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    July 13, 2017

    The toxic combination of a flawed judicial system, untrained police officers and widespread impunity are encouraging arbitrary detentions and leading to torture, executions and enforced disappearances, Amnesty International said in a new report today.

    False suspicions: Arbitrary detentions by police in Mexico demonstrates how police across Mexico routinely detain people arbitrarily in order to extort them. They also often plant evidence in an effort to prove they are doing something to tackle crime or to punish individuals for their human rights activism. The report is based on confidential interviews with members of the police and the justice system.

    “The justice system in Mexico is completely unfit for purpose and is therefore failing the people massively,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    July 13, 2017
      In response to the news that the European Commission is to begin infringement proceedings to hold Hungary to account for its law stigmatising non-governmental organisations (NGOs) receiving funding from abroad, Iverna McGowan, Director of the Amnesty International, European Institutions Office said:   “Hungary’s NGO law was designed to stigmatize and vilify NGOs. Today’s action from the European Commission sends a strong signal that such onslaughts against civil society are not acceptable in the European Union.” “Amnesty International will not comply with the law unless compelled to do so by a court. It is in flagrant violation of EU law and the fundamental right to freedom of association. Hungary must drop the law before it causes further damage to civil society and the valuable services they provide to Hungarian society.”   The deadline for “foreign funded” NGOs registration was 12 July 2017. Amnesty International Hungary’s membership has decided not to comply with the registration requirement; instead the organization is submitting a constitutional appeal.
    July 13, 2017
      A bill on the agenda for discussion in Tunisia’s parliament today could bolster impunity for security forces by granting them immunity from prosecution for unnecessary use of lethal force as well as potentially criminalizing criticism of police conduct, said Amnesty International today.   The proposed law, known as the “Repression of attacks against armed forces” bill, would authorize security forces to use lethal force to protect property even when it is not strictly necessary to protect life, contrary to international standards. It would exempt security forces from criminal liability in such cases if the force used is deemed “necessary and proportionate”. The bill was first proposed by the government to parliament in April 2015 and was reintroduced at the demand of police unions.  
    July 13, 2017
      The Japanese government’s continued use of the death penalty demonstrates a contempt for the right to life, Amnesty International said, following the execution of two men on Thursday. The executions, the first in Japan in 2017, take the number of people executed under the current government to 19 since 2012.   Masakatsu Nishikawa, who was convicted of the murder of four people in 1991 and 1992, was executed at Osaka Detention Centre. He maintained his innocence on some of the charges against him and the Asahi Newspaper reported that he was seeking a retrial. Koichi Sumida, who was convicted of murder in 2011, was executed at Hiroshima Detention Centre.    “Today’s executions shows the Japanese government’s wanton disregard for the right to life.The death penalty never delivers justice, it is the ultimate cruel and inhumane punishment,” said Hiroka Shoji, East Asia Researcher at Amnesty International.
    July 13, 2017

    Responding to the news that Nobel Peace Prize Winner Liu Xiaobo has passed away, Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International commented:

    “Today we grieve the loss of a giant of human rights. Liu Xiaobo was a man of fierce intellect, principle, wit and above all humanity.

    “For decades, he fought tirelessly to advance human rights and fundamental freedoms in China. He did so in the face of the most relentless and often brutal opposition from the Chinese government. Time and again they tried to silence him, and time and again they failed. Despite enduring years of persecution, suppression and imprisonment, Liu Xiaobo continued to fight for his convictions.

    “Although he has passed, everything he stood for still endures. The greatest tribute we can now pay him is to continue the struggle for human rights in China and recognize the powerful legacy he leaves behind. Thanks to Liu Xiaobo, millions of people in China and across the world have been inspired to stand up for freedom and justice in the face of oppression.

    July 12, 2017
      The Saudi Arabian government is employing the death penalty as a political weapon to silence dissent, said Amnesty International, following the execution of four Shi’a men in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province on 11 July.  
    July 12, 2017
      Responding to statements made by spokespeople for the US-led coalition and the Iraqi forces, Lynn Maalouf Head of Research for Amnesty International in the Middle-East said:   “We are disappointed by the dismissiveness with which the US-led coalition and Iraqi forces have treated our report depicting the immense civilian suffering in west Mosul.   “At the bare minimum, governments who are part of the coalition as well as Iraqi forces must ensure a prompt, impartial investigation into the alleged violations we have documented.   “We hope to see an immediate public acknowledgement of the immense cost to civilians that this battle has caused as well as a transparent response from the US-led coalition and Iraqi forces to the violations and attacks documented by Amnesty International in its report on the west Mosul operation.   “Even wars have laws and there must be accountability when these are violated..  
    July 11, 2017
      Turkish authorities must immediately and unconditionally release 10 human rights defenders, Amnesty International said today after their week-long police detention was extended by up to a further seven days. Amnesty International Turkey’s Director, Idil Eser, is among the 10 detained on 5 July whilst attending a routine workshop. They are being investigated on the unfounded suspicion of membership of an 'armed terrorist organization'.    “With this news we renew our emphatic call for the immediate and unconditional release of our Turkey director and the other nine human rights defenders detained alongside her,” said Amnesty International’s Europe Director, John Dalhuisen.   “It is truly absurd that they are under investigation for membership of an armed terrorist organization. They should not have spent a moment behind bars. For them to be entering a second week in police cells is a shocking indictment of the ruthless treatment of those who attempt to stand up for human rights in Turkey.”  
    July 11, 2017
      The Singaporean authorities must halt the imminent execution of a Malaysian man convicted of importing drugs amid serious concerns about the fairness of his trial, Amnesty International said today.   Prabagaran Srivijayan’s execution has been scheduled for this Friday, 14 July 2017, according to his family who were informed last week. Prabagaran Srivijayan was convicted of drug trafficking and given a mandatory death sentence in 2012 after 22.24g of diamorphine was found in the arm rest of a car he borrowed. He has consistently maintained his innocence.   “There are only four days left to save Prabagaran Srivijayan’s life before he is cruelly dragged to the gallows. The Singaporean authorities must immediately halt his execution before another person suffers this inhumane and irreversible punishment,” said James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Director for South East Asia and the Pacific.  
    July 11, 2017

