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    November 24, 2015

    Amnesty International recognizes that the federal government will identify all 25,000 selected refugees by Dec. 31, 2015, but only 10,000 will arrive by year's end. Now the government is extending its deadline to bring 15,000 more Syrian refugees to Canada by two months, setting the end of February 2016 as its new target date.

    "We welcome the Canadian government’s resettlement goal to seek to identify the most vulnerable refugees, whatever religion, ethnic background, or gender,” said Gloria Nafziger, Refugee Campaigner.

    Amnesty International also welcomes the following procedures will be taken to ensure the health and well-being of refugees:

    November 20, 2015

    Bassel Khartabil, a defender of freedom expression being held in conditions amounting to enforced disappearance may be facing a death sentence, 30 local and international organizations said today. His wife has received unconfirmed reports that a Military Field Court has sentenced him to death. His whereabouts should be disclosed immediately, and he should be released unconditionally, the groups said.

    Military Intelligence detained Bassel Khartabil on 15 March 2012. He was held in incommunicado detention for eight months and was subjected to torture and other ill-treatment. He is facing Military Field Court proceedings for his peaceful activities in support of freedom of expression. A military judge interrogated Bassel Khartabil for a few minutes on 9 December 2012, but he had heard nothing further about his legal case, he told his family. In December 2012 he was moved to ‘Adra prison in Damascus, where he remained until 3 October 2015, when he was transferred to an undisclosed location and has not been heard of since.

    October 15, 2015

    On the eve of Canada’s federal election, a group of Canada’s most powerful women have issued an urgent call for respect for human rights in the midst of the divisive debate over the wearing of the niqab.

    October 07, 2015

    Botswana’s authorities must lift the suspension of four High Court judges unfairly targeted if the independence of the judiciary is to be preserved, said Amnesty International and SADC Lawyers’ Association today following a High Court decision yesterday not to reinstate them.

    The judges, Key Dingake, Mercy Thebe, Rainer Busanang and Modiri Letsididi were suspended on 28 August 2015 under Section 97 of the Botswana Constitution for alleged misconduct and bringing the judiciary into disrepute. This followed a petition signed by 12 judges, including the suspended four, calling for the impeachment of Chief Justice Maruping Dibotelo.

    October 06, 2015

    Ahmed Mansoor was selected by a jury of 10 Global Human Rights organizations (See list below). The Award is given to Human Rights Defenders who have shown deep commitment and face great personal risk. The aim of the award is to provide protection through international recognition. Strongly supported by the City of Geneva, the Award will be presented on Oct. 6th.

    Ahmed Mansoor (United Arab Emirates)
    Since 2006, he has focused on initiatives concerning freedom of expression, civil and political rights. He successfully campaigned in 2006-2007 to support two people jailed for critical social comments, who were released and the charges dropped. Shortly after, the Prime Minister of UAE issued an order not to jail journalists in relation to their work. Mr Mansoor is one of the few voices within the United Arab Emirates who provides a credible independent assessment of human rights developments. He regularly raises concerns on arbitrary detention, torture, international standards for fair trials, non-independence of the judiciary, and domestic laws that violate international law.

    September 30, 2015

    The King of Saudi Arabia must refuse to ratify the outrageous death sentence against juvenile offender, Ali Mohammed Baqir al-Nimr, Amnesty International said today.

    The organization called on the authorities to quash Ali al-Nimr’s death sentence, which followed a grossly unfair trial and was based on “confessions” Ali al-Nimr says were extracted under torture. It also urged the authorities to immediately impose an official moratorium on all executions and implement significant reforms in the country’s criminal justice system.

    Ali al-Nimr was sentenced to death by the Specialized Criminal Court (SCC), a special security and counter-terror court, on 27 May 2014. His death sentence was upheld both by the appeal division of the SCC and by the Supreme Court sometime earlier this year, without his or his lawyer’s knowledge. He could be executed as soon as the King ratifies the sentence.

    September 24, 2015

    There is nothing game-changing in what EU leaders agreed to early this morning said Amnesty International today following the EU leaders’ summit on migration.

    “What was needed was a bold, ambitious new approach. But what we got was the continuation of a failed strategy,” said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Director of Europe.

    “The proposed €1 billion for refugee hosting countries is positive but beyond this, the commitments disappoint. EU leaders should have been agreeing on how to ensure safe and legal routes for refugees into Europe and fixing Europe’s failing asylum system.”

    “Instead, the focus of the proposals on keeping refugees out ignores the realities of a global refugee crisis and states’ obligations to provide protection to those unable to find it elsewhere.

    “The relocation figures agreed on Tuesday won’t significantly relieve the pressure on frontline states and without much more concrete and immediate assistance to these countries, the chaotic tragic scenes we have witnessed in recent weeks, will only continue and likely worsen. 

    September 15, 2015

    The Moroccan authorities must implement the UN body’s decision, protect Ali Aarrass from further abuse while he remains imprisoned, and ensure he has effective access to justice, Amnesty International said. Ali Aarrass went on hunger strike on 25 August in Salé II Local Prison near Morocco’s capital Rabat two years after the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention’s (WGAD) called on the Moroccan authorities to release him. He is severely weakened and struggles to stand, his family told Amnesty International.

    Ali Aarrass also entered the hunger strike to protest fresh improper treatment by the head guard in his prison block, significant delays in the investigation carried out by the judicial authorities into his torture allegations, as well as the lack of response by the Court of Cassation nearly three years after he appealed his conviction to Morocco’s supreme judicial authority.

    September 15, 2015

    The conviction and six-year prison sentence imposed on human rights activist José Marcos Mavungo is a travesty of justice and a blatant violation of the right to freedom of expression, association and assembly in Angola, said five human rights organizations today.

    The organizations, the South African Litigation Centre (SALC), Lawyers for Human Rights, Front Line Defenders, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) and Amnesty International are calling for his immediate and unconditional release. Amnesty International considers him a prisoner of conscience.

    “The conviction of José Marcos Mavungo politically motivated and is the latest example of suppression of freedom of expression and blatant disregard for human rights in the country,” said Muluka Miti-Drummond, Regional Advocacy Director at the Southern Africa Litigation Centre. 

    “It comes days after the European Parliament’s resolution on Angola calling on the authorities to immediately and unconditionally release all human rights defenders, including José Marcos Mavungo, and to drop all charges against them.” 

    September 11, 2015

    Earlier this summer, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission called on the federal, provincial and territorial governments to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as the central framework for Canada to at long last address the racism and blatant disregard for the lives of First Nations, Inuit and Métis children and families exemplified by the residential school policy.

    For organizations and individuals who have been deeply involved with the Declaration, the recommendation comes as no surprise.

    August 21, 2015

    Thirty-one aid, faith, human rights, and development organizations are calling on world leaders to take urgent action to halt ongoing demolitions and hold the government of Israel accountable for the wanton destruction of Palestinian property and of projects funded by international aid in the occupied West Bank.

    During a surge in demolitions this week, the Israeli army demolished at least 63 homes and basic structures across 10 Palestinian communities in Area C, the 60 percent of the West Bank where Israel has maintained full military and civil control. Among the demolished structures were 12 basic humanitarian necessities, including a solar panel, a portable latrine, animal pens, and tents financed by the European Union. 

    August 19, 2015

    The undersigned organizations call on the United Nations Human Rights Council to create an international commission of inquiry to investigate alleged serious violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law by all relevant parties since September 2014 when the Houthi armed group took control of Sana’a, the Yemen capital. 

    On March 26, 2015, a Saudi-led coalition launched an air campaign against the Houthi forces. Since then, parties to the conflict have committed serious violations of international law, some of which may amount to war crimes.

    The Saudi-led coalition has conducted indiscriminate airstrikes in violation of international humanitarian law that have killed scores of civilians and hit civilian objects and infrastructure. On July 24, for example, coalition airplanes repeatedly struck two residential compounds of the Mokha Steam Power Plant. These strikes alone killed at least 65 civilians, including 10 children. 

    August 14, 2015

    Sixteen international organizations have joined the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM) in welcoming the release of its president Mazen Darwish and in calling for all charges against him and his colleagues to be dropped, as well as for the release of all other prisoners of conscience who remain detained by the Syrian authorities.

    Whilst welcoming this week’s release of Mazen Darwish and of his SCM colleagues Hani al-Zitani and Hussein Gharir last month we are extremely concerned that they continue to face charges of ‘publicizing terrorist acts’ and are due to face trial later this month. We continue to call for all charges against them to be dropped immediately and unconditionally, and for an end to the persecution and judicial harassment of the three men for their legitimate human rights work. The authorities in Syria must further guarantee that all human rights defenders are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions.

    August 12, 2015

    One week into Canada’s federal election campaign, party leaders have failed to put women’s rights and gender equality issues up for debate.

    The Up for Debate campaign, led by a broad coalition of 175 organizations, has collected over 50,000 signatures from people across Canada calling for a nationally broadcast leader’s debate on women’s rights and gender equality issues. But lack of a clear commitment from all political party leaders to participate in such a debate has put this plan on ice.

    “During last week’s Maclean’s debate, the word ‘woman’ was only mentioned four times, and there was no discussion of women’s rights or gender equality,” said Kelly Bowden of Oxfam, a spokesperson for the campaign. “Without commitment to a standalone debate, and in the absence of discussion in other debates, life and death issues impacting women and girls in Canada are invisible in the federal election campaign.”

    August 11, 2015

    At its International Council Meeting in Dublin, Ireland, Amnesty International adopted a resolution outlining principles that will lead to a new global policy to protect and uphold the human rights of sex workers.    

    The principles seek to protect people of all genders who are involved in the sex trade - and who face deep marginalization and discrimination in countries around the world - from violence and other human rights abuses.

    The resolution directs Amnesty International's Board to adopt a policy supporting the full decriminalization of consensual adult sex work, while continuing to advocate for full and effective enforcement of laws and policies to prevent and redress violence, trafficking and the sexual exploitation of children.

    August 07, 2015

    As the nation marks the one-year anniversary on Sunday of unarmed teenager Michael Brown’s death at the hands of Ferguson, MO police officer Darren Wilson, Amnesty International USA executive director Steven W. Hawkins released the following statement:

    “Michael Brown’s death and similar tragic incidents around the nation highlight a disturbing pattern of use of lethal force and racially discriminatory conduct by law enforcement officers. One year later, there is still a pressing need for reform at the local, state and federal levels.

    “Legislators in Missouri and around the country must bring laws concerning the use of lethal force in line with international standards, limited to instances in which it is necessary to protect life. Our own research found that the laws of every state in the country fail to meet this standard.

    In the wake of Brown’s killing and the militarized response to street protests, a Justice Department investigation found widespread misconduct and racial bias in the Ferguson police department. 

    July 17, 2015

    Several key provisions of Law 1753, which was approved by Congress on 9 June, and through which the government has implemented the 2014-18 National Development Plan (NDP), must be repealed since they threaten to legitimize the mass land grabs that have marked Colombia’s armed conflict, Amnesty International said today.

    Peasant farmer, Indigenous and Afro-descendant organizations, and several congresspeople, have challenged the legality of several articles in the legislation and last month presented a claim before the Constitutional Court to rule on their constitutionality.

    Law 1753 contains several provisions that might enable mining and other economic interests to gain legal ownership over lands that could have been misappropriated through crimes under international law and human rights violations during the course of the country’s long-running internal armed conflict. This could undermine the right of many of these lands’ legitimate occupants to claim ownership over them.

    July 23, 2015

    Indigenous peoples and human rights groups say that a new United Nations report on Canada’s human rights record should be a wake-up call for all Canadians.

    The UN Human Rights Committee, which regularly reviews whether states are living up to their obligations under the binding International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,  today made more than a dozen recommendations for fundamental changes in Canadian law and policy in respect to the treatment of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples.

    The Committee was so concerned about issues of violence against Indigenous women and the violation of Indigenous Peoples’ land rights that it called on Canada to report back within one year on progress made to implement its recommendations on these issues.

    July 23, 2015

    The United Nations Human Rights Committee issued its Concluding Observations today following its review of Canada’s compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Amnesty International welcomes this review of the country’s human rights record, the last of which occurred in October 2005—nearly a decade ago.

          New UN Report goes to the heart of Canada's failure to meet its international human right obligations    

    Read response from Indigenous peoples' organizations and allies

    July 15, 2015

    Amnesty International called today on the Bahraini authorities to release political activist Ebrahim Sharif and end his ongoing prosecution on charges brought solely for the peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression following a speech he gave last Friday.

    Ebrahim Sharif, former Secretary General of the National Democratic Action Society (Wa’ad), was arrested at 2.30am on 12 July at his home by security officers and remanded in custody for 48 hours for questioning at the Criminal Investigations Directorate of the Ministry of Interior in connection with statements he made in a speech at a public gathering on 10 July.

    On 13 July, the Public Prosecution interrogated Ebrahim Sharif on charges of “incitement to hatred and contempt of the regime” and “incitement to overthrow the regime by force and illegal means”, under Articles 165 and 160 of the Penal Code. He denied all the charges against him. The prosecution ordered his detention for 15 days pending further investigation. 

    July 09, 2015

    The authorities must respect due process and ensure an impartial investigation in the case of 15 people, most of them human rights defenders and student activists, arrested yesterday in the capital Bogotá in connection with last week’s explosions in the city, Amnesty International said today.

    On 2 July, two small explosive devices were detonated in Bogotá leaving several people injured but no fatalities. The authorities attributed the attack to the guerrilla group National Liberation Army (Ejército de Liberación Nacional, ELN).

    In setting off these explosives in the city, with the high risk to civilian life that this entailed, those responsible clearly showed a complete disregard for human life.
    The authorities have a duty to investigate any criminal activity and bring to justice those suspected of criminal responsibility through an independent and impartial process which conforms to international law and standards.

    June 29, 2015

    When Bill C-51, the Anti-terrorism Act 2015, was tabled in Parliament this spring, Canada’s leading human rights organizations called for the Bill to be withdrawn. Amnesty International, the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, the Canadian Muslim Lawyers Association, the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group, La Ligue des Droits et Libertés and the National Council of Canadian Muslims have stated from the outset that the serious human rights shortcomings in Bill C-51 are so numerous and inseparably interrelated that the Bill should be withdrawn in its entirety. We believe that any national security law reform should instead, first, be convincingly demonstrated to be necessary and should then proceed only in a manner that is wholly consistent with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the country’s international human rights obligations.

    June 15, 2015

      Over 200 Rights Groups Urge Respect for Free Expression, Assembly

    (Kinshasa) – Congolese authorities should immediately and unconditionally release two activists who were arrested three months ago, on March 15, 2015, during a pro-democracy youth workshop in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a coalition of 14 international and 220 Congolese rights organizations said today. Fred Bauma and Yves Makwambala were arrested at a workshop organized to launch “Filimbi,” a platform to encourage Congolese youth to peacefully and responsibly perform their civic duties.

    The government should also release and drop any charges against other activists, opposition party members, and others detained solely for their political views or for participating in peaceful activities.

    June 10, 2015

    International pressure is increasing on the Paraguayan authorities to urgently provide the girl raped when she was 10-year-old the medical care she desperately needs, including the option of the termination of her pregnancy, Amnesty International said after the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights called for urgent action to protect her human rights. The State has 72 hours to respond to the Inter American Commission.

    The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights is the latest in a long line of international experts who have voiced their outrage at the horrific way this young girl is being treated by the Paraguayan authorities.

    June 09, 2015

    Indigenous peoples’ organizations and human rights groups are calling on federal, provincial, and territorial governments to follow the lead of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in calling for the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to be used as a valuable framework for the reconciliation of Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada.

    Thousands of people attended powerful events in Ottawa last week, as the TRC formally concluded its mandate. In an executive summary of its final report, due out later this year, the Commission emphasized that “Canadians must do more than just talk about reconciliation; we must learn how to practise reconciliation in our everyday lives—within ourselves and our families, and in our communities, governments, places of worship, schools, and workplaces.”

