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    November 27, 2017

    The lives and safety of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex people (LGBTI) from violence-ridden El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras are at an increased risk as authorities in their countries fail to protect them, leaving them with no choice but to flee their countries and face further dangers in Mexico, Amnesty International said in a new report today.  

    No Safe Place uncovers the treacherous journey faced by gay men and trans women refugees fleeing rocketing levels of discrimination and gender-based violence in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras from criminal gangs and members of security forces. It also accuses Mexican authorities of failing to protect them from violations and abuses while travelling through the country, and highlights unbearable experiences during prolonged and systematic immigration detention in the USA.

    “People are facing vicious discrimination in Central America due to their gender identities, and have absolutely nowhere to run for safety,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    November 23, 2017
    Responding to reports that the London Metal Exchange has launched an investigation into whether cobalt mined by children is being traded in London, following an Amnesty International report linking several major brands to human rights abuses in the DRC, Seema Joshi, Head of Business and Human Rights at Amnesty International, said:   “Transparency is absolutely crucial for eradicating the scourge of child labour from cobalt battery supply chains and we welcome the London Metal Exchange’s pledge to shine a light into the dark corners of the cobalt trade.  
    November 23, 2017

    Amnesty International welcomes the federal government’s promise of a rights-based national housing strategy aimed at improving access to housing in Canada, including through “new legislation that promotes a human rights-based approach to housing and prioritizes the housing needs of Canada’s most vulnerable. “

    “The adoption of a human rights-based national housing strategy, backed up by legislation, is a positive step toward fulfilling Canada’s international legal obligations to uphold economic, social and cultural rights,” says Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada. “It stands to help address grave concerns raised by the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights during its 2016 review of Canada’s human rights record and recommendations brought forward by several other UN human rights bodies as well, including with respect to homelessness, inadequate housing and a persisting social and economic gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.”

    November 23, 2017

    Responding to the news that the Papua New Guinea authorities have sent in immigration officials armed with sticks and knives into the Lombrum refugee detention centre at around 8.00am on Thursday 23 November on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea, Amnesty International said:

    “The risks of serious injury if the authorities use force now is completely foreseeable. The government is knowingly placing the refugees at risk,” said Kate Schuetze, Amnesty International’s Pacific Researcher who has just returned from Manus.

    “There is no justification for this action. International law and standards demand that refugees enjoy international protection. The country where they sought refuge – Australia - has violated their rights at every turn. PNG has aided and enabled Australia’s policy of cruelty and degradation of the refugees. Now the PNG authorities are putting their lives at risk.”

    November 22, 2017

    An AI USA Release

    Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called the sustained and systemic attacks on the Rohingya population by the Myanmar military “ethnic cleansing” today in an acknowledgment of the nature of the humanitarian crisis. He also called for an independent probe into north Rakhine State. The announcement comes a week after promising an additional $47 million in humanitarian aid.

    “As our own researchers have documented on the ground, the Myanmar military has been brutally murdering, raping, and burning the Rohingya for months. Secretary Tillerson’s acknowledgement of ethnic cleansing and call for an investigation sets an example for how the world can respond to this crisis. The time for outrage and condemnation has passed. The international community must impose a comprehensive arms embargo and targeted financial sanctions against senior Myanmar military officials responsible for crimes against humanity,” said Joanne Lin, national director of advocacy and government relations for Amnesty International USA.

    November 22, 2017

    Responding to news that Iran, Turkey and Russia will meet in the Russian city of Sochi on Wednesday, while more than 30 Syrian opposition groups hold separate talks in the Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh, Lynn Maalouf, Middle East Research Director at Amnesty International said:

    “As the parties to the conflict in Syria meet separately to discuss a roadmap to peace, millions of Syrian men, women and children face horrific suffering due to the violations and crimes perpetrated by all parties to the conflict.

    Right now, there are hundreds of thousands of people trapped under siege throughout Syria in unbearable conditions without access to food, water or healthcare.

    November 22, 2017

    Today’s conviction of the former Bosnian Serb war leader, general Ratko Mladić, for crimes under international law, including genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes has finally – after more than 20 years - delivered justice to tens of thousands of the victims of 1992-95 armed conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina, said Amnesty International.

    He was sentenced to life imprisonment.

    The verdict handed down by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague recognizes his individual criminal responsibility as Commander of the Bosnian Serb Army, and his participation in joint criminal enterprises, including to terrorize the population of Sarajevo and eliminate Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica.

    “This landmark verdict marks a significant moment for international justice and sends out a powerful message around the world that impunity cannot and will not be tolerated,” said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Europe Director.

    “Whilst it does not end the suffering of those relatives who have waited more than 20 years to see this day, seeing justice delivered might offer them some closure.”

    November 22, 2017

    Responding to today’s decision by the Istanbul Court to continue the pre-trial detention of Amnesty International’s Turkey Chair, Taner Kılıç, John Dalhuisen said:

     

    “Today in court lawyers for the defence and an independent expert witness demolished the prosecution’s arguments. All the evidence shows Taner is innocent but this evening he was nevertheless sent back to the overcrowded cell where he has spent more than five months.”

    “The court’s decision to ignore this evidence and continue his detention flies in the face of reason. It is yet another opportunity missed to correct a gross injustice. We will continue to fight for his release and for the dropping of all charges against both him and the Istanbul 10.”

    The next court hearing has been set for 31 January, 2018

    ++++++++++++++++++

    For media inquiries, contact: Jacob Kuehn, Media Relations at (613) 744-7667 ext 236 or jkuehn@amnesty.ca 

     

    November 22, 2017

    A year on from the signing of the Peace Agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia, FARC), other guerrilla and paramilitary groups are wrestling for control of parts of the country in conflicts that are wreaking havoc on the lives of ordinary Colombians, Amnesty International said in a new report today.

