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    July 07, 2017
      Chinese labour activist Liu Shaoming is the latest victim of the authorities’ relentless assault on human rights, Amnesty International said, after he was sentenced to four and a half years in jail for publishing his story of the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown.   On Friday, a court in Guangzhou found Liu Shaoming guilty of “inciting subversion of state power”. He has already spent more than two years in detention, after he was taken away by police on 30 May 2015. His detention occurred five days after he published an article on US-website Boxun.com reflecting on his involvement in China’s 1989 pro-democracy movement.    “This is a most callous and unjust verdict against Liu Shaoming. He is a prisoner of conscience and must be immediately and unconditionally released. All that Liu Shaoming is guilty of is the legitimate exercise of his freedom of expression,” said William Nee, China Researcher at Amnesty International.   
    July 07, 2017
      The Chinese authorities must end their ruthless campaign of detention and torture of human rights lawyers and activists, said Amnesty International, ahead of the second anniversary of the start of an unprecedented crackdown launched under President Xi Jinping. Nearly 250 human rights lawyers and activists have been targeted during the nationwide sweep which began on 9 July 2015. Six have since been convicted for “subverting state power” or “picking quarrels and provoking trouble”. Three others are still awaiting trials or verdicts. “For two years the Chinese government has been methodically decimating the ranks of human rights lawyers and activists. This vicious crackdown marked by arbitrary arrests, incommunicado detentions, torture and ill-treatment and fake confessions must end now,” said Nicholas Bequelin, East Asia Director at Amnesty International. “Lawyers and rights advocates play a crucial role in protecting human rights and the rule of law. The torment that they and their families continue to be subjected to flies in the face of the Chinese government claim that it upholds the rule of law.”  
    July 07, 2017
    Two decades of attacks on the political opposition, independent media and human rights defenders have created a climate of fear in Rwanda ahead of next month’s election, Amnesty International warned in a new report today. The organization is urging the government to prevent harassment of opposition candidates and their supporters ahead of the August poll, but also to initiate far-reaching reforms that will open up political space before the 2024 elections, allowing genuine debate and diverse opinions to be freely expressed. “Since the ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front took power 23 years ago, Rwandans have faced huge, and often deadly, obstacles to participating in public life and voicing criticism of government policy. The climate in which the upcoming elections take place is the culmination of years of repression,” said Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International's Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.
    July 06, 2017

    Responding to news that Idil Eser, Director of Amnesty International Turkey, seven other human rights activists and two IT trainers, are being investigated for membership of an armed terrorist organization, Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General, said:

    “The absurdity of these accusations against Idil Eser and the nine others cannot disguise the very grave nature of this attack on some of the most prominent civil society organizations in Turkey.

    “Their spurious detention while attending a routine workshop was bad enough: that they are now being investigated for membership of an armed terrorist organization beggars belief.

    “If anyone was still in doubt of the endgame of Turkey’s post-coup crackdown, they should not be now. There is to be no civil society, no criticism and no accountability in Erdoğan’s Turkey.”

    “If world leaders meeting at the G20 fail to stand up for Turkey’s beleaguered civil society now, there may be nothing left of it by the time the next summit comes around.

    July 06, 2017
      The lives of millions of Syrian civilians hang in the balance as the Presidents of Russia and the USA prepare to meet on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Germany on 7 July 2017, to discuss counter-terrorism initiatives and a political resolution to Syria’s war, said Amnesty International. “For civilians in Syria, decisions made by President Trump and President Putin are a matter of life and death. A continuation of present policies would have disastrous consequences for the people of Syria, who have endured unimaginable suffering for more than six years,” said Samah Hadid, Middle East Director of Campaigns at Amnesty International.   “The USA and Russia must publicly commit to protecting civilians in Syria and to ending violations by their own forces as well as by the warring parties on the ground. Both countries and their allies are responsible for the deaths and injuries of hundreds of thousands of men, women and children. It is time to end the bloodshed.”
    July 06, 2017
      In response to today’s finding by the International Criminal Court’s Pre-Trial Chamber that South Africa should have executed the arrest warrant against Sudanese president Omar Al-Bashir when he visited in June 2015, Amnesty International’s Africa Director for Research and Advocacy, Netsanet Belay said,   “Today’s finding confirms what everyone, including South African authorities, knew all along. Al-Bashir does not have immunity from arrest and all states parties to the Rome Statute must arrest him the minute he steps onto their territory and hand him over to the ICC. “It is shocking that other states parties such as Jordan are also failing in their obligations to arrest Al-Bashir and this decision makes it clear that they do so in flagrant violation of international law. “South Africa breached its international and domestic legal obligations when it failed to arrest Al-Bashir. No state should follow this example. There must be no impunity for crimes under international law.
    July 06, 2017
      Evidence gathered by Amnesty International suggests that Egyptian police extrajudicially executed four men who had been forcibly disappeared and tortured for periods up to four weeks after they were arrested on suspicion of being members of the Muslim Brotherhood. The evidence raises serious questions about government claims that the men were killed during exchanges of fire in two separate incidents on 20 and 23 June.   Family members who saw victims’ bodies at the morgue told Amnesty International that three of them bore signs of torture including bruises and in one case, burns, and that National Security Agency officers prevented them from photographing the bodies, confiscating the mobile phone of one of the relatives.  
    July 06, 2017
      Responding to the news that Idil Eser, Director of Amnesty International Turkey, was detained on Wednesday along with seven other human rights defenders and two trainers during a digital security and information management workshop in Büyükada, Istanbul, Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General, said: 

    “We are profoundly disturbed and outraged that some of Turkey’s leading human rights defenders, including the Director of Amnesty International Turkey should have been detained so blatantly without cause.

