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    September 14, 2017
    65 associations refused authorization for peaceful protests in two years 13 ministerial decrees banning protests in 2016 alone Over 10 critical websites blocked

    Human rights defenders, citizens’ movements, unionists and journalists critical of the government are facing growing danger as the government increasingly uses

    repressive laws and intelligence service to muzzle critics and hamper their work, Amnesty International reveals in a new report published today.

    ‘Between recession and repression. The rising cost of dissent in Chad’ documents how the authorities have over the recent years responded to growing public

    discontent, with ever greater restrictions on the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly.

    September 13, 2017

    The Peruvian government is neglecting the health of hundreds of Indigenous people whose only sources of water are contaminated by toxic metals and who lack access to adequate health care, Amnesty International said in a new investigation published today.

    A Toxic State reveals how the Peruvian government has failed to provide adequate healthcare for Indigenous communities in Cuninico and Espinar, in the country’s Amazonian and Andean regions, respectively. Studies found that their only sources of fresh water were contaminated with toxic metals harmful to human health.

    “For decades, Indigenous Peoples across Peru have been treated like second class citizens,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General at Amnesty International.

    “The fact that the Peruvian authorities choose to do very little in the face of evidence that hundreds of Indigenous people have been exposed to toxic metals is not only cruel, but a violation of their right to health.”

    September 13, 2017

    The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples provides a crucial framework to achieve reconciliation. Such a human rights-based approach is essential to address the racism and discrimination that has caused such profound harm to Indigenous peoples in Canada and around the world.  Violations include uprooting Indigenous peoples from their territories and resources, failure to honour Treaties, tearing Indigenous children from their families, and making Indigenous women, girls and two-spirited people the targets of unimaginable violence.

    The adoption of the UN Declaration ten years ago today – on September 13, 2007 – was a crucial victory in the evolution of international human rights law. This historic achievement was possible because Indigenous peoples persisted for more than two decades in advancing a strong and powerful vision of self-determination, decolonization and non-discrimination.

    September 12, 2017

    A quarter of a century after the start of the conflict, more than 20,000, survivors of wartime sexual violence in Bosnia and Herzegovina are still being denied justice, said Amnesty International in a new report.

    “We need support, not pity:” Last chance for justice for Bosnia’s wartime rape survivors reveals the devastating physical and psychological consequences of these crimes and the unjustifiable barriers preventing women from accessing the support they need and the legal redress to which they are entitled.

    “More than two decades after the war, tens of thousands of women in Bosnia are still piecing together their shattered lives with little access to the medical, psychological and financial assistance they desperately need,” said Gauri van Gulik, Amnesty International’s Deputy Europe Director.

    “As each year passes, so does the prospect of ever attaining justice or receiving the support to which they are entitled. These women can not forget what happened to them and neither should we.”

    September 12, 2017

    A young Saudi Arabian Shi’a man who claims he was tortured to “confess” alleged crimes committed when he was 16 years old faces imminent execution, in the latest shocking example of Saudi Arabia’s ruthless clampdown on dissent, said Amnesty International today.

    The family of Abdulkareem al-Hawaj, now 21, were yesterday informed that the Supreme Court upheld his death sentence for his alleged role in anti-government protests. He has now exhausted all his appeals and faces execution as soon as King Salman ratifies his sentence, which could happen at any time.

    Al-Hawaj, who was sentenced to death in July 2016 after a grossly unfair trial, denies participating in any of the acts attributed to him.

    “Saudi Arabia’s vicious crackdown on dissent appears to know no bounds. Its latest victim, a child at the time of his alleged crimes, now faces death at the hands of a repressive regime that uses the death penalty as a tool to crush dissent,” said Lynn Maalouf, Middle East Research Director at Amnesty International.

    September 12, 2017

    Egyptian authorities should immediately release 24 Nubian activists arrested after the police violently dispersed their peaceful protest in Aswan governorate on 3 September, Amnesty International said today. The detained activists, who had been protesting in support of the Nubian Indigenous people’s cultural rights and to call for their return to their homelands in the south of Egypt, are due to appear in court tomorrow, 13 September.

    Successive Egyptian governments have forcibly displaced Nubians from their traditional lands for development projects, posing a threat to the preservation of their cultural, historical and linguistic identity. In the aftermath of the 2011 uprising, Nubian activists grew more organized and vocal in articulating their demands. Their lobbying resulted in a new provision in the 2014 Egyptian constitution that recognizes their right to return.

    “Egyptian authorities have long since marginalized Nubians, ignoring their demands to return to their historical lands and treating Nubian activism as suspicious on security grounds,” said Najia Bounaim Amnesty International’s North Africa Campaigns Director.

    September 11, 2017

    The Iranian authorities must immediately and unconditionally release a human rights defender arrested from her home last night, who has previously been targeted by the authorities for her peaceful activism, said Amnesty International.

    Raheleh Rahemipour has spent years trying to uncover the truth about what happened to her brother and baby niece who were forcibly disappeared while in custody during the early 1980s. She was sentenced to a year in prison earlier this year in connection with these efforts and has been awaiting the outcome of her appeal.

    “Raheleh Rahemipour has already been forced to endure the anguish and distress of having her loved ones forcibly disappeared and faces an unjust prison sentence for her efforts to learn their fate. Her arrest provides further evidence of the Iranian authorities’ ruthless determination to intimidate her into silence and prolong her suffering,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

    “Instead of lashing out against aggrieved families searching for their loved ones, the Iranian authorities must meet their legitimate demands for truth and justice.”

    September 11, 2017

    Akhtem Chiygoz, a Crimean Tatar leader should be immediately released, said Amnesty International today as he was handed an eight-year sentence following a 13 month long sham trial.