    Years of solitude continue explores how the Colombian Peace Agreement, signed on 24 November 2016, is having a very limited impact on the lives of scores of Indigenous and afro-descendant communities in the department of Chocó – where 60 percent of the population are registered as victims of the armed conflict.

    The Peace Agreement was meant to end the 50-year armed conflict that had resulted in the deaths of more than 220,000 Colombians and displaced nearly seven million people.

    November 22, 2017

    Edward Snowden, Catherine Deneuve, Sting, Ai Weiwei, Angélique Kidjo, Anish Kapoor, Francois Morel and MPs sign open letter

    More than 70 renowned cultural and political figures have come together to demand that Turkish authorities drop trumped-up terrorism charges against 11 human rights defenders, including Amnesty International’s Turkey Director and Chair.

    The call made by more than 30 politicians and scores of artists - including Edward Snowden, Sting, Ai Weiwei, Anish Kapoor, Catherine Deneuve, Angélique Kidjo - comes as the trial of the 11 resumes in Istanbul on charges which carry jail terms of up to 15 years.

    “We are proud to add our voices to the global demand to end this gross injustice and to immediately and unconditionally release Taner Kılıç from jail,” they write in the letter.

    “When human rights defenders are silenced, all our rights are put at risk. They are the ones that stand up for us. Now we must stand up for them.”

    November 21, 2017

     

    Responding to the news that Robert Mugabe has resigned as President of Zimbabwe, Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International said:

    “After more than three decades of violent repression, the way forward for the country is to renounce the abuses of the past and transition into a new era where the rule of law is respected and those who are responsible for injustices are held to account.

    “During 37 years of President Mugabe’s leadership, tens of thousands of people were tortured, forcibly disappeared or killed. President Mugabe condoned human rights violations, defended criminal actions of his officials and allowed a culture of impunity for grotesque crimes to thrive.

    “Although Zimbabwe invested heavily in social services in the early years of independence, much of this progress was wiped out by later events such as the Operation Murambatsvina forced evictions campaign of 2005, which destroyed the homes or livelihoods of 700,000 people.

    November 20, 2017
    Rohingya segregated and abused in “open air prison” Two-year investigation reveals root causes of current Rakhine State crisis System of discrimination amounts to the crime against humanity of apartheid

    The Rohingya people in Myanmar are trapped in a vicious system of state-sponsored, institutionalised discrimination that amounts to apartheid, said Amnesty International today as it publishes a major new analysis into the root causes of the current crisis in Rakhine State.

    “Caged without a roof” puts into context the recent wave of violence in Myanmar, when the security forces killed Rohingya people, torched whole villages to the ground, and drove more than 600,000 to flee across the border into Bangladesh.

    November 20, 2017

    The Kenyan government must take immediate steps to de-escalate tensions between communities, protect people and ensure their safety as opposition supporters protest against today’s Supreme Court verdict upholding President Uhuru Kenyatta’s re-election, said Amnesty International.

    Following the verdict, violence broke out in opposition strongholds including the Mathare and Kibera slums in Nairobi, and Migori and Kisumu in western Kenya. The violence came after the Supreme Court dismissed the two petitions that sought to invalidate the outcome of the 28 October presidential election re-run. Initial reports said four people were killed in the clashes.

    A witness told Amnesty International that groups of young men in Kondele, Kisumu, were carrying out house searches today, looking for ethnic Kikuyu residents, harassing them and looting their homes. He said three groups tried to enter his compound and that his neighbour’s gate was torn down and he and his family were forced to flee for their own safety. There were also media reports of an attempt by protesters to burn down Kondele Police Station.

    November 20, 2017

    New research by Amnesty International has revealed the alarming impact that abuse and harassment on social media are having on women, with women around the world reporting stress, anxiety, or panic attacks as a result of these harmful online experiences.

    The organization commissioned an IPSOS MORI poll which looked at the experiences of women between the ages of 18 and 55 in Denmark, Italy, New Zealand, Poland, Spain, Sweden, the UK and USA.

    Nearly a quarter (23%) of the women surveyed across these eight countries said they had experienced online abuse or harassment at least once, ranging from 16% in Italy to 33% in the US. Alarmingly, 41% of women who had experienced online abuse or harassment said that on at least one occasion, these online experiences made them feel that their physical safety was threatened.

    “The internet can be a frightening and toxic place for women. It’s no secret that misogyny and abuse are thriving on social media platforms, but this poll shows just how damaging the consequences of online abuse are for the women who are targeted,” said Azmina Dhrodia, Amnesty International’s Researcher on Technology and Human Rights.

    November 17, 2017

    Kenyan police must stop firing live ammunition during opposition protests and instead protect all people gathering in public, said Amnesty International today amid running battles in which three opposition supporters are feared to have been shot dead.

    “We have received reports of at least three deaths, and live TV footage shows another man being shot in the leg. Firearms can only be used when strictly unavoidable in order to protect life,” said Abdullahi Halakhe, Amnesty International’s East Africa Researcher.

    “The indiscriminate use of live ammunition is totally unacceptable. Firearms must never be used to disperse crowds.”

    According to Amnesty International research, at least 66 people have been killed by police in election-related violence since August. At least 33 of them died in the aftermath of the 8 August elections and another three were killed during the October re-run.

    The opposition supporters were trying to get to Uhuru Park in downtown Nairobi, where they expected Raila Odinga to address them, just hours after he had returned from an eight-day trip to the US.

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