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    November 24, 2016

    The Nigerian security forces, led by the military, embarked on a chilling campaign of extrajudicial executions and violence resulting in the deaths of at least 150 peaceful pro-Biafra protesters in the south east of the country, according to an investigation by Amnesty International published today.

    Analysis of 87 videos, 122 photographs and 146 eye witness testimonies relating to demonstrations and other gatherings between August 2015 and August 2016 consistently shows that the military fired live ammunition with little or no warning to disperse crowds. It also finds evidence of mass extrajudicial executions by security forces, including at least 60 people shot dead in the space of two days in connection with events to mark Biafra Remembrance Day.

    “This deadly repression of pro-Biafra activists is further stoking tensions in the south east of Nigeria. This reckless and trigger-happy approach to crowd control has caused at least 150 deaths and we fear the actual total might be far higher,” said Makmid Kamara, Interim Director of Amnesty International Nigeria.

    November 23, 2016

    Jamaican authorities and local police are promoting a culture of fear amongst women and their families in marginalized communities to cover up thousands of alleged unlawful police killings amid systematic injustice, Amnesty International said in a new report today.

    Waiting in vain: Unlawful police killings and relatives’ long struggle for justice explores the catalogue of illegal tactics used by police across Jamaica to ensure relatives of victims of unlawful killings by the police do not pursue justice, truth and reparation for their loved ones. This includes systematic intimidation, harassment and threats against relatives at home, work, hospitals, and even during funerals.

    “Jamaica’s shocking culture of fear and violence is allowing police officers to get away with hundreds of unlawful killings every year. Shocking injustice is the norm,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International. 

    November 23, 2016

    Anti-Huthi forces in Yemen’s southern city of Ta’iz are leading a campaign of harassment and intimidation against hospital staff and are endangering civilians by stationing fighters and military positions near medical facilities, said Amnesty International today.

    During a visit to Ta’iz earlier this month, the organization’s researchers interviewed 15 doctors, and other hospital staff, who described how members of anti-Huthi armed forces regularly harassed, detained or even threatened to kill them over the past six months.

    “There is compelling evidence to suggest that anti-Huthi forces have waged a campaign of fear and intimidation against medical professionals in Ta’iz. By positioning fighters and military positions near medical facilities they have compromised the safety of hospitals and flouted their obligation to protect civilians under international law,” said Philip Luther, Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

    November 23, 2016

    Ahead of a visit to Moscow by the incoming United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, on 24 and 25 November, Jane Connors, Amnesty International’s Director of International Advocacy said:

    “The incoming Secretary-General must ensure the UN system intensifies its scrutiny of Russia’s responsibility for violations of international law in the conflict in Syria.

    “António Guterres must use this visit to press the Russian authorities to end unlawful attacks in Syria – including the pattern of airstrikes that appear deliberately to target hospitals and medical facilities in flagrant violation of international humanitarian law. He also must call on the Russian authorities to stop assisting Syrian government forces and their allies to commit war crimes and crimes against humanity.

    “Russia should use its influence to ensure Syrian authorities end unlawful attacks on civilians, release arbitrarily detained people, end the use of torture and enforced disappearance and allow unfettered humanitarian access.

    November 22, 2016

    Israeli authorities must drop all charges against Palestinian human rights defender Issa Amro, who is facing prison time for his internationally recognized peaceful activism against Israel’s illegal settlements in the city of Hebron, Amnesty International said today.

    Issa Amro’s trial is due to begin on 23 November at Ofer Military Court in the occupied West Bank.

    “The deluge of charges against Issa Amro does not stand up to any scrutiny. In their determination to silence him and stifle his human rights work, the Israeli authorities have apparently even reopened a closed case file. If he is convicted we will consider Issa Amro a prisoner of conscience,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

    “As well as dropping the baseless and politically motivated charges against Issa Amro, the Israeli authorities should investigate his allegations of beatings in custody, and the physical and verbal abuse hurled at him by settlers, the army and the police. People who speak out about human rights abuses should be protected, not assaulted and harassed.”

    November 21, 2016

    Five years after Bahrain’s 2011 uprising, which saw peaceful protesters beaten, shot, and killed in the streets, key reforms introduced to address human rights violations by the security forces have yet to deliver justice to the vast majority of victims and their families, said Amnesty International in a new report published today.

    The report, Window-dressing or pioneers of change? An assessment of Bahrain’s human rights oversight bodies, exposes serious shortcomings in two UK-supported institutions that have been repeatedly trumpeted by the Bahraini and British authorities as evidence of the country’s human rights progress. 

    November 18, 2016

    Rising tensions in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are being stoked by crackdowns on freedom of expression and peaceful protests, posing a deadly risk of further violence, Amnesty International said today, one month ahead of the day President Joseph Kabila’s constitutionally-mandated second term will end.

    Since anti-Kabila protests began in 2014, government security forces have killed dozens of protesters and imprisoned many others on trumped-up charges or following unfair trials. They have also introduced draconian restrictions on media houses. 

    “This powder-keg of human rights grievances is likely to blow up in more violence unless concrete measures are taken to ease tensions and allow dissenters to freely express their frustrations over the delayed elections,” said Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    November 18, 2016

    Fears are growing for the physical and mental health of Nazanin Zaghari Ratcliffe, a British-Iranian charity worker who is serving a five-year prison sentence in Iran, convicted of “national security” charges after an unfair trial, said Amnesty International today.