    “Her incommunicado detention and that of the other human rights defenders attending a routine training event, is a grotesque abuse of power and highlights the precarious situation facing human rights activists in the country. Idil Eser and those detained with her, must be immediately and unconditionally released.

    July 05, 2017

    Cynical deals with Libya consign thousands to risk of drowning, rape and torture

    2017 set to become the deadliest year for the deadliest migration route in the world as death-rate increases threefold since 2015

    The soaring death toll in the central Mediterranean and the horrific abuses faced by thousands of refugees and migrants in Libyan detention centres are clearly linked to failing EU policies, said Amnesty International in a report published today.

    A perfect storm: The failure of European policies in the Central Mediterranean finds that by ceding the lion’s share of responsibility for search and rescue to NGOs and by increasing cooperation with the Libyan coastguard, European governments are failing to prevent drownings and turning a blind eye to abuse, including torture and rape.

    EU Ministers meeting in Tallinn today are set to discuss new proposals that will make a dire situation worse.

    July 05, 2017
      During his official visit to Israel, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi must ask Israel to immediately lift the illegal 10 year blockade of Gaza and raise the issue of 50 years of illegal Israeli settlements built on stolen Palestinian land, Amnesty International India said today. 

    This is the first visit by an Indian Prime Minister since establishment of diplomatic relations 25 years ago.

    “Prime Minister Modi must tell his Israeli counterparts that the illegal settlements are a violation of international humanitarian law and cause of mass violations of human rights. He must also press them to lift the 10 year blockade of Gaza that has unlawfully deprived Palestinians in Gaza of their most basic rights and necessities,” said Aakar Patel, Executive Director at Amnesty International India.           

    “Merely condemning Israel’s settlement expansion cannot suffice. India should ban products from these illegal settlements as helping them flourish economically blatantly undermines its own international obligations.”

    July 05, 2017
    Responding to the Cambodian government’s decision to ban the NGO coalition called the Situation Room from monitoring next year’s elections, Amnesty International’s Deputy Campaigns Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, Josef Benedict, said:   “The ban on the Situation Room is a blatant attempt to silence the work of civil society in Cambodia, and must be reversed immediately. It is chilling that the government is moving to limit public debate and unduly restrict the rights to freedom of expression and association ahead of next year’s general election.   “Instead of trying to repress civil society, Cambodia must ensure that NGOs can operate without fear of reprisal. The first steps should be to repeal the restrictive law on NGOs enacted in 2015, and stop using the courts to harass and silence human rights defenders. These tactics have left civil society extremely vulnerable, where many NGO workers live under the daily threat of being arbitrarily detained or subjected to other forms of retaliation for the work they do.”  
    July 05, 2017

    The Chinese authorities are demonstrating new-depths of cruelty by preventing Liu Xiaobo from leaving the country to receive urgent medical treatment for his late-stage liver cancer, Amnesty International said.

    On Wednesday, the authorities announced medical experts from Germany and the US will be invited to China to assist with the treatment of the Nobel Peace Prize winner. The move appears in part an attempt to limit international criticism, as the authorities continue to refuse to grant Liu Xiaobo and his wife Liu Xia’s wish to travel abroad to receive treatment.

    “Time is running out for Liu Xiaobo. It is not too late for the authorities to end this cruel farce. They must let Liu Xiaobo and his wife, Liu Xia, travel abroad to get the medical treatment he so desperately needs,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

    The pro-democracy activist and former university lecturer was placed on medical parole last Monday and transferred to a hospital in Shenyang municipality in north-east China. His wife Liu Xia was able to reunite with him last week. The authorities’ claim that Liu Xiaobo is too ill to travel is disputed by his family.

    July 04, 2017

    The Bangladesh authorities must make every effort to trace the whereabouts of and recover a prominent writer who has been abducted and may have been subject to an enforced disappearance, Amnesty International said today.

    Farhad Mazhar, a prominent columnist, poet and political analyst, was taken from outside his home at approximately 5am this morning by a group of unidentified people. Half an hour later, his wife, Farida Akhtar, received a haunting phone call from Farhad, when he is reported to have told her: “They are taking me away, I’m afraid they will kill me.”

    “The Bangladesh authorities must make every effort to locate Farhad Mazhar, bring him back to safety and hold the perpetrators accountable,” said Biraj Patnaik, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director.

    “Far too many people have gone missing in Bangladesh over recent years without any further news of their fate. The government must end impunity for these abuses.”

    July 04, 2017
    ·         Close to one million people forcibly displaced in Equatoria region, fuelling world’s fastest-growing refugee crisis ·         Civilians shot, hacked to death with machetes and burnt in their homes ·         Women and girls abducted and gang-raped   A new frontline in South Sudan’s conflict has forced hundreds of thousands of people to flee the country’s fertile Equatoria region over the past year, creating ongoing atrocities, starvation and fear, according to a new Amnesty International briefing published today. The organization’s researchers visited the region in June, documenting how mainly government but also opposition forces in the southern region have committed crimes under international law and other serious human rights violations and abuses – including war crimes – against civilians. 

    July 04, 2017

    Amnesty International welcomes the news that the Canadian government has apologized to Omar Khadr and compensated him for Canada’s role in his ordeal that began at age 15 with his capture by US forces during a firefight in Afghanistan when he was a child soldier.

    The terms of the settlement provide Omar Khadr with compensation for the many ways that Canadian action and inaction contributed to the serious human rights violations he experienced beginning in 2002, continuing through three months in US detention at the Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, 10 years of imprisonment at Guantánamo Bay, and two and a half years of further detention in Canadian jails in Ontario and Alberta before he was finally released on bail in May, 2015.

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