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    November 04, 2016

    The detention of 12 deputies from the Kurdish-rooted leftist Peoples’ Democracy Party (HDP) since last night marks the latest escalation in the onslaught on dissent amid Turkey’s state of emergency, Amnesty International said today.

    The detentions – on a range of “terrorism”-related charges – come on the heels of mass closures of Kurdish media outlets, the ousting of at least 24 pro-Kurdish mayors and rolling blackouts on internet access that hinder communications. They were followed this morning by an explosion killing at least eight people in Diyarbakır in the mainly Kurdish south-east of the country.

    “Today’s detention of HDP deputies is the latest escalation in the government’s evisceration of Kurdish opposition voices in public life,” said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Europe Director.

    November 04, 2016

    The Kenyan government’s deportation of James Gatdet Dak, the spokesperson of South Sudan opposition leader Riek Machar, despite the fact that he is a recognized refugee, is a brazen and dangerous attack on refugee rights, said Amnesty International.

    He was forced onto a flight on Thursday afternoon and flown to South Sudan’s capital Juba.

    “Gatdet’s deportation is Kenya’s latest attack on refugees’ right to safety and it places Gatdet at grave risk of torture and other ill-treatment,” said Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    Gatdet was arrested by Kenyan authorities at his residence in the capital, Nairobi, on 2 November. His arrest was apparently in connection with a comment he allegedly posted on his Facebook page hailing the sacking of Gen. Johnson Ondieki, a Kenyan general and the commander of UN forces in South Sudan, in the wake of a scathing UN report into failures by UN peacekeepers to protect civilians during clashes in July.

    November 04, 2016

    Reacting to Pakistan's decision to deport Sharbat Gula, the iconic 'Afghan girl' whose striking portrait adorned a 1985 cover of National Geographic magazine, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director Champa Patel said:

    "Pakistan’s decision to deport Sharbat Gula is a grave injustice. For decades, she was known as the world’s most famous refugee and seen as a symbol of Pakistan’s status as a generous host. Now, by sending her back to a country she hasn’t seen in a generation and her children have never known, her plight has become emblematic of Pakistan’s cruel treatment of Afghan refugees.

    “By forcing Afghan refugees to return across the border into the arms of an increasingly deadly conflict, Pakistan is in breach of the principle of non-refoulement. It is putting the lives of vulnerable people at risk of serious human rights abuses.”

    Background

    Sharbat Gula is poised to be deported to Afghanistan after serving a 15-day jail sentence and paying a fine, a special anti-corruption and immigration court in Peshawar ruled today.

    November 03, 2016

    Decades of unchecked resource development and government policy failures have strained the social fabric of communities in northeast British Columbia (BC), Canada, and have put the lives and safety of Indigenous women and girls at great risk, Amnesty International said in a new report.

    The report, Out of Sight, Out of Mind, demonstrates how resource development in northeast BC has eroded the land base that provides the foundation for First Nations and Métis health and wellness in the region, while influxes of transient workers have driven up local prices for essentials such as housing. Increased rates of violent crime and diminished access to social services have placed Indigenous women and girls at increased risk of harm, while denying them the protections and support they need. Northeast BC has one of the highest violent crime rates in Canada.

    November 03, 2016

    While yesterday’s surprise sealing of Amnesty International’s long-term office by Moscow city authorities will hamper day-to-day work, its staff will continue to stand up against human rights violations and abuses committed in Russia and abroad, the organization said.

    Attempts to resolve the issue have so far been stonewalled by municipal authorities, who falsely claimed that Amnesty International was in arrears on its rent, and terminated the organization’s lease in a clear abuse of process.

    “If the authorities remain unwilling to solve this issue, it will soon start to look ominously like a deliberate move to obstruct our work to defend human rights in Russia. It is becoming increasingly difficult not to see this incident through the prism of the wider crackdown on Russian civil society,” said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Europe and Central Asia Director.