    The Commission is adamant that the UN Declaration “provides the necessary principles, norms, and standards for reconciliation to flourish in twenty-first-century Canada.”

    June 08, 2015

    Joint release with First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada and KAIROS

    In a landmark ruling Friday, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal concluded that the Department of Aboriginal and Northern Affairs Canada retaliated against Dr. Cindy Blackstock of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada because of a discrimination complaint filed by that organization.

    According to Dr. Blackstock, “Although I welcome the Tribunal’s confirmation that the federal government’s conduct was unlawful, my real hope is that Parliament passes stronger measures to ensure that people who stand up for children and other vulnerable Canadians won’t be persecuted.” 

    The government’s actions were in response to a human rights complaint filed by the Caring Society and the Assembly of First Nation alleging that the federal government’s flawed and inequitable provision of First Nations child and family services to 163,000 First Nations children is discriminatory.

    June 04, 2015

    Posted at 0001hrs GMT  5 June 2015

    Amnesty International  &  Privacy International

    Governments must accept they have lost the debate over the legitimacy of mass surveillance and reform their oversight of intelligence gathering, Amnesty International and Privacy International said today in a briefing published two years after Edward Snowden blew the lid on US and UK intelligence agencies’ international spying network.

    “The balance of power is beginning to shift,” said Edward Snowden in an article published today in newspapers around the world. “With each court victory, with every change in law, we demonstrate facts are more convincing than fear.”

    June 02, 2015

    Full implementation of the recommendations released today by Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission is essential to provide justice for residential schools survivors and their communities and to ensure that Canada lives up to its international human rights obligations.

    The Truth and Reconciliation Commission was established as part of a legal settlement with survivors of the government-funded and church-run Indian Residential Schools. For over a century, more than 150,000 First Nations, Métis and Inuit children were forcibly taken from their families and communities to attend these schools. The Commission estimates than more than 6,000 children died in these schools while countless others endured hardship, deprivation and abuse.

    May 27, 2015

             Reveal Whereabouts of People Arrested After December Coup Attempt

    (Dakar) – Gambian authorities have detained incommunicado, depriving them of all contact with the outside world, dozens of friends and relatives of people accused of involvement in a coup attempt since January 2015, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International said today. Those detained include women, elderly people, and a child, and many are believed to be in ill-health.

    The government has refused to acknowledge the whereabouts or even the detention of many of them, effectively holding them outside of the protection of the law. This amounts to enforced disappearance, a serious violation of international law. The Gambian government should urgently reveal their whereabouts and either charge them with a recognizable offense if there is sufficient evidence or immediately release them.

    May 19, 2015

    Europe looks set to prioritise big business over people suffering under the deadly conflict minerals trade, Amnesty International and Global Witness warn on the eve of a landmark vote designed to tackle the European trade.

    Members of Parliament (MEPs) will vote on inaugural legislation in Strasbourg on Wednesday, which for the first time could legally require European companies to ensure the minerals they buy are not contributing to conflict or human rights abuses in other countries.

    But intense lobbying by big business risks watering down the law into a proposal that would do little to tackle a trade that funds conflict in parts of Africa and elsewhere. If the proposal is not amended, only about 20 raw mineral importers would be legally required to source their materials responsibly. European businesses that sell and make products containing those minerals would only be covered by a voluntary system.

    “This is a historic opportunity to tackle the conflict minerals trade. But the proposal on the table effectively ignores some of the most important players in the industry,” said Lucy Graham of Amnesty International.

    May 13, 2015

    The continued detention of two human rights defenders held on fabricated charges of ‘crimes against the security of the state’ is a blatant oppression of freedom of expression and a mockery of justice in Angola, said Amnesty International and four other human rights organizations two months after the men were arrested.

    Jose Marcos Mavungo and Arão Bula Tempo were arrested on 14 March 2015 solely for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression and assembly in the country’s Cabinda region.

    Amnesty International, Lawyers for Human Rights, the Southern Africa Litigation Centre, the International Commission of Jurists and the SADC Lawyers' Association are calling for their immediate and unconditional release.

    “The use of state security and other crimes to punish those expressing critical opinions in Angola is nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to crush dissent,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Director for Southern Africa.

    May 02, 2015

    Released 3 May 2015 00:01 GMT

    Journalists in Egypt face acute dangers including arbitrary arrest, indefinite detention without charge, prosecution and intimidation according to a statement published by Amnesty International on World Press Freedom Day (3 May) highlighting the dangers of media reporting in the country.

    At least 18 journalists are currently detained in Egypt, dozens more have faced arbitrary arrest. Since June 2013, at least six journalists have also been killed while covering protests, either by security forces or in clashes between demonstrators.

    “In Egypt today anyone who challenges the authorities’ official narrative, criticizes the government or exposes human rights violations is at risk of being tossed into a jail cell, often to be held indefinitely without charge or trial or face prosecution on trumped-up charges,” said Philip Luther Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.

    May 02, 2015

    Released 3 May 2015 00.01 am Myanmar time / 2 May 05.31pm GMT

    At least a dozen media workers in Myanmar will spend World Press Freedom Day (3 May) behind bars as authorities are leading an intensifying crackdown on journalists, Amnesty International said in a statement today.

    The past year in Myanmar has been marked by an increasingly restrictive climate for media, as authorities have resorted to old tactics of harassing and imprisoning journalists.

    “The fact that 12 media workers will spend World Press Freedom Day languishing in prison speaks volumes about the reality journalists face in the country. The past years have seen a vibrant media scene emerge in Myanmar, but the authorities are doing their best to undermine this. Those journalists who dare to report on topics considered ‘sensitive’ by the government or military are harassed and imprisoned,” said Rupert Abbott, Amnesty International’s Research Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

    April 28, 2015

    Posted at 0001hrs BST 29 April 2015

    Whereabouts of more than 75 held after protests unknown

    Iran’s intelligence and security forces have rounded up and detained scores of Ahwazi Arabs, including several children, in what appears to be an escalating crackdown in Iran’s Khuzestan province, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said today. 

    According to activists and family members, many arrests took place in the lead-up to the tenth anniversary of mass anti-government demonstrations that gripped the Arab-populated province in April 2005. Family members said the arrests have been carried out without warrants by groups of armed masked men affiliated with Iran’s security and intelligence services, usually following home raids of Ahwazi Arab activists during the late evening or early morning hours. The human rights organizations expressed concern that people may have been arrested merely in connection with their perceived political opinions, for peacefully expressing dissent or for openly exhibiting their Arab identity and culture.

    April 24, 2015

    (Bangui) – The Central African Republic's National Transitional Council has taken decisive action for justice for the victims of atrocities by adopting a law to establish a Special Criminal Court within the national justice system, 23 Central African and international human rights organizations said today.

    The draft law, which the government sent to the transitional parliament on February 6, 2015, was adopted by an overwhelming majority on April 22 during a plenary session. The special court will investigate and prosecute those responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Central African Republic since 2003.

    “By approving the Special Criminal Court, National Transition Council members said that ‘enough is enough’ with impunity and showed that they firmly stand on the side of justice for the victims who lost their lives or suffered atrocities,” said the human rights organizations. “There is no time to lose for the government and its international partners to ensure that the Special Criminal Court is up and running as soon as possible.”

    April 22, 2015

    Embargoed until: April 22, 2015 at 12:01 a.m. ET (05:01 London time)

    Nearly 80 per cent of U.S. public companies analyzed by human rights groups are failing to adequately check and disclose whether their products contain conflict minerals from Central Africa, a new report by Amnesty International and Global Witness reveals today.

    The report, Digging for Transparency, analyzes 100 conflict minerals reports filed by companies including Apple, Boeing and Tiffany & Co under the 2010 Dodd Frank Act (Section 1502), known as the conflict minerals law. The findings point to alarming gaps in U.S. corporate transparency.

    Under the law, more than one thousand U.S.-listed companies that believe they may source minerals from Central Africa submitted reports to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in 2014, the first year they were required to do so. The law is designed to reduce the risk that the purchase of minerals from Central Africa contributes to conflict or human rights abuses.

    April 13, 2015

    (Nairobi, April 13, 2015) – The Kenyan government should urgently review the inclusion of human rights organizations on an official list of alleged supporters of terrorism and ensure full respect of due process, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said today.

    The list is comprised of 86 individuals and entities, and includes two human rights groups, Muslims for Human Rights (MUHURI) and Haki Africa.  The list was published in the official government gazette on April 7, 2015, days after the attack on Garissa University College in northeastern Kenya in which 147 people, including 142 students, were killed. The militant Islamist group, Al-Shabaab, claimed responsibility for the attack.

    April 07, 2015

    Source: Amnesty International Canada – MiningWatch Canada - Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala (NISGUA)

    (Guatemala City/Ottawa/Vancouver)

    Wiretap transcripts ordered by Guatemala’s Public Prosecutor of Tahoe Resources’ former head of security, Alberto Rotondo, in connection with an April 27, 2013 shooting outside its Escobal mine provide strong evidence that he targeted peaceful protesters, tried to cover up the crime and flee the country. The Public Prosecutor ordered the telephone intercepts roughly two weeks before this incident occurred, in apparent connection with suspicions over earlier violence at the mine site. The intercepts were originally presented in a public hearing in Guatemala in May 2013 at which Rotondo was charged with assault and obstruction of justice.

    March 30, 2015

    It is hard to imagine a people more deserving of rigorous human rights and environmental protection -- and the respectful collaboration of our elected officials – than the people of Grassy Narrows. Tragically, this is not what’s happening. Instead, the provincial government continues its effort to clearcut their traditional territory over the opposition of the people of Grassy Narrows. This December the province refused to even subject its plans to an individual environmental impact assessment.

    March 30, 2015

    Today, as the House of Commons’ Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security commences its clause-by-clause review of Bill C-51, the Anti-Terrorism Act, 2015, seven of Canada’s leading human rights organizations reiterate their call for the Bill to be withdrawn.

    Since the Committee began its hearings on March 9, 2015, it has heard concerns raised by expert witnesses representing a variety of perspectives. As Canadians learn more about Bill C-51, public concern and opposition to the Bill continues to grow, as reflected in the rapidly growing numbers of Canadians who have taken part in demonstrations and who have signed petitions and letters. Meanwhile, editorial boards from across the political spectrum continue to critique the Bill and the manner in which it is being deliberated in Parliament.

    March 18, 2015

    On the fourth anniversary of the arrests of 13 leading opposition activists and other prisoners of conscience in Bahrain, Amnesty International calls for their immediate and unconditional release and urges the authorities to ensure that the rights of all prisoners, including those held in Jaw prison, are fully respected.

    Four years ago, starting on 17 March 2011, security officers in Bahrain raided the houses of several opposition activists, took them to unknown locations and detained them incommunicado for several weeks. Amongst them were 13 opposition activists, ‘Ali al-‘Ekri, a medical doctor, and Mahdi ‘Issa Mahdi Abu Dheeb, the head of the Bahrain Teachers’ Association.

    March 17, 2015

    The Angolan authorities must immediately and unconditionally release two human rights defenders who were detained solely for exercising their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly in the country’s Cabinda region, five organizations including Amnesty International said today.

    Jose Marcos Mavungo was arrested on 14 March 2015 – the day of the planned protest - and charged with sedition on 16 March 2015. Another human rights defender, Arao Bula Tempo, was also arrested and detained on unknown charges.

    “These arbitrary detentions are the latest disturbing example of growing repression of dissenting voices, peaceful protest and freedom of expression in Angola, particularly in the province of Cabinda,” said Muleya Mwananyanda, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Southern Africa.

    “We believe there is no basis for the arrest of the human rights defenders or the sedition charges brought against one of the activists. This makes a mockery of the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and expression.”

    March 13, 2015

    Inuit hunters and other community members from the Hamlet of Clyde River in Nunavut have challenged a decision by the National Energy Board of Canada (NEB) to allow a group of multinational corporations to carry out seismic exploration off Baffin Island.

    “Fundamental human rights protections are at stake in this case,” said Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada. “Canadian and international law both require rigorous precautions to ensure that resource development decisions don’t lead to further marginalization and dispossession of Indigenous peoples. Unfortunately, the regulatory bodies that Canada relies on to uphold the public interest, all too often look at consultation with Indigenous peoples as a mere formality and fail to meet the underlying goal of protecting Indigenous peoples’ human rights.”

    The Hamlet of Clyde River and the Nammautaq Hunters and Trappers Organization allege that the NEB failed to adequately consider the harmful effects of seismic testing on marine mammals and on Inuit food, economy and culture, and that the decision violated the constitutional rights of the Inuit.

    March 12, 2015

    Amnesty International is urging Member States of the Organization of American States (OAS) to ensure that a proposed regional Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples properly reflects the views and experiences of those whose rights are at stake. Legitimacy cannot be achieved if text is brought forward without the support of Indigenous Peoples.

    On Wednesday 11 March, the OAS concluded the second of at least four meetings planned this year in an attempt to finalize a proposed regional declaration that has been under development for almost two decades. The document provides an opportunity to strengthen regional compliance with a similar United Nations declaration adopted in 2007 and can also support the strengthening of the international human rights system in relation to the specific needs of Indigenous Peoples in the Americas.

    March 11, 2015

    Posted at 0001hrs GMT 12 March 2015

    Eighty-three percent of all the lights in Syria have gone out since the start of the conflict there, a global coalition of humanitarian and human rights organizations has revealed ahead of the fourth anniversary on March 15.

    Analyzing satellite images, scientists based at Wuhan University in China, in co-operation with the #withSyria coalition of 130 non-governmental organizations, have shown that the number of lights visible over Syria at night has fallen by 83% since March 2011.

    February 26, 2015

    Rights groups across Canada reacted with alarm and deep concern to the news that the government has brought forward a motion limiting study of Bill C-51, the Anti-Terrorism Act, 2015, by the House of Commons’ Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security to only four sessions of two hours each.  With the first session devoted to government witnesses, including the Minister of Public Safety, this would leave only six hours for all other potential experts.

    Amnesty International Canada, the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, the Canadian Muslim Lawyers Association, the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group, La Ligue des Droits et Libertés and the National Council of Canadian Muslims all called on the government to withdraw the motion and agree to a schedule of extensive hearings that will ensure that all relevant expertise and perspectives across the country is available to the Committee during the course of its study of Bill C-51.

    February 26, 2015

    An alarming study released today shows that governments in Canada have repeatedly ignored expert recommendations to stop violence against Indigenous women and girls.

    Researchers with the Legal Strategy Coalition on Violence Against Indigenous Women reviewed 58 reports dealing with aspects of violence and discrimination against Indigenous women and girls, including government studies, reports by international human rights bodies, and published research of Indigenous women’s organizations. The reports cover a period of two decades. Shockingly, researchers found that only a few of more than 700 recommendations in these reports have ever been fully implemented.

    February 25, 2015

    Today, Amnesty International has published its global level Annual Report, providing an overview of the state of human rights in the world.  As has been the case for the past ten years, the report includes an entry highlighting a range of human rights concerns in Canada which draws attention to the alarmingly high levels of violence and discrimination against Indigenous women and girls in the country, and the failure of the federal government to launch comprehensive and effective action to address this crisis.  A copy of the entry on Canada is attached.

    This year’s report notes that:

    In May, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police reported that at least 1,017 Indigenous women and girls were murdered between 1980 and 2012, four and a half times the homicide rate for all other women. Despite mounting demands, including by provincial and territorial governments, the federal government refused to initiate a national action plan or public inquiry.

    Ten years ago Amnesty International’s Annual Report noted the following:

    February 19, 2015

    Today, a group of 22 eminent Canadians, comprised of former Prime Ministers, Ministers of Justice, Ministers of Public Safety, Solicitors General, Supreme Court of Canada Justices, and members of national security, law enforcement and privacy review bodies, published a statement in The Globe and Mail and La Presse calling urgently for an enhanced approach to national security review and oversight in the country.  The group includes men and women whose public service, in areas where they have been responsible for addressing wide-ranging national security challenges, stretches from 1968 to 2014.

