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    March 21, 2018

    Amnesty International USA will have member and staff-led delegations in 14 cities around the country as part of the March for Our Lives event this Saturday, March 24. Amnesty International USA is not an organizer of the event, but has endorsed the march.

    “Gun violence in the United States is a human rights crisis,” said Margaret Huang, executive director of Amnesty International USA. “It is unacceptable that people cannot live their lives without fear of being shot. The laws currently in place at all levels are not enough to protect the fundamental right to live. We stand with all students, parents, co-workers, neighbors and loved ones who have been touched by gun violence in saying ‘no more.’ In many communities across the U.S., gun violence is a daily occurrence. They have been calling for change for years--- we need meaningful reform without delay.”

    AIUSA delegations will march in the following cities: Washington DC, New York City, Boston, Chicago, Atlanta, Oakland and Los Angeles, Orange County, Colorado Springs, Fort Collins, Dallas/Fort Worth, Minneapolis, Columbus and Detroit.

    March 21, 2018

    Responding to an Associated Press report that Iraqi authorities have detained or imprisoned at least 19,000 people accused of links to the armed group calling itself the Islamic State (IS) or other terror-related offences, and sentenced more than 3,000 of them to death, Lynn Maalouf, Middle East Research Director at Amnesty International, said:

    “We are deeply alarmed by this report and the Iraqi authorities’ mass use of the death penalty and the courts’ reliance on torture-tainted “confessions” to secure convictions.

    “Amnesty International has documented the flawed screening process by Iraqi forces to which men and boys fleeing areas of conflict have been subjected. Thousands of them have been arbitrarily arrested, forcibly disappeared, and routinely subjected to torture and horrific conditions in detention. It is vital therefore that all those detained are held in officially recognized and supervised detention facilities.

    March 21, 2018

    Responding to today’s release of 101 of the schoolgirls abducted from a school in Dapchi, northern Nigeria by the armed group Boko Haram last month, Amnesty International’s Nigeria Director Osai Ojigho said:

    “For the abducted girls who have been returned, and their families, this is a day of huge relief.

    “But despite this positive development, four girls from Dapchi are still being held by Boko Haram. Boko Haram must immediately release these girls and all other abductees – including some of the Chibok girls - and end the spate of abductions of civilians which amount to war crimes.

    “Moreover, the 101 released girls are currently being held in the government’s custody, further prolonging their ordeal.

    “The authorities must immediately release them, and ensure that they are able to return to their families or be provided with an alternative safe option if they so-choose. The authorities must also ensure the girls have access to comprehensive support, including confidential counselling and medical care.

    March 20, 2018
    On the day Twitter celebrates 12 years since the first tweet, Amnesty launches a new campaign challenging the company’s failure to prevent online violence and abuse against women Despite a pledge to be more accountable in its efforts to improve the “health” of conversation on its platform, Twitter refuses to disclose meaningful information on how it is handling reports of abuse and violence

    Twitter’s recent claim to “stand with women around the world” rings hollow in light of the multi-billion-dollar social media platform’s longstanding failure to protect women users from violence and abuse, said Amnesty International today as it published new research into women’s experiences on the platform.

    The new report, #ToxicTwitter: Violence and abuse against women online, shows that the company is failing to respect the human rights of women because of its inadequate and ineffective response to violence and abuse. It includes a series of concrete recommendations for how Twitter can become a safer place for women.

    March 20, 2018

    European Court of Human Rights maintains its 1978 judgement

    “This is a very disappointing outcome, for the men and their families” - Grainne Teggart

    Amnesty International is disappointed at the European Court of Human Rights’ ruling refusing to revise its 1978 conclusion that the treatment to which the United Kingdom subjected the 14 ‘hooded men’ in Northern Ireland did not amount to torture. It is important to note that today’s Court ruling is not a statement that the ‘five techniques’ do not constitute torture as it is legally defined today.

    In its 1978 landmark Ireland v UK judgement, in a case taken against the UK by the Irish Government, the Court had found that the UK violated the men’s rights to be free from inhuman and degrading treatment, but that the treatment the men suffered did not amount to torture.

