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    September 12, 2017

    Amnesty International USA Statement

    NEW YORK – Following the US Supreme Court’s decision to temporarily uphold the refugee ban, Naureen Shah, Amnesty International USA senior director of campaigns, released the following statement:

    “The Supreme Court today has dealt yet another devastating blow to vulnerable people who were on the cusp of obtaining safety for themselves and their families. They continue to be subjected to unimaginable violence and fear while their lives are in limbo. This ban is inherently cruel and no part of it should be allowed to stand.”

    CONTACT: media@aiusa.org

     

     

    September 06, 2017

    Amnesty International welcomes the initiative of the Canadian government, and non-governmental partners Rainbow Railroad and Russian LGBT Network, which has brought dozens of gay men from the semi-autonomous Russian republic of Chechnya to Canada as government-assisted refugees. This unique government and civil society partnership comes in response to a coordinated campaign against men in Chechnya who are believed to be gay.

    In early April, the Russian independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta reported that over a hundred of men believed to be gay had been recently abducted, sent to undisclosed detention centres, tortured and otherwise ill-treated, and forced to disclose other LGBTI individuals known to them. Chechen officials have also supported ``honour killings`` of gay men by their families. Amnesty International documented the practice of extrajudicial executions of gay men in Chechnya and elsewhere in the region earlier this year.

    September 05, 2017
      Prime Minister Narendra Modi should use his official visit to Myanmar to urge authorities there to take urgent steps to protect civilians in violence-hit Rakhine State and lift restrictions on international humanitarian aid to Rakhine, Amnesty International India said today. Thousands of people, mainly Rohingya, are already suffering horrific abuses from a disproportionate military campaign in Rakhine.

    “Prime Minister Modi needs to tell Myanmar’s leadership that they are not doing enough to protect all communities in the state, whether it is stopping military abuses targeting the Rohingya or restricting crucial humanitarian access for people in need,” said Aakar Patel, Executive Director at Amnesty International India.

    “As a historic friend of Myanmar, India can play an important role in defusing tensions and saving civilian lives. Prime Minister Modi must urge the Myanmar authorities to address the long-standing and systematic discrimination against Rohingya and other Muslims in Rakhine State, which has left people trapped in a cycle of violence and deprivation.”

    August 21, 2017

    Amnesty International Canada welcomes the efforts of the Canadian Medical Association to protect migrants and refugees, including children, within our borders. The CMA will discuss refugee protection when it meets for its annual meeting in Quebec City August 19-23.

    The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) has supported the motion to advocate that “concrete legislative change be made to protect migrants and refugees from being arbitrarily and indefinitely detained in jails and jail-like facilities in Canada”. The CMA has a longstanding mandate to advocate for health-related human rights issues.

    Dr. Shobana Ananth, volunteer Health Network Coordinator, Amnesty International Canada, made the motion stating “As health professionals, we know that detention impacts the mental health of both children and adults resulting in suicidal ideation, anxiety, depression, PTSD, and in children, the deterioration of developmental milestones.”

    August 16, 2017
      Responding to news that the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued a warrant today for the arrest of Mahmoud el-Wefelli, who is accused of war crimes for actions committed while he was Field Commander of the Special Forces Brigade (Al-Saiqa) affiliated to the Libyan National Army (LNA), Amnesty International’s North Africa Research Director Heba Morayef said:   “Today’s decision by the ICC is a significant step towards ending the rampant impunity for war crimes in Libya. Mahmoud al-Werfelli led an army unit that is accused of atrocities, including the extrajudicial executions of unarmed and defenseless captives.   “The Libyan authorities must urgently comply with this arrest warrant and hand Mahmoud al-Werfelli over to the ICC to face his accusers in a fair trial. This warrant sends a clear message that those who commit or order horrendous crimes are not above the law and will not go unpunished.  
    August 15, 2017
      Responding to attempts by Kenya’s NGO regulator to shut down two human rights organizations – the Kenya National Human Rights Commission (KHRC) and the African Centre for Open Governance (AfriCoG) - Michelle Kagari, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes, said:   “The NGO Coordination Board’s decision must be seen for what it really is - a cynical attempt to discredit human rights organizations. This is an unlawful and irresponsible move in this critical post-election period.   “This assault on human rights groups must be immediately halted. The Kenyan authorities must rein in the NGO Coordination Board and not allow such grotesque witch-hunts to take place.”   Background  
    August 11, 2017

    Ahead of International Youth Day on 12 August, Amnesty International Brazil’s Executive Director Jurema Werneck called on the country’s Congress to reject all constitutional amendments that might lower the age at which children can be tried as adults.

    Werneck said:

    “This year’s International Youth Day comes at a time when children’s rights in Brazil are in peril. Proposed changes to the constitution include legislation that will lower the age at which children can be tried as adults to below 18.

    “This would be in flagrant violation of international human rights law, including the Convention on the Rights of a Child to which Brazil is a party.

    “Legislators must put the best interests of the child at the centre of this discussion. The prospect of children ending up in Brazilian adult prisons, which are severely overcrowded with terrible conditions, is horrifying. Treating children under the age of 18 as ‘adults’ would place them in vulnerable situations where their human rights would be further at risk.”

