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Public statements

    May 05, 2016

    Amnesty International welcomes the Swaziland Government’s preparedness to amend the Suppression of Terrorism Act of 2008 (STA) as it had committed to do in March 2012 at the Universal Periodic Review of the United Nations Human Rights Council.

    Amnesty International has consistently called for the STA to be repealed or immediately amended, because it is an inherently flawed piece of legislation which is inconsistent with Swaziland’s obligations under international and regional human rights law as well as the Swaziland Constitution.

    In 2009, Amnesty International in association with the International Bar Association found several provisions of the STA to be incompatible with Swaziland’s human rights obligations. 

    While states have a duty to protect all those under its jurisdiction, including by taking measures to prevent and protect against attacks on civilians, there is also an absolute necessity to ensure that all anti-terrorism measures are implemented in accordance with international human rights law.  

    May 04, 2016

    World-renowned musician Angélique Kidjo and three inspirational African youth activist movements have been declared this year’s joint winners of the prestigious Ambassador of Conscience Award for 2016, the organization said today.

    The award will be shared between Benin-born artist Angélique Kidjo, one of world’s most successful African singer-songwriters, and the activist groups Y’en a marre from Senegal, le Balai Citoyen from Burkina Faso and Lutte pour le Changement (LUCHA) from DRC. All will be honoured at the awards ceremony in Dakar, Senegal, on 28 May.

    “The Ambassador of Conscience Award is a celebration of those public figures who have shown exceptional courage in standing up to injustice. Angélique Kidjo and the members of Y’en a marre, le Balai Citoyen and LUCHA have all proved themselves to be bold advocates for human rights, using their talents to inspire others,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.

    Grammy-winning artist Angélique Kidjo fled her homeland in the 1980s after being pressured to perform for the country’s repressive regime.

    May 04, 2016

    Amnesty International deplores the mass arrests of Papuan political activists by the Indonesian police forces both in Papua region and other provinces in the country. They were arrested solely for exercising their rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and expression. Those who remain detained must be immediately and unconditionally released.

    Around 1,700 Papuan activists were arrested on 2 May after they organised and participated in a series of peaceful demonstrations in Jayapura, Merauke, Fakfak, Sorong and Wamena in Papua and West Papua provinces, in Semarang, Central Java province and in Makassar, South Sulawesi province.

    May 04, 2016

    The Kyrgyzstani authorities should without delay release and compensate prisoner of conscience Azimjan Askarov as ruled by the UN Human Rights Committee.  The Committee also ruled that his conviction should be quashed.

    Human rights defender Azimjan Askarov was sentenced to life imprisonment in September 2010 following a trial that did not meet international fair trial standards. Azimjan Askarov also reported that he was tortured while in police custody.

    Azimjan Askarov was accused of being an accomplice to the murder of a police officer during several days of violence that took place in southern Kyrgyzstan in June 2010. Amnesty International believes that the charges against him were fabricated and politically motivated in an attempt to stop his legitimate human rights work. Azimjan Askarov is a prisoner of conscience, imprisoned solely for exercising his right to freedom of expression.

    May 04, 2016

    The Cambodian authorities and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) must immediately end its ongoing and unlawful campaign to dismantle the political opposition and undermine the invaluable and legitimate work of the country’s human rights’ groups and political commentators. It is time for the international community to step in and to call on Cambodia to end this campaign which threatens to fatally undermine the Cambodian people’s constitutionally and internationally protected rights.

    On 2 May 2016, four staff members from the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC), Ny Sokha, Yi Soksan, Nay Vanda, and Lem Mony, were arrested and charged with bribing a witness along with former ADHOC staff member and current deputy secretary-general of the National Election Committee, Ny Chakrya, who was charged as an accomplice. The Anti-Corruption Unit also issued an arrest warrant for Soen Saly, an officer of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), despite his immunity from arrest granted under the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations. He is also charged as an accomplice.

    May 04, 2016

    In many ways, Canada waged war against Indigenous peoples through Law, and many of today’s laws reflect that intent. ... The full adoption and implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples will not undo the War of Law, but it will begin to address that war’s legacies.

    Senator Murray Sinclair, Truth and Reconciliation Chair, April 2016

    The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is a global human rights instrument setting out minimum standards for the “survival, dignity and well-being” of Indigenous peoples around the world.

    In its Calls to Action, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission named the UN Declaration as “the framework” for Canadians to come together to redress the terrible harms that have been inflicted on Indigenous peoples throughout Canada’s history.

    April 19, 2016

    The latest scientific study of the potential impacts of a large hydro-electric dam now under construction in Labrador once again underlines the profound failure of the federal and provincial governments to properly safeguard the human rights of Inuit hunters and fishers who rely on downstream waters for their subsistence, health, and culture.

    Construction of the Muskrat Falls dam is underway. As is the case with all large dams, the flooding will result in the formation of methylmercury as vegetation decomposes.

    Methylmercury is one of the most dangerous environmental contaminants. It  accumulates in the food chain, reaching higher and higher concentrations in top predators such as seals and large fish. Consumed by humans, methylmercury can lead to a wide range of debilitating health effects, including neurological degeneration, and cognitive impairment among infants and children.