    Today, the Court found that the information known to the UK Government at the time about the long-term effects of the ill-treatment, which the Irish Government brought to Court’s attention in this revision request, would not have decisively impacted on the Court back in 1978.

    March 20, 2018

    Following long-awaited landmark rulings today by the European Court of Human Rights which found that journalist Mehmet Altan and columnist Şahin Alpay’s rights to liberty and security, and freedom of expression, had been violated, Amnesty International’s Europe Director, Gauri van Gulik said:

    “Today’s rulings are a resounding vindication for these two journalists and a damning indictment of Turkey’s justice system. That Mehmet Altan and Şahin Alpay were kept in jail on pre-trial detention for almost 20 months is not only unjust but also unlawful.

    “This ruling cements what was already common knowledge: that they – like more than one hundred other journalists in Turkey - were imprisoned simply for doing their important journalistic work.

    “Starting with Mehmet Altan, the doors of Turkey’s prisons must now be flung open allowing journalists, activists and human rights defenders including Amnesty International’s chair, Taner Kılıç, to walk free.”

    Background

    March 20, 2018

    Responding to the news that China’s legislature today passed the Supervision Law, Amnesty International’s East Asia Regional Director Nicholas Bequelin said:

    “The Supervision Law is a systemic threat to human rights in China. It places tens of millions of people at the mercy of a secretive and virtually unaccountable system that is above the law. It by-passes judicial institutions by establishing a parallel system solely run by the Chinese Communist Party with no outside checks and balances.

    “The law eviscerates China’s legal system. It allows for arbitrary and prolonged incommunicado detention without any meaningful oversight and increases the risks of torture and forced ‘confessions’.

    “Under the new system, supervision bodies can detain and interrogate Communist Party members or public sector personnel - virtually anyone working directly or indirectly for the government. Judges, academics and personnel of state-owned enterprises could all face up to six months detention without charge or legal process, and without guaranteed access to lawyers or their families being told.”

    Background

    March 20, 2018

    Responding to an initiative announced by President Donald Trump on the use of the death penalty as a means to address the opioid crisis, Amnesty International’s Senior Program Officer for Criminal Justice, Kristina Roth stated:

    “We are deeply concerned about the administration’s plans to address the United States opioid crisis, by ramping up the use of the death penalty. The death penalty is the ultimate denial of human rights. All people have the right to life, and we all have the right to be free from cruel, inhuman, or degrading punishment. These are human rights that people have, regardless of whether they have been convicted of crimes. The death penalty is never an appropriate option in any circumstance, let alone when responding to a public health crisis.

    “There is no evidence that the death penalty has a unique deterrent effect, improves public safety, or reduces drug-related harm. The death penalty will not lower the alarming number of deaths related to the use of opioids. What we need are more humane, effective and evidence-based policies, to better protect public health and human rights.

    March 20, 2018

    Nigerian security forces failed to act on advance warnings that a convoy of Boko Haram fighters was heading towards a town where they abducted 110 schoolgirls last month, an investigation by Amnesty International has revealed.

    The military failed to respond while Boko Haram conducted an armed raid on the Government Girls Science and Technical College in Dapchi, Yobe state, on 19 February in an assault with chilling echoes of the infamous Chibok girls’ abduction of 2014.

    “The Nigerian authorities must investigate the inexcusable security lapses that allowed this abduction to take place without any tangible attempt to prevent it,” said Osai Ojigho, Amnesty International’s Nigeria Director.

    “As an even greater priority, the government must use all lawful means at its disposal to ensure that these girls are rescued.

    “The authorities appear to have learned nothing from the abduction of 276 schoolgirls in Chibok, Borno state in 2014 and failed to ensure protection for civilians in northeast Nigeria, specifically girls’ schools.”

    March 19, 2018

    Following yesterday’s seizure of a Spanish NGO rescue boat by the Italian authorities and the investigation of its crew for "criminal conspiracy aimed at facilitating illegal immigration” after they refused to hand over to the Libyan Coast Guard refugees and migrants rescued in international waters over 70 nautical miles off the Libyan coast, Amnesty International’s Campaigns Director for Europe, Fotis Filippou said:

    “By requesting the Libyan coastguard to coordinate rescue and then impounding the NGO ship that refused to hand over the refugees and migrants, the Italian authorities have shown a reckless disregard for common decency. Rather than being criminalized for trying to save refugees and migrants who have fled horrific detention conditions and systematic human rights abuses in Libya, NGOs saving lives at seashould be supported.