    November 02, 2016

    Released 00:01 GMT 3 November 2016

     

    The European Union’s pressure on Italy to “get tough” on refugees and migrants has led to unlawful expulsions and ill-treatment which in some cases may amount to torture, a new report from Amnesty International revealed today.

    Beatings, electric shocks and sexual humiliation are among the numerous allegations of abuse documented in Hotspot Italy: How EU’s flagship approach leads to violations of refugee and migrant rights. The report demonstrates how the EU-sponsored ‘hotspot approach’ for processing refugees and migrants at the point of arrival is not only undermining their right to claim asylum but has fuelled appalling abuse.

    “In their determination to reduce the onward movement of refugees and migrants to other member states, EU leaders have driven the Italian authorities to the limits – and beyond – of what is legal,” said Matteo de Bellis, Amnesty International’s Researcher on Italy. 

    November 02, 2016

    Militia fighters from the Sab’awi tribe have unlawfully detained, publicly humiliated and tortured or otherwise ill-treated men and boys in villages south-east of Mosul that were recaptured from the armed group calling itself the Islamic State (IS) in recent days, said Amnesty International.

    The organization’s researchers on the ground in Iraq interviewed local officials and eyewitnesses including villagers who described how members of the Sab’awi Tribal Mobilization militia (Hashd al-‘Ashairi) carried out punitive revenge attacks. Residents suspected of having ties to IS were beaten with metal rods and given electric shocks. Some were tied to the bonnets of vehicles and paraded through the streets or placed in cages.

    “There is strong evidence that Sab’awi tribal militia members have committed crimes under international law by torturing and otherwise ill-treating residents in Qati’ al Sab’awiin in revenge for crimes committed by IS,” said Lynn Maalouf, Deputy Director for Research at Amnesty International’s Beirut regional office.

    November 02, 2016

    Staff at Amnesty International’s Moscow Office arrived at work this morning to find their office unexpectedly sealed with a notice from municipal authorities warning people not to enter. In response to this development, John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Europe Director, said:

    “We do not know what prompted Moscow authorities to prevent our staff from accessing our offices – an unwelcome surprise for which we received no prior warning.

    “Given the current climate for civil society work in Russia, there are clearly any number of plausible explanations, but it’s too early to draw any conclusions. We are working to resolve the situation as swiftly as possible and very much hope there is a simple administrative explanation for this setback to our work.

    “We are 100% confident that we fulfilled all our obligations as tenants.”

    November 01, 2016

    Russian authorities must immediately and unconditionally release Ildar Dadin, a peaceful street protester convicted for participation in “unauthorized” assemblies, and investigate his allegations of torture, Amnesty International said today. Ildar Dadin’s letter from prison was published by Meduza online newspaper on Tuesday.

    “Ildar Dadin’s allegations of beatings, humiliation and rape threats are shocking, but unfortunately they are just the latest in a string of credible reports indicating that torture and other ill treatment are being widely used in the Russian penal system with impunity, with the aim of silencing any form of dissent,” said Sergei Nikitin, Director of Amnesty International Russia.

    “We are urging Russian authorities to end the pattern of impunity for torture and other ill treatment and investigate Ildar Dadin’s appalling allegations. They must also immediately and unconditionally release Ildar Dadin, and provide him with full remedy for the injustice done to him. No one should be in jail for peacefully expressing their opinion.”

    October 31, 2016

    As tensions escalate at the site of a disputed pipeline close to the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota, Amnesty International USA (AIUSA) has sent a delegation of human rights observers to monitor the response of law enforcement to protests by Indigenous communities.

    AIUSA also has sent a letter to the Morton County Sheriff’s Department expressing concern about the degree of force used against the protests. The organization will also call on the Department of Justice to investigate police practices.

