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    June 13, 2018

    Honduran authorities have continued to violate the human rights of people arrested during last year’s post-election protests by denying their right to due process and holding them in inhumane conditions, said Amnesty International in a report released today.

    Protest prohibited: Use of force and arbitrary detentions to suppress dissent in Honduras documents how the authorities used excessive force and arbitrary or prolonged pre-trial detention, among other measures, to suppress the wave of demonstrations that followed the elections on 26 November 2017 and to discourage further dissent.

    “Not only did Honduran security forces use excessive force to repress peaceful protesters in the immediate aftermath of last year’s contested election; the state then held detainees in deplorable conditions for months on end while denying their rights to due process and an adequate defence,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    June 12, 2018

    QUÉBEC and OTTAWA, June 10, 2018 - The Ligue des droits et libertés (LDL) and Amnesty International Canada (English-speaking and Francophone branches) concluded an independent monitoring mission today that focused on the respect of civil liberties in the context of the G7 summit. Although the organizations were relieved to note that there were no serious injuries, an impressive display of police force—both before and during the G7 summit and as much in La Malbaie as in Québec—contributed to creating a truly fearful atmosphere for anyone who wished to express themselves openly and peacefully during the summit.

    “Should a climate of fear and intimidation that hinders freedom of expression be considered a successful public security operation?” asked Geneviève Paul, Director General of Amnistie internationale Canada francophone.

    June 12, 2018

    WASHINGTON, DC — Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a major decision today that will impact people seeking safety. It will have far-ranging implications, devastating the ability of people fleeing persecution inflicted by non-governmental actors to pursue their cases in the United States. This includes people fleeing domestic or gang violence.  

    Denise Bell, researcher for refugee and migrant rights at Amnesty International USA, issued this statement:

    “From the beginning, this administration has made it clear that it intends to close our borders to people fleeing persecution. This heartless decision takes the constant, ongoing attacks on asylum seekers a step further by specifically targeting people seeking safety from domestic or gang violence.

    “In what world does the United States turn its back on people who have suffered persecution, trauma and extreme distress from domestic or gang violence? Families seeking safety deserve our compassion. Instead, Attorney General Sessions is slamming the door on those trying to rebuild their lives.

    June 12, 2018

    As the SOS Mediterranee rescue ship, MV Aquarius, heads to the Spanish port of Valencia, Elisa De Pieri, Amnesty International’s Italy Researcher said:

    “By closing their ports the Italian and Maltese governments are trampling the principle of rescue at sea and undermining the entire search and rescue system. If allowed to go unchallenged, it will discourage and compromise the lifesaving work of NGO’s leaving thousands of migrants and refugees adrift in the Mediterranean.

    “Whilst the offer by the Spanish government to welcome the Aquarius is a moving example of solidarity, it also highlights the calculated callousness of the Italian and Maltese authorities. This sets a precedent that will inevitably cost lives.”

    For more information, please contact Elizabeth Berton-Hunter, Media Relations 416-363-9933 ext 332 bberton-hunter@amnesty.ca

    Background

    June 11, 2018

    Guatemalan authorities must take immediate and effective measures to protect human rights defenders and launch thorough, impartial and independent investigations into all attacks against them, Amnesty International said today, following the killing of seven human rights defenders in the space of a month.

    “Guatemala’s brave human rights defenders are being killed with impunity on a terrifyingly regular basis. The authorities must take urgent action to protect them from these savage and calculated attacks before more lives are lost,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    “Instead of stigmatizing and insulting those who dedicate their lives to the defence of their land and the environment, the authorities must publicly recognize the importance of their work and ensure that those responsible for the attacks against them are brought to justice.”

    The seven people killed in the last four weeks were all involved in defending their communities’ land, territory or the environment, and they were all members of the Campesino Development Committee (CODECA) or the Altiplano Campesino Committee (CCDA).

    June 11, 2018

    As the SOS Mediterranee rescue ship, MV Aquarius remains stranded between Malta and Sicily with 629 people aboard including 123 unaccompanied minors, 11 children and seven pregnant women, Elisa De Pieri, Amnesty International’s Italy Researcher said:

    “By closing their ports, Italy and Malta have not only turned their backs on more than 600 desperate and vulnerable people but also on their obligations under international law.

    “The men, women and children aboard the Aquarius have risked their lives on perilous seas to escape horrific abuses in Libya only to find themselves caught in an unconscionable political stand-off between two European states.

    “Keeping NGO boats at sea waiting for a port means that fewer rescue ships are available to assist people who may be in distress right now.

    “While Italy and Malta must open their ports, other EU countries must share the responsibility for offering protection, rescues and asylum-processing.”

    Background

    June 11, 2018

    Amid reports of an escalating humanitarian crisis in the besieged Libyan city of Derna, Amnesty International is calling on the leader of the Libyan National Army (LNA), General Khalifa Haftar, and all parties involved in the fighting to urgently open humanitarian corridors to give impartial assistance and save the lives of civilians still trapped in the city as the army advances.

    Derna residents are bracing themselves for a bloody street battle as the LNA advances its control over the city. Residents say they fear trying to flee from the city because the LNA is known to profile, arbitrarily detain and disappear people they perceive as opponents, especially young men.

    “We are receiving horrifying reports from Derna, where a prolonged siege and heavy fighting have left the city on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe.  Blockade tactics are being used to cause unnecessary suffering to ordinary men, women and children, who are now surrounded, with dwindling food, water and medical supplies, and no way out of this desperate situation,” said Heba Morayef, Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International.

    June 11, 2018

    Responding to reports that Ethiopia’s notorious Liyu police unit committed another round of unlawful killings, that may amount to extrajudicial executions, claiming at least 14 lives over the weekend, Amnesty International issued a fresh call for the government to immediately disband this police unit.