    Her husband, Richard Radcliffe, told the organization that her health has sharply deteriorated in recent weeks and she has even contemplated suicide. She became so unwell that the authorities arranged an emergency family visit for her today. She is suffering from heart palpitations in addition to pain in her hands, arms and shoulders and blurred vision. She also began a hunger strike on 13 November to express her despair over the prospect of never being released.

    “The news of the decline in Nazanin Zaghari Ratcliffe’s health is deeply alarming.

    Her imprisonment on spurious ‘national security’ charges has been utterly unjust,” said Philp Luther, Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

    November 18, 2016

    November 18, 2016 – The Trans Equality Canada coalition applauds the government and all parties in the House of Commons for quickly passing Bill C-16, an important step towards enshrining the equal rights of transgender individuals in Canadian law and providing protection from hate crimes. We especially commend MP Randall Garrison and Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould for their leadership in this initiative.

    As we approach the International Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20, this legislation is an important step towards upholding the human rights of individuals who are vulnerable to significantly heightened levels of discrimination and violence.

    Bill C-16 will add gender identity and gender expression to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination under the Canadian Human Rights Act. It will also add gender identity and gender expression to hate crimes sentencing provisions in the Canadian Criminal Code, providing transgender individuals with stronger protection from being deliberately targeted for acts of violence.

    November 18, 2016

    The Malaysian government must immediately end its crackdown on Bersih, a coalition of civil society groups campaigning for electoral reforms and against corruption, and allow civil society to peacefully exercise its human rights, Amnesty International said today.

    A day before a major rally, the Malaysian police raided the offices of Bersih, arresting the chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah and secretary Mandeep Singh. They also seized computers, mobile phones and documents. Activists from other sections of Malaysian civil society were also arrested.

    “These arrests are the latest in a series of crude and heavy-handed attempts to intimidate Malaysian civil society activists and other human rights defenders.  They must be released immediately and unconditionally, and tomorrow’s rally must be allowed to go ahead peacefully,” said Josef Benedict, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

    November 18, 2016
           Amnesty International ‘I Welcome’ live experiment streams on Facebook Live from Sydney, Nairobi, London and Mexico City at 19.00 local times.

    In the face of divisive rhetoric and anti-refugee hostility, refugees and local people on four different continents will come together for a unique social experiment, affirming our shared humanity, to be streamed live on Amnesty International’s global Facebook page today.

    November 18, 2016

    The release of a prominent Venezuelan opposition leader unfairly imprisoned since 2014 as punishment for his human rights work must mark a profound shift in the government’s approach to dissent and freedom of speech, said Amnesty International.

    Rosmit Mantilla, Member of Parliament, human rights activist and prisoner of conscience was released after spending more than two years in pre-trial detention at the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service facilities in Caracas.

    “Rosmit’s long awaited release is great news for human rights in Venezuela. He should have never been made to spend a second behind bars. The Venezuelan authorities must now build on this positive step and release all imprisoned activists and political leaders whose only ‘crime’ was to disagree with the government,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    Rosmit Mantilla is an activist for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people (LGBTI) and a member of the opposition party Voluntad Popular.

    November 17, 2016

    The release from prison of three women who were subjected to rape and other forms of tortured in 2011 by marines to force them to “confess” to crimes brings a glimmer of hope to hundreds of others who are held behind bars unfairly across Mexico, said Amnesty International.

    Denise Lovato, Korina Urtrera and Wendy Díaz each spent more than five years in prison. They walked out of jail in the State of Morelos this morning after a judged acquitted them and ordered their immediate release.

    “Denise, Korina and Wendy should have never been imprisoned in the first place. Their harrowing stories show the tragic state of human rights in Mexico, where security forces routinely sexually abuse women to secure ‘confessions’ in an attempt to show that they are tackling rampant organized crime,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    The stories of Denise, Korina and Wendy are featured in a recent groundbreaking Amnesty International investigation into the use of torture and other sexual violence against women in Mexico. 

    November 17, 2016

    Iran’s authorities have used crude propaganda tactics to dehumanize death penalty victims in the eyes of the public and divert attention away from the deeply flawed trials that led to their death sentences, said Amnesty International in a new report published today.

    Broadcasting injustice, boasting of mass killing highlights how the Iranian authorities embarked on a media campaign following the mass execution of 25 Sunni men accused of involvement in an armed group on 2 August 2016, by flooding state-controlled media outlets with numerous videos featuring forced “confessions” in an attempt to justify the executions.

    November 17, 2016

    In response to Pakistan’s politically motivated decision to expel more than 100 Turkish school teachers, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director Champa Patel said:

    “With 24 million Pakistani children out of school, Pakistan’s decision to expel teachers from the Pak-Turk International Schools and Colleges will only hurt Pakistan’s children.

    “What the country needs is more classrooms and more teachers, not a politically-motivated decision to purge educators at the behest of the Turkish government.”

    Background

    Pakistan has ordered more than 100 Turkish teachers from the PakTurk schools to leave the country by the end of the week.

    The order comes as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is visiting Pakistan.

    The PakTurk schools deny the Turkish government’s allegation the network is linked to Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen, currently in exile in the USA and a former ally of the ruling AK Party.

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