    Arrests of protesters, who call themselves water protectors, have increased in recent weeks and law enforcement has employed a more militarized response to protests and encampments near the construction site of the Dakota Access Pipeline. The local Indigenous communities say the pipeline endangers their water supply and desecrates sacred land. This week, arrests have occurred at a camp that was recently established on federally-recognized private land near the construction site.

    October 31, 2016

    Pakistan’s authorities must immediately and unconditionally release hundreds of opposition activists, lift restrictions on their movement and take all appropriate measures to ensure that people are allowed to exercise their right to peaceful assembly, Amnesty International said today.

    The organization’s calls come as Pakistan’s authorities have intensified their crackdown on supporters of Imran Khan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf party, including by using unnecessary and excessive force. The police fired tear gas and rubber bullets against protesters and detained hundreds in indiscriminate and arbitrary mass arrests.

    Amnesty International has received credible reports that hundreds of people have been arrested under Section 144 of the Penal Code, a draconian colonial-era law that forbids the gathering of more than four people, and represents an undue restriction on the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.

    October 31, 2016

    In response to this morning’s detention of 11 journalists and staff from Cumhuriyet newspaper and the shutting down of 15 media outlets over the weekend, Amnesty International’s Europe Director, John Dalhuisen, said:

    “Today’s detention of journalists and staff from Turkey’s only remaining mainstream opposition newspaper is part of an ongoing systematic attempt to silence all critical voices. Together with the shutting down of media houses over the weekend, this is the latest wave in a post-coup purge which has turned Turkey’s once vibrant media landscape into a wasteland.”

    “The blatant misuse of emergency powers to shut down media houses must stop and more than 130 journalists currently in pre-trial detention must be immediately released.” 

    October 31, 2016

    The fierce offensive on western Aleppo city launched by armed opposition groups on 28 October has been marked by indiscriminate attacks on civilian areas that cannot be justified as a way to break the relentless siege that has sparked a humanitarian crisis in eastern Aleppo, Amnesty International said.

    Up to 48 people including 17 children have been killed in civilian areas of government-controlled western Aleppo since the offensive began, according to the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights. 

    “The goal of breaking the siege on eastern Aleppo does not give armed opposition groups a license to flout the rules of international humanitarian law by bombarding civilian neighbourhoods in government-held areas without distinction,” said Samah Hadid, Deputy Director for Campaigns at Amnesty International’s Beirut regional office.

    October 28, 2016

    Authorities in Côte d’Ivoire must stop targeting opposition members by curtailing their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, Amnesty International said ahead of Sunday’s referendum on constitutional changes.

    On 20 October, at least 50 opposition members were arbitrarily arrested at a peaceful protest and detained for hours in moving police vehicles. Some of them were dropped in several places in the main city Abidjan, others around 100 km away from their homes and forced to walk back in a practice known as “mobile detention”.

    “This form of inhumane treatment is at odds with international and regional human rights law and standards. Whether people campaign ‘yes’ or ‘no’ for the referendum, everyone, including opposition members, has the right to peacefully express their opinion and to have their dignity respected at all times. Members of the security forces responsible for this must be identified and held to account,” said Gaëtan Mootoo, Amnesty International’s West Africa researcher.   

    October 28, 2016

    The South Korean government must withdraw proposed rules that would increase the penalty for doctors who perform illegal abortions, said Amnesty International, ahead of mass demonstrations planned by women’s rights groups on 29 October.

    On 23 September, the Ministry of Health and Welfare announced a revision of a rule on “inappropriate medical practices” that could increase the penalty for doctors performing illegal abortions from the current one-month suspension of business to a possible maximum of 12 months.

    “This proposal, if enacted, would only perpetuate the existing criminalization of abortion in South Korea and is an obvious regression in the fight for women’s and girls’ sexual and reproductive rights. Decisions about their bodies and health should be made by the women and girls’ themselves, in consultation with their doctors, and not by politicians or officials,” said Roseann Rife, East Asia Research Director at Amnesty International.

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