Select this search icon to access the amnesty.ca search form

Main menu

Facebook Share

news

    August 30, 2017

    In response to today’s presidential decision to drop all charges against civil society leaders and several others arrested in connection with the unrest in recent months in the Anglophone region in Cameroon, Samira Daoud, Amnesty International’s deputy regional director for West and Central Africa said:

    “Today’s decision to drop all charges and release of Anglophone civil society leaders, including Barrister Nkongho Felix Agbor-Balla and Dr Fontem Aforteka’a Neba, and several others who spent over six months in jail is an enormous relief and welcome news for everyone who has been campaigning for this outcome. They should never have been arrested and prosecuted in the first place for simply helping to organize peaceful, non-violent protests.

    “However, we should not forget that the Cameroonian authorities are detaining many other individuals on spurious charges related to national security.

    August 30, 2017

    Reacting to news that Sudanese human rights defender Dr Mudawi Ibrahim Adam has been released from prison and all charges against him dropped, Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes, said:

    “It is a great relief that this awful chapter has drawn to a close. Dr Mudawi, a prisoner of conscience, has been reunited with his family and is once again a free man.

    “Dr Mudawi’s eight months in prison represent a grave miscarriage of justice and his release must serve as a first step towards ending the criminalization of human rights work in Sudan. The authorities’ relentless assault on any form of criticism endangers anyone who dares to speak out, and it must stop.”

    Mudawi was released, along with five other human rights defenders, late on 29 August. He faced six trumped-up charges, including 'undermining the constitutional system’ and ‘waging war against the state', both of which carry either the death penalty or life imprisonment. All charges against him have been dropped.

    For more on Amnesty International’s campaigning for Dr Mudawi, please click on the links below:

    August 29, 2017
      The Syrian government and armed groups involved in the country’s conflict must disclose the fate and whereabouts of tens of thousands of people who have been forcibly disappeared or abducted since the onset of the crisis in 2011, said Amnesty International on the International Day of the Disappeared.   “Amid the brutality and bloodshed of the Syrian conflict, the plight of those who have vanished after being arrested by the authorities or detained by armed groups is a tragedy that has been largely ignored internationally. Tens of thousands of families have been desperately trying to uncover the fate of their missing relatives,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.   “Russia and the United States, in particular, must use their influence to pressure respectively the Syrian government and armed opposition groups to grant independent monitors access to places of detention, disclose the names and whereabouts of those deprived of their liberty, and allow all detainees to communicate with their families.”  
    August 29, 2017

    Amnesty International urges the Canadian government to act on all the recommendations made for Canada by the UN Committee for the Elimination of Racism and Discrimination (CERD).

    The United Nations' top anti-racism body has strongly condemned the continued construction of the Site C dam as a clear violation of Treaty rights and Canada's international human rights obligations and has called for its immediate suspension.

    The UN committee said that it was unacceptable for governments in Canada to force Indigenous peoples to pursue long and costly legal challenges as the only way to uphold rights that the government is obligated to protect. It also noted that federal government support for the Site C dam contradicts the government's public commitments to uphold Indigenous rights, including the right to free, prior and informed consent.

    The committee is an independent, expert body with a mandate to promote compliance with the legally binding UN Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

