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    March 07, 2017

    Responding to the Hungarian Parliament’s adoption of a set of amendments allowing for the automatic detention of all asylum seekers while their applications are processed, Gauri Van Gulik, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Europe, said:

    “Plans to automatically detain some of the world’s most vulnerable people in shipping containers behind razor wire fences, sometimes for months on end, are beyond the pale. This new border detention package is just the latest in Hungary’s aggressive crackdown on refugees and migrants.”

    “These measures will even be applied to children, a flagrant violation of international and European law. It will also enable refugees to be forcibly returned to Serbia without due process. We are urging the EU to step up and show Hungary that such illegal and deeply inhumane measures have consequences. Dumping all refugees and migrants into containers isn't a refugee policy - it’s avoiding one.”

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    March 07, 2017

    The Indonesian authorities must immediately and unconditionally release three people convicted under the country’s blasphemy laws for peacefully practicing their beliefs, Amnesty International said today.

    Ahmad Mussadeq, Mahful Muis Tumanurung, and Andri Cahya are three members of a now disbanded religious minority group known as Gafatar who were sentenced for blasphemy by the East Jakarta District Court on Tuesday.

    “The sentences show how Indonesia’s vague, coercive and discriminatory blasphemy laws are being used to punish people for peacefully exercising minority beliefs,” said Josef Benedict, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

    “These individuals must be released immediately and unconditionally, and the blasphemy law, which flies in the face of Indonesia’s human rights obligations, should be repealed.”

    March 07, 2017

    Nepal’s authorities must promptly investigate the security forces who opened fire on a crowd of protestors in Saptari district in the Tarai, Nepal’s southern plains, killing three people and injuring 16, Amnesty International said today.

    “This was an unlawful use of lethal force. There must be a prompt, effective and impartial investigation, and those responsible must be held accountable,” said Aura Freeman, Amnesty International’s Nepal campaigner.

    On Monday, supporters of the Samyukta Loktrantrik Madhesi Morcha (SLMM) gathered to protest against an election rally of the Unified Marxist-Leninist (UML) party. The SLMM, an alliance of Madhes based parties, are boycotting the election as no changes have been made to the constitution. There were clashes between protesters and the security forces policing the rally. Some of the protesters allegedly threw stones and other objects at the security forces, who  then fired tear gas grenades and used firearms against them. According to a government official, police had first tried to disperse the protesters with batons and tear gas before firing their guns.

    March 07, 2017

    The forced displacement of 300 people from a community in North West Colombia by a paramilitary group is tragic evidence that the armed conflict is far from over, said Amnesty International.

    Over the weekend, some 200 armed men identified as members of paramilitary group the Gaitanista Self-Defence Forces of Colombia (Autodefensas Gaitanistas de Colombia, AGC) entered the town of Peña Azul, Alto Baudó, Chocó, in North Western Colombia.

    Witnesses claim the paramilitaries entered the town looking for members of the guerrilla group National Liberation Army ELN (Ejército Nacional de Liberación) and effectively forced 399 people (128 families) to flee out of fear for their lives. The whereabouts of eight families of these families still remains unknown.

    March 07, 2017

    The adoption of a draft law by the Philippine House of Representatives to revive the death penalty sets the country on a dangerous path in flagrant violation of its international legal obligations, Amnesty International said today.

    “The idea that the death penalty will rid the country of drugs is simply wrong. The resumption of executions will not rid the Philippines of problems associated with drugs or deter crime. It is an inhumane, ineffective punishment and is never the solution. The Philippines’ attempts to reintroduce it are clearly unlawful. This will just earn the country notoriety as one of the few countries to revive its horrific use,” said Champa Patel, Amnesty International’s Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

    Today, the House of Representatives of the Philippines adopted on its third and final reading of House Bill 4727, a measure put forward by President Duterte’s majority coalition to reintroduce the death penalty.

    March 07, 2017

    Member states of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) must demand a proper investigation into alleged chemical attacks by Sudanese government forces in the Jebel Marra region of Darfur, said Amnesty International today, as the OPCW’s Executive Council begins its four-day meeting in The Hague.

    In a shocking report published in September 2016, Amnesty International revealed credible evidence of the repeated use of what are believed to be chemical weapons, against civilians, including very young children, from January to August 2016.

    “These brutal attacks left an estimated 200 to 250 people dead and scores more with horrific injuries, and the OPCW must fully and independently investigate them. Failure by member states to trigger the investigation would be a monumental and shameful abdication of duty,” said Michelle Kagari, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    March 06, 2017

    In response to President Trump’s new Executive Order to reinstate the suspension of the USA’s refugee resettlement programme and establish a temporary travel ban on people from six majority-Muslim countries, Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General, said:

    “President Trump’s determined efforts to slam the door on those fleeing the very terror he claims to be fighting will be remembered among the darkest chapters of US history. The idea that these measures are in the interest of national security does not stand up to the slightest scrutiny.

    “This new Executive Order simply reinstates many of the most repellent elements of its predecessor. It tramples on the values the USA has long claimed to stand for and threatens to dash the hopes of thousands of refugees who were due to be resettled in the USA.

    March 03, 2017

    DUBLIN, 3 March 2017 - Amnesty International has called on the Irish government to ensure that the Commission of Investigation into ‘Mother and Baby Homes’ fully investigates alleged human rights abuses, following the discovery of ‘significant’ quantities of human remains in Tuam, Co. Galway.  The organisation had broadly welcomed the establishment of a Commission of Investigation into allegations of serious human rights abuses at ‘Mother and Baby’ homes around Ireland, though it cautioned that the Commission needed to conduct an effective and comprehensive investigation that is fully compliant with Ireland’s human rights obligations.

