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Media advisories

    January 31, 2013

    Violent clashes between protesters and security forces have claimed at least 38 lives in Port Said.

    Amnesty International researcher Diana Eltahawy is in Egypt and has collected testimony that points to the use of excessive force by the security forces as unrest continues.

    She said: “It’s quite clear from the testimony I’ve gathered that security forces have been guilty of excessive force including the use of firearms when lives have not been directly in danger.

    “The culture of impunity that has built up in Egypt over decades remains and we are calling for full, independent and thorough investigations to bring those who committed crimes to justice.”

    Now back in Cairo, Diana Eltahawy is available for interview.

    Timeline of testimony gathered in Port Said by Amnesty International

    26 January

    January 30, 2013

     

    Violent clashes between protesters and security forces have claimed at least 38 lives in Port Said.

    Amnesty International researcher Diana Eltahawy is in Egypt and has collected testimony that points to the use of excessive force by the security forces as unrest continues.

    She said: “It’s quite clear from the testimony I’ve gathered that security forces have been guilty of excessive force including the use of firearms when lives have not been directly in danger.

    “The culture of impunity that has built up in Egypt over decades remains and we are calling for full, independent and thorough investigations to bring those who committed crimes to justice.”

    Now back in Cairo, Diana Eltahawy is available for interview.

       Timeline of testimony gathered in Port Said by Amnesty International

    January 28, 2013

    An evening of dialogue with Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, Union of BC Indian Chiefs, Chief Doug White, First Nations Summit Political Executive
    Ann Marie Sam, Nak'azdli First Nation, First Nations Women Advocating Responsible Mining Paul Joffe and Jennifer Preston, co-editors “Realizing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: Triumph, Hope and Action”

    Moderator: Craig Benjamin, Campaigner for the Human Rights of Indigenous
    Peoples, Amnesty International.

    An unprecedented push to further intensify resource development in Canada.

    A federal legislative agenda to undermine environmental oversight.

    And an extraordinary grassroots resurgence of demand for the recognition of the rights of Indigenous peoples.

    January 28, 2013

    An evening of dialogue with:

    Robert Morales, lead negotiator Hul’qumi’num Treaty Group

    Paul Joffe and Jennifer Preston, co-editors “Realizing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: Triumph, Hope and Action”

    Moderator: Craig Benjamin, Campaigner for the Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Amnesty International

    An unprecedented push is being made to further intensify resource development in Canada. A federal legislative agenda undermines environmental oversight. And an extradordinary grassroots resurgence demands the recognition of the rights of Indigenous peoples.  This panel brings together experts and activists who have been deeply involved in the advancement of global recognition of the human rights of Indigenous peoples at the United Nations and the Inter-American system. They will lead a discussion of how these vital international standards can make a difference in the defense of Indigenous rights in Canada and the promotion of government accountability for environmental protection.

    DATE:  Tuesday, January 29th, 7-9pm

    WHERE: Cadboro Bay United Church 2625 Arbutus Rd, Victoria BC

    December 17, 2012

    A coalition of more than twenty-five community and advocacy groups has prepared a statement responding to the release of the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry's final report. The statement expresses support for the families, calls for a national inquiry into the hundreds of missing and murdered women and girls, reiterates support for the investigation previously announced by the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, and calls for a systemic analysis of the underlying conditions of sexism, racism, poverty, and colonialism.

    In Vancouver, the majority of the organizations will be releasing their statement at a press conference on Monday, December 17 at 2:30 p.m. at the Morris J Wosk Centre for Dialogue, 580 West Hastings Street (Room 470).

    In Prince George, the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council and the Carrier Sekani Family Services will hold a press
    conference on Monday, December 17 at 2:00 p.m., in the Carrier Sekani Family Services boardroom, 987
    Fourth Avenue.

