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Media advisories

    December 10, 2013

    Amnesty International is calling for the mass riot charges to be dropped against all Bolotnaya defendants. The organization considers Moscow’s ongoing Bolotnaya Square trial as a purely political attempt to paint the protesters as intent on mass violence and discourage future protest.

    Amnesty International has recognized a further seven of those currently standing trial as prisoners of conscience, and considers all of those accused of “participation in mass riots” in connection with the Bolotnaya square protest on May 6 2012 to be victims of gross injustice.

    “What really happened on Bolotnaya Square was not the quelling of a riot, but the crushing of a protest. What has happened in the Bolotnaya trial has not been the exposing of orchestrated violence, but rather the exposing of a criminal justice system that is entirely malleable to dictates of its political masters,” said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Europe and Central Asia Director.  

     

    November 20, 2013

    World leaders must reject requests by the African Union to weaken the principle that no-one, regardless of their status, has immunity from prosecution for crimes under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, said Amnesty International. 

    The session is expected to be dominated by the African Union’s calls to suspend the ICC’s trials of Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto in view of their official status as President and Deputy President of Kenya respectively. 

    Both men are accused of committing crimes against humanity during the post-election violence of 2007-8 that left over 1,000 dead and 600,000 displaced.

    Representatives of 122 countries which have joined the International Criminal Court will be asked to endorse changes to the Court’s rule that accused persons must attend trial and could discuss possible retrograde amendments to the Rome Statute at the 12 th Assembly of State Parties at The Hague on 20-28 November.

    November 06, 2013

    WHEN:  Friday November 8 10:00 am - 12:00 pm noon

    WHERE: Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health, 299 Montreal Rd,  Ottawa

    Introduction: Leadership from the Tsilhqot'in National Government

    Keynote presentations:

    Grand Chief  Ed John, UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
    Louise Mandell, Mandell Pinder. LLP

    Panelists:

    Will David, Paul Joffe, Robert Morales, Maria Morellato, and Jay Nelson

    For the first time in almost a decade, the Supreme Court of Canada is considering the vital question of Indigenous peoples' right to own and control their traditional lands and resources. The outcome of the Tsilhqot'in title case could have far reaching implications in Canada, and possibly around the world. This forum will examine the way Canadian constitutional and international human rights law are converging  in this landmark case. Speakers include prominent lawyers from the case.

    October 24, 2013

    The President of the Republic of Belarus must introduce an immediate moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the use of the death penalty. Amnesty International reiterated its call while welcoming the fact that earlier this week the country’s Supreme Court overturned a death sentence.

    “A step in the right direction has been made. It has to be followed by the introduction of a moratorium on the death penalty until this ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment is abolished,” said Heather McGill, Amnesty International’s researcher on Belarus.

    “Amnesty understands that part of the court’s reasoning was based on fair trial concerns. If this is the case, the Supreme Court of the Republic Belarus has demonstrated the important role that the judiciary can play in ensuring strict adherence to fair trial standards. This is particulary important in a country that continues to  impose death sentences.”

    October 08, 2013

    Harassment, intimidation, ill-treatment, arbitrary arrests, fabricated charges and unfair trials are all part of the arsenal the Azerbaijani authorities are employing in a downward spiral of oppression in the run up to the 9 October 2013 presidential elections, said Amnesty International.

    “With new arrests of civil society activists reported almost daily, it’s hard to keep up with the sheer number and the speed at which dissenters are being persecuted at the moment,” said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Europe and Central Asia Director. “The persecution is so widespread and frequent it’s difficult to assess just how bad the current situation really is.”

    “We have already adopted no fewer than 14 people as prisoners of conscience. These people are currently behind bars solely for expressing their views or taking peaceful action.”

    September 27, 2013

    Amnesty International is disappointed by the failure of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to see the detrimental effect that Russia’s discriminatory legislation will have on the Games in Sochi.  

    "Russia’s law banning propaganda of ‘non-traditional sexual relations’ among minors is clearly discriminatory and in this it violates international law and runs counter to the Olympic Charter. Moreover, the introduction of the law creates an atmosphere in Russia that has already encouraged brutal crimes against people only because of their real or perceived sexual orientation,” Sergei Nikitin, Amnesty International’s Moscow Office Director.

    “The fact that the IOC has satisfied itself with Russian officials’ assurances of non-discrimination is not enough. It disregards the fact that Russian law effectively prohibits people from public expression of ‘non-traditional’ sexual orientation. This is an affront to gay and lesbian athletes and spectators. It is also a disappointment to sports fans across the world who care about the Olympic ideal.”

    September 19, 2013

    An Amnesty International poster purporting to show the Iranian human rights activist, Narges Mohammadi, incorrectly depicts an Iranian actress of the same name.

    The incorrect image was intended to be used at an exhibition about female human rights activists in Iran held near Munich, Germany in November 2012.

    As soon as Amnesty International became aware of the mistake, the image was withdrawn and labelled a ‘misprint’.

    This month the incorrect image has been circulated on social media.

    Amnesty International apologizes for the mistake and any offence caused.

    The organization has campaigned on her behalf of Narges Mohammadi, the Executive chairperson of Iran’s Centre for Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) who was convicted in 2011 for “propaganda against the system”, and membership of a group “whose object is to disturb the security of the country.”

    She was granted temporary medical leave from prison in July 2012.

     

    September 03, 2013

    The number of Syrian refugees has now surpassed 2 million according to the United Nations. This figure has doubled in the last six months alone. The rising flow of refugees into neighbouring countries has sparked a desperate humanitarian crisis.