    August 07, 2017
      In response to the announcement by Israel’s communications minister, Ayoub Kara, that the Israeli government has decided to close Al Jazeera’ s office in Jerusalem and take the channel off air, Amnesty International’s Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director, Magdalena Mughrabi said:   “This is a brazen attack on media freedom in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The move sends a chilling message that the Israeli authorities will not tolerate critical coverage. “By acting to suppress Al Jazeera the Israeli government joins a host of other countries in the region, including Saudi Arabia, which have demanded the channel’s closure in the wake of the dispute between Gulf countries and Qatar.   “All journalists should be free to carry out their work without facing harassment or intimidation. Instead of initiating a repressive clampdown on freedom of expression the Israeli authorities must halt any attempt to silence critical media.”  
    August 04, 2017
      Responding to reports of protests on Manus Island, where Papua New Guinea (PNG) immigration officials, implementing a policy set by the government of Australia, are attempting to force refugees and asylum seekers out of an immigration detention centre, Josef Benedict, Amnesty International’s Deputy Campaigns Director for Southeast Asia & Pacific, said:   “Until there is a safe place for them to go, forcing refugees and asylum seekers out of the detention centre will cause even more suffering. Reports that police are attempting to forcefully clear the compound by cutting off water and electricity are alarming, but sadly typical of the policies of the Australian department of immigration, whose conduct on Manus Island has been marked by human rights abuses and deliberate cruelty.  
    August 04, 2017
      Responding to mounting reports of violence in northern Rakhine State, including the deaths of Buddhist and Rohingya villagers in the last week, Amnesty International’s Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific James Gomez said: 

    “The alarming reports of attacks in northern Rakhine State underscore the need for everyone operating in the area to refrain from violence before it spirals out of control. 

    August 03, 2017

    Yesterday, the newly elected government of British Columbia sent the Site C dam to the provincial utilities commission for a long overdue review of whether or not the destructive $8.8 billion-plus mega-project is necessary and economically viable.

    In announcing the review, Energy Minister Michelle Mungall told the provincial legislature that a final decision on whether the project is allowed to proceed will be based on this review “along with other environmental and First Nations considerations.”

    Craig Benjamin of Amnesty International Canada said, “It’s crucial to remember that the Site C dam was pushed ahead without ever addressing the crucial question of whether it would violate the Treaty rights of First Nations in the Peace River region. A series of court cases left the matter unresolved, putting it back in the hands of politicians to do their duty to protect the Constitutionally-protected rights of Indigenous peoples. We welcome this latest indication that the province of BC is now prepared to uphold this essential legal and moral obligation.”

    August 02, 2017
      Responding to the Thai authorities summoning of prominent journalist Pravit Rojanaphruk to answer accusations of sedition for some of his Facebook posts, Amnesty International’s Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, James Gomez, said:   “The authorities must immediately stop using the criminal justice system to harass Pravit Rojanaphruk. It is outrageous to think that he could face decades in prison for a totally peaceful action like putting up a few critical Facebook posts. Pravit is a brave journalist who has already been arbitrarily detained by the military government twice since it seized power in 2014. All criminal proceedings against him must be dropped.   “There appears to be no end to the Thai authorities’ determination to stamp out any form of criticism, whether online or on the streets. In the past few years, dozens of people have faced sedition charges for peacefully criticising the junta, including for their use of Facebook and other social media.  
    August 01, 2017
      Responding to news that the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan’s lower house of parliament voted on Monday 1 August to abolish Article 308 of the penal code, which allowed perpetrators of sexual violence to escape punishment by marrying their victim, Samah Hadid, Director of Campaigns for the Middle East at Amnesty International said:   “The vote to abolish this repugnant law is a long overdue step in the right direction for the Kingdom of Jordan. We now urge the parliament’s upper house and King Abdullah II to immediately approve the vote and confirm the country’s commitment to gender equality.   “While this offers a much-needed glimmer of hope for women’s rights in the region, there is still a long way to go. Other countries must immediately follow suit and abolish these absurd laws. The Lebanese government will soon be voting to abolish its own version of the law, article 522. We urge Lebanese lawmakers to make the right choice.”   Background:  
    August 01, 2017
      The seizure of two opposition leaders in Caracas late last night is a telling sign that the Maduro administration is desperate to silence all forms of criticism as the political and humanitarian crisis in the country approaches breaking point, Amnesty International said.   “The Maduro administration is sending a terrifying message to all people in Venezuela: dissent will not be tolerated in any form,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.   In the early hours of the morning, officers from the Venezuelan intelligence services took Leopoldo López, leader of the opposition party Voluntad Popular, and Antonio Ledezma, the mayor of Caracas from their homes without a warrant. Both men had been transferred to house arrest on health grounds.   “The clock is ticking fast and time is running out for authorities in Venezuela to make a decisive U-turn when it comes to their approach to free expression. The alternative is simply too frightening.”  
    July 31, 2017
      Reacting to the murder of Chris Msando, head of information technology at Kenya’s independent election monitoring body, Amnesty International’s Kenya researcher, Abdullahi Halakhe said:   “This gruesome murder, just a week before hotly contested elections, should sound alarm bells for the Kenyan government and highlight the need for them to up their game in terms of ensuring the safety of key officials at this tense time.   “Next week’s vote will be extremely close and there is a very real danger that the situation will erupt if the authorities do not ensure that the Kenyan people are able to cast their votes free from intimidation, threats and violence.   “Chris Msando’s death must be urgently investigated and those found responsible brought to justice.”    

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