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Public statements

    July 25, 2017

     “The Panel is convinced that the Tsilhqot’in cultural attachment to Fish Lake (Teztan Biny) and the Nabas areas is so profound that they cannot reasonably be expected to accept the conversion of that area into the proposed New Prosperity mine.” – Report of the Federal Environmental Review panel that led to the 2014 rejection of the proposed “New Prosperity Mine”

    Amnesty International stands with the Tsilhqot’in people in calling on the BC government to immediately rescind work permits that would allow destructive mineral exploration activities in the vitally important Teztan Biny (Fish Lake) and Nabas areas.

    July 24, 2017

    Responding to news that the Turkish authorities have issued detention orders against four human rights defenders released on bail on Tuesday, John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Director for Europe said:

    “With this cruel and retrograde step, Turkey has underlined its growing reputation as an indiscriminate jailer of civil society activists and a stranger to the rule of law.”  

    One of the four, Nalan Erkem was detained from her house in Istanbul last night. A second, İlknur Üstün was detained from her home in Ankara today. 

    “These four people should never have been detained in the first place. Having already endured twelve days behind bars, they are forced to relive the ordeal yet again. Instead of dropping the baseless investigation, the Turkish authorities have raised their absurdity to fresh heights,” said John Dalhuisen.

    The four human rights defenders will now join their six co-suspects behind bars, including the director of Amnesty International Turkey. 

     Background

    July 24, 2017
      Responding to the deaths of 24 people and the wounding of 42 when a car packed with explosives rammed into a bus in western Kabul this morning, in an attack claimed by the Taliban, Amnesty International’s Afghanistan Researcher, Horia Mosadiq, said:   “This horrific attack deliberately targeted civilians and constitutes a war crime under international law. It was just yesterday that the people of Kabul were marking the one year anniversary of one of the deadliest attacks in the city’s history. Today, they are forced to mourn further deaths.   “Nearly 16 years after the conflict in Afghanistan began, civilians are increasingly paying the greatest price. A record number of civilians have been killed in the first half of this year, with women and children being the worst affected. And neither the Afghan government nor the international community is paying enough attention to their plight.  
    July 24, 2017
      Responding to a bombing near a vegetable market in Lahore that has claimed the lives of at least 11 people, Amnesty International's Pakistan campaigner, Nadia Rahman, said:   "This is a horrific attack that was targeted at ordinary people and has caused an appalling loss of life. The authorities must immediately order an independent and effective investigation. The victims of the bombing deserve justice. The perpetrators must be held accountable in line with international human rights standards."
    July 21, 2017
      Responding to the Ugandan police’s announcement that they have arrested 56 people for allegedly holding illegal meetings under the deeply-flawed Public Order Management Act (POMA), Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes, said:   “The Ugandan police are no strangers to making arrests in utter disregard for constitutionally-guaranteed rights, but this most recent case is patently absurd. These 56 individuals are guilty of nothing more than attending a peaceful meeting. They should be released immediately and unconditionally.   “The Public Order Management Act is deeply flawed and has previously been used by the police to crack down on the opposition and civil society. This latest mass arrest is no exception.”  
    July 20, 2017
    Just days after six human rights defenders were remanded in pre-trial custody in Turkey, the European Commission has joined governments and world leaders, including Angela Merkel, to demand their immediate and unconditional release.   Speaking today a European Commission spokesperson called for the “immediate release of these people”. This call follows similar demands by the governments of Germany, the US, France, Belgium, Ireland and Austria.   “The jailing of these six human rights activists – including the director of Amnesty International Turkey - has spurred world leaders to break their silence on the ongoing human rights crisis in Turkey. They are now coming together with remarkable speed and speaking with uncommon unity. Momentum is growing and now is the moment for other world leaders to speak out,” said John Dalhuisen, Europe Director for Amnesty International.  
    July 20, 2017

    The Malaysian authorities must immediately release a distinguished Bangladeshi human rights activist and former prisoner of conscience and allow him to speak at and participate in a conference on the death penalty, Amnesty International said today.

    The Malaysian authorities at Kuala Lumpur airport detained Adilur Rahman Khan, the Secretary of Odhikar, a leading Bangladeshi human rights organization, this morning as he arrived in the country to speak at a conference on the death penalty.

    “The Malaysian authorities must immediately and unconditionally release Adilur Rahman Khan and allow him to participate in and speak at the conference,” said James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

    “There is no justification for detaining him whatsoever. It is an outrage that a human rights activist cannot even travel freely to speak on a key human rights issue. Moreover, we understand that he still has not been given access to legal advice and is at risk of being deported.”