    “The unfair trial of Akhtem Chiygoz tops a wave of spurious and demonstrably false criminal and administrative cases instigated by the occupying Russian authorities against members of the Crimean Tatar community. It epitomizes the ongoing persecution of these activists whose only ‘crime’ is to vocally oppose Crimea’s annexation by Russia,” said Oksana Pokalchuk, Director for Amnesty International in Ukraine.

    September 11, 2017

    Two new landmine incidents today, including a blast blowing off a young man’s leg, bring to three the number of known sites where Myanmar authorities have mined border crossings used by Rohingya fleeing violence, Amnesty International said.

    A Bangladeshi farmer in his early 20s stepped on a landmine near the Bangladeshi village of Baish Bari this morning when he was herding cattle in a buffer zone along the border with Myanmar. Witnesses told the organization of a Rohingya man being rushed to medical treatment in Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh today, after a separate landmine blast near the Bangladeshi village Amtali, another known border crossing point.

    “All indications point to the Myanmar security forces deliberately targeting locations that Rohingya refugees use as crossing points. This a cruel and callous way of adding to the misery of people fleeing a systematic campaign of persecution,” said Tirana Hassan, Amnesty international's Crisis Response Director, who is currently on the Bangladeshi side of the border.

    September 11, 2017

    · Diplomats meet in Geneva to discuss landmark Arms Trade Treaty

    · Several countries may be breaking treaty obligations with reckless deals

    · UK, France and Italy among states supplying abusive governments

    More than four years after the United Nations (UN) voted to adopt a landmark treaty to regulate the international arms trade, major arms exporters including the UK and France are effectively ignoring their treaty obligations by continuing to supply arms even where there is a real risk they could contribute to serious human rights violations, Amnesty International said today.

    Diplomats will meet in Geneva today for the start of the third Conference of States Parties to the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). The ATT sets out prohibitions to stop the international transfer of arms when it is known they would be used for war crimes, or where there is an overriding risk that they could be used to commit or facilitate serious human rights violations.

    September 09, 2017

    Myanmar’s security forces planted internationally banned antipersonnel landmines along its border with Bangladesh which have seriously injured at least three civilians, including two children, and reportedly killed one man in the past week, Amnesty International confirmed today.

    Based on interviews with eyewitnesses and analysis by its own weapons experts, Amnesty International has documented what seems to be targeted use of landmines along a narrow stretch forming part of the north-western border of Rakhine State, where the United Nations estimates 270,000 people have fled a major military operation in the past fortnight.

    “This is another low in what is already a horrific situation in Rakhine State. The Myanmar military’s callous use of inherently indiscriminate and deadly weapons at highly trafficked paths around the border is putting the lives of ordinary people at enormous risk,” said Tirana Hassan, Amnesty International’s Crisis Response Director, who is currently near the Bangladesh-Myanmar border.

    September 07, 2017

    A wave of brutal attacks in the Central African Republic, including the systematic rape and murder of civilians, highlights the urgent need for stronger UN action to protect civilians, Amnesty International said today.

    On-the-ground research by the organization in August 2017 also uncovered a horrifying surge in torture, pillage, and forced displacement by a Seleka off-shoot, the Union for Peace in Central Africa (UPC).

    “Communities living in Basse-Kotto have been left at the mercy of the UPC. Women have been raped, men murdered, villages destroyed, and the region’s UN peacekeeping force has proved ineffective in stemming these abuses,” said Joanne Mariner, Senior Crisis Response Adviser at Amnesty International.

    “Civilians are not accidental victims in this conflict; they are direct targets. If the UN’s mandate in the Central African Republic is to mean anything, civilians must be better protected.”

    September 07, 2017

    A new report published by Amnesty International today sheds light on the repressive tactics used by the Bahraini government over the past year to crush civil society and violently crack down on protests, leading to the deaths of six people, including one child.

    ‘No one can protect you’: Bahrain’s year of crushing dissent documents how, between June 2016 and June 2017, at least 169 government critics or their relatives were arrested, tortured, threatened or banned from travel by the authorities.

    “Using an array of tools of repression, including harassment, arbitrary detention and torture, the government of Bahrain has managed to crush a formerly thriving civil society and reduced it to a few lone voices who still dare to speak out,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

    “The majority of peaceful critics, whether they are human rights defenders or political activists, now feel the risks of expressing their views have become too high in Bahrain.”

    September 07, 2017

    Responding to news that outspoken government critic Tanzanian parliamentarian Tundu Lissu has been shot and wounded by unidentified attackers in the capital Dodoma, Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes, said:

    “This cowardly attack on one of Tanzania’s most fearless and prominent politicians raises concerns about the safety of all dissident voices in the country, at a time when space for dissent is quickly shrinking.

    “This heinous crime must not be swept under the carpet. The Tanzanian authorities must immediately launch an effective and impartial investigation into the shooting and ensure that those responsible are held to account.

    “The authorities must take steps to reassure Tanzanians and the world that this shooting was not politically motivated.”

    Background

    Tundu Lissu, who also heads up the lawyer’s association, the Tanganyika Law Society, is a fierce and outspoken critic of President John Pombe Magufuli.

    September 07, 2017

    The decision to charge Palestinian human rights defender Issa Amro using a controversial Electronic Crimes Law marks a dramatic escalation in the Palestinian authorities’ onslaught against freedom of expression, said Amnesty International today.

    Issa Amro, coordinator of Youth Against Settlements, a peaceful group that documents violations and organizes protests against Israeli policies in Hebron, was arrested on 4 September for posting comments on Facebook critical of the Palestinian authorities. In a closed hearing today the Hebron district court extended his detention for four days and charged him with disturbing “public order” under the recently adopted Electronic Crimes Law, as well as “causing strife” and “insulting the higher authorities” under the 1960 Jordanian Penal code which is still enforced in the West Bank.

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