    This important statement comes at a time when Canada is considering a radical expansion of national security powers across government, but has made no equivalent proposals for strengthened review and oversight of the agencies and departments responsible for national security.

    February 18, 2015

    On 16 and 17 of February, Amnesty International intervened in an important case before the Supreme Court of Canada involving the rights of refugees seeking Canada’s protection. At issue in the case was whether refugees who mutually assist each other in fleeing persecution should be considered people smugglers and as a result inadmissible to Canada and permanently barred from accessing protection under the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (Refugee Convention). The Court was also asked to determine whether Good Samaritans or humanitarian organizations that assist refugees in reaching safety should also be considered to be people smugglers, and prosecuted for their acts.

    February 16, 2015

    The horrific execution-style killing of 21 Coptic Christians in Libya by the group calling itself the Tripoli Province of Islamic State is a war crime and an attack on the fundamental principles of humanity, Amnesty International said today.  

    A video published online by the media wing of the armed group purports to show the beheadings of 21 Copts, mostly Egyptians, on a beach in an unknown location in the province of Tripoli. The atrocity was carried out in retaliation for the alleged abduction of Camilia Shehata, an Egyptian woman, formerly a Christian, whose conversion to Islam sparked a wave of protests in 2010.

    Nothing could justify the cold-blooded murder of the men who appear to have been targeted solely on account of their faith, Amnesty International has said.
    The video titled “A message signed with blood to the nation of the cross” shows a group of men dressed in orange jumpsuits who are paraded on the beach by masked men, then forced to kneel, and then beheaded.

    February 12, 2015

    The Free Syrian Voices ( coalition today announced its “Hearts in Our Hands” Campaign to call for the release of peaceful Syrian activists held both by the Syrian government and armed groups. The coalition was formed to coordinate the efforts of six international human rights organizations including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Frontline Defenders detained Syrian human rights defenders and activists.

    The campaign’s timing, over the Valentine’s Day weekend and through 17 February 2015, marks the 3rd anniversary, on 16 February, of the arrest and detention of Mazen Darwish, director of the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM), and two staff members, Hussein Gharir and Hani al-Zitani. They remain in Syrian government jails solely for their human rights work, along with hundreds of other human rights, media, legal and humanitarian workers detained since the peaceful protest movement in Syria started in 2011.

    February 06, 2015

    Amnesty International fears that most prisoners of conscience will likely be excluded from the royal pardon announced by King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud on 29 January, according to the Ministry of Interior’s pardon conditions.

    The royal pardon which referred to the conditions of the pardon stipulated in the Ministry of Interior’s official communication dated 27 January, a copy of which Amnesty International has seen, excludes “crimes related to state security” from the pardon. “Crimes related to state security” does not refer to clearly defined or codified articles in Saudi Arabian laws but to vaguely worded list of charges commonly faced by human rights activists and prisoners of conscience both in the Specialized Criminal Court (SCC), the country’s infamous security and counter-terror court, and in other criminal courts.

    February 06, 2015

    The worldwide movement of Amnesty International stands behind the growing calls for the immediate release of Native American activist Leonard Peltier.

    As of this month, Leonard Peltier has spent 39 years behind bars. Peltier was convicted in connection with the 1975 murder of two FBI agents, Jack Coler and Ronald Williams, who were killed during a confrontation involving members of the American Indian Movement (AIM) on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.  Peltier has always maintained that although he was present during the confrontation, he did not kill the two agents. 

    Amnesty International has never taken a position on whether Peltier is innocent or guilty of this very serious crime. We have however consistently spoken out against the injustices on which his continued imprisonment rest.

    January 12, 2015

    A report released today by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights adds further weight to calls for a comprehensive national response to violence against Indigenous women and girls, including an independent public inquiry.

    The 125 page report on missing and murdered Indigenous women in British Columbia was released today at Commission headquarters in Washington, DC.
    Amnesty International strongly supports the recommendations in the Commission’s report and urges the government of Canada and the province of British Columbia to live up to the international human rights obligations that it highlights.

    While acknowledging a number of initiatives already taken by the federal government and the province of British Columbia, the Commission states that such measures will not end the violence “unless the underlying factors of discrimination that originate and exacerbate the violence are also comprehensively addressed.”

    January 06, 2015

    Amidst a surge in election-related harassment and violence ahead of the 8 January presidential poll, Sri Lankan authorities must ensure that people’s right to political participation is respected, Amnesty International said.

    “The growing harassment and violence against those campaigning in the coming elections is deeply troubling – the authorities have a responsibility to ensure that all people in Sri Lanka can exercise their rights to political participation and freedom of expression without facing threats or violence, and that on election day they can vote without fear,” said David Griffiths, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia Pacific Director.

    “Reports of a potential organized plan to obstruct voters on election day – allegedly orchestrated by the government through the military – is also a matter of grave concern.”

    January 06, 2015

    New requirements imposed by the Lebanese authorities which may restrict access for people desperate to flee Syria is yet another stark reminder that the international community must do much more to assist.

    To its considerable credit, Lebanon already hosts more than 1.2 million refugees from Syria – equal to about a quarter of its population before the Syrian crisis began. As the crisis nears its fifth year, Lebanon and other countries in the region which host the majority of Syria’s refugees are struggling to cope.

    Lebanon and Syria’s other neighbours are struggling to cope with the millions of refugees who have fled the increasingly dire situation since the crisis and conflict began. 

    The international community must do much more to resettle refugees and share the burden in the face of one of the worst humanitarian crises in recent history. According to the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, approximately 10% of refugees in the main host countries need resettlement. However, to date less than 2% have been offered resettlement places. 

    December 14, 2014

    Posted at 0001hrs GMT 15 December 2104

    Russian authorities should act to end a campaign of intimidation and harassment against human rights defenders in Chechnya, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said today after the office of a local human rights group was burned down. They should also offer genuine protection to all activists threatened for doing their work.

    In the evening of December 13 the Joint Mobile Group (JMG) ,a human rights organization that works with non-governmental organizations from other Russian regions, was destroyed in a fire in the Chechen capital, Grozny, in a suspected arson attack.

    “These acts of intimidation are part of an ongoing crackdown on freedom of expression in the region. Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov appears to bewaging a personal campaign against the Joint Mobile Group and its leader Igor Kalyapin,” said Anna Neistat, senior director ofresearch at Amnesty International.

    December 03, 2014

    Afghanistan’s foreign donors should press the Afghan government to prevent a further deterioration in the country’s human rights situation and support services crucial to rights, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said today. The groups issued a joint statement ahead of a major donors’ meeting on Afghanistan on December 3-4, 2014 in London. Despite the government’s important improvements in human rights, many serious abuses continue and pose a threat to the fragile gains of the past decade.

    Delegations from more than 70 countries will gather for the London Conference on Afghanistan, a follow-up to the July 2012 Tokyo Conference on Afghanistan. At that conference, both the Afghan government, then-headed by President Hamid Karzai, and international donors agreed on a “mutual accountability framework.” The London Conference will be the first such meeting under Afghanistan’s new president, Ashraf Ghani, and coincides with declining donor engagement in tandem with the end-2014 deadline for the withdrawal of the majority of foreign combat forces from Afghanistan.

    November 18, 2014

    United Nations member states should vote in favor of a landmark resolution on the human rights situation in North Korea which seeks to advance justice for crimes against humanity, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights said today. The General Assembly will consider the resolution, which has been cosponsored by more than 50 UN members, in its third committee on November 18, 2014.

    November 14, 2014

    Posted at 0001hrs GMT 15 November 2014

    Leaders of the G20 states gathering this week-end in Australia must act immediately to ensure all the personnel, equipment and funding required to halt the Ebola outbreak are made available without any discrimination, a number of leading  international non-governmental organisations said today.

    Amnesty International, Oxfam International, Plan International, Save the Children and WaterAid are collectively present in all the three affected countries with a clear analysis of the tremendous needs still to be addressed.

    These five international non-governmental organizations have launched a petition to the world’s 20 largest economies, to take concrete actions to win the fight against the Ebola disease.

    Within a couple of weeks, 165,490 people around the world signed the petition to express solidarity with communities affected by the Ebola outbreak and remind the G20 leaders that the window to stop the outbreak from spiralling out of control is closing fast.

    October 30, 2014

    Amnesty International is disappointed in the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in the case of Febles v. Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. In a 5-2 split decision, the Court found that if someone committed a serious crime in the past, he or she is forever barred from seeking refugee protection – regardless of such factors as having served a full sentence, the lengthy passage of time, or complete rehabilitation. Amnesty International, represented by Power Law LLP, had intervened in the case in March 2014.

    October 22, 2014

    On 23 October 2014 the Federal government tabled, Bill C-43, an omnibus budget bill which contains the same provisions as those found in Bill C-585.  Amnesty International believes these provisions must be withdrawn from Bill C-43.

    Amnesty International is calling for Bill C-585, An Act to amend the Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act (period of residence), to be withdrawn.  The Private Member’s Bill, proposed by Corneliu Chisu, M.P, would allow provinces to reduce access to social assistance for refugee claimants and other people without permanent status in Canada. 

    Bill C-585 violates Canada’s binding obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the International Covenant on Social, Economic and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (Refugee Convention).

    October 07, 2014

    Alejandra Ancheita has been selected by the International Human Rights Community as the 2014 Martin Ennals Award Laureate.

    The Award is given to Human Rights Defenders who have shown deep commitment and face great personal risk. The aim of the award is to provide protection through international recognition. Strongly supported by the City of Geneva, the Award will be presented on 7 October.

    Alejandra Ancheita (Mexico), Founder and Executive Director of ProDESC  For over 15 years she has worked with migrants, workers and indigenous communities to protect their land and labour rights vis a vis transnational mining and energy companies. These disputes have included violent attacks on those she is trying to protect. She is also one of the pioneers in seeking accountability for transnational companies in Mexican courts when local communities’ rights are not taken into account. In Mexico, there is a clear pattern of attacks, threats, criminalization and murders of human rights defenders. Ms Ancheita and ProDESC have been subjected to surveillance, a defamation campaign in the national media and a break in at their offices.

    September 24, 2014

    Indigenous peoples’ organizations and human rights groups are outraged that the federal government used a high level United Nations forum on Indigenous rights as an opportunity to continue its unprincipled attack on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

    On Monday, the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples -- a high level plenary of the UN General Assembly in New York -- adopted a consensus statement reaffirming support for the UN Declaration.

    Canada was the only member state to raise objections.

    Chief Perry Bellegarde, Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations, said, “The World Conference was an opportunity for all states to reaffirm their commitment to working constructively with Indigenous peoples to uphold fundamental human rights standards. Alone among all the UN members, Canada instead chose to use this forum to make another unprincipled attack on those very standards.”

    September 23, 2014

    Any further intervention in the Middle East must include plans to address the suffering of Syrian civilians, a global coalition of 39 leading human rights and humanitarian organizations said today.

    Ahead of the UN General Assembly meeting in New York, the #WithSyria coalition, comprised of Save the Children, Amnesty International and others, is urging world leaders, whoever they support in the conflict, to make clear that they are on the side of civilians. This means by using their power to ensure that international law is respected and attacks on civilians including schools, hospitals, and shelters are stopped. According to the UN, direct, indiscriminate, and disproportionate attacks by groups on all sides are responsible for the majority of civilian deaths, as well as making it impossible in some areas for humanitarian agencies to reach those in desperate need.

    September 16, 2014
    Given the scale of the violence, the federal government’s response is piecemeal and inadequate. Recognition of the importance of supporting the families of missing and murdered women is welcomed. The federal plan fails to address the need for an independent National Public Inquiry. More is needed to tackle economic marginalization of Indigenous women, support frontline services on and off reserve, and ensure effective and unbiased police response.

    The widespread violence faced by Indigenous women and girls in Canada requires a comprehensive and concerted effort by all levels of government to address the discrimination, marginalization and impoverishment that puts Indigenous women and girls in harm’s way or denies them the chance to escape this violence.

    September 12, 2014

    September 13th marks the 7th anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, a consensus global human rights instrument. The Declaration calls on all states to safeguard the traditional land and resource rights of Indigenous peoples, including legal title to lands. The Declaration also requires fair and transparent mechanisms to ensure any disputes over lands and resources are resolved in a just and timely manner.

    The rights recognition and protection called for by the Declaration is increasingly reflected in decisions by Canadian courts.

    For example, in a unanimous decision, Tsilhqot’in Nation v. British Columbia, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in June that the Tsilhqot’in people in central BC continue to hold title to 1700 km2 of their traditional territory. Accordingly, they have the right to control how the land is used and to benefit from its resources.

    August 20, 2014

    “The Israeli authorities appear to have been playing bureaucratic games with us over access to Gaza, conditioning it on entirely unreasonable criteria even as the death toll mounts” said Anne FitzGerald, Amnesty International’s Director of Research and Crisis Response.

    Israel should immediately allow access to Gaza for Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and other international human rights organizations so they can investigate allegations of serious violations of international humanitarian law by all parties to the conflict, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said today,

    “The victims' and the public's right to know about what happened during the hostilities requires the Israeli authorities to ensure full transparency about their actions and to refrain from hindering independent and impartial research into all alleged violations.”

    August 19, 2014

    Dozens of local residents have told Amnesty International they continue to fear the long-term health impacts of the dumping of toxic waste belonging to multinational oil trader Trafigura in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, exactly eight years ago today.

    An Amnesty International research mission has collected heart-rending testimony from the Akouedo community, where the waste was illegally dumped on the night of 19 August 2006. The dumping caused a human and environmental disaster in Abidjan with over 100,000 people seeking medical assistance and substantial decontamination being required.

    Eight years later these people continue to have unanswered questions about their environment and the dangers of living there. Amnesty International delegates met people who spoke of the loss they had suffered because of the toxic waste dumping. Women expressed concern for their children, who suffer from ongoing health issues. They want to know why. People are also growing vegetables next to areas where toxic waste was dumped without knowing if it is safe.

    August 14, 2014

    The Southern African Development Community (SADC) should address human rights violations among its member states as part of measures to improve the lives of its people, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said today.

    As the 15 member states of SADC prepare to meet for the 34th Summit of Heads of State and Government in Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe on August 17 and 18, 2014, the three human rights organizations drew attention to serious human rights concerns in Angola, Malawi, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe will take over as chair of the regional body at the meeting.

    “SADC’s commitment to human rights will come into question if Zimbabwe, as chair of the regional body, does not expedite the process of aligning its laws with the constitution and state institutions do not live up to the regional and international best practices,” said Dzimbabwe Chimbga, Projects Manager, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.

    August 04, 2014


    July 09, 2014

    The Nepal government should act immediately to fix crucial flaws in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Act, particularly those highlighted in a new United Nations evaluation, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the International Commission of Jurists said today.

    July 08, 2014

    Update: Interim Federal Health Care will be reinstated for refugees at midnight 4 November 2014.  However the government has appealed the July decision in the Federal Court of Appeal.

    Amnesty International welcomes the recent decision of the Federal Court  regarding health care for refugees. The court found that the 2012 cuts to health care for refugees through the Interim Federal Health Program constituted “cruel and unusual treatment” and violated the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The court found that the cuts deliberately targeted refugees, a vulnerable, poor, and disadvantaged group.

    Amnesty International has previously expressed concern that changes to the Interim Federal Health Program were discriminatory and likely to result in violations of the right to health of refugees in Canada, in contravention of Canada’s international human rights obligations.

    June 25, 2014

    The Sudanese government should immediately charge or release recently detained political activists, and investigate all allegations that they have  been subjected to torture and ill-treatment, the African Center for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS), Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and REDRESS said today. 

    Against a general background of restrictions on free speech and political organizing, the Sudanese authorities have clamped down in recent months on political opposition figures for criticizing Sudan’s abuses in conflict zones. President Omar al-Bashir promised in April 2014 to release all “political detainees.”  But Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) continues to arbitrarily detain political activists and opposition party members, as recently as mid-June, the organizations said.