    July 19, 2017
      Following the Supreme Court’s decision to partially stay a Hawaii court’s ruling on the refugee ban, Naureen Shah, Amnesty International USA senior director of campaigns, released the following statement:    “This ruling jeopardizes the safety of thousands of people across the world including vulnerable families fleeing war and violence. On top of that, this prolonged legal battle is creating further distress and confusion for ordinary people who need to visit the U.S. to get medical attention, reunite with family or get an education. No part of this cruel and discriminatory ban is reasonable. Congress must intervene and end the ban once and for all.”
    July 19, 2017
      The Chilean Chamber of Deputies has an historic opportunity to put the country on the right side of human rights, Amnesty International said ahead of a debate today on the potential decriminalization of abortion under three circumstances.   Late last night, the Chilean Senate passed a bill to decriminalize abortion under three circumstances: when the pregnancy results from rape or incest, when the life of the pregnant woman is at risk, and in cases of lethalfoetal impairment.   “Chile is finally taking a step away from the small number of countries that still expose women and girls to terrible suffering due to the cruel and draconian laws and policies that violate their human right to make free choices about their own bodies, health and lives,” said Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.   “This historic vote, although limited, is a testament to the tireless work done by activists in every corner of Chile to ensure the country respects and protects women’s rights.”  
    July 18, 2017
      Amnesty International is alarmed by the amendments to the Law on the National Council of Judiciary and the Law on Common Courts adopted by the parliament: the lower chamber, Sejm on 12 July and the Senate on 15 July. The amendments are now awaiting the signature of the President of Poland. Another amendment, of the Law on the Supreme Court, put on the agenda of Sejm at night of 12 July raises further concerns over the government’s attempt to put the judiciary under political control.   This amendment is going for the first hearing on 18 July. The changes and why they are problematic are listed below.   These changes follow earlier, already problematic amendments to the composition of the Constitutional Tribunal that severely affected its independence to the extent that the European Commission issued a recommendation under the Rule of Law Framework in which it found that there was a “systemic threat to the rule of law in Poland”.  Another source of concern in relation to the independence of the justice system is the large-scale personnel changes in the prosecution service carried out in 2016.
    July 18, 2017
      Responding to a statement by Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri announcing an imminent security operation in the outskirts of the town of Arsal, in northeast Lebanon, Lynn Maalouf, Middle-East Director of Research for Amnesty International said:   “It is of utmost importance for the Lebanese army and other sides involved in the fighting in Arsal to prioritize the protection of Lebanese residents as well as Syrian refugees in the area. They must refrain from using lethal force except when it is unavoidable for self-defence or defence of others against threats of death and serious injury. Thousands of lives are on the line.   “Syrian refugees in Arsal are living in extremely harsh conditions in packed tented settlements. The Lebanese army must ensure that the operation is carried out in a manner that protects the right to life and other human rights. Use of explosive weapons in these circumstances would be contrary to Lebanon’s obligations under international law and likely to lead to arbitrary deaths.  
    July 14, 2017
    Joint Statement by 68 organisations   We, the undersigned civil society organizations, condemn the arrest, detention and prosecution of six people, including three journalists, under the 1908 Unlawful Associations Act in Myanmar. We demand that the charges against them are dropped and that the three journalists are immediately and unconditionally released, as they have been detained solely in connection with their peaceful journalistic activities.   The three journalists, Thein Zaw (also known as Lawi Weng) from the Irrawaddy magazine, Aye Nai and Pyae Phone Aung from the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB), as well as those with them at the time, Mai Tun Aye, Mai San Nyunt, and Mai Aung Kham, were detained by the military on 26 June, 2017 in northern Shan State. They were detained after attending a ceremony in an area controlled by the ethnic armed organization, the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA).  
    July 14, 2017
    Joint Statement by 68 organisations   We, the undersigned civil society organizations, condemn the arrest, detention and prosecution of six people, including three journalists, under the 1908 Unlawful Associations Act in Myanmar. We demand that the charges against them are dropped and that the three journalists are immediately and unconditionally released, as they have been detained solely in connection with their peaceful journalistic activities.   The three journalists, Thein Zaw (also known as Lawi Weng) from the Irrawaddy magazine, Aye Nai and Pyae Phone Aung from the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB), as well as those with them at the time, Mai Tun Aye, Mai San Nyunt, and Mai Aung Kham, were detained by the military on 26 June, 2017 in northern Shan State. They were detained after attending a ceremony in an area controlled by the ethnic armed organization, the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA).  
    July 14, 2017

    A federal judge in Hawaii has enjoined the Trump administration from including grandparents and other family members in the travel ban, as well as refugees with formal commitments from refugee organizations in the United States to resettle here. Naureen Shah, Amnesty International USA senior director of campaigns, released the following statement:

    “This decision is another rejection of the Trump administration’s cruel and discriminatory policy. It is welcome but temporary relief for the thousands of refugees and family members who remain uncertain of their future. They cannot wait for another drawn-out legal battle; Congress must step in now and end this cruel and discriminatory ban once and for all.”

    July 14, 2017
      Responding to a Hong Kong court decision today to disqualify four pro-democracy lawmakers for failing to sincerely take the oath of office, Mabel Au, Director of Amnesty International Hong Kong, commented:   “Today’s decision confirms the Hong Kong government’s agenda to silence and effectively punish any speech critical of the present political system, wherever it may occur, even within the legislature. It is the latest damaging sign that expressing political opinions that challenge the status quo are no longer tolerated. By bringing these cases, the Hong Kong government only reinforces the impression that they are mere puppets of Beijing.”

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