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    May 18, 2016

     

    The Malaysian government’s plans to revoke or refuse to issue passports to critics is yet another demonstration of increasing intolerance in the country, Amnesty International said today.

    Datuk Sakib Kusmi, the Immigration Department’s Director-General, is quoted as saying that critics of the government could be denied the right to travel for three years.

    “A travel ban on critics will mark a dangerous escalation in the government’s ongoing crackdown on dissent,” said Josef Benedict, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for South East Asia and the Pacific. “The right to freedom of speech is a key human right which the Malaysian people deserve to enjoy just like any other people.”

    May 18, 2016

    The Algerian authorities must end their relentless efforts to silence peaceful protesters, said Amnesty International ahead of the start of the trial tomorrow of four protesters from the southern city of Ouargla who are facing up to a year in prison for taking part in protests against unemployment in Algeria’s oil capital, Hassi Messaoud.

    Prominent activist Tahar Belabes, a member of the National Committee for the Defence of the Rights of the Unemployed (CNDDC), and three other CNDDC members have been charged with taking part in “unarmed gatherings” in 2015. If convicted, all four men could face up to a year in jail.

    “Imprisoning Tahar Belabes and his colleagues simply for taking part in peaceful protests would be an outrageous attack on the right to freedom of expression and assembly. Their only ‘crime’ appears to be that they stood up for the rights of the unemployed. They should not even be on trial – let alone facing a possible prison term. The charges against them should be dropped immediately,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.

    May 17, 2016

    Released  00:01 GMT Wednesday 18 May 2016

    The Huthi armed group, supported by state security forces, has carried out a wave of arrests of its opponents, arbitrarily seizing critics at gunpoint and subjecting some to enforced disappearance as part of a chilling campaign to quash dissent in areas of Yemen under its control, said Amnesty International in a new report published today.

    Where is my father? Detention and disappearance in Huthi-controlled Yemen, which is based on 60 cases of detention examined in detail by the organization, reveals a pattern of arbitrary arrests and enforced disappearances in Sana’a, Ibb, Ta’iz and Hodeidah between December 2014 and March 2016. Those targeted include political opposition figures, human rights defenders, journalists, academics and others. Many have been held incommunicado for prolonged periods, suffered torture and other ill-treatment and been denied access to a lawyer or their family.

    May 17, 2016

    Yesterday’s brutal crackdown by Kenyan police against protesters must be urgently and impartially investigated, said Amnesty International.

    Police descended on a crowd of largely peaceful protesters hitting many of them with batons, lobbing tear gas at them and spraying them with water cannons. In one video widely shared on social media, three policemen were seen kicking and beating a protester after he had collapsed by the roadside. Some media reports say the individual later died of his injuries.

    “The brutal beatings by police yesterday amount to arbitrary and abusive use of force, which is illegal under Kenyan, regional and international law,” said Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    May 17, 2016

    Today’s multiple bombings in Baghdad, in which media agencies have reported the deaths of at least 63 people and injuries to at least 90 others, are the latest in a horrific spike in deadly attacks that have hit the country over the past week, Amnesty International said today.

    “The spike in deadly bomb attacks across Baghdad, in predominantly Shia areas, will outrage anyone who places value on human life,” said James Lynch, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

    “The bloody toll from these attacks, which is predominantly civilian, has been growing steadily over the past seven days.”

    “Today’s sickening attacks, carried out in daytime, in areas well known to be frequented by civilians such as busy markets, display a total disregard for the lives of civilians and the fundamental principles of international humanitarian law.”

    May 17, 2016

    Amnesty International welcomes Bill C-16, tabled today by the government of Canada to enshrine the equality rights of transgender individuals in Canadian law and protect them from hate crimes.  The important move will uphold the human rights of individuals who are vulnerable to significantly heightened levels of discrimination and violence, in Canada and worldwide.

    Bill C-16 will add gender identity and gender expression to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination under the Canadian Human Rights Act, bringing federal law into line with human rights legislation in eight provinces and territories.  It will also add gender identity and gender expression to hate crimes sentencing provisions in the Canadian Criminal Code, providing transgender individuals with stronger protection from being deliberately targeted for acts of violence.

    May 13, 2016

    Accountability for human rights violations and abuses should be an indispensable part of the regional response to Boko Haram, Amnesty International said today.

    As world leaders meet today for the Regional Security Summit in Abuja to discuss the collective effort to defeat Boko Haram and reconstruct the Lake Chad region, Amnesty International calls on them to ensure that justice remains a priority and to increase efforts to protect civilians.

    “Whether they have suffered at the hands of Boko Haram, or of the security forces who were supposed to protect them, the conflict’s thousands of victims deserve justice,” said Netsanet Belay, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director for Africa.

    “Despite repeated promises, governments affected by the conflict have not adequately investigated evidence of crimes under international law and human rights abuses and violations nor taken steps to prosecute and bring to trial the suspected perpetrators. Now is the time to put those promises into action.”

    May 13, 2016

    President Joko Widodo should seize the opportunity to show that his government has the resolve to stand up for human rights by halting the imminent executions of up to 15 people, Amnesty International said today.

