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    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.”    
    July 31, 2017
      A new law signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin banning anonymizers and virtual private networks (VPNs) is a major blow to internet freedom in Russia, Amnesty International said today.   “With the Russian authorities increasingly intolerant of dissent, technologies that help internet users evade censorship and protect their privacy are crucial for freedom of expression online. Today the authorities have given themselves an instrument to ban the use of VPNs and other technologies that help people to freely access information online,” said Denis Krivosheev, Deputy Director for Europe and Central Asia at Amnesty International.   “This is the latest blow in an assault on online freedom which has seen critical sites blocked and social media users prosecuted solely for what they post online, under vaguely written anti-extremism legislation. The ban on VPNs takes this shameful campaign a whole step further.
    July 28, 2017
      In response to the court’s ruling earlier this evening to conditionally release seven of the 12 imprisoned Cumhuriyet staff and the continuation of the pre-trial detention of five others, John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Director of Europe and Central Asia, said: “While the news of the release of seven Cumhuriyet journalists and others, is a positive step forward, we are dismayed at the continued imprisonment of Ahmet Şık, Kadri Gürsel, Akın Atalay, Murat Sabuncu and Ahmet Kemal Aydoğdu. “The hearing so far has made it glaringly apparent that this indictment lacks any credible evidence. Strikingly, it mentions the word 'news' more than 600 times. Plain and simple, this is journalism on trial.   Background: The trial of the 17 Cumhuriyet journalists, executives and lawyers, of whom 12 have been held in pre-trial detention since last year, began on Monday 24 July in Istanbul.   The court also ruled to lift the restrictions on meetings between those imprisoned and their lawyers, which have been limited to an hour per week.
    July 28, 2017
      The security plan announced ahead of the elections for the Constituent Assembly in Venezuela this Sunday is laying the groundwork for a new wave of mass human rights violations, said Amnesty International.   “Venezuela's ban on protests will do nothing but worsen an already incredibly volatile situation,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.    “Instead of trying to silence the increasing popular anger, authorities must find workable solutions to people's very reasonable demands. Continuing to punish dissenting voices will only sink the country into an even deeper crisis."   The Venezuelan government’s security plan also includes provisions – such as the deployment of military personnel and experts to deal with electoral and military crimes – which are likely to facilitate a new wave of human rights violations.   Since protests began on 4 April, more than 100 people have been killed and more than 1,400 injured, according to official sources.  
    July 27, 2017
      The rape of a teenage girl ordered by a village council in ‘revenge’ for a rape allegedly committed by her brother is the latest in a long series of horrific incidents and must lead to urgent reforms, said Amnesty International today. While 20 people from a village council near Multan have been arrested for ordering the rape, Pakistan’s authorities must end impunity for sexual violence and abolish so-called village councils that prescribe horrific crimes as revenge.   “Pakistan’s authorities must end impunity for sexual violence and crack down on the so-called village councils that prescribe horrific crimes against women, often in revenge for acts committed by others. For far too long, there has been an indulgence of these unspeakably cruel practices,” said Nadia Rahman, Amnesty International’s Pakistan Campaigner.
    July 27, 2017
      The Myanmar authorities must immediately and unconditionally release three journalists who were arrested in conflict-ridden northern Shan State last month, Amnesty International said ahead of their trial tomorrow.                                    Aye Nai and Pyae Phone Aung, both reporters for the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB), and Thein Zaw (aka Lawi Weng), a reporter for the Irrawaddy newspaper, were arrested on 26 June, along with four other people they were travelling with.   They have since been charged under the Unlawful Association Act and could face up to three years in prison if convicted. Three others arrested with them are also facing charges, including under the same Act, while a seventh man arrested on 26 June has since been released.  
    July 26, 2017
      Following tweets from President Donald Trump announcing he would no longer allow transgender individuals to serve in the U.S. military, Tarah Demant, Amnesty International USA’s director of Gender, Sexuality, and Identity program issued the following statement:

    “Today’s announcement violates the human rights of all transgender Americans. It lays bare the president’s prejudice and underlines the fact that creating policy based on bigotry is becoming a dangerous and cruel pattern for President Trump. The administration continues to target minority communities without pause and without facts. From stripping protections from transgender students to today’s announcement, the Trump administration has made clear it has an agenda of discrimination.”  
    July 26, 2017

    Amnesty International is standing with the Inuit people of Clyde River in celebrating a Supreme Court ruling that represents a victory not only for this community and its future, but an important opportunity to bring Canadian law in line with international human rights standards.

