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    July 12, 2016

    A new proposal by a group of parliamentarians from opposition party ARENA in El Salvador to increase jail terms for women accused of having an abortion to up to 50 years is scandalous, irresponsible and flies on the face of basic human rights standards, Amnesty International said.

    “Parliamentarians in El Salvador are playing a very dangerous game with the lives of millions of women. Banning life-saving abortions in all circumstances is atrocious but seeking to raise jail terms for women who seek an abortion or those who provide support is simply despicable,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    “Instead of continuing to criminalize women, authorities in El Salvador must repeal the outdated anti-abortion law once and for all.”

    July 08, 2016

    “Last night’s shootings are a devastating reminder that gun violence in the U.S. is a human rights crisis that impacts everyone.
    Our thoughts are with the victims and their families,” said Margaret Huang, Amnesty International USA interim executive director.
    “Killings both by and of police demand justice. The right to life is universal and everyone – both civilians and officers alike – should be able live free from fear and feel safe in their communities."

    “We must remember that the public’s response to the deaths of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile
    and Jerry Williams have been overwhelmingly peaceful. Last night’s tragedy should not affect
    the ability and the safety of those who will continue to exercise their right to protest peacefully.
    We call on law enforcement officers to facilitate that right.”

     

    For further information, please contact Elizabeth Berton-Hunter, Media Relations

    416-363-9933 ext 332 Email: bberton-hunter@amnesty.ca

     

     

    June 03, 2016

    The Fijian parliament must overturn the suspension of an opposition MP for merely exercising her right to freedom of expression, Amnesty International said today.

    “Parliaments can only be worthy of their name when all members can speak freely on all issues,” said Rafendi Djamin, Amnesty International’s Director for South East Asia and the Pacific.

    “Unless this suspension is immediately reversed, the Fijian authorities are proving they are intent on silencing critical voices.”

    Tupou Draunidalo, an indigenous Fijian parliamentarian and member of the National Federation Party was suspended following a parliamentary motion on 3 June 2016 for calling a government minister “a fool” while responding to comments deriding opposition members of parliament.

    Draunidalo asked the government minister if he was suggesting herself and other indigenous members of the opposition were “dumb natives”.

    May 28, 2016

    The sentencing of a former Argentinean military leader for his role in hundreds of enforced disappearances in the context of a region-wide intelligence operation must open the door to further investigations to bring all those responsible to justice, said Amnesty International.

    Former de facto President Reynaldo Bignone was sentenced to 20 years in prison by a court in Buenos Aires. Fourteen other military officers were also sentenced to prison terms.

    “This is a day for celebration in South America. This historic ruling sends the important message that justice will always prevail,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    “Today’s ruling must be the first step towards real justice for the many victims of this Machiavellian operation, which left a long trail of suffering and horror throughout Latin America. Governments in countries who had a direct or indirect role in aiding Operation Condor must left no stone unturned to ensure all those responsible face justice so these terrible crimes never happen again.”

    May 25, 2016

    The release of Khadija Ismayilova by Azerbaijan’s Supreme Court is a welcome step but she will not have obtained justice until her conviction is quashed, said Amnesty International.

    Khadija Ismayilova was sentenced to seven and a half years imprisonment at a trial in September 2015 under trumped-up charges of embezzlement, illegal entrepreneurship, tax evasion and abuse of office.
    The Supreme Court today reduced her sentence to a suspended term of three and a half years, after it reversed two of the initial four charges against her.

    “Khadija Ismayilova must be fully acquitted if she is ever to obtain justice for her wrongful imprisonment,” said Denis Krivosheev, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Europe and Central Asia.

    “Numerous other prisoners of conscience are still in jail for exercising their right to freedom of expression in Azerbaijan and must also be freed to break this dangerous pattern of fear and repression.”

    May 20, 2016

    Today’s release of human rights defender, José Marcos Mavungo, after the Angola Supreme Tribunal upheld his appeal against a six year sentence is a long overdue triumph for justice, said Amnesty International.