    August 28, 2017
      In response to the guilty verdict on the coffin assault case by the Middleburg High Court earlier today, Amnesty International South Africa Executive Director Shenilla Mohamed said:   “This hideous case lays bare the discrimination that still runs deep in South African society. The fact that the whole grotesque episode was captured on video and then posted to social media suggests that the perpetrators felt little concern that they would face justice.   “There is no place for racism or discrimination in any society, and this terrible case must spur the government to finalize the Hate Crimes legislation in order to deal decisively with incidents of discrimination.”   Background   Two men were arrested after forcing Victor Mlotshwa into a coffin, and threatening to pour petrol over him in August 2016.   They were charged with kidnapping, assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm and attempted murder and were put on trial at the Delmas regional court in Mpumalanga province.
    August 28, 2017
    Nearly three-quarters of young people globally would welcome refugees into their countries   A new survey released by the World Economic Forum (WEF) on young peoples’ attitudes towards refugees exposes just how out of touch governments are with their citizens, Amnesty International said today.   According to the Global Shapers' Annual Survey, the vast majority (72.6%) of people aged 18-35 would welcome refugees into their countries. More than a quarter (27.3%) say they would even take refugees into their own homes.   “People fleeing violence and persecution around the world have repeatedly had doors slammed in their faces by wealthy governments who claim they cannot help them. WEF’s research shows that young people aren’t buying it, and are dismayed by the heartless attitudes of their leaders,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.  
    August 25, 2017

    An air strike which hit Faj Attan, a residential area of Yemen’s capital Sana’a in the early hours of this morning, destroying three homes, killing ten people and injuring seven more, shows that after more than two years of devastating conflict in Yemen, Saudi Arabia is as brazen as ever in its disregard for international humanitarian law, Amnesty International said today.

    “Last night the Saudi Arabia-led coalition rained down bombs on civilians while they slept, killing five children and leaving three others seriously injured. Locals say that a four-year-old girl was the sole survivor in her family, after the air strike killed the other seven members. Many people were trapped beneath the rubble of their homes until the early hours of this morning”, said Lynn Maalouf, Middle East Research Director at Amnesty International.

    August 25, 2017

    AI USA Release

    For the first time since the Supreme Court ruled against the state’s capital sentencing statute, Florida has executed a prisoner, killing Mark Asay via lethal injection.

    Amnesty International recently issued a report outlining the state’s response to the Supreme Court ruling.

    “There is no place in a just society for capital punishment, which is inherently cruel and arbitrary in application,” said Kristina Roth, senior program officer for criminal justice at Amnesty International USA. “The state of Florida should be ashamed for resuming its machinery of death.

    “It’s too late for Mark Asay, but Florida still has a chance to be on the right side of history by commuting the sentences of all other death row prisoners and ending capital punishment once and for all.”

    August 24, 2017
      A hearing today in the Philippines Senate has exposed the abysmal failings of the police to protect children from the deadly consequences of the “war on drugs”, Amnesty International said.   The Senate hearing convened to address last week’s police killing of the 17-year-old student Kian Loyd Delos Santos, a case which has triggered widespread national and international outrage. Although police claim the killing was done in self-defence, CCTV footage and eyewitnesses have seriously called this into question.   “Kian’s death has rightly sparked a national outcry and public trust in the police is at an all-time low. The only way to address this is for the Philippines authorities to end all deadly drug operations, and return to return to an approach anchored on due process and rule of law,” said James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Director of Southeast Asia and the Pacific.  
    August 23, 2017

    Thousands of civilians trapped in Raqqa, northern Syria, are coming under fire from all sides as the battle for control of the city enters its final stage, Amnesty International said following an in-depth investigation on the ground. The warring parties must prioritize protecting them from hostilities and creating safe ways for them to flee the frontline.

    In a report released today, the organization documents how hundreds of civilians have been killed and injured since an offensive began in June to recapture the “capital” and main stronghold of the armed group calling itself Islamic State (IS).

    Survivors and witnesses told Amnesty International that they faced IS booby traps and snipers targeting anyone trying to flee, as well as a constant barrage of artillery strikes and airstrikes by the US-led coalition forces fighting alongside the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) armed group. At the same time, survivors recounted how Russian-backed Syrian government forces also bombarded civilians in villages and camps south of the river, including with internationally banned cluster bombs.

    August 23, 2017

    The Palestinian authorities in the West Bank and their rivals, the de-facto Hamas administration in Gaza, have both tightened the noose on freedom of expression in recent months, launching a repressive clampdown on dissent that has seen journalists from opposition media outlets interrogated and detained in a bid to exert pressure on their political opponents, said Amnesty International.