    March 02, 2017

    Sara Beltran Hernandez, a 26-year-old mother who fled violence in El Salvador and has been detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Texas for 15 months, has granted bond. She is expected be released this evening to be with her family and to seek treatment for a brain tumor.

    Amnesty International had campaigned for her release and mobilized its 1.2 million members across the country to flood ICE with phone calls asking for Sara to be freed.

    “Sara and her family are overjoyed that she will finally be able to be with her loved ones and receive medical care after being unjustly detained for over 400 days,” said Eric Ferrero of Amnesty International USA.

    “Sara never should have been held for so long in the first place, let alone with a medical issue. It is unconscionable to treat people fleeing violence and danger as if they are criminals. Applying for asylum should not mean giving up one’s human rights in the process.”

    March 01, 2017

    The Egyptian authorities must offer urgent protection to Coptic Christians in North Sinai and provide essential services and accommodation to hundreds who were forced to flee their homes, after seven people from the community were killed in a series of attacks there over the past month, said Amnesty International.

    The government has failed to take action to protect Christians in North Sinai who have increasingly faced kidnapping and assassinations by armed groups over the past three years.  The authorities have also failed to prosecute those responsible for sectarian attacks against Christians elsewhere in Egypt, resorting instead to state-sponsored reconciliation agreements which, at times, have involved the forced eviction of Christian families from their homes.

    At least 150 Coptic Christian families have fled al-Arish as a result of the latest violence according the Minister of Parliamentary Affairs. Most have sought shelter in the neighbouring governorate of Ismailia in overcrowded temporary accommodation without adequate access to essential services.

    March 01, 2017

    Panel discussion at UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on 3 March

    Governments must close loopholes in international trade law that allow the sale and export of equipment used to torture detainees, Amnesty International and the Omega Research Foundation will urge at a panel event at the UN Human Rights Council on 3 March.

    Every year law enforcement officials in many countries around the world use abusive equipment – such as electric shock devices, spiked batons, and leg irons – to subject detainees to torture and other forms of ill-treatment. In addition, equipment with a legitimate law enforcement use, like ordinary handcuffs, tear gas or Tasers, are routinely and systematically abused.

    “After years of campaigning by Amnesty International and Omega, the European Union did the right thing by introducing robust restrictions on the sale, brokering and promotion of tools of torture,” said Patrick Wilcken, Researcher on Arms Control and Human Rights at Amnesty International.

    February 28, 2017

    Russia and China have again abused their veto power at the United Nations Security Council today, following a vote on a draft resolution that would have helped ensure accountability for the use and production of chemical weapons by all parties to the conflict in Syria, said Amnesty International.

    “By vetoing this resolution Russia and China have displayed a callous disregard for the lives of millions of Syrians. Both states are parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention– there is simply no excuse for their vetoes today,” said Sherine Tadros, head of UN office in New York for Amnesty International.

    “For six years Russia, with the support of China, has blocked Security Council decisions that would have punitive consequences for the Syrian government. This behavior prevents justice and emboldens all parties to the conflict in Syria to act with indifference to international law. The message coming from the international community is that when it comes to Syria, there are no red lines.” 

    February 28, 2017

    The Israeli authorities’ administrative detention of Muhammed al-Qiq, a Palestinian journalist is unjust and cruel, said Amnesty International after a military judge approved an order confirming his detention for three months, which can be renewed indefinitely.

    Muhammed al-Qiq, who was placed in solitary confinement following his arrest, has been on hunger strike since 6 February in protest at his detention. According to his lawyer his health has deteriorated in recent weeks and he is in need of specialized medical care. Israel uses administrative detention to jail Palestinians indefinitely without charge or trial based on secret evidence.

    “Today’s decision to approve the administrative detention of Muhammed al-Qiq is an affront to justice. Israel’s administrative detention which is predominately used to detain Palestinians without charge or trial is arbitrary and abusive. The Israeli authorities must end this practice, which itself can amount to cruel and inhuman treatment, once and for all,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International. 

    February 28, 2017

    New evidence has emerged of how the Huthi armed group is actively recruiting boys as young as 15 to fight as child soldiers on the front lines of the conflict in Yemen, said Amnesty International today after speaking to the families of three boys targeted this month by the appalling practice which violates international law. The families also confirmed the recruitment of a fourth local boy.

    Family members and an eyewitness told Amnesty International that the four boys, aged between 15 and 17, were recruited by fighters of the Huthi armed group, also known as Ansarullah locally, in the capital, Sana’a. They only found out that their children had been taken away after being alerted by local residents, who described seeing them and as many as six other children boarding a bus at a local Huthi centre in mid-February.

    “It is appalling that Huthi forces are taking children away from their parents and their homes, stripping them of their childhood to put them in the line of fire where they could die,” said Samah Hadid, Deputy Director at Amnesty International’s Beirut regional office.

    February 27, 2017

    Released: Monday 27 February 2017, 00:01 GMT

    The scandalous lack of an effective investigation to find those responsible for ordering the brutal killing of Honduran environmental activist Berta Cáceres sends a terrifying message to the hundreds of people who dare to speak out against the powerful, said Amnesty International on the first anniversary of the killing on 2 March.

    “Berta’s tragic murder illustrates the woeful state of human rights in Honduras. The message is clear: if your human rights work disturbs those with power, you will be killed,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.  

    “The scandalously poor investigation into Berta’s murder, which has so far failed to identify those responsible for ordering her killing and the lack of an effective mechanism to protect witnesses and other human rights defenders, shows the Honduran authorities’ lack of interest in securing justice.

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