AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL SPAIN RELEASE
· The organization condemns the attacks in both Barcelona and Cambrils in which at least 14 people have died.
· Deliberate attacks against civilians are a crime under international law.
Madrid / Barcelona: At least 13 people died and more than 100 were injured yesterday, 17 August, when a van deliberately ploughed into crowds of people in Las Ramblas in Barcelona, one of the town's main tourist areas.
According to official sources, several hours later, in the early hours of 18 August, another attack took place in Cambrils (Tarragona) which left at least one person dead. According to reports, the Mossos d'Esquadra (Catalan Regional Police) thwarted the second attack when five people were shot while attempting to carry out a similar attack to the one in Barcelona. According to official sources, the five people, who are confirmed dead, were wearing fake explosive devices.
Reacting to the executions of Chijioke Stephen Obioha, a Nigerian national, and Devendran Supramaniam, a Malaysian national, by the Singapore authorities, Josef Benedict, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said:
“The Singapore authorities have brazenly violated international law with these shameful executions. The death penalty is a cruel and irreversible punishment that most of the world has turned its back on. Singapore continues to remain an outlier, executing people for crimes that do not meet the ‘most serious’ threshold to which the death penalty must be restricted under international law.
Responding to the announcement by Nigerian government that secured the release of 21 Chibok girls abducted by Boko Haram Netsanet Belay, Amnesty International’s Regional Advocacy Director, said:
“The release of 21 of the kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls by the armed group Boko Haram is a big relief. However, it is vital now that they receive adequate physical and psychosocial counselling and support so that they can fully reintegrate in their communities. The government should also respect their privacy and ensure that the released girls are reunited with their families and not kept in lengthy detention and security screening which can only add to their suffering and plight.
“Boko Haram members have executed and tortured thousands of civilians and raped and forced into marriage girls and women. They have been indoctrinated and even forced to fight for Boko Haram.
“The Nigerian authorities must now do more to ensure the safe return of the thousands of women and girls, as well as men and boys abducted by Boko Haram.”
Reacting to Friday’s attacks on a court in Mardan and on a Christian community just outside Peshawar, both in Pakistan’s northwest Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Amnesty International said:
“Today’s attacks a horrific reminder that Pakistan’s authorities must do more to ensure vulnerable groups are protected. The authorities have a duty to protect the right to life, prevent human rights abuses, and hold perpetrators to account in fair trials without recourse to the death penalty or other human rights violations. Armed groups are seeking to undermine the rule of law by targeting both the people who defend it in court and the people it should protect,” said Champa Patel, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director.
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One year after the shocking image of Syrian boy Alan Kurdi’s drowned body caused international outcry, world leaders are still failing to respond to the refugee crisis, said Amnesty International today.
Marking the 2 September anniversary of Alan’s death, the organisation drew attention to the plight of thousands of other refugee children let down by the dismal failure of world leaders to tackle the refugee crisis. In July, negotiations ahead of the 19 September UN Refugee and Migrant Summit put the “Global Compact on Refugee Responsibility-Sharing” proposed by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on ice until 2018.
The conviction of Mohammed Fakhrulrazi Mohammed Mokhtar for sedition should be quashed immediately, Amnesty International said today.
“This is a clear violation of the right to freedom of expression. Malaysia’s sedition law is a crude colonial-era instrument designed to silence dissent. It has no place in a modern rights-respecting society and should be repealed immediately,” said Josef Benedict, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for South East Asia and the Pacific.
Mohammed Fakhrulrazi Mohammed Mokhtar, the vice-chief of the Parti Amanah Negara Youth, was found guilty of sedition by the Sessions Court in Kuala Lumpur and sentenced to eight months in prison.
Fakrhulrazi, also known as Ustaz Fakhrulrazi, was charged with sedition for calling for the release of opposition politician and Amnesty International prisoner of conscience Anwar Ibrahim, at a rally in February 2015.
The charge, under Section 4(1)(b) of the Sedition Act 1948 carries a maximum penalty of three years’ imprisonment and a fine of RM5,000.
The establishment of a high-level commission headed by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan is a welcome step towards addressing the human rights situation in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, Amnesty International said today.
“Today’s announcement is a sign that Myanmar’s authorities are taking the situation in Rakhine state seriously. But it will only have been a worthwhile exercise if it paves the way for the realization of human rights for all people in the state,” said Rafendi Djamin, Amnesty International’s Director for South East Asia and the Pacific.