    June 18, 2014

    Amnesty International calls for the immediate and unconditional release of three Israeli teenagers abducted in the occupied West Bank on the evening of 12 June 2014. Additionally, Amnesty International calls on the Israeli authorities to cease all measures amounting to collective punishment which have been imposed on the Palestinian population in the West Bank and elsewhere since the abduction.

    Eyal Yifrah, 19, Gilad Sha’er, 16, and Naftali Frenkel, 16, all students at yeshivas (religious schools) in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, were last seen late on 12 June in the settlement bloc of Gush Etzion, between the cities of Bethlehem and Hebron in the southern West Bank. One of the three reportedly called the Israeli police at about 10:25pm on 12 June and said, “We’ve been kidnapped,” before all contact was lost with the teenagers.

    June 10, 2014

    (Beirut) – President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi takes office in Egypt in the midst of a human rights crisis as dire as in any period in the country’s modern history, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said today. The new president should make addressing Egypt’s dismal human rights record a top priority.

    In the period since the July 3, 2013 ousting of President Mohamed Morsy, Egyptian security forces have used excessive force on numerous occasions, leading to the worst incident of mass unlawful killings in Egypt’s recent history. Judicial authorities have handed down unprecedented large-scale death sentences and security forces have carried out mass arrests and torture that harken back to the darkest days of former President Hosni Mubarak’s rule.

    May 22, 2014

    By Alex Neve and Ghislain Picard Opinion Editorial Published in Toronto Star May 22, 2014

    The federal government’s new report on Human Rights and the Canada Colombia Free Trade Agreement, quietly submitted as Parliament recessed last week, would have us believe there are no trade and investment-related human rights concerns in Colombia – and no reason to look at what is happening in areas of resource extraction. But deadly realities confronting Indigenous peoples in the South American country tell another story.

    Fifteen year old Génesis Gisselle had just got out of school two weeks ago when the phone rang. An unknown voice delivered a terrifying message: “Tell your family to take care of themselves and of you - because we are going to kill you.”

    May 15, 2014

    Released: 5:00 am BST, May 15, 2014

    Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people in Uganda have reported a surge in human rights violations since the passage of the Anti-Homosexuality Act on December 20, 2013, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International said today.

    May 14, 2014

    Amnesty International is deeply disappointed in today’s Supreme Court of Canada’s judgment in Canada (Citizenship and Immigration) v. Harkat. This decision, which fundamentally engages Canada’s binding international obligations, contained no reference to any relevant international legal sources, and the court ruled that Canada’s security certificate regime is both constitutional and fair.

    The security certificate system is a process that allows non-citizens to be detained without charge, potentially indefinitely, based on evidence that they might never see and which would otherwise be inadmissible in a court of law – such as intelligence from foreign countries, which could be derived from torture. A person who is subject to a security certificate might eventually face deportation to a country where he or she will be at risk of torture or death.

    April 03, 2014

    Posted at 0001hrs GMT 4 April 2014

    World leaders must commit to keeping invasive surveillance systems and technologies out of the hands of dictators and oppressive regimes, said a new global coalition of human rights organizations as it launched today in Brussels.

    April 03, 2014

    The US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) has voted for a degree of transparency on the now long-festering injustices associated with the secret detention program operated by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) after the attacks of 11 September 2001.

    Given the systematic failure of the US authorities to declassify and disclose anything like the full truth about the CIA rendition, detention and interrogation programs, any transparency on them is a step in the right direction.

    The SSCI has voted to submit for declassification the summary and findings of its review of the secret detention program, authorized by former President George W. Bush in September 2001 and ended by President Barack Obama in 2009.

    But publication of the SSCI summary and findings – hopefully without redactions – will be just one small step. The administration and Congress must do far more to ensure accountability for past violations and their non-recurrence in the future. For a start, the full SSCI report – and the CIA rendition, detention and interrogation programs themselves – should be declassified.

    April 03, 2014

    Palestine’s application this week to join the Geneva Conventions and key international human rights treaties is a significant advance for human rights protection, Amnesty International said today, urging it to sign up as well to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

    On 2 April 2014 it was announced that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had the day before signed letters of accession to some 20 multilateral treaties.

    Amnesty International believes the move should spur the Palestinian Authority into bolstering its commitment to upholding the rights of all people within areas under its control. This must mean, among other actions, conducting independent and effective investigations into all alleged violations by Palestinian Authority security forces, and prosecuting those responsible in fair trials when there is sufficient evidence.

    Amnesty International has been calling on Palestine to become a state party to all relevant international human rights and international humanitarian law treaties, without reservations or declarations amounting to reservations, since it achieved UN non-member observer state status in November 2012.

    February 14, 2014

    A court in Krasnodar ruled on 12 February 2014 that environmentalist Yevgeniy Vitishko should serve a three-year sentence in a prison colony. This is the latest step in a sustained campaign by the Russian authorities against environmental activists in Krasnodar Region, which is hosting the Sochi Winter Olympic Games, to prevent them from speaking out about the environmental damage suffered by the region.

    The harassment of the local environmentalists intensified considerably in the months preceding the opening on the Games, and Yevgeniy Vitishko has been particularly targeted in connection with his activism. The decision to send him to serve his sentence in a prison colony is the latest episode in the campaign against him, by the Russian authorities who have sought to prevent protest in Krasnodar Region and specifically to silence one of the most vocal and respected critical voices, in the run-up to the Sochi Games, ultimately by locking him up.

    Amnesty International believes that Yevgeniy Vitishko is a prisoner of conscience, and that he should be immediately and unconditionally released.

    January 30, 2014



    What:  336,412 people from 112 countries have signed an Amnesty International’s petition in the course of three months calling on the Russian President Vladimir Putin to repeal repressive legislation aiming to emasculate civil society, restrict legitimate protest and silence criticism.

    Amnesty International members and supporters from Australia, Japan and New Zealand to Canada, Puerto Rico and USA signed the petition, with Holland alone collecting more than 100,000 signatures.

    January 15, 2014

    A lack of political will and unacceptable court delays are allowing Haiti’s former “president-for-life,” Jean-Claude Duvalier, to escape justice for human rights violations, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said today. 

    The authorities re-opened a criminal case against the former Haitian dictator three years ago, shortly after he returned to the country on 16 January 2011, following a 25-year exile in France. He faced charges of serious human rights violations such as murder and torture of political opponents, and of corruption. But the case has stalled for almost a year. 

    “It appears that the Haitian authorities have no intention of carrying out thorough investigations into Duvalier-era abuses,” said Javier Zúñiga, Amnesty International’s special adviser to regional programs.

    “The judicial process has stalled, denying victims of his reign of terror their right to truth, justice and reparation. To add insult to injury, Duvalier continues to take part in public events, often at the invitation of the Haitian government.”

    January 09, 2014

    Four years after the devastating earthquake which killed around 200,000 people and left some 2.3 million homeless, very little has been done to ensure the respect, protection and fulfilment of the right to adequate housing in Haiti, Amnesty International said today.

    More than 170,000 people are estimated to still be living in more than 300 displacement camps, in the majority of cases in appalling conditions with no access to essential basic services such as clean water, toilets and waste disposal. While the dire sanitation conditions leave them exposed to the risk of cholera and other diseases, the lack of solid shelters makes them vulnerable to flooding and other adverse weather conditions especially during the hurricane season.

    Although official numbers of internally-displaced persons (IDPs) have significantly gone down from the initial estimated 1.5 million in July 2010, most people who have been relocated from camps have not benefitted from durable housing solutions which ensures their right to adequate housing.

    December 10, 2013

    December 10th celebrates international human rights and the inherent dignity and equal rights of all members of the human family. Refugees are part of the human family and entitled to the same rights.

    These rights include the rights to asylum, to liberty, to protection from torture, to an adequate standard of living, to healthcare, to be reunited with family and to the protection of the best interests of children.

    Sadly, respect for the rights of refugees is waning. At a time when serious human rights abuses are taking place in every region of the world and displacing millions of people, countries are building administrative walls, closing doors, denying protection.

    November 20, 2013

    On November 7, 2013, the Supreme Court of Canada heard the crucial case of William v. British Columbia. At stake is the right of the Tsilhqot’in Nation to own lands at the heart of its traditional territory. Canadian law recognizes that Indigenous peoples may hold ongoing title to their lands that predates colonization. Yet to date no Canadian court has ever affirmed such Indigenous title.

    Amnesty International and Canadian Friends Service Committee (Quakers) joined together, and along with First Nations and other interveners, called on the Supreme Court to reject government efforts to limit First Nations’ ownership and control of land. We urged the Court to seize this moment to give practical application to human rights standards affirmed in international law, including the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

    Background to the case

    October 30, 2013

    Greenpeace Canada and Amnesty International Canada

    30 October 2013 (Ottawa) – At a news conference on Parliament Hill today the families of two Canadian Greenpeace activists jailed in Murmansk, Russia, joined Greenpeace and Amnesty International in urging Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird to step up his efforts to secure their release by speaking out publicly and using all available political channels.

    “Last month, my brother took peaceful action to protest Arctic oil drilling,” said Patti Stirling of Port Colborne native Paul Ruzycki. “He wasn’t fighting against Russia; he was fighting to avert an environmental catastrophe. He helped call global attention to a threat to our present and the future generations, and is a hero deserving of all the help this government can give him.”

    October 18, 2013

    In response to the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta decision in Omar Khadr’s case on 18 October 2013, Amnesty International Canada (English Branch) Secretary General Alex Neve noted the following:

     Amnesty International has, for years, pressed US authorities and Canadian authorities to recognize Omar Khadr’s status as a child soldier and to ensure that he is treated according to international legal standards meant to protect and rehabilitate child soldiers.  The organization has been deeply disappointed that no steps have been taken by Canadian corrections officials to do so, despite the fact that Omar Khadr has now been in custody in Canada for over one year at two different institutions.  Granting this court application could have been a significant step towards righting those wrongs.  Amnesty International continues to remind the Canadian government of its obligations under international human rights standards dealing with child soldiers and calls on authorities to take immediate steps to ensure that he is treated in full conformity with those important obligations.

    October 03, 2013

    On November 4-5 2013, Amnesty International Canada will be intervening in a case at the Court of Appeal for Ontario:  Minister of Justice of Canada v Hassan Naim Diab. Our role is as “friend of the Court,” in which we present arguments about the legal test that should be applied to extradition decisions. Lorne Waldman is acting as our counsel.

    Mr. Diab is a Canadian citizen of Lebanese origin currently subject to extradition proceedings by the Republic of France, in connection with his alleged role in the 1980 bombing of a Paris synagogue in which four people were killed and scores injured. The decision to surrender Mr. Diab to France is being challenged by Mr. Diab’s counsel on a number of grounds, including the risk that Mr. Diab will be denied the right to fundamental justice by reason of France’s alleged use of anonymous, unsourced and uncircumstanced evidence that may have been obtained by torture.

    September 17, 2013

    The UN Mission to Investigate Allegations of the Use of Chemical Weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic investigating the 21 August attacks on the outskirts of Damascus on Monday reported that it had found convincing evidence that chemical weapons were used on a large scale.

    Amnesty International condemns the use of chemical weapons in the strongest possible terms. They are internationally banned and their use is a war crime.

    Crimes under international law are being perpetrated on a daily basis in Syria. Accountability for the 21 August attacks and other violations are long overdue.

    We reiterate our call for the UN-mandated Commission of Inquiry on Syria to be given immediate and unfettered access to Syria to seek to uncover further evidence about who was responsible for these attacks. It should also be allowed to investigate the other crimes under international law being committed by all parties to the conflict.

    September 12, 2013

    Six years ago – on September 13, 2007 – the United Nations General Assembly adopted the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as the minimum standards for the “survival, dignity and well-being” of Indigenous Peoples around the world.

    The UN Declaration recognizes Indigenous Peoples’ right to self-determination and calls for the full and effective participation of Indigenous Peoples in all decisions potentially affecting their land. The Declaration urges partnership and collaboration between states and Indigenous Peoples. It sets out the requirement of free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) to protect the right of Indigenous Peoples to make decisions about whether and when development should proceed.

    Implementation of the UN Declaration remains critical as Indigenous Peoples around the world continue to face exploitation of the natural resources of their territories. FPIC and other rights affirmed in the UN Declaration provide indispensable safeguards as Indigenous Peoples struggle to overcome a history of discrimination, marginalization and

    July 18, 2013

    The reintroduction of the regulation on the transmission of infectious diseases by the Greek Health Minister puts vulnerable groups including sex workers, HIV positive individuals and drug-injecting users at risk of further discrimination and stigmatization. Amnesty International calls on the Greek authorities to immediately overturn the new regulation and to end these discriminatory practices, which violate European and International human rights obligations.
    The regulation by Greece’s new Health Minister, Adonis Georgiadis, comes after Thessaloniki police escalated arbitrary ID checks of transgender women in late May this year.

    June 27, 2013

    Amnesty International is seriously concerned about the ongoing clampdown in Russia against civil society. The organization strongly condemns the use of the “Foreign Agents Law” to prosecute and hold personally liable the leaders of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that refuse to be labelled in a manner that creates a negative public image of their work in the eyes of the Russian society.  

    The “Foreign Agents Law” requires all organizations that receive foreign funding and engage in loosely defined "political activities" to register as “foreign agents” and to subject themselves to additional and burdensome checks and audits and mark all of their publications and websites with this label, which implies "spy" and "enemy". Amnesty International has previously expressed concern that this legislation, in its entirety, negatively affects the rights to freedom of expression and association.

    June 24, 2013

    Amnesty International is deeply concerned that for the second year in a row, the Canadian government’s required report to Parliament about human rights and the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (CCFTA) fails to contain any analysis about human rights realities in Colombia.

    The Canadian government report fails to acknowledge widespread, grave human rights violations in Colombia – including ongoing threats and deadly attacks on trade unionists and community leaders seeking the return of stolen lands, as well as Indigenous peoples, Afro-descendent communities and rural farmers living in areas coveted for their natural resources.

    Notably, the report also excludes any information about Canadian investment in Colombia in the mining and oil and gas sectors.

    June 14, 2013

    Today the UN Human Rights Council adopted its annual resolution on violence against women, with a special focus on sexual violence. Canada has chaired negotiations on this resolution for nearly 20 years, and its leadership has been lauded for progressively strengthening this important resolution.

    The resolution, formerly known as UN Human Rights Council resolution A/HRC/23/L.28 on “Accelerating efforts to eliminate all forms of violence against women: preventing and responding to rape and other forms of sexual violence,” was adopted in Geneva by 89 states.

    It is a welcome addition to the body of UN documents recognizing the need to address the issue of sexual violence, and it includes strong language condemning marital rape and early and enforced marriage.

    May 27, 2013

    Amnesty International and the organizers of KyivPride 2013 welcome the cooperation and protection provided by the Ukrainian police during Saturday’s first ever successful LGBTI Pride March in Ukraine. The Ministry of Internal Affairs’ recognition and fulfillment of their obligation to protect the right to freedom of peaceful assembly for LGBTI people is an important step in combating discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity in Ukraine.

    However, both Amnesty International and the KyivPride organizers remain concerned that the Kyiv City Council chose to ban the Pride March from the city centre, forcing organizers to change to an alternative location at the last moment and curtailing participant’s right to freedom of peaceful assembly. Amnesty International and the Kyiv Pride organizing committee urge the authorities not to impose such limitations on events where LGBTI people seek to peacefully express their views in future.

    May 08, 2013
    In advance of the Annual General Meeting of Tahoe Resources to be held on 9 May, 2013 in Vancouver, Amnesty International urges the company to acknowledge mounting human rights concerns associated with its Escobal Silver Mine project in Guatemala.  Amnesty International further calls on the company’s investors to recognize the impact on human rights of the Escobal project and, in turn, insist that the company take immediate corrective action consistent with international human rights standards.
    April 16, 2013

    President Mohamed Morsi should release the findings of an official investigation he instigated into abuses against protesters without delay and ensure the armed forces are not above the law and are held accountable for abuses, Amnesty International said today.