    For more information contact:

    October 11, 2012

    A court in The Hague is today hearing a civil case filed against the oil company Shell by four farmers from the Niger Delta region of Nigeria and Friends of the Earth Netherlands. The plaintiffs allege that oil spills from Shell pipelines destroyed their livelihoods, and are demanding a proper clean up of the pollution and compensation.

    Amnesty International has researched and reported on the devastating impact of oil pollution on human rights in the Niger Delta, including the rights to food, water, health and livelihood. Amnesty has highlighted how Shell, the main operator on-land, often does not respond to oil spills quickly or effectively, and fails properly to clean up pollution. People in the Niger Delta who are affected by pollution are often denied their right to an effective remedy.

    October 04, 2012

     What: Press conference and opportunity to speak with affected families
     

    When: Morning of Thursday, October 4th, beginning 10:30 am
     

    Where: Offices of Amnesty International Canada, 312 Laurier Avenue East
     

    The Families of Sisters in Spirit National Vigil is Thursday October 4th, 6:15pm, on Parliament Hill (Unceded Algonquin Territory).
     In Canada, Indigenous women are at a greater risk of violence than non-Indigenous women. The annual vigil is an opportunity for everyone to show that the epidemic of violence against Indigenous women is unacceptable and must stop.
    This year, an unprecedented number of family members have travelled from across Canada to attend the vigil.
     

    Bridget Tolley: Daughter of Gladys Tolley killed in Quebec in October 2001
     

    Gladys Radek: Aunt of Tamara Chipman, missing from Terrace, B.C. Highway 16 (Highway of Tears) since September 2005
     

    Beverley Jacobs: cousin of Tashina General, who was pregnant when she went missing in January 2008, and was found murdered in April 2008 in Six Nations, Ontario
     

    September 07, 2012

    On the eve of the 5th anniversary of the landmark United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, leaders of organizations respected for their defense of the rights of Indigenous Peoples in Canada and Colombia will hold a press conference on Parliament Hill to call for urgently needed action.

    WHO:  Luis Evelis Andrade, Chief Counsellor, National Indigenous Organization of Colombia
    Anne Marie Sam, founder of First Nations Women Advocating Responsible Mining, Canada
    Alex Neve, Secretary General, Amnesty International Canada
    WHEN:  Wednesday, September 12th, 10 AM
    WHERE:  Charles Lynch 130S Centre Block

    September 13, 2012 marks five years since the adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.  The Declaration recognizes the right of Indigenous Peoples to manage their own lands, territories and resources as part of the minimum standards necessary to ensure the “survival, dignity and well-being” of Indigenous peoples.

    July 26, 2012

           Amnesty International experts available from the UN in New York to provide analysis

    Negotiations to reach agreement on a potentially historic Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), enter a critical final day on Friday 27 July, after nearly four weeks of talks at the United Nations in New York.

    The irresponsible and poorly regulated international arms trade fuels serious human rights abuses, armed violence, conflict, organized crime and poverty around the world.  If agreement on a comprehensive ATT is reached it will help end the devastation caused to millions of lives by the irresponsible arms trade.

    To request an interview or briefing with an Amnesty International spokesperson at the UN on the outcome, key countries involved and what any potential agreement will actually mean, please contact:
    Tom Mackey
    Amnesty International Press Office
    +1 646 3185 134
    tom.mackey@amnesty.org

    June 13, 2012

    The appeal verdict on the case of 20 health professionals on trial in Bahrain is scheduled to be announced on 14 June 2012.
     

    The 20 are among 48 health professionals from the Salmaniya Medical Complex who were arrested in March and April 2011, and charged with offences ranging from the “illegal possession of firearms for a terrorist purpose", "attempting to occupy a public hospital using force" and to “attempting to topple the system of government by force" for which they were sentenced to prison terms of between five and 15 years on 29 September 2011 by a military court.
     

    Their appeal before the High Criminal Court of Appeal started on 23 October 2011.
     

    Many in the group of 20 health professionals allege they were tortured in detention.
     