Rakhine state on the western coast of Myanmar is home to many minority groups that have faced decades of human rights violations and abuses, in particular, the persecuted Rohingya minority. The situation there has deteriorated markedly since 2012, when clashes between different groups sparked waves of violence, culminating in scores of deaths, destruction of property and mass displacement.
A 10-year-old Syrian girl seriously wounded by sniper fire from a Syrian government forces checkpoint in Madaya was successfully evacuated last night for urgent surgery following international pressure, Amnesty International can confirm.
According to the Syrian Red Crescent, Ghina Ahmad Wadi and her mother were escorted from the besieged town to Damascus overnight last night. The move follows appeals by the girl’s UK-based aunt, supported by Amnesty International and others.
“This is clearly a very welcome move that could prove to be a lifeline for Ghina, a brave young girl who was caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. It is appalling that she was left to suffer for days on end before being granted this vital reprieve,” said Magdalena Mughrabi-Talhami, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Programme Director at Amnesty International.
“Amnesty International has information about many other civilians in Madaya who are critically ill or injured – in some cases for up to two months – and in need of urgent medical attention immediately.
Press Conference Comments
Secretary General, Amnesty International Canada (English Branch)
It is almost twelve years since Amnesty International launched our Stolen Sisters report, documenting the role of long entrenched discrimination in putting shocking numbers of Indigenous women and girls in harm’s way.
In raising our voice, we joined the Native Women’s Association of Canada; family members of murdered and missing First Nations, Inuit and Métis women and girls; women and girls who had survived violence; and countless frontline organizations and allies; all of whom had been struggling for years to draw attention to the violence and demand real action to bring it to an end.
Above all else today we honour the steadfast determination of the families who have courageously bared their pain and sorrow to Canada and, in fact, the world in pressing for justice.
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s decision to make Gen. Wiranto Indonesia’s most powerful security official a mere day after Indonesia ordered the execution of 14 death row prisoners shows contempt for human rights, Amnesty International said today.
“This is adding insult to injury. A day after ordering a fresh round of executions, Jokowi has now decided to hand control of the country’s security apparatus to someone was indicted for crimes against humanity by a UN sponsored tribunal,” said Josef Benedict, Deputy Director for South East Asia and the Pacific.
On 27 July 2016, Gen. Wiranto was appointed to the position of Coordinating Minister for Politics, Law, and Security Affairs.
Gen. Wiranto was also publicly named as a suspect in the inquiry initiated in 1999 by Indonesia’s National Commission on Human Rights (Komisi Nasional Hak Asasi Manusia, Komnas HAM), but was never charged in Indonesia.
CLEVELAND, OH – Amnesty International USA (AIUSA) has deployed human rights observers to monitor protests at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, OH, this week and will do the same at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, PA, next week. The following is a statement from Eric Ferrero, AIUSA’s Deputy Executive Director for Strategic Communications and Digital Initiatives, on the protests in Cleveland thus far:
"Amnesty International USA's delegation of human rights observers monitored four protests today in Cleveland. The protests today appeared peaceful, with police fulfilling their duty to protect people's freedom to come together and voice their opinion. Amnesty International's independent, impartial human rights observers will monitor protests the rest of this week in Cleveland and next week in Philadelphia. Our goal is to help protect the human rights that all people have to protest peacefully."
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613-744-7667, ext 236
South Sudanese security forces are deliberately blocking people from leaving the country in violation of their right to freedom of movement, Amnesty International can reveal.
The organisation has received reports from two charter companies that National Security Service officers have ordered them not to carry South Sudanese nationals, particularly men. It has also been told by an NGO that one of its South Sudanese staff was prevented from boarding a flight to Entebbe, Uganda.
“This arbitrary conduct by the South Sudanese security forces is totally unacceptable. South Sudan must respect people’s right to freedom of movement, including the right to leave their own country,” said Elizabeth Deng, Amnesty International’s South Sudan Researcher.
“It is absolutely critical that both parties to the conflict do not obstruct safe passage of civilians fleeing to places of refuge both inside and outside of the country.”
Thousands of South Sudanese people have reportedly gathered at the country’s southern border seeking to enter into Uganda, but they are also being prevented from crossing over.