    He has served over a year in prison following his arrest on 14 March 2015. He was convicted on 14 September for ‘rebellion’ for his involvement in organizing a peaceful demonstration. Amnesty International considered him a prisoner of conscience.

    “José Marcos Mavungo was merely exercising his rights to freedom of assembly and association and his arrest and subsequent trial on rebellion charge was a travesty of justice,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Director for Southern Africa.

    “Whilst his release is cause for celebration, José Marcos Mavungo should never have spent a single minute in jail. The decision by the Angola Supreme Tribunal demonstrates that there are still judges who are guided by the rule of law.”

    Background

    May 20, 2016

    A Syrian national who arrived on the Greek island of Lesvos has won an appeal against a decision that would have led to his forcible return to Turkey, underscoring the fundamental flaws in the migration deal agreed in March between the European Union and Turkey, Amnesty International said today.

    In the first such decision Amnesty International has seen since the deal, an appeals committee in Athens overturned an initial decision considering Turkey a safe third country on the grounds that Turkey does not afford refugees the full protection required under the Refugee Convention. The committee also ruled that Turkey does not guarantee the principle of non-refoulement, which forbids returning someone to a country where he or she is at risk of serious human rights violations.

    “This decision goes to the heart of why the EU-Turkey deal was so deeply flawed to begin with,” said Gauri van Gulik, Deputy Europe Director at Amnesty International.

    May 20, 2016

    Amnesty International condemns the execution of Kho Jabing, a Malaysian national convicted of murder, mere hours after his last chance for a reprieve was dismissed by the Court of Appeal.

    "It is disgraceful that Kho Jabing's was executed, particularly with such indecent haste, after his final appeal was denied this morning," said Josef Benedict, Deputy Director of Amnesty International's South East Asia and Pacific Regional Office.

    “Clemency should have been granted, more so given the uncertainty and divided opinion surrounding Kho Jabing's fate over the past six years. Singapore is at a crossroads. It must decide whether it wants to join most of the world by protecting human rights and ridding itself of the death penalty, or remain among the minority of countries that insist on the implementation of this cruel and inhumane punishment."

     

    For further information, please contact Elizabeth Berton-Hunter, Media Relations 416-363-9933 ext 332 bberton-hunter@amnesty.ca

     

    May 19, 2016

    Prominent Egyptian human rights defender, Mina Thabet, Director of the Minority and Religious Groups Department at the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms (ECRF), was arrested today as the government escalates its assault on Egypt’s NGO community.  He was seized during a raid on his home in Cairo in the early hours of this morning by members of the Egyptian National Security Agency, who ill-treated him and his family members and refused to disclose his place of detention.

    “Mina Thabet is a pillar of Egypt’s human rights community. He has tirelessly worked to defend the rights of minority groups, including Coptic Christians whom the government has suppressed for decades. His arrest is a flagrant attack against freedom of expression and association and provides damning proof of the Egyptian authorities’ vindictive resolve to silence anyone who dares to challenge the government’s narrative,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, interim Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.

    May 17, 2016

    Yesterday, the Canadian Border Services Agency, (CBSA) announced that a 24-year-old-man, detained under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act at the Edmonton Remand Centre, had passed away. 

    “We are saddened by the news of a third death in CBSA’s custody in 2016,” said Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International, Canada.

    “It is unconscionable that immigration detainees can die in custody and that there is no independent agency with a mandate to step in and ensure human rights obligations have been met.”

    On March 8, Amnesty International joined other human rights organizations across Canada, calling for an independent oversight of CBSA.  Clearly, it is now ever more urgent that the Government of Canada explore alternatives to immigration detention and mandate an independent agency to oversee CBSA.

    Click here for our response to the death of a person held for immigration related reasons at the Toronto East Detention Centre, on March 7.

    May 12, 2016

    The Syrian government’s refusal today to allow a sorely needed humanitarian aid convoy into the town of Daraya is a cruel reality check of the suffering of thousands of civilians besieged there since 2012, Amnesty International said.