    The case is about a decision by the National Energy Board of Canada (NEB) to allow a group of multinational corporations to carry out oil and gas exploration off Baffin Island. The Hamlet of Clyde River and the Nammautaq Hunters and Trappers Organization alleged that the government regulatory body failed to properly involve community members in the decision-making process and did not giver adequate attention to Inuit concerns over the impact of seismic testing on the marine animals on which their food, economy and culture depend.

    In a unanimous decision released today, the Supreme Court overturned the approval for seismic testing, finding that the “significantly flawed” decision-making process did not meet the standard of consultation required by the Constitutional protection of Inuit rights.

    July 26, 2017
      Responding to an announcement by the European Commission (EC) that it is launching infringement proceedings against Poland, and stands ready to trigger legal action if laws are passed giving the government tighter controls over the judiciary, Gauri Van Gulik, Deputy Europe Director at Amnesty International, said:   “The message from the EU is clear: respect the rule of law, or face serious sanctions. These reforms would seriously compromise the independence of the courts and severely undermine the right to fair trial in Poland, and are out of step with European standards and the Polish Constitution.   “The government’s assault on the justice system calls for an extraordinary response from the EU, and the EC must be prepared to follow through on its words and trigger Article 7 if these alarming reforms are written into law.  
    July 26, 2017
      Responding to the UK government’s commitment to ban all new petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2040, Mark Dummett, Business and Human Rights Researcher at Amnesty International, said:   “This is good news for the environment and for air quality, but drivers should be aware that while electric cars may be green, they’re not always clean.   “Our research shows that there is a significant risk of cobalt mined by children and adults in appalling conditions in the Democratic Republic of Congo ending up in the batteries of electric cars. Workers in the DRC, earning as little as one dollar a day and at risk of fatal accidents and illness, must not pay the price for the UK’s shift to electric cars.   “Drivers will want to know that their new cars are not linked to the suffering of child labourers in the DRC, but there is a worrying lack of transparency across the car manufacturing industry, with many leading names failing to disclose information about their cobalt supply chains.  
    July 25, 2017
      Responding to statements made by Turkish Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu at a press conference following his meeting with High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini in Brussels, Amnesty International’s Europe Director, John Dalhuisen said:   “Whilst we welcome the acknowledgement by the Foreign Minister that Amnesty International are regarded as “a credible global organization”, his assertion that we will be “able to conduct activities freely” is a bold claim in light of the fact that both the Director and the Chair of Amnesty International Turkey are languishing behind bars alongside seven other human rights activists.”   “The absurd case against Idil Eser is not based on any nefarious activities but instead rests entirely upon the legitimate work of Amnesty International. If this work is criminalised, it is hard to see how the organization – or indeed the wider human rights movement in Turkey – can continue to function.  
    July 25, 2017
      Responding to the conviction and sentencing of the labour and land rights activist Trần Thị Nga to nine years in prison for “conducting propaganda against the state” in Viet Nam today, Amnesty International’s Deputy Campaigns Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, Josef Benedict, said:   “Today’s conviction and imprisonment of Trần Thị Nga are outrageous and must be reversed immediately. She is a prisoner of conscience who has done nothing but peacefully defend human rights.   “This is the second conviction of a woman human rights defender in less than a month in Viet Nam, where authorities are stepping up efforts to put peaceful activists behind bars. The government is destroying the lives of brave individuals and their families simply to intimidate others from raising their voices.   “There are more than 90 prisoners of conscience in Viet Nam today, and the numbers are only growing. The harsh restrictions on rights defenders and activism must end immediately.”  

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