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    January 29, 2018


    The territorial control strategy advanced by the Gaitanistas Self-Defence Forces of Colombia (Autodefensas Gaitanistas de Colombia, AGC) and the National Liberation Army (Ejército de Liberación Nacional, ELN) in territories previously controlled by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Revolucionarias Armadas de Colombia, FARC) in Chocó puts these communities at imminent risk of human rights violations once again. State action must be emphatic to ensure that the human rights of people in Chocó be respected, said Amnesty International.


    January 29, 2018

    DUBLIN, 29 January 2018 – Amnesty International has welcomed the government’s decision at today’s Cabinet meeting to schedule a referendum on the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution. The Cabinet decided wording that effectively repeals the Eighth Amendment. It adopted the Attorney General’s recommendation that an enabling clause be inserted to provide greater legal certainty for the Oireachtas to legislate for termination of pregnancy. It was agreed that the Minister for Health will prepare legislation in line with the Joint Oireachtas Committee’s recommendations on abortion access, which includes a 12-week ‘on request’ period for abortion access.

    “We are heartened at today’s government backing for legislation framed around a 12-week ‘on request’ model for abortion access, with later gestational limits in specific circumstances. This is a further sign of real political will to put women’s and girls’ bodily autonomy firmly at the centre of abortion law reform. We further welcome the Taoiseach’s personal endorsement of this legislative model as the best way to ensure effective access to this healthcare.

    January 29, 2018

    Reacting to the Indonesian police’s arrest of 12 transgender people in North Aceh on 27 January, while forcefully cutting their hair to “make them masculine” and shutting down beauty salons where they work, Amnesty International Indonesia’s Executive Director Usman Hamid said:

    “The latest raids on beauty salons are just the latest example of the authorities arbitrarily targeting transgender people simply for who they are. Despite them having committed no crime, Aceh has become an increasingly hostile place for LGBTI people.

    “Cutting the hair of those arrested to ‘make them masculine’ and forcing them to dress like men are forms of public shaming and amount to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, in contravention of Indonesia’s international obligations. This is part of a long-standing pattern of harassing and discriminating against LGBTI people in the region that must stop immediately.”

    The police released all the transgender people on 28 January without any charges. The local police chief told media that they detained the transgender people for an “education” program in order to make them “normal” men.

    January 26, 2018

    Reacting to today’s verdict sentencing two environmental activists affiliated with the NGO Mother Nature to prison for one year plus fines, James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Southeast Asia and Pacific Director, said:

    “This is a farcical sentence that must be overturned immediately. The two Mother Nature activists have done nothing but peacefully campaigned for the protection of Cambodia’s environment and should have never been charged in the first place. Instead of going after the messenger, the authorities should do more to curb the illegal trade in natural resources that Hun Vannak and Doem Kundy activists were trying to expose.

    “Today’s ruling is yet more evidence of the politicised nature of Cambodia’s courts. Far from seeking justice and fairness, they too often act as an arm of the government to harass, intimidate and imprison human rights activists.

    “The backslide on human rights in Cambodia over the past year has been alarming. Unless the world wakes up and acts to demand change, space for peaceful activism and expression will shrink further as the government tightens its grip ahead of elections due this July.”

    January 26, 2018

    Responding to reports that at least 30 Somali and Ethiopian refugees and migrants drowned after leaving the coast of south-western Yemen to flee back to Africa, Lynn Maalouf, Director of Research for the Middle East at Amnesty International, said:

    “This heart-breaking tragedy underscores, yet again, just how devastating Yemen’s conflict continues to be for civilians. Amid ongoing hostilities and crushing restrictions imposed by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition, many people who came to Yemen to flee conflict and repression elsewhere are now being forced yet again to flee in search of safety. Some are dying in the process.

    January 26, 2018

    Responding to news that an asylum-seeker being treated at a hospital in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea (PNG), for a serious medical condition, has been restrained for three days and is being force-fed by hospital staff after he went on hunger strike for 20 days, Kate Schuetze, Amnesty International’s Pacific Researcher said:

    “Forcing medical treatment and feeding a patient without his consent, unless it is medically necessary, may violate the right to health and the right to be protected from torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. He has gone on hunger strike to protest the poor medical treatment he has received in PNG and his need for further medical treatment, which cannot be provided in the country.

    “The Papua New Guinea and Australian authorities must address the underlying concerns raised by the asylum-seeker, and must transfer him to a hospital in Australia where he can receive the appropriate treatment he urgently needs.”


    January 25, 2018

    Responding to reports that yesterday Mahmoud al-Werfalli, former Field Commander of the Special Forces Brigade (Al-Saiqa) affiliated to the Libyan National Army (LNA) and a war crimes suspect wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC), extrajudicially executed 10 people in Benghazi, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Director, Heba Morayef, said:

    “The video currently circulating on social media appears to be a demonstration of the horrifying consequences of the rampant impunity that exists in Libya. As long as indicted war crimes suspects feel they can carry on committing grave violations without facing justice, the prospects for establishing rule of law in Libya will remain grim.”

    “The onus is now on the General Commander of the Libyan National Army, Khalifa Hafter and the Libyan authorities to ensure that Mahmoud al-Werfalli is handed to the ICC, making it clear that those who commit war crimes and other serious violations will be brought to justice.”


    January 25, 2018

    Responding to the sentencing today of two prominent human rights activists Mohammad al-Otaibi and Abdullah al-Attawi by the Specialized Criminal Court (SCC) in Riyadh to 14 and seven years in prison respectively, Samah Hadid, Director of Campaigns for the Middle-East at Amnesty International said:

    “The harsh sentencing of Mohammad al-Otaibi and Abdullah al-Attawi, who should never have been prosecuted in the first place, confirms our fears that the new leadership of Mohamed Bin Salman is determined to silence civil society and human rights defenders in the Kingdom.