    April 14, 2016

     Amnesty International is deeply disappointed in the Government of Canada’s decision to proceed with the sale of light armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia. According to newly published documents, on April 8, Minister of Foreign Affairs Stéphane Dion signed off on the export permits negotiated by the previous government.

    April 01, 2016

    The Honourable Bill Graham, former Canadian Minister of National Defence, states in his recently released biography that representatives of Amnesty International were “emphatic” in exchanges with him in 2005 that prisoners apprehended by the Canadian military on the battlefield in Afghanistan should be transferred to the custody of Afghan authorities.

    That was not the organization’s position at that time or at any time.  Amnesty International has never called on the Canadian government to transfer prisoners to the Afghan government.

    February 22, 2016

    Amnesty International USA Statement

    WASHINGTON—Today, the last imprisoned member of the Angola 3, Albert Woodfox, was released after more than four decades in solitary confinement. In response, Jasmine Heiss, Senior Campaigner at Amnesty International USA’s Individuals and Risk Campaign, issued the following statement:

    "After four decades of isolation, Albert Woodfox’s release is long overdue and undeniably just. Nothing will truly repair the cruel, inhuman and degrading solitary confinement that the state of Louisiana inflicted upon him. But this belated measure of justice, on Woodfox’s 69th birthday, is something he has been seeking for more than half his life. Amnesty International USA joins his supporters around the world in celebrating Woodfox and his legal team’s tireless pursuit of justice.  While the State of Louisiana did not release Woodfox’s fellow Angola 3 prisoner Herman Wallace until he was on death’s door, it has made a just and humane decision in ensuring Woodfox’s freedom.

    January 26, 2016

     

    Amnesty International welcomes today’s ruling by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal which has ordered the federal government to take immediate action to end the discriminatory underfunding of child and family services for First Nations children on reserves and in the Yukon.

    Although the provinces and territories have jurisdiction to set standards for child welfare services, the federal government sets the funding levels for those services delivered to First Nations children and families on reserves and in the Yukon.

    The Tribunal concluded that the federal government’s arbitrary funding formula fails to consider “the actual service needs of First Nations children and families” and creates “incentives to remove children from their homes and communities.”

    The discrimination complaint, initiated by the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society and the Assembly of First Nations, first came before the Tribunal in 2008. Amnesty International intervened in the case, as did Chiefs of Ontario.

    January 19, 2016

    It is with great sadness that Amnesty International has learned of the tragic death of photographer Leila Alaoui and driver Mahamadi Ouédraogo, as a result of the Al Qaeda attack in Ougadougou on Friday.

    Leila was shot twice, in the leg and thorax, but was quickly taken to hospital and was initially in a stable condition following an operation. A medical evacuation was being prepared when she suffered a fatal heart attack.

    Leila was a talented French-Moroccan photographer who we had sent to Burkina Faso to carry out a photographic assignment focusing on women's rights.

    Mahamadi was killed in his car. A father of four, he was a great friend to Amnesty International having accompanied staff and consultants on missions in the country since 2008. Our thoughts are with his wife, children and family. He will be sorely missed.

    Amnesty International's absolute priority is to ensure the best possible support for Mahamadi and Leila's families. The organization’s representatives are at the hospital liaising with her family, doctors and all necessary officials.

    December 17, 2015

    Colombia’s Supreme Court of Justice yesterday overturned the conviction of retired colonel Luis Alfonso Plazas Vega for his role in crimes under international law. In 2010, Plazas Vega had been sentenced to 30 years in prison for the crime of enforced disappearance.

    Twelve people were forcibly disappeared following an assault by the security forces on the Palace of Justice in Bogotá in November 1985 after the M-19 guerrilla group had taken hostage those inside. Some 100 people died in the assault, including 11 Supreme Court judges.

    The Colombian authorities must now redouble efforts to ensure that the whole truth about what happened during the assault on the Palace of Justice comes out and that all those responsible are identified and brought to justice before the ordinary civilian courts.

    December 03, 2015

    Ahead of a regional meeting hosted by Thailand tomorrow, Amnesty International calls on the governments of Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar and Thailand to prioritise protection of the human rights of migrants and refugees in any action directed at combating human trafficking and managing irregular migration. The government of Thailand is hosting the 2nd Special Meeting on Irregular Migration in the Indian Ocean on 4 December 2015 in Bangkok.

    In May 2015, thousands of people from Myanmar and Bangladesh were subjected to horrific abuses at the hands of boat crews in the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea. Abuses included killings, beatings and being kept in inhuman and degrading conditions. Following the crackdown on trafficking and smuggling by the Thai authorities, crews abandoned the boats and refugees and migrants were left stranded at sea because of governmental inaction and refusal to take in people, before eventually being granted temporary shelter in Indonesia and Malaysia.

    November 24, 2015

    Amnesty International recognizes that the federal government will identify all 25,000 selected refugees by Dec. 31, 2015, but only 10,000 will arrive by year's end. Now the government is extending its deadline to bring 15,000 more Syrian refugees to Canada by two months, setting the end of February 2016 as its new target date.

    "We welcome the Canadian government’s resettlement goal to seek to identify the most vulnerable refugees, whatever religion, ethnic background, or gender,” said Gloria Nafziger, Refugee Campaigner.

    Amnesty International also welcomes the following procedures will be taken to ensure the health and well-being of refugees:

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