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    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.”    
    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.  

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