    Amnesty International is alarmed that statements by the authorities in response to part of the report being leaked effectively signal that impunity will continue for human rights violations by the army.

    The organization has also expressed its dismay over apparent claims by Egypt’s Public Prosecutor that the full report contained no evidence of army abuse – despite the fact that leaked excerpts of the report clearly detail human rights violations by Egypt’s military.

    Amnesty International and other groups have documented abuses by the Egyptian army since the beginning of the “25 January Revolution”.

    President Morsi appointed a fact-finding committee in July 2012 and charged it with investigating abuses against protesters committed between the start of the uprising on 25 January 2011 and the end of military rule on 30 June 2012.

    March 22, 2013

    Amnesty International called on all parties to the Syrian armed conflict to abide by international humanitarian law and end attacks which target or indiscriminately kill and injure civilians after dozens were killed and injured in an explosion in a Damascus mosque on 21 March 2013.

    Among those reported killed in the mosque was a prominent Sunni Muslim cleric Mohammad al-Bouti, a supporter of President Bashar al-Assad. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

    The official state news agency, SANA, stated that 49 people were killed when “a suicide terrorist…blew himself up while scholar Dr. Mohammad Said Ramadan al-Bouti was giving a religious lesson at al-Iman Mosque in al-Mazraa area”.

    The head of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, Moaz al-Khatib, told the AFP news agency that “we categorically condemn the assassination”.

    Amnesty International condemned the bombing and reminded the parties to the conflict that targeting civilians and places of worship are war crimes.

    March 06, 2013

    In a welcome move, the government of Maldives has added its voice to the mounting national and international concern about the sentence of flogging the Juvenile Court imposed on a girl of 15 last week.

    The girl, who had been sexually abused, was sentenced on 26 February 2013 to 100 lashes and eight months’ house arrest on a charge of “fornication”. Amnesty International called on the government of Maldives to ensure the girl is not flogged and the punishment is removed from Maldivian law.

    In its 28 February statement, the government has acknowledged that the girl should be treated as a victim and not an offender and “her rights should be fully protected”.

    Amnesty International supports the government’s view that all cases of child abuse including sexual abuse should be viewed “through a human rights lens” based on the “best interest of the child”.

    February 27, 2013

    On 14 February 2013, Amnesty International Canada was granted leave to intervene in an important and precedent-setting corporate accountability case.

    The case is being brought against Canadian company HudBay Minerals and its subsidiaries, involving allegations of gross human rights violations that took place in Guatemala in 2007 and 2009. Maya-Q’eqchi’ villagers from eastern Guatemala claim that security personnel employed by HudBay’s local subsidiary shot and killed school-teacher and anti-mining activist Adolfo Ich Chamán, shot and paralyzed youth German Chub Choc, and gang-raped 11 Maya-Q’eqchi’ women.

    The defendant companies brought motions to dismiss the plaintiffs’ claims, on the basis that a parent company can never owe a duty of care to those who may be murdered, harmed or raped by security personnel employed by the company’s subsidiary in a foreign country. Originally, the defendants had also claimed that these lawsuits could not be heard in Canada, but they recently and unexpectedly dropped this argument.

    February 13, 2013

    (Beirut, London, Paris, 13 February 2013) - The Iranian authorities should immediately release from arbitrary house arrest two former presidential candidates Mehdi Karroubi and Mir Hossein Mousavi, his wife Zahra Rahnavard, author and political activist, and cease harassing or detaining without cause the couple’s two daughters and Mehdi Karroubi’s son, said the Nobel Peace laureate Shirin Ebadi and six leading human rights bodies.

    Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, International Federation for Human Rights, League for the Defence of Human Rights in Iran, and Reporters Without Borders co-signed today’s appeal.

    February 01, 2013

    Amnesty International condemns the bomb attack on the Embassy of the United States in Ankara. According to reports, the explosion occurred at around 1.10pm inside one of the entrances to the embassy. According to a statement made by the Turkish authorities, the bombing was carried out by a suicide bomber and resulted in the deaths of two persons, one of them an embassy security guard.  A member of the public was also injured and is receiving treatment in hospital.

    Any attacks of this kind which recklessly cause casualties among the general population or put them at risk demonstrate contempt for the fundamental principles of humanity.

    As yet, no individual or group has claimed responsibility for the bombing. However, the authorities accused the Revolutionary People's Liberation Front (DHKP-C) an armed leftist group of carrying out the attack.

    Amnesty International calls on the authorities to conduct a thorough and impartial investigation and bring those responsible to justice in fair proceedings in line with international human rights standards.

    January 26, 2013

    Since its inception in 2002, the African Union (AU) has become a central player in Africa in the areas of conflict resolution, peace and security, international justice and the general promotion and protection of human rights.

    On the eve of a meeting of AU Heads of State on 27 and 28 January in Addis Ababa, Amnesty International is urging the AU to give particular attention to the protection of human rights in conflict situations in Africa, including the protection of civilians in Mali, Sudan, Somalia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

    Mali:  Since the beginning of the armed conflict in northern Mali in January 2012, Amnesty International has documented crimes under international law committed by all the parties to the conflict. Tuareg and Islamist armed opposition groups have committed human rights abuses, including torture and killings of captured Malian soldiers, rape of women and girls and recruitment of child soldiers.

    January 22, 2013

    Amnesty International is calling for the immediate and unconditional release, as well as respect for the lives and personal safety, of five mining workers taken hostage last Friday, reportedly by the National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrilla group.

    The five workers, including two Peruvians, one Canadian and two Colombians, were taken captive in the northern department (province) of Bolívar.

    Amnesty International condemns hostage-taking, which is a serious breach of international humanitarian law and can constitute a war crime.

    The organization is calling for the immediate and unconditional release of the five men and any other civilians being held by the parties to the Colombian armed conflict.

    Amnesty International also calls on the authorities to identify those responsible for this and other cases of kidnapping and hostage-taking and ensure that they are brought to justice.

    For further information, please contact: Elizabeth Berton-Hunter, Media Relations, 416-363-9933 ext 332 email:


    January 02, 2013

    Indigenous and human rights organizations stand in solidarity with Chief Theresa Spence in her appeal for full respect for Aboriginal and Treaty rights by the government of Canada. There is an urgent need for Canada to demonstrate genuine respect and long-term commitment, initiated by a meeting between First Nations’ leadership, the Prime Minister and the Governor General.

    Take Action: Tell Prime Minister Harper that the Canadian government must uphold its legal and moral obligations to Indigenous peoples

    Full honour and implementation of Indigenous peoples' Treaties are crucial to the evolution of Canada and the principle of federalism.  Cooperative and harmonious relations cannot be achieved by devaluing Treaties or by unilateral government actions. 

    December 16, 2012

    Amnesty International and Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) have hailed last Friday’s ECOWAS Court of Justice ground-breaking judgment as a “key moment in holding governments and companies to account for pollution.”
    In the case, SERAP v. Nigeria, the Court unanimously found the Nigerian government responsible for abuses by oil companies and makes it clear that the government must hold the companies and other perpetrators to account.
    The Court also found that Nigeria violated articles 21 (on the right to natural wealth and resources) and 24 (on the right to a general satisfactory environment) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights by failing to protect the Niger Delta and its people from the operations of oil companies that have for many years devastated the region.

    December 10, 2012

    For the reasons described below, Amnesty International believes that the US authorities should release Leonard Peltier, an Anishinabe-Lakota Native American and leading member of the American Indian Movement (AIM), who has been imprisoned for 35 years. Having studied the case extensively over many years, Amnesty International remains seriously concerned about the fairness of proceedings leading to Leonard Peltier’s conviction and believes that political factors may have influenced the way in which the case was prosecuted.  

    Leonard Peltier was convicted of the murders of two Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents, Jack Coler and Ronald Williams, during a confrontation involving AIM members on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota on 26 June 1975. He was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences in 1977. While Leonard Peltier admits having been present during the incident, he has always denied shooting the agents at point blank range as alleged by the prosecution at his trial.  Leonard Peltier is now in his 35th year of imprisonment and has exhausted all legal appeals against his conviction.  

    December 07, 2012

    Reacting to the announcement that the federal government has approved the takeover of the Canadian oil company Nexen Inc. by Chinese state-owned China National Offshore Oil Corporation, members of the Canadian Coalition on Human Rights in China expressed grave disappointment that serious and pressing human rights considerations do not appear to have played any significant role in the government’s decision.

    “The government has concluded that the deal is of ‘net benefit’ to Canada,” said Cheuk Kwan of the Toronto Association for Democracy in China.  “But there is no indication that concerns about CNOOC’s human rights record or, more broadly, the Chinese government’s own continuing and longstanding poor human rights record were taken into account in any meaningful way.”

    December 05, 2012


    In advance of Iran’s National Student Day on 6 December, Nobel Peace Laureate Shirin Ebadi and three human rights groups, Advocacy Council for the Right to Education (Council to Defend the Right to Education), Amnesty International and Justice for Iran join together to call on the Iranian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release all prisoners of conscience, including students imprisoned for the peaceful expression of their conscientiously held beliefs.

    The organizations urge the authorities to put an end to the campaign of repression against students’ peaceful exercise of their rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly.

    The Iranian authorities are urged to review all policies and practices relating to restrictions on individuals’ access to all forms of higher education to ensure that everyone has equal access to higher education, on the basis of capacity, without any form of discrimination on grounds of sex, religion, political opinion or other grounds.

    December 05, 2012

    Activist and former monk U Gambira was arrested in Yangon on Saturday 1 December 2012. He is reportedly facing charges of trespassing and criminal damage for removing the locks from several monasteries in February 2012, as well as for staying in a monastery without permission. These monasteries had been sealed by the authorities who believed that the resident monks had played an active role in Myanmar’s 2007 Saffron Revolution. This left the former residents, including U Gambira, with nowhere to stay when they were released in prisoner amnesties in late 2011 and early 2012. Other monks released in these amnesties were turned away from their former monasteries.

    Reports indicate that U Gambira appeared before Myanmar’s committee of senior monks in February and the matter was resolved at the time.  It is not clear why the authorities have decided to press charges against U Gambira more than nine months after the alleged offences occurred.  

    November 07, 2012

    ‘President Obama has been given a second chance to keep his promises on human rights. Don’t blow it’ - Suzanne Nossel

    Responding to the re-election of Barack Obama as President of the United States of America, Amnesty International USA executive director Suzanne Nossel said:

    “When President Obama was first elected in 2008, many human rights activists rejoiced. It had been eight long years where the United States tortured, detained hundreds without charge and trial, and tried to justify the horrors of Abu Ghraib.

    “President Obama’s first campaign for the White House offered the promise of an administration that would recapture the United States’ credibility on human rights issues, bringing detention practices in line with international law, repudiating secrecy and ensuring that human rights weren’t traded away in the name of national security.

    “More simply, President Obama promised a new dawn of American leadership, one in which human rights would be given more than lip-service.

    October 23, 2012

    Monday’s conviction of an Egyptian broadcaster for “insulting the President” is a further blow to freedom of expression, Amnesty International said.

    A court in the governorate of Luxor sentenced Tawfiq Okasha to four months in prison. Okasha was not present for the verdict, but was reportedly ordered to pay bail pending an appeal.

    The trial reportedly followed a complaint from an ex-member of Parliament about comments the broadcaster had made about President Morsi on his talk show, Egypt Today. Tawfiq Okasha is a vocal critic of the Morsi administration and has reportedly been the subject of a number of similar defamation cases. He is also currently being tried in a separate case for allegedly inciting violence against President Morsi. In August, his television channel, Al-Faraeen, was suspended – apparently in response to his statements about the authorities. At the time of writing, it remains off air.

    October 16, 2012

     Amnesty International has urged Ukrainian parliamentarians ahead of parliamentary elections on 28 October to commit publicly to addressing police abuse in the country.

    One year since Amnesty International launched its report “No Evidence of a Crime: Paying the Price for Police Impunity in Ukraine”, a review of the manifestos of all major parties contesting the elections shows that none of the parties have put forward a concrete proposal for investigating and punishing endemic police criminality in Ukraine.

    In a number of recent surveys, between 63.9 and 84 percent of Ukrainians have said that they don’t trust their police force. Amnesty International is therefore concerned by politicians’ failure to put concrete proposals on how to address police abuse to the electorate.

    September 25, 2012

    Amnesty International has called today on the Bahraini authorities to ensure the safety of civil society members who participated at the 21st session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva after they received threats of reprisals for their participation in the meeting.

    Mohammed al-Maskati, the president of the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights, has said he was subjected to intimidation before and after delivering a statement to the Human Rights Council in Geneva on 13 September, when he participated in a panel discussion on intimidation and reprisals against persons and organizations who co-operate with the UN. He told Amnesty International that from the date of his arrival in Geneva until after he delivered the speech he received more than a dozen anonymous phone calls in which the callers branded him a “traitor to his country” and an “agent of Iran” and allegedly threatened to kill him upon his return to Bahrain.

    September 19, 2012

    Amnesty International is dismayed that today the Federal Court of Canada denied the motion to stop the removal of Kimberly Rivera, pending the outcome of her Humanitarian and Compassionate application to remain in Canada. Kimberly has been ordered leave Canada for the United States on Thursday 20 September. It is expected that Ms. Rivera will be detained upon arrival in the USA, transferred to military control, court-martialed and imprisoned for refusing to serve in the U.S. military on grounds of conscience.

     Amnesty International considers Kimberly Rivera to be a conscientious objector, and as such would consider her to be a prisoner of conscience should she be detained for military evasion, upon arrival in the United States.

    September 11, 2012

    Following the Canadian government’s decision to end diplomatic relations with  Iran, announced on September 7, 2012, Amnesty International strongly recommends that efforts be intensified to safeguard the rights of  Canadian-Iranian citizens, Hamid Ghassemi-Shall and Hossein Derakhshan as well as Canadian permanent resident, Saeed Malekpour.  Ghassemi-Shall and Malekpour are on death row in Tehran’s Evin Prison and Derakhshan has been sentenced to 19 years for blogging.  Canadian diplomatic efforts on these cases must continue and, given the strained context of relations between the two countries, must become an even greater priority.

    Amnesty International has been working to uphold the rights of these three men since 2008. We have raised concerns that they did not receive fair trials and have also very likely been subjected to torture. We have unequivocally opposed the imposition of the death penalty against Ghassemi-Shall and Malekpour.

    August 28, 2012

    Amnesty International condemns the brutal killing of some 17 people who took part in a music party in Musa Qala district of Helmand province on Sunday night 26 August. According to reports there were two or three women among the dead; some of the victims were shot dead and others were beheaded.

    The Afghan government accused the Taleban of the act and stated that the area where the incident happened was under the control of the Taleban. However, the Taleban has not claimed responsibility for the attack.

    Amnesty International has so far been unable to verify independently the government’s claim or the circumstances surrounding the incident. However, it appears from the reports that none of the victims were actively engaged in fighting, which makes their killing a war crime - if carried out by a party to the armed conflict in Afghanistan.

    August 08, 2012

    “They never consulted with us, they never told us… that this was going to have… so much negative impact, …that it was going to cause so much conflict.” -- Carmen Mejía, an Indigenous woman from San Miguel Ixtahuacán, describing Goldcorp Inc’s Marlin mine in Guatemala.

    In a short report to mark the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples (9 August),  Amnesty International is calling on all governments of the Americas to respect the right of Indigenous peoples to make their own decisions about economic development activities on their lands.

    The brief cites examples from throughout the Americas where governments have failed to carry out  robust consultations to determine how plans for mining, oil and gas development and other development activities would affect the rights of Indigenous peoples. The brief also cites examples of such projects being carried out despite the clear objections of the affected peoples.

    July 26, 2012

    Following the release on18 July of a second Draft Constitution Of Zimbabwe document, Amnesty International has reiterated its call for total abolition of the death penalty in the proposed new Constitution.

    Section 4.5 in the new draft constitution allows for the imposition of the death penalty on a person convicted of murder “committed in aggravating circumstances,” but exempts from the application of the death penalty all women, men under 21 years at the time of the commission of the crime, and those over 70 years of age. It also prohibits the imposition of the death penalty as a mandatory punishment.