    No independent investigation into their allegations of torture is known to have been made public and no officer responsible for their torture has been brought to justice.
     

    Amnesty International believes that if convicted and imprisoned, the 20 would be prisoners of conscience.
     

    June 13, 2012

    On the occasion of the 101st session of the International Labour Conference (ILC) - taking place in Geneva from 30 May to 15 June 2012 - Amnesty International renews its call on the Iranian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release trade unionists who have been imprisoned solely for their peaceful trade union activities in Iran.

    The Iranian authorities have arrested dozens of trade unionists in recent years, some of whom have been sentenced to long prison terms and have maintained a long standing prohibition on the establishment and recognition of independent trade unions and associations.

    Public May Day rallies in Iran continued to not be permitted by the Ministry of Interior who did not grant the required permission.  However, workers and others throughout Iran - including prisoners - commemorated International Workers Day on 1 May.

    June 11, 2012

    Canadian citizen Bashir Makhtal has been trapped in a nightmare of human rights violations in an Ethiopian jail for more than five years.  He has been sentenced to a life prison term after a deeply unfair trial.  He has been held in grueling prison conditions, in Ethiopia, and has almost certainly experienced torture and other mistreatment.  His brother, imprisoned at the same time, became ill from what he suffered in prison and died as soon as he was released.  His sister and other family members have had to flee to a harsh refugee camp in Kenya. 

    The Canadian government says it believes in Bashir Makhtal and is working to protect his rights.  But after more than five years, there is very little to show for it.  The Ethiopian government refuses to listen to Canada’s pleas.

    May 28, 2012

    Amnesty International’s report Saudi Arabia: Dissident voices stifled in the Eastern Province, highlights a range of measures amounting to human rights violations taken against protesters and others suspected of exercising their right to freedom of expression in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia.  

    The report documents patterns of human rights violations in the Eastern Province against mainly Shi’a Muslims suspected of participating in protests or of engaging in activities that fall under their rights to freedom of expression but seen by the authorities as a challenge to the government or sympathetic to protesters in Bahrain.

    Amnesty International, while recognizing the responsibility of the Saudi Arabian authorities to preserve public order, is concerned that many of those arrested appear to have been detained arbitrarily.The organization is particularly concerned about reports that several of those held have been subjected to torture or ill-treatment.

    May 04, 2012

    Amnesty International Brief on Bill C-31 presented to Parliamentary Committee

    DATE:   Monday 7 May 2012

    TIME:   9:50-10:50 AM

    PRESENTERS:
    Alex Neve, Secretary General, Amnesty International Canada (English branch)
    Beatrice Vaugrante, Directrice Générale, Amnistie internationale Canada francophone

    PLACE:
    House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration
    Meeting Room C-110, 1 Wellington Street

    Amnesty International will present its concerns with respect to Bill C-31, proposed amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.  The Bill contravenes a number of Canada’s international human rights obligations. Amnesty International is calling for Bill C-31 to be withdrawn.  Any further law reform dealing with human smuggling and refugee protection must only proceed in a manner that conforms fully to Canada’s international human rights obligations.


     

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

    April 13, 2012


    Human rights in Bahrain - Media Briefing

    SUMMARY
    The human rights crisis in Bahrain is not over. Despite the authorities’ claims to the contrary, state violence against those who oppose the Al Khalifa family rule continues, and in practice, not much has changed in the country since the brutal crackdown on anti-government protesters in February and March 2011

    The Bahraini authorities have been vociferous about their intention to introduce reforms and learn lessons from events in February and March 2011. In November 2011, the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI), set up by King Hamad bin ‘Issa Al Khalifa, submitted a report of its investigation into human rights violations committed in connection with the anti-government protests. The report concluded that the authorities had committed gross human rights violations with impunity, including excessive use of force against protesters, widespread torture and other ill-treatment of protesters, unfair trials and unlawful killings.

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