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    November 08, 2017

    The passing of Chinese writer and government critic Yang Tongyan underlines an alarming lack of accountability for the pattern of deaths of activists released on medical parole, Amnesty International said.

    Yang Tongyan, 56, passed away on Tuesday, according to his close friends. The prominent activist spent nearly half his life in detention and was released in August on medical parole. He underwent an operation to remove a brain tumour on 23 August.

    “Yang Tongyan was a peaceful champion of human rights and democracy, who made a huge personal sacrifice to stay true to his principles. The authorities feared the power of his writing and did all they could to silence him. He should never have spent a single day in jail let alone nearly half his life,” said Nicholas Bequelin, East Asia Director at Amnesty International.

    November 07, 2017

    Mauritania must immediately and unconditionally release human rights defender Mohamed Mkhaïtir, who has been sentenced to death for criticizing the use of Islam to justify discriminatory practices against minority ethnic groups in the country, Amnesty International said ahead of his appeal trial.

    The case of Mohamed Mkhaïtir, who was sentenced to death in December 2014 for a “blasphemous” post he made on Facebook, will be heard for a second time by an appeal court in the north-western town of Nouadhibou tomorrow.

    “This case is absurd and represents a real setback for freedom of expression in a country that has not imposed punishment for apostasy in more than 50 years of independence,” said Kiné-Fatim Diop, Amnesty International’s West Africa Campaigner.

    “Mohamed Mkhaïtir is a prisoner of conscience who has been in detention for three years solely for exercising his right to freedom of expression and standing-up against discrimination. His scandalous death sentence must be quashed and he should be immediately and unconditionally released.”

    November 07, 2017

    Responding to the attack on the Pashto-language Shamshad TV station – a partner of the BBC – in Kabul by armed gunmen, Amnesty International’s Deputy South Asia Director, Omar Waraich, said:

    “The attack on Shamshad TV is a horrific crime that tragically demonstrates the risks Afghanistan’s journalists face for their legitimate work. The Afghan authorities must do what they can to protect the country’s media, allowing them to work freely and without fear. The perpetrators must be brought to justice through fair trials without recourse to the death penalty. Impunity for attacks on journalists must end.

    “This latest attack also underscores the grim fact that Kabul continues to be one of the most hazardous places in the country. European countries, which continue to forcibly return people to Afghanistan, must confront this reality and dispense with the dangerous fiction that Afghanistan and its capital are safe. By sending asylum-seekers back to Afghanistan, they are putting them in harm’s way.”

     

    November 07, 2017
    The current situation on Manus Island amounts to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment Lives are at risk unless PNG authorities restore essential services As Australia continues to flout international law, all refugees and vulnerable persons should be resettled to third countries

    Critical services - including food, water and medical treatment - must be restored to the more than 600 refugees and vulnerable men inside the Lombrum detention centre on Manus Island before a major tragedy occurs, Amnesty International said today as researchers returned from Manus Island.

    Refugees and vulnerable men should not be forcibly relocated until such time as their dignity and safety can be guaranteed.

    “Today, Papua New Guinea’s Supreme Court rejected a last ditch attempt by refugees to have these essential services restored and their rights protected. The decision is an abhorrent attack on the right to life,” said Kate Schuetze, Amnesty International’s Pacific Researcher.

    November 06, 2017

    Governments must take urgent steps to crack down on tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance by wealthy individuals and companies, Amnesty International said today, after the leaked Paradise Papers shed new light on the murky dealings of the offshore financial industry.

    “When people do not pay their fair share of tax, it’s the poor who suffer the most. At a time when governments around the world are slashing spending on health, education, housing and welfare support, it’s shameful that so many wealthy individuals and companies are being allowed to stow away billions of dollars in tax havens,” said Iain Byrne, Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Advisor at Amnesty International.

    “Governments must do more to stop tax havens - and the accountants, lawyers and consultants who work in them - from aiding and abetting this grand-scale tax abuse. We’ve heard too many empty promises. The time has come for action.”

    November 06, 2017

    Amnesty International is calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to raise pressing human rights concerns during his visits to the Philippines and Viet Nam this week. In an Open Letter to the Prime Minister, the organization highlighted opportunities to demonstrate much-needed leadership in addressing grave crises including the Philippines’ deadly ‘war on drugs’, detention of prisoners of conscience in Viet Nam and the crisis in Myanmar.

    During his visit, Prime Minister Trudeau will attend the ASEAN Summit in Manilla, which runs from November 10th-14th against the backdrop of a full-blown human rights crisis in the Philippines. Since 30 June 2016, President Duterte’s brutal crackdown against the urban poor carried out in the name of combatting the drug trade has resulted in up to 12,000 deaths, including 50 children, with a majority of those amounting to extrajudicial killings carried out with near-total impunity. Amnesty International research has found that the scope and nature of the abuses may constitute crimes against humanity.

    November 03, 2017

    NEW YORK— The Guantánamo military judge handling the case of the alleged USS Cole bomber has ordered three civilian defense attorneys who resigned from the case over alleged breaches of attorney-client privilege to testify from Virginia by video feed to the Guantánamo courtroom Friday morning in a contempt hearing. The hearing will follow Monday’s contempt charge of lead defense counsel, Peter Baker, who is confined to his quarters at Guantánamo, as well as a decision by the Defense Department’s top prosecutor to end regular media availability on commission matters.

    Amnesty International USA’s Security with Human Rights Director, Daphne Eviatar, issued the following statement ahead of tomorrow’s hearing:

    “This week is further evidence that the military commissions are what we always predicted – a human rights calamity and costly sideshow. It’s time to give up the illusion that either true justice or any semblance of a fair trial will result from these never-ending proceedings.