    “The Liyu police unit must not be allowed to continue operating above the law, carrying out unlawful killings and destroying lives with impunity. This appalling loss of life must be investigated immediately and the killings brought to an end,” said Joan Nyanyuki, Amnesty International’s Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    Members of the unit, which was set up by the Somali state as a counter-terrorism special force, attacked three localities - Qobbo Bikka, Ulanula and Walensu - in Chinaksen district, Oromia on 8 June, killing three people and wounding another three.

    Liyu police officers returned the next day and continued their attack on the three localities and then attacked two more - Darbiga and Gololcha - killing seven people and wounding 17.

    June 08, 2018

    The near total denial of human rights in North Korea should not be ignored at next Tuesday’s historic meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Chairman Kim Jong-un, Amnesty International said.

    Arnold Fang, East Asia Researcher at Amnesty International, commented:

    “Millions of people in North Korea continue to be denied their human rights, with up to 120,000 held in prison camps where they are at risk of torture, forced labour and executions. It would be deeply disappointing if the catastrophic human rights situation in North Korea is completely overlooked as diplomatic relations continue to thaw.”

    Last month, Amnesty International wrote to President Trump to outline the widespread, gross and systematic human rights violations in North Korea and highlight key areas to press Chairman Kim Jong-un on. These include:

    Prison Camps

    June 08, 2018

    In response to a decision by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to pull 71 staff out of Yemen due to ongoing insecurity, threats and blocks to their work, Samah Hadid, Amnesty International’s Middle East Director of Campaigns, said:

    “It is an unquestionably bleak moment when humanitarian workers, who are in Yemen to save lives, are themselves forced to flee in fear for their own lives. Yemeni civilians caught up in war and one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises have just lost a precious lifeline.

    “The ICRC has served victims of armed conflict and violence in Yemen for more than five decades, but its activities have been repeatedly ‘blocked, threatened and directly targeted.’ This is a violation of international humanitarian law. In fact, deliberate attacks on humanitarian relief personnel amount to war crimes.

    June 08, 2018

    The Ethiopian government must intervene to protect thousands of ethnic Amharas who are on the verge of displacement due to violent attacks on their homes by ethnically-motivated youth groups in Oromia Regional State, Amnesty International said.

    Oromo youth groups this week surrounded Amhara homes, beating residents, and looting property in the Siyo District of Qellem Wollega Zone, Oromia State. At least 20 Amharas have been killed in such attacks since October 2017 but residents say the authorities have done nothing to stop them.

    “The Ethiopian government must take action to prevent these brutal attacks on the Amhara community, who have been targeted due to their ethnicity and now face being made homeless,” said Joan Nyanyuki, Amnesty International’s Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    An estimated 1,400 Amhara families remain in the besieged Siyo District, but residents told Amnesty International they would soon be forced to flee their homes of more than three decades after being repeatedly targeted by the Qerro and Folle Oromo youth groups.

    June 08, 2018

    Following the International Criminal Court (ICC)’s decision to acquit Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, the former Vice-President of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Solomon Sacco, Head of the International Justice team at Amnesty International, said:

    “The decision to acquit Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo is an important reminder that international justice is only possible if all suspects receive stringently fair trials before an independent and impartial judiciary.

    “While the Appeals Chamber has held that Mr Bemba was entitled to an acquittal, the decision will be felt as a huge blow for the many victims of the ‘war against women’ waged in the Central African Republic (CAR) through a horrifying campaign of rape and sexual violence.

    “The Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC and judicial authorities in CAR must learn from this decision and redouble their efforts to investigate and prosecute alleged perpetrators of crimes under international law, with full respect for their rights to a fair trial.

    June 08, 2018

    Responding to reports that Russian aircraft carried out an attack in Idlib province last night, killing at least 44 people, Lynn Maalouf, Middle East Research Director at Amnesty International, said:

    “This outrageous attack, the deadliest in Idlib so far this year, targeted the village of Zardana overnight while people were breaking the Ramadan fast. Among those killed were at least six children, and the death toll is expected to rise as the wounded succumb to their injuries. Deliberately attacking civilians violates international humanitarian law and is a war crime.

    “We are deeply troubled by reports that this was a ‘double-tap’ strike, in which aircraft follow up on an initial attack with a second strike which generally hits rescue workers and others coming to the aid of casualties. These cruel attacks have happened time and again in Syria, and demonstrate utter disregard for the lives of civilians and for fundamental principles of international humanitarian law.

    June 08, 2018

    Quebec City, June 7, 2018 – On the eve of the G7 Summit in Quebec, Amnesty International Canada Francophone Branch (AICF) and the Quebec Civil Liberties Union (QCLU, known in French as the Ligue des droits et libertés) have issued a progress report on their mission to monitor respect for civil liberties at this event. The two organizations announced this mission on April 18, 2018 and have obtained certain assurances from the authorities since then, but remain concerned about a number of issues.

    Discussions with Quebec government officials

    June 07, 2018
     Amnesty International calls for swift action to protect villagers from killings At least 37 people have been killed in the past two weeks

    The Mozambican authorities must take immediate steps to end a killing spree in the Cabo Delgado Province, which has seen at least 37 people brutally killed by a group known as ‘Al-Shabab’ in the past two weeks, Amnesty International said today. The organization said that an increasing number of people are fleeing their homes in fear of the group, which has no known link to the Somalian armed group of the same name.

    The latest attack took place last night in Namaculo village in Quissanga district. Witnesses told Amnesty International that around 10 people were hacked to death and an unspecified number of houses were burned when attackers raided the village at dawn. The village is now empty as residents have fled their homes to seek safety. A village attacked on 5 June, Naunde Village in the south of Macomia district, is also reported to be empty.

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