    The proposed provisions on the death penalty are disappointing in that Amnesty International has consistently called on Zimbabwe to remove the death penalty entirely from the new Constitution and join the global trend towards abolition of this ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading form of punishment. The death penalty should be abolished fully in the new Constitution regardless of gender and the circumstances in which a crime was committed.

    July 24, 2012

    The death last week of Omar Suleiman, former chief of the Egyptian General Intelligence, must lead to the Egyptian authorities pursuing accountability for human rights violations committed during renditions to Egypt in the 2000s, not to turning the page on this episode, Amnesty International said today.

    Omar Suleiman, who also served for 14 days as vice-president during the last days of Hosni Mubarak’s rule, was the alleged mastermind of renditions to Egypt. He is reported to have died in the USA on 19 July after routine medical tests.

    Between 2000 and 2006, an unknown number of individuals suspected of links to terrorism were arrested or abducted in various countries around the world, forcibly transferred to Egypt in secret or otherwise without due process, and interrogated, held incommunicado for long periods and tortured while in the custody of the Egyptian General Intelligence and the now-defunct State Security Investigations (SSI) services.

    July 24, 2012

    Two years after an international outcry erupted over her sentence of stoning to death, Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani remains imprisoned in north-west Iran apparently still facing a stoning sentence.  Her lawyer, Javid Houtan Kiyan, arrested on account of his advocacy for her, remains held as a prisoner of conscience, and is reported to have been sentenced to a lengthy prison term.  He is believed to have been tortured during his detention.  

    Recent but unconfirmed reports suggested that the Iranian authorities no longer intend to implement the stoning sentence handed down to Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani in 2006. These reports highlight the need for clarity concerning her fate.

    According to a 25 June 2012 article in The Times [of London] newspaper, Mohammad Mostafaie, one of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani’s previous lawyers, said that he had heard that the stoning sentence had been “lifted” and that “she could be released” before completing her sentence.

    July 12, 2012

    United Nations Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Fifth Session, 9-13 July 2012

    Joint submission by Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee), Assembly of First Nations, Amnesty International, Canadian Friends Service Committee (Quakers), Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs, Native Women’s Association of Canada, Treaty Four First Nations, Haudenosaunee of Kanehsatake, Indigenous World Association, First Peoples Human Rights Coalition, KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives.

    Our organizations welcome the Expert Mechanism’s consideration of the Follow up report on indigenous peoples and the right to participate in decision making, with a focus on extractives. This is an important opportunity for the United Nations human rights system to more deeply engage with one of the most pressing concerns facing Indigenous peoples around the world.

    July 09, 2012

    Amnesty International welcomes the Singaporean Government’s move towards putting an end to the mandatory death sentencing for drug trafficking and homicide cases, and the moratorium on executions in place until proposed changes in the law are enacted.

    Mandatory death sentences are prohibited under international law and Amnesty International therefore calls on the Government of Singapore to abolish mandatory death sentencing unconditionally.

    Mandatory death sentences prevent judges from exercising their discretion and from considering all extenuating circumstances in a case.  International human rights law prohibits mandatory death sentences as they have been found to constitute arbitrary deprivation of life and cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment.  Many courts and judicial bodies around the world have ruled mandatory death sentencing as unconstitutional.

    June 19, 2012

    As the situation in northern Rakhine State remains very tense, Myanmar authorities should ensure full and unfettered humanitarian access to displaced people, and conduct an independent and impartial investigation into recent communal violence, Amnesty International said in a statement today.

    The Myanmar government should also aim to replace the state of emergency in Rakhine State at the earliest opportunity, facilitate international monitors, and address decades of systemic discrimination against ethnic minority Rohingyas.

    The widespread violence in at least eight areas that began on 8 June has reduced considerably, but human rights abuses continue to take place among the Buddhist Rakhine, Muslim Rakhine, and Muslim Rohingya communities, as well as by state security forces.  This is especially the case in Maungdaw and Rathidaung.  

    According to the government, at least 50 people have been killed, and over 30,000 displaced by the violence.  Several thousand homes have been destroyed.

    June 18, 2012

    Please note that on 4 July 2014, the Federal Court of Canada ruled that the cuts constituted “cruel and unusual treatment” and violated the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Health coverage will be restored to refugees at midnight, Tuesday 4 November.   The case is not over.  The Government has appealed the decision in the Federal Court of Appeal.

    Amnesty International is deeply concerned that changes to the Federal Interim Health Program are discriminatory and will result in violations of the right to health of refugees in Canada, in contravention of Canada’s international human rights obligations.  Amnesty International is calling on the federal government to withdraw the changes and to ensure that any changes to the program are consistent with international human rights standards with respect to access to health care, non-discrimination and refugee protection.

    June 18, 2012

    Amnesty International welcomes plans to re-affirm the rights to water and sanitation at the United Nations (UN) Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20). However, the organization is deeply concerned that the current formulation in the draft Outcome would undermine the legal recognition of the rights to water and sanitation, rights that are essential for life, for dignity and for sustainable development.

    June 12, 2012

    Amnesty International welcomes the Canadian government’s recent indication that it is prepared to explicitly recognize the rights to water and sanitation. In an interview with Embassy Magazine on May 29th Environment Minister Peter Kent stated that “by the time we get to Rio, we will make it clear that Canada recognizes the right to safe drinking water and to basic sanitation.” The statement refers to the upcoming Rio+20, United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, to be held in Brazil June 20-22, 2012.

    Canada has, for many years and through several different governments, refused to acknowledge the existence of the rights to water and sanitation under international law. That opposition has run counter to a growing number of authoritative pronouncements from various international bodies clearly recognizing the rights to water and sanitation. 

    June 05, 2012

    The people of Asubpeeschoseewagong Anishnabek (Grassy Narrows First Nation) know first-hand the terrible consequences of having control over their traditional lands and territories taken from them.

    In the 1950s, provincial hydroelectric dams flooded large areas of land, wiping out wild rice beds central to their culture and way of life.
    In the 1960s, a pulp and paper mill in Dryden, Ontario contaminated the rivers with mercury, resulting in the devastating closure of the fishery and debilitating health problems that are still being felt today.

    Then, beginning in the 1980s, large-scale, industrial logging cleared over half the forest in the traditional territory of Grassy Narrows, destroying trap lines and other areas vital for sustenance, medicine and ceremony.

    Today, the people of Grassy Narrows – and the province of Ontario - face a crucial turning point.

    June 01, 2012

    On the eve of the 23rd anniversary of the Chinese military’s violent suppression of peaceful demonstrators in and around Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, Amnesty International again calls on the government to hold an open and independent inquiry into the events of 1989.

    Hundreds, if not thousands, were killed or injured on the night of 3 and 4 June when the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) opened fire on unarmed civilians. To this day, the government bans public discussion of those events. Still, many brave Chinese have exercised their right to peacefully call on the government to re-investigate the events surrounding the bloodshed and to hold those responsible accountable.

    May 11, 2012

    With the anticipated release of the Canadian government’s human rights impact of the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement, Amnesty International Canada urges that the human rights emergency affecting Indigenous Peoples in the South American country is given the priority attention it deserves.

    “As Amnesty International testified to the UN Human Rights Council in March 2012, there have been few tangible improvements in the overall human rights situation in Colombia despite commitments made by the Colombian government,” said Kathy Price, Amnesty Canada’s Campaigner on Colombia.  “The crisis facing Indigenous Peoples, many of whom live in areas of economic interest, requires special attention.”

    May 02, 2012

    Singapore’s announcement that it carried out four executions in 2011, after no executions the previous year, flouts the global trend toward abolition of the death penalty and reversed a notable reduction in executions there, Amnesty International said today.

    On 27 March 2012, Amnesty International published its annual global figures on the use of the death penalty, noting no confirmed reports of executions in Singapore for 2011. After publication, however, Amnesty International learned that Singapore authorities had reported four executions for 2011.

    April 03, 2012

    Amnesty International calls for the immediate and unconditional release of three young women arrested by the Russian authorities as members of the punk group ‘Pussy Riot’ who staged a protest song in Moscow’s Christ the Saviour Cathedral on 21 February.

    Several members of the punk group ‘Pussy Riot’, with their faces covered in balaclavas, sang a protest song titled “Virgin Mary, redeem us of Putin” in the cathedral.  The Russian authorities subsequently arrested Maria Alekhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova on 4 March and Ekaterina Samusevich on 15 March claiming they were the masked singers. Although the three women admit to being members of the larger ‘Pussy Riot’ group, they deny any involvement in the particular protest in the cathedral.

    The three women are currently in pre-trial detention until 25 April. They have been charged with hooliganism under the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (Article 213), which carries a maximum sentence of seven years’ imprisonment.

    March 16, 2012

    The government of Iraq should immediately investigate and bring to justice those responsible for a targeted campaign of intimidation and violence against Iraqi youth seen as belonging to the non-conformist “emo” subculture, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission said today. The attacks have created an atmosphere of terror among those who see themselves as potential victims.

    On March 8, 2012, the Interior Ministry, in an official statement, dismissed reports by local activists and media of a campaign against those seen as emo. The ministry said the reports were “fabricated” and “groundless,” and that it would take action against people who were trying “to highlight this issue and build it out of proportion.” An official ministry statement, on February 13, that characterized emo culture as “Satanist” cast doubt on the government’s willingness to protect vulnerable youth, the international rights groups said.

    March 08, 2012

    Amnesty International is calling on the Mexican government to specify what measures it will take to comply with the recommendations on Mexico of the Working Group of Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances presented to the UN Human Rights Council on Tuesday.

    The Working Group’s report highlights the terrible dimensions of this grave violation of human rights in Mexico and the lack of a government policy designed to prevent and punish this crime.

    Organizations of relatives of disappeared persons and the National Human Rights Commission have reported the disappearance of thousands of people. The majority of these reports have not been adequately investigated, which has prevented determining whether public officials are involved. This is crucial as the involvement of public officials determines whether it is a crime of enforced disappearance, for which the State is responsible.

    March 13, 2012

    Provisions that would make it legal for police to secretly detain certain groups of criminal suspects would violate China’s obligations under international law and should be dropped from the latest revisions to the Criminal Procedure Law, Amnesty International said today.

    The latest draft of the law removed a clause that would allow authorities to “disappear” suspects for up to six months. However, in a set-back for China’s criminal justice system, the latest revisions presented to the legislature on 8 March and expected to be passed on 14 March would, for the first time, make it legal for police to secretly detain suspects outside the formal detention system for up to six months if they have been accused of “endangering state security,” “terrorism” or certain types of “bribery.”

    Already, many thousands of people in China are being held in secret and are at great risk of being tortured. These thousands include petitioners seeking justice, members of underground churches, and political activists.

    February 22, 2012

    The undersigned Organisations call on the Syrian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Mazen Darwish, a prominent Syrian human rights defender and Director of the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM) – an organization that enjoys UN ECOSOC consultative status -, as well as seven of his colleagues and a visitor, who were arrested on 16 February 2012 during a raid on their Damascus offices.

    In total 16 people were arrested during the raid at SCM offices in Damascus, which  was carried out by officers from Air Force Intelligence (AFI) who were assisted by a group of plain-clothed armed men, according to a statement from the SCM. Seven people have been conditionally released and have to report to the detention centre every day for further interrogations.

    February 16, 2012

    There have been a number of recent media articles in Sri Lanka recently suggesting that Amnesty International’s impartiality had been compromised because the Canadian Tamil Congress chose to make Amnesty International Canada a beneficiary of funds raised at their third annual Walk-a-Thon held in Toronto in September 2011.

    The Walk-a-thon is an annual event which offers individuals an opportunity to support organizations in Canada involved in social, health and justice causes and to make a contribution to Canada’s social fabric. Previous recipients in 2009 and 2010 were the Sick Kids Hospital Foundation and the Canadian Cancer Society. Funds raised come from hundreds of individuals taking part in the event and from numerous sponsors, including small businesses within the Tamil Canadian community. The funds raised from the 2011 Walk-a-thon totaled approximately CDN$50,000. 

    These donations in no way impair the independence of Amnesty International – which is nonpartisan and works on human rights issues around the globe. We receive financial support from a broad range of individuals committed to the protection and promotion of human rights. 

    February 01, 2012

    Amnesty International is deeply disappointed to learn about the recent decision made by the Canadian Quebec Court of Appeal to refuse jurisdiction to hear a class action brought on behalf of Congolese citizens against the Canadian company, Anvil Mining Limited (“Anvil Mining”), for serious human rights abuses committed in Kilwa in 2004, otherwise known as “the Kilwa Massacre.”

    On 25 January 2012, the Quebec Court of Appeal reversed the decision of the Superior Court judge Honorable Benoît Emery determining that sufficient links to Quebec existed for establishing Quebec’s jurisdiction and thus allowing the case to proceed so that the substance of the allegations could be heard. (1) 

    In his decision, Judge Emery stated:

    (translation) "In fact, at this stage of the proceedings, everything indicates that if the Tribunal dismissed the action on the basis of article 3135 C.C.Q. [which allows the court to decline jurisdiction if another forum is more appropriate], there would exist no other possibility for the victims to be heard by civil justice.”

    January 23, 2012

    A law issued on Saturday providing immunity from prosecution for President Ali Abdullah Saleh and all those who worked with him during his administration is a bitter blow for those calling for justice for human rights violations over recent years, Amnesty International said today.

    The law, passed by the Yemeni parliament on 21 January 2012, provides “complete immunity from legal and judicial prosecution” for President Saleh. It further provides immunity from criminal prosecution for all those who worked under President Saleh during his rule – whether in civil, military or security positions – in connection with “politically motivated acts” carried out during the course of their official duties; they are, however, not exempt from prosecution for “acts of terrorism”. The law does not clarify what is meant by “politically motivated acts” or “acts of terrorism”.

    December 17, 2011

    A year after a young Tunisian street vendor set himself alight, triggering an uprising which led to the toppling of his country’s government, many Tunisians say their demands for justice have yet to be fulfilled.

    The newly-announced government must ensure that the needs of the victims and their right to truth, justice and reparation are met. It now has the opportunity to show its commitment to human rights and its will to break with the legacy of human rights abuses of the past.
    Mohamed Bouazizi’s desperate act on 17 December 2010 prompted a wave of protests across Tunisia and the Arab world, calling for freedom, an end to corruption and better living conditions, which led to the demise of Tunisia’s long time autocratic and repressive government – followed by the fall of the authorities in Egypt and Libya.

    December 08, 2011

    Indigenous peoples and individuals have the right to enjoy the same standard of living and access to government services that are enjoyed by other people in Canada. They have the right to live and bring up their families on their own lands and territories. Our organizations, Canadian human rights and faith-based groups, are deeply concerned that these basic principles are repeatedly cast in doubt.

    An emergency intervention by the Red Cross has focused political attention on the severe housing crisis in the northern Ontario Cree community of Attawapiskat. Canadians were shocked to see images of children overcrowded into moldy shacks with no water or electricity. However, international human rights bodies have been raising concerns for years about the conditions in many Indigenous communities in Canada. The government has ignored both the criticisms and the corresponding recommendations.

    November 30, 2011

    The transfer of former President Laurent Gbagbo to the International Criminal Court (ICC) marks the first significant step towards addressing impunity for crimes against humanity committed in the country, in particular between 2002 and 2011.

    The transfer of Laurent Gbabgo gives hope to some of the thousands of victims of these crimes committed by all parties over nearly a decade. However, the ICC Prosecutor should not limit the investigation by focusing only on the crimes under international law committed since December 2010.

    On 29 November 2011, Laurent Gbagbo was surrendered to the ICC by the national authorities of Côte d’Ivoire following a warrant of arrest issued under seal by the judges of the Pre-Trial Chamber III on 23 November 2011. The crimes included in the warrant of arrest are murder, rape and other forms of sexual violence, persecution and other inhumane acts.