    Iraq: Battle between US-led coalition, Iraqi forces and Islamic State creates civilian catastrophe in west Mosul

    July 10, 2017
      The Saudi Arabian authorities must not forcibly return three Sudanese activists to Sudan where there is a real risk they could be imprisoned and face torture and other ill-treatment, said Amnesty International. Elgassim Seed Ahmed, Elwaleed Imam and Alaa Aldin al-Difana were initially arrested by the Saudi Arabian authorities in December 2016. They appear to have been detained at the request of the Sudanese authorities in relation to posts on social media expressing support for civil disobedience protests in Sudan late last year.   There are serious fears that they could be deported at any time.   “Forcibly deporting these three men back to Sudan where they are likely to face unfair trial, torture and other ill-treatment would be a flagrant violation of Saudi Arabia’s international obligations and a cruel demonstration of their utter disdain for international law,” said Lynn Maalouf, Deputy Director for Research at Amnesty International’s office in Beirut.   
    July 10, 2017

    A UK court ruling that the government is entitled to continue authorizing arms supplies to Saudi Arabia is a potentially deadly setback to Yemeni civilians, Amnesty International said today.

    The High Court in London dismissed a legal challenge from the NGO Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), which claimed that such arms transfers should not take place because of the clear risk that the weapons supplied would be used to commit serious violations of international humanitarian law in Yemen’s armed conflict.

    July 10, 2017
      The sentencing of human rights defender Nabeel Rajab, in his absence, to two years in prison for TV interviews is the latest shocking display of zero tolerance for freedom of expression by the Bahraini authorities, Amnesty International said today.   “Imprisoning Nabeel Rajab simply for sharing his opinion is a flagrant violation of human rights, and an alarming sign that the Bahraini authorities will go to any length to silence criticism,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.   “Nabeel Rajab should be commended for shedding light on allegations of serious human rights abuses; instead, Bahrain’s government and judiciary have once again tightened their chokehold on freedom of expression and branded him a criminal. No one should be jailed for speaking out about human rights.”   Nabeel Rajab was jailed in June 2016 over tweets he made that alleged torture in a Bahraini prison, and criticized the killing of civilians in the Yemen conflict by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition.  
    July 10, 2017
      As US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson visits Turkey to meet with senior Turkish officials in Ankara today, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Europe and Central Asia, Gauri van Gulik said:   “With both the Chair and Director of Amnesty International Turkey behind bars we urge Rex Tillerson to use his face-to-face meetings to call on Turkish authorities to immediately and unconditionally release them and the other human rights activist caught up in this cynical trawl.   “The US Department of State already described the arrest of Taner Kiliç, the chair of Amnesty International Turkey as part of an ‘alarming trend’. Now with arrest of Idil Eser, the Director of our Turkey office, and nine others detained with her, the situation has deteriorated further. It’s time to act and use all possible opportunities to demand that Idil, Taner and all human rights defenders are freed immediately and unconditionally.”  
    July 10, 2017
      Following reports in Russia's Novaya Gazeta newspaper that security forces in the Russian republic of Chechnya killed 27 people on the night of 26 January 2017, Denis Krivosheev, Amnesty International's Deputy Director for Europe and Central Asia, said:   “These allegations come from a credible source and as horrendous as they are, appear totally plausible for Chechnya, where the authorities enjoy complete impunity for human rights violations.   “Amnesty International has documented the practice of extrajudicial executions in Chechnya and elsewhere in the North Caucasus for many years, and these allegations are consistent with our past findings. They must be investigated immediately, and if proven to be true, all perpetrators must be brought to justice.   “In addition, a full and thorough investigation needs to  be carried out into allegations of the secret imprisonment and torture and other ill-treatment of more than 100 gay men in Chechnya in April.  

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