    “The Italian authorities are once more revealing where their true priorities lie: namely shutting off the central Mediterranean route, with scant regard to the suffering caused. This appears to mark yet another step towards the outsourcing to the Libyan Coast Guard of the patrolling of the central Mediterranean.

    March 15, 2018
    A groundbreaking research project by Amnesty International has exposed evidence of serious negligence by oil giants Shell and Eni, whose irresponsible approach to oil spills in the Niger Delta is exacerbating an environmental crisis.   Through the Decoders network, an innovative platform developed by Amnesty International to crowdsource human rights research, the organization enlisted thousands of supporters and activists to collect data about oil spills in the Niger Delta. Their findings were then analyzed by Amnesty International’s researchers and verified by Accufacts, an independent pipelines expert.   According to this publicly available data, Amnesty International found that Shell and Eni are taking weeks to respond to reports of spills and publishing misleading information about the cause and severity of spills, which may result in communities not receiving compensation.  
    March 15, 2018

    A damning new United Nations (UN) report on the Mexican government’s investigation into the enforced disappearance of 43 students in 2014, which reveals the arbitrary detention and torture of suspects and the tampering and concealment of evidence, highlights the urgent need to reform the way criminal investigations are conducted in Mexico, said Amnesty International today.

    “The UN’s findings confirm what activists and human rights organizations have exposed and denounced for years: the Mexican authorities’ widespread use of torture and the manipulation of evidence to cover up horrific human rights violations and ensure impunity for the perpetrators,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Amnesty International’s Americas director.

    “The outrageously flawed investigation into one of the most appalling crimes in Mexico’s recent history exemplifies the authorities’ abuse of the justice system and their refusal to tackle human rights violations.”

    March 15, 2018

    Accompanied by relatives of people killed by police across the Americas, Amnesty International today delivered 64,331 letters and signatures to the office of Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness as part of a campaign that has generated 500,000 actions urging his government to protect victims’ families from pervasive police intimidation and guarantee their access to justice.

    “Tens of thousands of activists from as far afield as Sweden, Taiwan and Côte d’Ivoire have sent a clear message to Prime Minister Holness that the deeply troubling wave of killings by Jamaican police cannot continue to go unpunished,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, director of Amnesty International in the Americas.

    “The Jamaican government must bolster the capacity of the Special Coroner’s Court to deal with killings by police and address the barrage of structural obstacles and the outrageous intimidation tactics often used by police to prevent victims’ relatives from pursuing justice.”

    March 15, 2018

    To mark the seventh anniversary of the Syria conflict, Amnesty International is calling for the international community to assume its responsibilities and urgently act to end the suffering of millions of Syrians and bring an end to the bloody assault on besieged civilians in Eastern Ghouta and Afrin.

    “The international community’s catastrophic failure to take concrete action to protect the people of Syria has allowed parties to the conflict, most notably the Syrian government, to commit war crimes and crimes against humanity with complete impunity, often with assistance of outside powers, particularly Russia. Every year we think it is just not possible for parties to the conflict to inflict more suffering on civilians, and yet, every year, they prove us wrong,” said Lynn Maalouf, Middle East research director.  

    March 15, 2018

    Responding to a video showing Malagasy police beating and humiliating dozens of villagers in the same town where, in February 2017, law enforcement officials turned on citizens and set fire to their houses after two policemen were killed, Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southern Africa:

    “The behaviour of the police, as depicted in the video, is utterly abhorrent and condemnable. This brutality shows the contempt with which the police in Madagascar treat human life.

    “It is totally unacceptable that the Malagasy police should ill-treat and abuse the same people they have a duty to protect. There is no justification for beating people with sticks, forcing them to lie face-down or making them walk on their knees.

    “The authorities should carry out a prompt and impartial investigation into the police’s conduct and bring any officer suspected to be responsible to justice in proceedings that meet international standards. The authorities should also provide redress to the victims.”

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