    In the West Bank, the Palestinian authorities have arrested six journalists in August so far, shut down 29 websites and introduced a controversial Electronic Crimes Law imposing tight controls on media freedom and banning online expression and dissent. In the Gaza Strip, Hamas security forces have arrested at least two journalists since June and hampered others from freely carrying out their work. At least 12 Palestinians, including activists, were also detained by Hamas for critical comments posted on Facebook.

    August 22, 2017

    More than a dozen political prisoners, including prisoners of conscience, have gone on hunger strike in protest at the cruel, inhuman and degrading conditions they have been forced to endure at a maximum-security prison in Karaj, Alborz province, Amnesty International said today.

    Political prisoners at Raja’i Shahr prison were recently transferred to a newly opened area where conditions have been described as suffocating. They are held in cells with windows covered by metal sheets, and deprived of access to clean drinking water, food and sufficient beds. They are also barred from having in-person family visits and denied access to telephones, which are usually available in other parts of the prison.

    “The fact that detention conditions have become so poor that desperate prisoners feel they are forced to go on hunger strike to demand the most basic standards of human dignity is disgraceful and highlights the urgent need for reforms to Iran’s cruel prison system,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director for Amnesty International.

    August 22, 2017

    Six years since the Tawargha people were displaced from their hometown by Misratah militia forces in August 2011, the community of about 40,000 are still unable to return safely to their homes, Amnesty International said today.

    Two months ago, in June 2017, a political agreement was signed paving the way for their return. However, the terms of the deal not been implemented and some of those who have attempted to make the journey home since have faced threats and intimidation. The agreement also fails to ensure access to justice and reparations for the horrendous abuses Tawarghas have endured in recent years.

    “The failure to hold anyone accountable for the catalogue of abuses the Tawargha have suffered since they were displaced demonstrates the catastrophic consequences of years of lawlessness in Libya, where militias have committed gross human rights abuses with complete impunity,” said Heba Morayef.

    “Without clear political will to enforce the agreement to ensure the Tawargha’s safe return home, the public commitments made in June will be little more than an empty gesture.”

    August 21, 2017
      A decision by Chile’s Constitutional Tribunal today to support the decriminalization of abortion under three circumstances represents an important win for human rights and for the protection of the lives and health of women and girls across the country, Amnesty International said.   Today’s ruling confirms that Chile’s Constitution allows for the decriminalization of abortion when the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest, when the life of the pregnant woman is at risk, and in cases of fatal foetal impairment.   “Chile has finally moved one step closer to protecting the human rights of women and girls,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.   “This victory is testament to the work of millions of women across the Americas and the world who fight against draconian laws that punish women and push them to seeking clandestine and dangerous abortions, putting their health and lives at risk.”  
    August 18, 2017

    Yemen’s Huthi-Saleh forces must immediately and unconditionally release a leading political activist who has been arbitrarily detained in the capital Sana’a since 14 August without access to a lawyer or his family, Amnesty International has said.

    Hisham al-Omeisy, 38, was arbitrarily detained at approximately 2.45pm on 14 August in Jawlat al-Misbahi, south Sana’a, when approximately 15 armed security officers from the National Security Bureau (NSB) took him away. Four days after his arrest, the NSB are still holding him incommunicado in an undisclosed location.

    “Hisham al-Omeisy has been detained without charge or a court appearance in breach of Yemen’s constitution, which requires anybody arrested to be presented in court within 24 hours,” said Samah Hadid, Director of Campaigns for Amnesty International in the Middle-East.

    “This detention illustrates the lengths to which local Huthi-Saleh authorities’ are willing to go to silence peaceful activists. Hisham al-Omeisy is a prisoner of conscience, whose only ‘crime’ is peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression, and he must be released immediately.”

    Pages

    Subscribe to news
    rights