    November 02, 2017

    The Site C dam is a project that should never have been approved. As the British Columbia Utilities Commission has now concluded after a long overdue review of the cost and purpose of this project, completing Site C offers little or no economic benefit compared to less destructive alternatives and could ultimately cost much more and carry greater financial and legal risks. Completing the construction is, quite simply, bad public policy.

    More than that, however, the Site C dam represents a profound betrayal of the solemn commitments undertaken when Canada entered into Treaty 8, when it adopted its Constitution, and when it endorsed the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

    November 01, 2017

    Ottawa, November 1, 2017 – The interim report released today by the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls makes recommendations for immediate action, many of which were set out in previous reports.

    “Minister of Indigenous-Crown Relations and Northern Affairs Carolyn Bennett has said repeatedly that the federal government wouldn’t wait for the Inquiry’s final report before addressing well-known gaps in protections and support for Indigenous women and girls,” said Alex Neve, Secretary-General of Amnesty International Canada. “The government must keep this promise. It is crucial that the government’s response to the Interim report clearly sets out what the government is committed to do and when.”

    The interim report calls on the federal government to:

    October 31, 2017

    Israel’s decision to deny an Amnesty International USA staff member entry to the occupied West Bank, apparently as retaliation against the organization’s human rights work, is a dangerous indication of the Israeli authorities’ growing intolerance of critical voices, the organization said today.

    October 31, 2017

    The impunity enjoyed by the perpetrators of the 1984 Sikh massacre must end immediately and authorities should ensure that all those responsible, including those with command responsibility, are brought to justice, Amnesty International India reiterated today in a new briefing, “Chauraasi Ki Nainsaafi: The continuing injustice for the 1984 Sikh massacre”.

    Marking the 33rd anniversary of the 1984 carnage, the briefing gives a glimpse into the lives of the families of 15 victims and survivors, and their struggle for justice for over three decades.

    “It is shameful that thousands of victims and survivors are still waiting for justice. If the government wants to revive the faith of these people in the justice system, it must end the impunity around the massacre and bring closure to those who have suffered,” said Asmita Basu, Programmes Director at Amnesty International India.

    October 31, 2017

    The Norwegian government will be putting a teenage girl and her family at grave risk of serious human rights violations if it goes ahead with plans to return them to Afghanistan, Amnesty International said today.

    Eighteen-year-old Taibeh Abbasi, who has never even visited Afghanistan, is in danger of being returned at any moment along with her mother and two brothers. Amnesty International is backing a grassroots campaign to stop their return, led by classmates at Taibeh’s school in Trondheim.

    “Taibeh Abbasi is a popular, well-integrated teenager who dreams of becoming a doctor. But her life could be about to change forever. Like thousands of other Afghans who have found safe homes in European countries, she now faces being uprooted and sent to a war zone,” said Charmain Mohamed, Head of Refugees and Migrants Rights at Amnesty International.

    October 30, 2017

    Heavily armed police are using unlawful force against protesters and bystanders in the western city of Kisumu in what appears to be a deliberate campaign to punish inhabitants for continuing to protest amid chaotic elections over the past week, Amnesty International said today.

    In Nairobi, instances of police brutality were interspersed with acts of violence and intimidation by supporters of the two main political figures in the country – incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga.

    “In Kisumu, the evidence we gathered paints a grim picture of police shooting, aggressively assaulting, and even breaking into the homes of people suspected to be protesters; but also those who happen to be in the vicinity of protests. People have been seriously injured or shot while buying food in the market, walking home from school or resting in their homes,” said Justus Nyang’aya, head of Amnesty International Kenya.

    “What we are witnessing appears to be punitive policing; a blatant attempt to intimidate and punish residents in the opposition stronghold.”

    Killings and indiscriminate shootings

     

    October 27, 2017

    As Burundi’s withdrawal from the Rome Statute came into effect today, amid an ongoing International Criminal Court (ICC) preliminary examination into crimes under international law committed in the country since 2015, Amnesty International’s Head of International Justice Matt Cannock said:

    “The Burundian government has made a cynical attempt to evade justice by taking the unprecedented step of withdrawing from the ICC. But perpetrators, including members of the security forces, cannot so easily shirk their alleged responsibility for crimes under international law committed since 2015.

    “Withdrawal from the Rome Statute does not in any way absolve Burundi of its obligations to end ongoing widespread human rights violations, or to address its abject failure to deliver justice for victims at the national level.

    “The ICC can continue its preliminary investigations regardless of Burundi’s efforts to stop its work by withdrawing from the Court. Even if President Pierre Nkurunziza’s government will not cooperate with the Court, the ICC has ways and means to investigate and prosecute the crimes committed.”

    October 26, 2017

    Following a decision by an Izmir court not to release human rights defender, Taner Kılıç, Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General said:

    “Over the last 24 hours we have seen the twin hands of Turkey's fickle justice system at play. While one grants liberty, the other, confronted with no less baseless charges, takes it away.”

    “The release of the Istanbul 10 late last night restored some faith in Turkey's justice system. Today, that faith has been washed away.

    “Turkish authorities have repeatedly and publicly presumed Taner Kılıç’s guilt, on the basis of innuendo and unsupported allegations.

    “We will continue undaunted to campaign for the release of our chair and the dropping of the charges against all human rights defenders in Turkey.

    BACKGROUND

    The judge accepted the prosecutor's application to join Taner's case with the case against the 10 human rights defenders arrested at a workshop outside Istanbul on the tenuous grounds that he was aware of the preparations for the meeting and in contact with Amnesty International Turkey director İdil Eser about her attendance at it.

     

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