    “"The rising flow of refugees into neighbouring countries has sparked a desperate humanitarian crisis. In the context of the most severe forcible displacement crisis in recent history, it is paramount that the international community acts decisively to share the responsibility for Syria’s refugees,” said Sherif El-Sayed-Ali, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director of Global Thematic Issues.

    “Humanitarian assistance to neighbouring countries must be significantly stepped up. Neighbouring countries must also keep their borders fully open to all persons fleeing the conflict."

    Amnesty International’s researchers have been monitoring the situation of Syrian refugees in Jordan, including at the Za’atari refugee camp, and elsewhere. They are available for interview on the human rights concerns of this crisis.

    Researchers available for interview:

    August 22, 2013

    The Armenian authorities must respect the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and non-discrimination for all, Amnesty International said in a report published today.

    “The ability to exercise the right to freedom of expression, even when the views expressed may be deemed controversial, and the ability to gather and demonstrate peacefully are essential for the defence of human rights and for a functioning civil society,” said Natalia Nozadze, Amnesty International’s researcher on Armenia.

    Armenia: No space for difference exposes the harassment and intimidation suffered by civil society activists and journalists who question the mainstream view of the country’s conflict with Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh as well as expose abuses in the army, whose reputation as a backbone of nation remains current due to unresolved conflict.

    Through national and international obligations the Armenian authorities have committed to ensure that activists can carry out their work without interference, obstacles, discrimination or fear of retaliation.

    August 19, 2013

    Capital Pride and Amnesty International are holding a Human Rights Vigil on Thursday August 22nd from 8:00–9:00pm at the Human Rights Monument, located on Elgin Street at Lisgar Street. The vigil will honour the many LGBTI people globally who have faced persecution, violence, and in many cases death because of their sexuality or gender identity.

    Leading LGBTI activists will speak about how difficult it is to “Be Loud, Be Proud” in many parts of the world, and a sneak peek at a new documentary film on homophobia in Jamaica will be screened. The names of those whose lives have been lost to homophobia in the past year will be read out, followed by a moment of silence.

    A contrast to the fun-filled parade and some of the other events during Capital Pride, the Human Rights Vigil serves as a reminder that for people in many parts of the world it is not possible to “Be Loud, Be Proud,” and there is much work left to be done to ensure that the human rights of LGBTI individuals the world over are protected.

    August 07, 2013

    Amnesty International absolutely refutes a statement by Nabil Fahmy, the Egyptian Foreign Minister, alleging that the organization has evidence that “heavy weapons” are present inside a sit-in by supporters of deposed President Mohamed Morsi near Rabaa al-Adawiya Mosque in Cairo.

    During an interview on BBC HARDTalk broadcast on Tuesday 6 August 2013, Nabil Fahmy said that Amnesty International had issued a statement saying there were “heavy weapons inside Rabaa”. Amnesty International has not issued such a statement.

    Last Friday Amnesty International announced that the organization had gathered evidence indicating that a number of Morsi supporters had tortured individuals from a rival political camp since the outbreak of the political crisis in June. Some of these incidents occurred in areas near where pro-Morsi sit-ins were being held.  

    At no stage did Amnesty International refer to the use of “heavy weapons” inside the sit-in.

     

    June 05, 2013

    Human rights violations in China and Colombia are on the agenda at two public events on Saturday June 8th as activists from across Canada meet at Saint Paul University for the Annual General Meeting of Amnesty International Canada’s English branch from June 7 - 9.

    The struggle to bring democracy and human rights protection in China will be the topic for a keynote address by Michel Cormier at the Annual General Meeting of Amnesty International Canada at Saint Paul University in Ottawa. Michel Cormier will give a talk in the auditorium of the university on Saturday morning at 10 a.m.

    June 05, 2013

    On 1 June, Tunisia’s National Constituent Assembly (NCA) received the latest draft of the country’s Constitution and is expected to vote on it soon.

    Amnesty International has reviewed the latest version amended following discussions among political parties and found that – while there are some improvements over the drafts circulated in August and December 2012 and April 2013 – the text still undermines tenets of international human rights law. It includes restrictions of some basic rights such as the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association and to freedom of movement, as well as providing insufficient guarantees for the independence of the judiciary and to protect against torture and other forms of ill-treatment.

    If the entire draft Constitution is not approved by two thirds of the NCA, it will eventually be put to a national referendum.

    Amnesty International has published an analysis of the latest draft and has experts available for comment.

    May 21, 2013

    This week, Prime Minister Stephen Harper visits Colombia for talks hosted by Colombia’s President about a new trade bloc, the Pacific Alliance. The Prime Minister is reportedly “sounding out” what the trade bloc has to offer.

    In Canada, Members of Parliament are hearing concerns from Amnesty International and the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia about Canada’s human rights obligations under its existing free trade agreement with Colombia.

    What:             Press conference of Amnesty International and the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC) with interventions by

                          Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International  and

                          Maria Patricia Tobón Yagarí, lawyer with ONIC’s Territory and Natural Resources Council

    May 10, 2013

    The verdict in the genocide trial against former Guatemalan military ruler Efraín Ríos Montt is expected later today on Friday, 10 May.

    He faces up to 75 years of imprisonment on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity for a series of massacres committed by the Guatemalan military in March 1982 till August 1983 in the area known as Ixil triangle. It was one of the bloodiest chapters in the country’s internal armed conflict, which lasted 36 years and resulted in the killings or disappearances of more than 200,000 people – many of them indigenous.

    Sebastian Elgueta, Amnesty International’s researcher on Guatemala will be available over the weekend to comment on the verdict of this historic trial, the first to hold a Central American  former head of state to account for gross human rights violations.

    For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact: Elizabeth Berton-Hunter, Media Relations, 416-363-9933 ext 332
     

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