    “The crackdown on members of the human rights community has continued unabated, with almost all the country’s most prominent human rights defenders now behind bars. These actions, under the leadership of Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salman, fly in the face of his recently declared ambitions to modernize the Kingdom.

    “If Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman is truly intent on bringing reforms to Saudi Arabia, he must ensure the immediate and unconditional release of all prisoners of conscience, including human rights defenders, detained solely for peacefully exercising their human rights.”

    January 25, 2018
    The hearing due to be held tomorrow morning, 26 January, is a historic opportunity for Peru to put an end to the impunity created by President Kuczynski's decision to grant Alberto Fujimori grace, thereby violating the right of the victims of the Pativilca massacre to truth, justice and reparation, Amnesty International said today.   On 26 January Court B of the National Criminal Court will rule on the application of the grace granted to Alberto Fujimori in relation to the proceedings brought against him for the murder of six campesinos (peasant farmers) in the town of Pativilca on 29 January 1992, considered crimes against humanity. If applied, the grace would put an end to the criminal proceedings against him, perpetuating impunity and preventing the truth from being uncovered.   "The decision the judges make affects not only the rights of the victims, but the right of all Peruvians to know the truth about the crimes against humanity that occurred in Pativilca", said Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.
    January 24, 2018

    Reveal Fate, Whereabouts of Dong Samuel Luak, Aggrey Idri

    (Nairobi, January 24, 2018) – South Sudanese authorities have failed to investigate the enforced disappearance in Nairobi of two South Sudanese men one year ago, and hold those responsible to account, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said today. Kenyan authorities should also step up their ongoing investigation into the enforced disappearances.

    Dong Samuel Luak, a well-respected South Sudanese human rights lawyer and activist, and Aggrey Idri, a vocal government critic and member of the opposition, disappeared off the streets of Nairobi on January 23 and 24, 2017, respectively. They are believed to have been abducted by or at the request of South Sudanese officials.

    “These two prominent men should not be allowed to simply vanish into thin air without a trace,” said Mausi Segun, Africa Director at Human Rights Watch. “Responsibility for the safety of both men lies with both South Sudan and Kenya, yet neither is making real efforts to solve their disappearance.”

    January 24, 2018

    In response to today’s attack on Save the Children’s offices in Jalalabad, which has left several people dead and a number of others injured, Biraj Patnaik, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director said:

    “We stand in solidarity with our colleagues at Save the Children following this dreadful news, which comes after a wave of violence against civilians including the deadly assault at the Intercontinental Hotel.

    “It is an organisation that has worked tirelessly in Afghanistan for more than four decades, delivering outstanding work during some of the country’s most turbulent periods.

    “Bombing and shooting people who are working for no other reason than to help improve the lives of young Afghans is a cowardly and despicable act. Deliberately targeting civilians is a war crime.”

    January 23, 2018

    In a strongly worded open letter to British Columbia Premier John Horgan, Amnesty International is urging the province not to fail the Indigenous peoples of the Peace River Valley a second time. The organization characterizes the Premier’s approval and rationale for the continued construction of the Site C dam as an abdication of his government’s fundamental responsibility to uphold the human rights of all without discrimination. Now that the Prophet River and West Moberly First Nations have launched a new legal challenge to the dam, Amnesty is calling on the province to ensure that its response is consistent with BC’s human rights obligations, including by ensuring irreversible construction activities are deferred or suspended until the legal challenge is resolved.

    January 23, 2018

    Zambian authorities must immediately take steps to guarantee right to freedom of expression for artists, Amnesty International said today, after a crackdown on dissent forced a well-known musician to flee the country.

    Musician and activist Fumba Chama, also known as Pilato - left Zambia on 5 January after receiving threats over his new song Koswe Mumpoto (rat in the pot), which has been interpreted as criticising President Edgar Lungu and his ruling Patriotic Front (PF) ministers. In it, he sings that the ruling elite are behaving like rats that steal food and eat, including things that they do not need.

    “The brazen determination by some in Zambia to silence dissenting views can only spell doom for the culture of robust engagement that the country has been known for,” said Muleya Mwananyanda, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Southern Africa.

    “The right to freedom of expression must be allowed to thrive.”

    January 23, 2018

    Mexican migration authorities are routinely turning back thousands of people from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala to their countries without considering the risk to their life and security upon return, in many cases violating international and domestic law by doing so, Amnesty International said in a new report.

    Based on a survey that captured 500 experiences of Central Americans travelling through Mexico, Amnesty International found that the National Institute of Migration (INM) is systematically violating the non-refoulement principle, a binding pillar of international and Mexican law that prohibits the return of people to a real risk of persecution or other serious human rights violations. This serious failure by the Mexican government can cost, in many cases, the lives or safety of those returned to the country from which they fled. 

    January 22, 2018

    Authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) must promptly and thoroughly investigate and hold to account those suspected to be responsible for killing and injuring dozens of peaceful protesters in the capital Kinshasa on 21 January, said Amnesty International.

    Thousands of peaceful protesters rallied across the country in protests called by the Catholic Church to demand that President Joseph Kabila step down ahead of elections in December. The protesters were countered by security forces who shot live rounds at them killing at least six and injuring at least 49, according to the UN’s mission in the country.

    “This brutal response by the security forces to peaceful protests goes to show once again that repression has become the norm in the DRC, in blatant violation of the country’s constitution and its international human rights obligations,” said Jean-Mobert Senga, Amnesty International’s Researcher on the DRC.


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