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Joint Press Release

    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.”

    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.

    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

    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 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 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 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.

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