadcasters in legal limbo operating under the constant threat of censorship.

    “The government’s repeated shutdowns of private TV stations that dare to criticize it, such as El Watan TV, is a clear and present danger to the survival of a free media in Algeria,” said Said Boumedouha, Amnesty International’s Director of North Africa and the Middle East.

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