    The cancellation of the delivery was followed by mortar shelling of Daraya by government forces, killing a father and his son and injuring at least five other civilians. The delivery would have been the first since the siege began more than three years ago but was eventually cancelled after Syrian government forces held it up for some seven hours outside Daraya. It included medical and educational items and baby milk but, critically, did not include food. 

    “Not only was the limited aid long overdue, and it excluded food, the number one need for thousands of civilians, but it was blocked and then followed by what appears to have been indiscriminate shelling, killing and injuring civilians,” said Neil Sammonds, Amnesty International’s Researcher on Syria.

    May 11, 2016

    The Polish government is today putting before parliament an anti-terrorism bill to consolidate power in the hands of the Polish Internal Security Agency (ISA). In its bid to have the new law in place by 1 June 2016, the government has failed to seek input from human rights or other civil society organizations. In response to the proposed bill, Julia Hall, Amnesty International’s expert on counterterrorism and human rights, said:

    “The Polish government is trying to rush through a dangerous anti-terrorism bill that would give seemingly unlimited powers to its intelligence services without allowing for democratic oversight of its operations. The Polish parliament must reject this bill and call for an effective oversight mechanism to be put in place with a view to ensuring that human rights are protected."

    The bill includes provisions for banning assemblies and public protests, as well as long pre-trial detention periods and discriminatory measures targeting foreigners in Poland. It will also give the ISA new powers to access data held by virtually every government agency and private companies. 

    May 10, 2016

    The execution of Motiur Rahman Nizami today is a deplorable move by the Bangladeshi authorities which will not deliver justice to the victims of war crimes, Amnesty International said today.

    Motiur Rahman Nizami, the current chief of Bangladeshi political party Jamaat-e-Islami, was hanged at Dhaka Central Jail today. He was sentenced to death by the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) in Bangladesh in October 2014 after he was convicted of charges relating murder, torture, rape and the mass killing of intellectuals during Bangladesh’s War of Independence in 1971.

    “We are dismayed that Bangladeshi authorities have executed Motiur Rahman Nizami. The victims of the horrific events of the 1971 Liberation War are entitled to justice, but taking another life is not the answer,” said Champa Patel, Amnesty International’s Director of the South Asia Regional Office

    May 05, 2016

    Responding to Uganda’s Minister of Information and National Guidance, Maj-Gen Jim Muhwezi’s ban on live broadcast media coverage of the opposition Forum for Democratic Change’s activities, Amnesty International issued the following quote.

    “The Ugandan government’s decision to ban live broadcast coverage of the opposition Forum for Democratic Change’s activities, although manifestly unlawful, fits the now depressingly familiar pattern of restricting freedom of expression in a bid to muzzle opposition voices,” said Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    “The ban announced by Minister Muhwezi aims to restrict completely lawful activities and this is unacceptable. It has no basis in Ugandan law, and is in blatant violation of the myriad regional and international human rights standards to which Uganda is bound.”

    For further information contact 

    Aden Seaton or Sarah French 613-744-7667 ext 263

    May 05, 2016

    The Bangladeshi authorities should halt the imminent execution of Motiur Rahman Nizami and impose a moratorium on the death penalty, Amnesty International said after the country’s Supreme Court rejected his final appeal today.

    Motiur Rahman Nizami, the current chief of Bangladeshi political party Jamaat-e-Islami, was sentenced to death by the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) in Bangladesh in October 2014. He was convicted of murder, rape and the mass killing of intellectuals during Bangladesh’s War of Independence in 1971.

    “We are dismayed that the Supreme Court has upheld the conviction and death sentence against Motiur Rahman Nizami. The victims of the horrific events of the 1971 Liberation War deserve justice, but the death penalty is not the answer,” said Jameen Kaur, Amnesty International’s Campaigns Director for South Asia.

    “Taking another life will just perpetuate the cycle of violence. We urge the Bangladeshi authorities to halt this execution immediately, and impose a moratorium on the implementation of the death penalty with a view to its eventual repeal.”

     

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