    November 07, 2011

    Amnesty International is calling on the federal government to move quickly to approve the application made by Omar Khadr in the spring of 2011, under the International Transfer of Offenders Act, for return to Canada.

    Under the terms of a plea agreement reached between Omar Khadr and US officials in October 2010, Omar Khadr pled guilty to the five charges he faced. Further to that agreement, he was convicted and sentenced to an eight year prison term commencing on 31 October 2010.

    The terms of the plea agreement required Omar Khadr to remain in US custody for a further year, at which point he would be eligible for a possible transfer back to Canada. The agreement includes a commitment from US authorities to “positively endorse” any such transfer application. A diplomatic note from the Canadian government to the US government, dated 23 October 2010, indicated that they would be “inclined to favourably consider Mr. Khadr's application to be transferred to Canada to serve the remainder of his sentence.”

    October 26, 2011

     On Friday, October 28, the Human Rights Commission of the Organization of American States (OAS) will hold its first ever hearings into the violation of Indigenous land rights in Canada.

    The case before Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) concerns the 1884 expropriation of over 237,000 hectares of resource-rich land from the traditional territories of the Hul’qumi’num peoples on Vancouver Island. The Hul’qumi’num Treaty Group  alleges that Canada has violated international human rights norms by refusing to negotiate for any form of redress for the expropriated lands, which are now mostly in the hands of large forestry companies, and by failing to protect Hul’qumi’num interests while the dispute remains unresolved.

    More than a dozen Indigenous peoples’ organizations and human rights groups have filed legal briefs in support of the Hul’qumi’num case.

    October 21, 2011

    Amnesty International calls on the authorities to conduct a full review of the legal cases against indigenous prisoners on hunger strike in Chiapas since 29 September 2011. According to available evidence their detention, trial and convictions were marred by irregularities and abuses, including allegations of ill-treatment and torture. Amnesty International believes that they may have been subject to unfair trials and unsafe convictions. They should be retried according to international fair trail standards or released.

    The organization is also concerned that the transfer on 20 October of one of the leading strikers, Alberto Patishtán Gómez, to a federal prison 2000 km away in Guasave, Sinaloa state, is in direct reprisal for his leading role in the hunger strike and human rights demands made by the prisoners.

    October 11, 2011

    The report of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, released yesterday, documenting widespread torture in Afghan detention facilities, and the earlier NATO decision, announced on September 6th, to suspend transfers of prisoners into Afghan custody, both make it clear that Canada’s policy of handing prisoners over to Afghan officials over the course of more than five years violated international law and should have been reversed years ago.  Among many disturbing conclusions, the UNAMA report finds “a compelling pattern and practice of systematic torture and ill-treatment” in facilities where Canada handed over prisoners. In some cases, children in custody were also tortured and abused.  

    Prime Minister Harper has repeatedly stated that Canada’s involvement in Afghanistan was aimed at protecting fundamental Canadian values of “freedom, respect for human rights and the primacy of the rule of law.” It is critically important therefore that the Canadian public get a full and candid accounting of what the government has done and that the government ensure that ongoing responsibilities are met.

    October 04, 2011

    Each year on October 4th communities across Canada come together to honour the lives of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls. As we do so, we remember the lives of sisters, daughters, mothers and grandmothers tragically taken from us.
    Today, we offer our support and sympathy to their families and we join with them in demanding justice.
    Statistics consistently show that Aboriginal women face much higher levels of violence than all other women in Canada. The Native Women's Association of Canada has documented more than 600 cases of Aboriginal women and girls who have been murdered or who remain missing.
    This violence has touched the lives of almost every First Nations, Inuit and Métis family and community. And it has moved Canadians from all walks of life to demand action. Violence against Aboriginal women is a national issue, one that must concern us all.
    There can be no piecemeal solution to a tragedy of this scale. We are calling for all levels of government to work with Aboriginal women and representative organizations to establish a comprehensive, national plan of action to stop violence against women. Such a plan of action must:

    September 22, 2011

    Sierra Leone: Amnesty International welcomes the acceptance in principle of a moratorium on the death penalty and the commitment to improve healthcare in connection with birth delivery and to address other causes of maternal mortality

    Human Rights Council adopts Universal Periodic Review outcome on Sierra Leone:
    Thirteen states raised the issue of the death penalty during the review of Sierra Leone, calling for a moratorium on executions, abolition of the death penalty, and ratification of the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.A/HRC/18/10, recommendations 82.1 (Ecuador), 82.2 (Portugal), 82.3 (France), 82.4 (Belgium), 82.14 (France), 82.15 (Ireland), 82.16 (Spain), 82.17 (Austria), 82.18 (Germany), 82.19 (Argentina), 82.20 (Brazil), 82.21 (Chile), 82.22 (Switzerland), 82.23 (Portugal), 82.24 (United Kingdom), 82.25 (Ecuador).  Amnesty International congratulates Sierra Leone on accepting these recommendations in principle and urges it to immediately take all necessary steps to abolish the death penalty in national legislation and to commute existing death sentences to terms of imprisonment.

    September 08, 2011

    Amnesty International has called on the UK authorities to bring to justice all those responsible for the death Baha Mousa, after an inquiry into the death of the Iraqi hotel receptionist found that UK soldiers violently assaulted him while in custody in Basra in 2003.

    Baha Mousa suffered 93 separate injuries before he died, said the inquiry’s report, which was released today. Nine other Iraqis held with Mousa were also subjected to human rights violations that constituted war crimes during their detention.

    Nicola Duckworth, Europe and Central Asia Programme Director at Amnesty International said:

    “What happened to Baha Mousa and the other men detained with him at the hands of British soldiers must never be allowed to happen again. Whatever the pressures the soldiers may have faced in Iraq during that time, torture can never be justified in any circumstances.”

    “Those responsible must be held accountable for their actions and brought swiftly to justice, including in criminal proceedings – nothing less will do”.

    August 31, 2011

    Amnesty International welcomes the reported release of around 70 prisoners of conscience and political prisoners, convicted of vaguely worded “security related” charges including involvement in the protests which followed the disputed presidential election of 2009. They were among 100 said to have been pardoned by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei on 27 August 2011, ahead of the Eid al-Fitr celebrations at the end of the Islamic month of Ramadan.

    Those freed included Dr Arash Alaei, Milad Asadi and Mohammad Pour Abdollah, whose release the organization had campaigned for. Most of those released had served over half their sentences and were eligible for parole. Official media also reported that 1,218 other prisoners had been pardoned in a separate decree.

    August 17, 2011

    Amnesty International welcomes the historic decision of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women in the complaint regarding Alyne da Silva Pimentel v. Brazil (Communication No. 17/2008).

    Alyne da Silva Pimentel, a 28-year-old woman of African descent and resident of one of Rio de Janeiro’s poorest districts, was six months pregnant with her second child, when she died of complications resulting from pregnancy after her local health center misdiagnosed her symptoms and delayed providing her with emergency care.

    The case was brought by Alyne’s mother who was represented by the Center for Reproductive Rights and the Brazilian NGO Advocacia Cidadã pelos Direitos Humanos. Amnesty International and others provided amicus curiae briefs to the Committee.

    August 05, 2011

    Amnesty International today called on the Jordanian authorities to ensure that the next phase of the investigation into the reported use of excessive force against demonstrators and journalists during a protest in Amman on 15 July 2011 is carried out by a body that is fully independent and impartial and will be perceived as such.

    In a letter sent today to Minister of Interior Mazen Al Saket, Amnesty International welcomed the recent publication of the preliminary findings of an investigation panel set up by the Public Security Directorate (PSD) and a number of its recommendations, including an extended time frame for the investigation, but also expressed concern about the impartiality of the panel, which appears to be seriously undermined by the fact that two of its three members appear directly responsible for some of the police forces under investigation.

    July 26, 2011

    Italy has failed to take action to protect minority groups from discrimination, Amnesty International said today, after the parliament rejected a bill on homophobic and transphobic crimes.

    The bill was rejected by the Chamber of Deputies on Tuesday by 293 votes to 250.

    “The Italian Parliament has wasted an opportunity to take a step in the right direction," said Nicola Duckworth, Amnesty International's Director for Europe and Central Asia Programme.

    Italian law already allows hate crimes based on grounds of race, ethnicity, nationality and religion to be punished. If passed the new bill would have included homophobic and transphobic crimes too.

    "The number of homophobic and transphobic attacks reported in the last few years in Italy remains a matter of concern," said Nicola Duckworth.

    "Hate crimes have a deep impact not only on the immediate victim but also on the group with which that victim identifies."

    Amnesty International urges Italy to ensure the adequate implementation of existing anti-discrimination legislation and to ensure that legislation criminalizing hate crimes does not leave out certain groups.

    July 26, 2011

    Amnesty International sends its condolences to the victims and their families of these terrible events.

    The organization expresses solidarity with the people of Norway as they try to move on from the bombing and shootings carried out in Norway on 22 July 2011 that took the lives of more than 70 people.

    Amnesty International’s 3 million supporters are at one with the Norwegian people, standing together for an open and diverse society where people are able to express their opinions peacefully.  

    These atrocities have come as a shock to the entire world and the international community is appalled by the flagrant disregard for human life shown by the perpetrator of these crimes, Amnesty International said.  

    Times like these test a nation but the organization has every belief that the Norwegian authorities will ensure that the human rights of the victims, including the families of those who were killed, are fully respected, and that the person or persons responsible are brought to justice in fair proceedings.

    John Tackaberry,
    Media Relations,
    Amnesty International Canada
    613-744-7667, ext 236

    July 14, 2011

    Amnesty International welcomes the decision by the Mexican Supreme Court to remove alleged human rights violations committed by the armed forces from military jurisdiction. The decision represents an historic step in the struggle to limit the jurisdiction of the military courts and to guarantee victims of abuses the right to an effective remedy.

    It also sets an important precedent with regard to the obligation to comply with judgments handed down by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (Inter-American Court) and international human rights treaties.

    Amnesty International urges the Mexican State authorities, as well as the Attorney-General’s Office, to accept this decision and conduct the necessary investigations into reports of human rights violations committed – both in the past and currently – by the armed forces.

    Over recent months the organization has documented several cases of enforced disappearance with regard to which no investigations to clarify the facts have been carried out by either the military or civilian authorities.

    July 15, 2011

    The recent repression in the Middle East and North Africa demonstrates that a wide range of arms used by military, security and police forces, must be covered under the scope of an Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), Amnesty International said today.

    The latest draft of the terms of a global Arms Trade Treaty, due for completion in 2012, emerged from talks between UN member states in New York yesterday.

    Amnesty International warns that if certain types of security and police equipment such as non-military firearms, riot guns, crowd control vehicles, shotgun ammunition and tear gas are not clearly covered by the Treaty, many governments will not prevent such arms being supplied and used for serious violations of human rights.

    The international community has widely recognised that conventional weapons, munitions and armaments are often used for internal repression as well as armed conflict, most recently by imposing arms embargos against certain governments in the Middle East.  

    July 12, 2011

    Indiscriminate attacks which lead to civilian casualties are a serious violation of international humanitarian law and could constitute war crimes, Amnesty international said following the detonation of an explosive device in the urban centre of Toribío Municipality, Cauca Department, on 9 July, which has been attributed to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrilla group.

    The explosion took place during an armed attack by the FARC against the security forces in the municipality, in the south-west of the country.

    The detonation of the explosive device, which had been placed on a bus in what is a predominantly Indigenous part of the country, is reported to have resulted in the deaths of at least one civilian and a police officer. The explosion also injured at least 70 civilians who are Indigenous community members, as well as at least two police officers.

    The shockwave from the blast damaged buildings as far away as 400 metres from its epicentre. The explosion was attributed to the FARC in a communiqué issued by regional Indigenous organizations.

    June 09, 2011

    Two years after the disputed election of 12 June 2009 which saw President Mahmoud Ahmadinejhad returned to power, the human rights situation in Iran remains dire.

    The security forces continue to use violence against peaceful protestors and have carried out thousands of arrests. Many detainees have been tortured or otherwise ill-treated and hundreds have been sentenced to prison terms and in some case death after grossly unfair trials. Prison conditions are harsh.

    Opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, who stood against President Ahmadinejhad in the June 2009 election, have been held under house arrest, together with their wives, Zahra Rahnavard and Fatemeh Karroubi, for more than 100 days without any legal order.

    Some of those who have sought to expose human rights violations and the all pervasive climate of impunity that prevails, such as Mehdi Mahmoudian who compiled information about torture of detainees, have been imprisoned while lawyers who have defended those targeted by the state have themselves been targeted for legitimately pursuing their profession.

    June 02, 2011

    It’s been 22  years since the People’s Liberation Army fired on peaceful protesters in Beijing and other cities , killing hundreds, if not thousands, of students and other ordinary people who had gathered to demand a more open and responsive government.
    In the two decades since the harsh crackdown on the unarmed protestors, the Chinese government has deflected any calls for an open and honest accounting of what happened in and around Tiananmen Square on June 3rd and 4th. What many call a massacre, the Chinese Communist Party now calls a mere “political disturbance.”  This week, China opened up its secret national archives, but justified keeping any of the historical documents on Tiananmen Square (and other unpleasant disturbances) under wraps, lest they damage anyone’s “privacy” or “reputation.”

    May 18, 2011

    Amnesty International sees as positive the action taken on 12 May to enforce the arrest warrant issued against Rufino Juárez Hernández, the leader of the group Unión de Bienestar Social de la Región Triqui (Ubisort), Union for the Social Well-being of the Triqui Region, who is accused of at least two murders committed in the community of San Juan Copala, municipality of Santiago Juxtlahuaca, during 2010.

    This arrest is the first significant step that has been taken following the investigations carried out to clarify the killing of several members of the Triqui community in the area. It is essential that further progress is made with these efforts and that the accused enjoy full due process guarantees so that their responsibility can be established by means of a fair trial.

    Amnesty International hopes that this action by the Office of the State Attorney-General marks the beginning of action to dismantle the illegal armed groups operating in the region and to end the impunity that has left a climate of anxiety in which the population has been subjected to attacks and harassment.

    May 19, 2011

     Six years to the day that the government of Zimbabwe embarked on a program of  mass forced evictions which left 700,000 people without a home, a livelihood, or both, Amnesty International called on the government to urgently address the plight of survivors.

    Survivors of the devastating program of forced evictions known as Operation Murambatsvina, continue to endure deplorable living conditions, without access to basic essentials services and they remain at risk of further forced evictions.

    Residents of Operation Garikai settlements, the program created to resettle some of the victims of the forced evictions following international criticism, are continuing to face daily violations of their right to adequate housing.

    Operation Garikai settlements are characterized by large numbers of plastic shacks which have housed entire families since 2005 despite having been erected as temporary shelters. After six years they are torn and soiled, with scraps of material in place to keep out the wind and rain. In bad weather families crammed into the tiny structures have little protection from the elements.

    May 03, 2011

    Amnesty International today expressed its concern over the safety of Judge María Cristina Trejos Salazar after President Juan Manuel Santos appeared to question the validity of her decision to convict a retired army general for serious human rights violations.

    On 28 April, the judge sentenced retired general Jesús Armando Arias Cabrales to 35 years in prison for his role in the enforced disappearance of 11 people in November 1985, when military forces stormed the Palace of Justice in Bogotá where members of the M-19 guerrilla group were holding those inside hostage. Over 100 people died as a result of the siege and the military operation.

    Following the verdict, on 30 April President Santos reportedly said that there was no proof that retired general Cabrales had “any direct relationship with the alleged crimes committed during the taking of the Palace of Justice” and that the conviction was not “healthy for the country”.

    In June 2010, another judge sentenced retired colonel Luis Alfonso Plazas Vega to 30 years in prison for his role in the same crime. Both convictions are under appeal.

    April 28, 2011

    Amnesty International has submitted the following statement to the sixteenth special session of the UN Human Rights Council on the human rights situation in the Syrian Arab Republic.