    The death row prisoners believed to at risk have been convicted of alleged drug offences and some did not receive a fair trial. Their cases are, like many others that Amnesty International monitored, emblematic of systemic flaws within the Indonesia justice system.

    “President Widodo has the chance to show true resolve by halting these executions and ordering a full independent review of all death penalty cases,” said Rafendi Djamin, Director of Amnesty International’s South East Asia and Pacific Regional Office.

    “It is unacceptable for a government to execute people, especially when they did not receive a fair trial and have been convicted of offences that are not among the ‘most serious crimes’ in clear violation of international law and standards.”

    May 12, 2016

    The Bangladeshi authorities must intensify efforts to hold to account the killers of secular blogger Ananta Bijoy Das and to end the impunity that exists for a wave of killings of human rights defenders and others, Amnesty International said on the anniversary of Ananata Bijoy Das’ death.

    On 12 May 2015, while on his way to work Bijoy Das was approached by masked men carrying machetes in Sylhet, Bangladesh. They struck him on the head and body and then reportedly fled into the crowds. Bijoy Das was taken to hospital where he was declared dead. The attack was claimed by a violent group purporting to act in the name of Islam, Ansar al-Islam (also known as Ansarullah Bangla Team), which claims to have links to al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent.

    May 12, 2016

    The Iranian authorities must urgently halt the scheduled execution this Sunday of a teenager who was just 15 years old at the time of his arrest, said Amnesty International.

    Alireza Tajiki, now 19 years old, was sentenced to death in April 2013 after a criminal court in Fars Province, southern Iran, convicted him of murder and rape primarily on the basis of “confessions” extracted through torture which he repeatedly retracted in court. His execution is due to take place on Sunday 15 May in Shiraz’s Adel Abad Prison in Fars Province.

    “Imposing the death penalty on someone who was a child at the time of the crime flies in the face of international human rights law, which absolutely prohibits the use of the death penalty for crimes committed under the age of 18. It is particularly horrendous that the Iranian authorities are adamant to proceed with the execution when this case was marked by serious fair trial concerns and primarily relied on torture-tainted evidence,” said James Lynch, deputy director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.

    May 12, 2016

    Uganda must immediately arrest Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir and hand him over to the International Criminal Court (ICC), said Amnesty International today. Omar Al-Bashir, who is on the court’s wanted list, arrived in Kampala this morning to attend the inauguration of President Yoweri Museveni.

    “Uganda must face up to its international obligations and arrest Omar Al-Bashir who is wanted on charges of genocide,” said Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    “As a signatory to the Rome Statute, Uganda has an absolute obligation to surrender him to the ICC. Failure to do so would be a breach of its duty and would be a cruel betrayal of the hundreds of thousands of people killed and displaced during the Darfur conflict.”

    The situation in Darfur, Sudan, was referred to the ICC in 2005 by the UN Security Council. Arrest warrants against President Al-Bashir have been outstanding since 2009 on charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed in Darfur from 2003 to 2008.

    May 12, 2016

    Amnesty International strongly welcomes Canada's recent statement of unconditional support for the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. 

    On May 10, federal Minister of Indigenous Affairs Carolyn Bennett told the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues that Canada is "now a full supporter of the Declaration, without qualification."

    The Minister went on to describe implementation of the Declaration as "breathing new life into section 35" - the provision of the Canadian Constitution affirming Aboriginal and Treaty rights - "and recognizing it now as a full box of rights for Indigenous peoples in Canada." 

    May 10, 2016

    If President-elect Rodrigo Duterte is serious about introducing change in the Philippines, he must turn his back on the history of human rights violations and end the prevailing culture of impunity, Amnesty International said today.

    Rodrigo Duterte, the former Mayor of Davao city, is set to become the newly-elected President of the Philippines after leading the voting in the 9 May 2016 election. Duterte’s principal rivals have conceded defeat.

    “If Rodrigo Duterte is serious about bringing change to the Philippines, he should address the dire human rights situation in the country and put an end to extrajudicial executions, unlawful arrests, secret detention as well as torture and other ill-treatment,” said Rafendi Djamin, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for South East Asia.

    During the course of the presidential election campaign, Duterte has issued a series of inflammatory statements that, if enacted, would contravene the Philippines’ international human rights obligations, including his promise to reduce crime rates by shooting suspected criminals.

    May 09, 2016

    The death penalty will deliver neither the justice that victims deserve nor the security that Afghanistan seeks, Amnesty International said today.

    Six men were executed on 8 May 2016 after they were convicted for their  involvement in a series of high-profile violent attacks - including the 2011 killing of former President and head of the High Peace Council, Burhanuddin Rabbani, and an attack on a Kabul supermarket in the same year.

    The executions mark the first time the government of President Ashraf Ghani has resorted to this cruel, unjust and irreversible punishment this year. Since a bombing last month in Kabul that killed more than 64 people, the Afghanistan government has vowed to implement the death penalty more frequently.

    The families who lost loved ones in violent attacks deserve justice for these appalling crimes,” said Champa Patel, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director. “But the death penalty merely serves as vengeance, perpetuates the cycle of violence, and fails to address any root causes.”

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