    For six weeks the Syrian government has been violently repressing pro-democracy protests that have been taking place throughout the country. This follows a long history of repression which has seen the arbitrary arrest, detention and imprisonment of peaceful government critics and advocates of reform, including for Kurdish minority rights, torture and other ill-treatment of detainees and prisoners on a widespread and systematic scale, extrajudicial executions and enforced disappearances. All these human rights violations are being committed with impunity.

    April 27, 2011

    Indigenous peoples and human rights organizations urge all political leaders in Canada to make a clear public commitment to ending the discriminatory underfunding that is tearing apart First Nations families.

    For the last decade, government studies have shown that the federal government is failing in its responsibilities to Indigenous children and their families. The government spends significantly less money per child for children’s services in First Nations reserves than its provincial and territorial counterparts provide in predominantly non-Aboriginal communities. This is despite the higher costs of delivering services in remote communities and the greater need created by the residential school legacy and other pressures on First Nations communities.

    One consequence is that most First Nations families do not have access to the same level and quality of early intervention and preventative programming available to other families in Canada. As a result, the intended last resort of removing children from their homes and communities has become the primary government approach for child protection in many First Nations communities.

    April 18, 2011

    As Zimbabwe’s celebrates 31 years of independence, Amnesty International today expressed concern about the lack of effort by the government to address the legacy of human rights violations and respect for human rights guaranteed in the country’s own constitution as well as international treaties.

    Despite the formation of the Government of National Unity (GNU) in 2009, human rights violations have continued unabated. Unjustifiable restrictions of the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly are undermining the stability brought about by the setting up of the GNU.

    For example, six activists, Munyaradzi Gwisai, Hopewell Gumbo, Antonater Choto, Welcome Zimuto, Eddson Chakuma and Tatenda Mombeyarara, are facing treason charges after organizing a public lecture to discuss events in Egypt and the Middle East. If convicted they face the death penalty. The six were part of a group of 45 activist arrested on 19 February 2011. The other 39 were acquitted after a magistrate in Harare dismissed the charges against them.

    April 14, 2011

    The Azerbaijani authorities have initiated a new wave of arrests and criminal charges in an attempt to stifle the latest opposition rally, “Great Unity Day” planned for 17 April. On 9 April a further five opposition activists were charged with “organising mass disorder” for their participation in the violently dispersed 2 April “Day of Wrath” protest in Baku.

    The new charges bring the total number of activists facing long prison terms for their involvement in the 2 April protest to 10, seven of whom Amnesty International considers to be prisoners of conscience.

    The treatment of these 10 activists highlights the range of human rights abuses currently occurring in Azerbaijan. Local rights groups report that the activists have been beaten by police and remanded in custody after closed hearings on the basis of no or very little evidence, without having been granted access to a lawyer of their choice.

    April 11, 2011

    Nobel Peace Laureate Shirin Ebadi and nine human and labour rights organizations today expressed dismay at parliamentary proceedings in Iran which look set to pass into law a bill which appears intended to wipe out independent civil society in the country, in violation of international standards on freedom of association and assembly, which Iran is obliged to uphold.

    The nine - a mix of international and Iranian organizations - Amnesty International, Arseh Sevom, Education International (EI), Hivos, Human Rights Watch, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), in the framework of their joint programme, the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, FIDH’s affiliate the Iranian League for the Defence of Human Rights, and the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran – along with Shirin Ebadi called on members of Iran’s parliament to reject the draft law.

    April 07, 2011

    Amnesty International welcomed today the adoption of the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence.  

    After more than two years of negotiations, the Ministers’ Deputies of the Council of Europe adopted the text of the Convention. The treaty will be opened for signature at the Ministerial Session of the Committee of Ministers in Istanbul on 11 May.

    This treaty establishes a framework for governments to ensure robust action to prevent, investigate and prosecute violence against women. It will also facilitate the sharing of good practices and provide a solid basis for improvements in securing women’s equality before the law in Europe.It contains up-to-date models for legislation on the definitions of rape and sexual violence, domestic violence, stalking, risk assessment, protection measures and services for women and girls who are survivors of violence.

    March 29, 2011

    Amnesty International today condemned Chinese authorities for their plan to execute three Filipinos on Wednesday for the non-violent offence of drug smuggling, which falls short of the legal threshold of the ‘most serious’ crimes as set in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

    Ramon Credo, a 42-year-old father of five, was detained on 28 December 2008 at Gaoji International Airport in Xiamen, China. He is alleged to have smuggled  4,113 grams of heroin in his luggage. He is scheduled to be executed in Xiamen.

    Authorities detained Sally Villanueva, 32, on Christmas Eve 2008 also at Gaoji International Airport. She is alleged to have smuggled  4,410 grams of heroin in her luggage. She, too, is scheduled to be executed in Xiamen. She is a mother of two.
    Elizabeth Batain, 38, was detained on 25 May 2008 at the airport in Shenzhen. She is alleged to have smuggled 6,800 grams of heroin in her suitcase. She is scheduled to be executed in Shenzhen.

    March 18, 2011

    The Malaysian government’s prosecution of 54 anti-racism protestors violates freedom of association and peaceful assembly, Amnesty International said today.

    On 4 April, hearings begin for participants in a peaceful rally against racial discrimination, held by Hindraf Makkal Sakthi and its affiliated Human Rights Party in Kuala Lumpur on 27 February.

    Hindraf, a nongovernmental organization which advocates for equal rights for Malaysians of Indian origin, was banned as an “unlawful society” in 2008 under the Societies Act.

    P. Ramesh, the national secretary of Hindraf, and five others are scheduled to appear in magistrates’ court in Ipoh. They have been charged with being members of an “unlawful society” under Section 43 of the Societies Act. If convicted, they face up to three years in prison and a fine of 5,000 ringgit (US$1,600).

    March 11, 2011

    As the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar presents his report to the 16th session of United Nations Human Rights Council, governments should speak with one voice on Myanmar’s long-standing failure to address widespread and systematic human rights violations in the country.

    While a new administration has been appointed following elections, not only has the human rights situation in Myanmar not improved, it shows no signs of changing in the foreseeable future.  Nearly 2,200 political prisoners remain behind bars, most of whom are prisoners of conscience, imprisoned solely for the peaceful exercise of their rights to freedom of expression, association, and assembly.  Censorship and other serious restrictions on freedom of expression remain, and violations of international human rights and humanitarian law against ethnic minorities - including acts against the civilian population which constitute crimes against humanity - continue. 

    March 08, 2011

    Amnesty International stands alongside women and girls in Nicaragua this International Women’s Day.  Amnesty International supports the women’s movement demand to end sexual violence against women and girls. Together we are calling on the Nicaraguan authorities to eradicate rape and widespread sexual abuse of girls.

    According to police statistics, between 1998 and 2008, more than 14,000 cases were reported. Two thirds of the victims were under the age of 17.

    Amnesty International research has shown that young victims of rape and sexual abuse demand that their right to be free from sexual violence is protected by the Nicaraguan government, and that they are supported so they can overcome the physical and psychological trauma caused by such acts of violence. This is Nicaragua’s obligation under national and international law.

    With regards to these obligations under international law to protect the rights of women and girls, five UN expert committees have highlighted the problem and repeatedly asked the government to take action on violence against women and girls, without clear results to date.

    March 08, 2011

    Amnesty International supports the voices of Aboriginal families in calling for real action, not empty rhetoric, to stop violence against Aboriginal women and girls.

    In October 2010, Minister of State for the  Status of Women, Rona Ambrose, stated, “I am very concerned about the pattern of violence against Aboriginal women, and the impact it has on the families and communities who suffer as a result.”

    Despite this recognition, the federal government has yet to establish a national plan of action in keeping with the high rates and severity of violence faced by First Nations, Métis and Inuit women. Instead, the government continues to pursue piecemeal solutions that leave unacceptable gaps in the information and protection available to Aboriginal women and girls.

    “The families of missing and murdered Aboriginal women deserve answers and we deserve justice,” says Melanie Morrison whose 25-year-old sister Tiffany Morrison went missing in June 2006 in Kahnawake, outside Montreal. In June 2010, Tiffany was found to be the victim of a homicide. Her murder remains unsolved.

    February 16, 2011

    (Paris, 16 February 2011) – Other nations and the UN should speak out against a wave of executions in Iran, the Nobel Peace Laureate Shirin Ebadi and six human rights organizations said today. Shirin Ebadi and the human rights groups called on the Iranian Judiciary and Parliament to institute an immediate moratorium on all executions.

    At least 86 people have been executed since the start of 2011, according to information received by the six organizations. The groups are Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Reporters without Borders, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, the International Federation for Human Rights, and its affiliate, the Iranian League for the Defence of Human Rights. At least eight of those executed in January were political prisoners, convicted of “enmity against God” (moharebeh) for participating in demonstrations, or for their alleged links to opposition groups.

    “The Iranian authorities have shown that they are no longer content to repress those contesting the re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad by arresting and convicting them - they have shown they will now resort to execution,” Shirin Ebadi said.

    February 10, 2011

    On the second anniversary of the Government of National Unity (GNU), Amnesty International is urging Zimbabwe’s coalition government to act on ongoing human rights abuses and to institute reforms of the security sector and the media.

    Two years since the unity government was set up in Zimbabwe, Amnesty International is concerned about lack of progress in implementing key reforms to address the legacy of human rights abuses.  

    “The hope for an end to a decade of human rights abuses that greeted the unity government two years ago, is rapidly fading away and has been replaced by fear and instability amid talk of another election in 2011,” said Erwin van der Borght, Amnesty International’s Director for Africa.

    In recent weeks, supporters of President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party in Harare have targeted perceived supporters of the MDC-T formation led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, with violence with the tacit approval of the police.

    January 28, 2011

    Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Salil Shetty said: “The protests in Egypt and elsewhere are a wake up call to all those gathered in Davos. It is time the rhetoric on human rights and reform delivered here is matched with genuine steps to uphold the rights of people. Egyptians, especially the dynamic youth, could wait no longer. They are holding their leaders to account for the ruthless repression they continue to be subjected to and the failure to address the rights of the poor.

    As events unfold, the Egyptian authorities must respect the rights of the people to protest, free from intimidation, violence, and the threat of detention and prosecution.

    The solution lies not in detaining critics of the government, or by the security forces using excessive force, or in restricting access to information. It lies in addressing the human rights demands of those Egyptians protesting.

    Their voice and demands must be listened to, not only in Egypt but also by the world leaders gathered here. Those in power must be held to account for their failure to respect human rights.”

    January 24, 2011

    Amnesty International condemns the bomb attack at the Moscow airport Domodedovo which took place at around 16.30 (13.30 GMT) in the arrivals lounge and has resulted in numerous victims. Currently, reports suggest that as many as 31 persons been killed and 130 injured. The organization extends its condolences to the victims and their families.

    Amnesty International considers that this attack reveals a blatant disregard for human life and is a flagrant violation of a fundamental right. It cannot be justified or excused.

    The organization calls on the Russian authorities to carry out a thorough and impartial investigation and bring to justice those responsible for the atrocity in line with international human rights standards.

    The last major bomb attack against civilians took place in Moscow in March 2010, when two suicide bombers blew themselves up on the same day at two metro stations, resulting in 40 people dead and over 100 injured.

    John Tackaberry,
    Media Relations,
    Amnesty International Canada
    613-744-7667, ext 236

    January 21, 2011

    On 24 January 2011, the spokesperson and the specialist on anti-semitism of the non-governmental organization Greek Helsinki Monitor (GHM) and four members of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece (KIS) will be tried before the 6th Misdemeanors Court of Athens for charges of false accusations and aggravated defamation against the author of the book “Jews – The Whole Truth”, Kostantinos Plevris, following a complaint he filed on 4 January 2007. Panayote Dimitras, the Greek Helsinki Monitor spokesperson is also charged with perjury. Each of the offences for which the individuals concerned have been charged attracts a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

    According to the indictment, the content of the testimonies and/or statements made by the GHM representatives and the KIS officers in the case against Konstantinos Plevris in 2006 was false and defamatory.

    January 19, 2011

    For the last five years, we have stood alongside the Native Women's Association of Canada to promote vigils across Canada to honour the lives of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls. In these five years, the Sisters in Spirit vigils have become a genuine national movement, with events in more than 80 cities and communities.

    The vigils in which we participated were part of a larger programme of work by Sisters in Spirit that included vital research, public education, police and government engagement, and support to affected families. We have no doubt that the work of Sisters in Spirit has played a crucial role in building public awareness and advancing the necessary solutions to uphold the rights and safety of Aboriginal women and girls.

    In fact, the federal government has publicly acknowledged the importance of these vigils and the other vital research and advocacy work carried out by Sisters in Spirit.

    Therefore, we are profoundly concerned that there is still no secure funding in place to ensure the continuation of the Native Women's Association of Canada's Sisters in Spirit Initiative.

    January 05, 2011

    Amnesty International strongly condemns the bomb attack perpetrated in the early hours of 1 January 2011 which targeted worshippers at a Coptic Christian church in Alexandria, killing 23 and injuring scores of others during a New Year midnight service. Amnesty International is calling on the Egyptian authorities to take comprehensive measures to protect Coptic Christians ahead of their celebration of Christmas on 7 January 2011. The bombing targeted the al-Qidissin (the Saints) Church in the area of Sidi Basher in the city of Alexandria. While no one has claimed responsibility for the attack, the authorities have said it is the result of a suicide bombing linked to al-Qa’ida and they are holding seven suspects for questioning in connection with the blast.

    Amnesty International’s thoughts and sympathy are first and foremost with those who have become the victims of this attack. The organization condemns all deliberate attacks against civilians, which can never be justified under any circumstances. Such attacks are absolutely prohibited under international law and show a complete disregard for the right to life.

    December 27, 2010

    The second trial of Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev, which began on 31 March 2009, concluded today with their conviction on charges of theft and money laundering while running YUKOS between 1998 and 2003.

    Amnesty International is concerned that this trial has been marred by numerous procedural violations, including repeated breaches of the equality of arms. These violations in themselves suffice to cast serious doubt on the integrity of Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev’s convictions. Moreover, the manner in which the prosecution and trial have been conducted, the timing of the charges, the reported harassment of lawyers and defence witnesses and the unnecessarily harsh conditions of detention, all point strongly to a long-established pattern of political motives and interference having obstructed the independent administration of justice in this case.

    Against this backdrop, it is impossible to conclude that justice has been done.

    December 15, 2010

    Amnesty International is calling on the authorities in Bangladesh to order an immediate inquiry into reports that four people have died during violent clashes between police and garment factory workers in Bangladesh on 12 December. The inquiry must establish the causes of the deaths and find out if the deaths were due to police using excessive force against the demonstrators.

    If police have used excessive force, the government should bring to justice the police officers responsible.

    The workers had been demonstrating for the implementation of their wage increase, which the government had promised would come into force from the beginning of November. In clashes between the demonstrators and the police in the cities of Chittagong, Dhaka and Narayangangj, on 12 December, four people died and more than 200 people were injured.

    December 09, 2010

    Amnesty International is deeply concerned about the situation on Rapa Nui (Easter Island), following the events of 3 December in which over 20 indigenous people were injured during an operation to evict them from buildings and land that they occupied as part of a protest. A number of detentions were made.

    Serious injuries were sustained by both indigenous protestors and police during the operation to evict protestors occupying a number of public and private buildings and land. The long-standing protest by some indigenous clans in demand of ancestral land, and in rejection of the Chilean government’s long-standing failure to adequately address their rights, is ongoing.

    December 08, 2010

    Amnesty International is concerned that the decision to close Libya Press, the only privately owned news agency in Libya, is the latest in a rising series of government attacks on the privately-owned press, and risks further narrowing the Libyan media landscape and the scope of freedom of expression. On 7 December, the Libya Press agency, an outlet of the al-Ghad corporation affiliated with Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi, son of the Libyan leader, announced that it had decided to close its Tripoli office due to “ security harrassment” and its inability to protect its correspondents in Libya. According to the Libya Press agency, the decision was taken after security agencies told the leadership of the al-Ghad corporation that the “presence” of the Libya Press agency inside Libya “was not desirable.”

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