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    October 20, 2017

    More countries need to step up and pledge their support for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh amid an unprecedented humanitarian crisis, Amnesty International said today.

    The meeting of high-level representatives of donor countries at the UN’s office in Geneva on Monday must include pledges of new money, including from countries in the region, to support rising numbers of Rohingya refugees who have sought shelter in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar district.

    The recent influx estimated to be nearly 600,000 people has brought the total Rohingya refugee community in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar district to more than 800,000.

    “This is an unprecedented crisis that needs an immediate and sustained response from the international community. This means that more countries, particularly those from the region, need to play a much bigger role and share the burden of responsibility. Bangladesh, a poor country which has shown extraordinary generosity, cannot be left to deal with this situation alone,” said Omar Waraich, Deputy South Asia Director at Amnesty International.

    October 19, 2017

    On 20 October Amnesty International will launch a new briefing at the UN General Assembly, setting out measures to bring the use and transfer of armed drones in line with international human rights and humanitarian law.

    The briefing, Key principles on the use and transfer of armed drones, has been developed in response to the rapid proliferation of armed drones, and their use in extrajudicial executions and other unlawful killings around the world.

    “The past few years have seen an alarming growth in the use of armed drones by states including the USA and the UK, yet the circumstances in which they are deployed remain shrouded in secrecy,” said Rasha Abdul Rahim, Arms Control Campaigner at Amnesty International.

    “What we do know is that their use has created a situation in which the whole world can be treated as a battlefield, and virtually anyone can count as collateral damage. Armed drones have been used to carry out unlawful killings with minimal oversight and accountability, and with devastating consequences for civilians in countries like Yemen and Afghanistan.

    October 19, 2017

    The Egyptian authorities must immediately and unconditionally release the journalist and human rights defender, Hisham Gaafar, who will complete two years in arbitrary pre-trial detention on 21 October, Amnesty International said. He is being held in inhumane conditions and prolonged solitary confinement causing his health to deteriorate seriously.

    Security forces arrested Hisham Gaafar on trumped up charges in October 2015. Since then, a judicial panel has repeatedly renewed his pre-trial detention without examining the scant evidence prosecutors have presented against him.

    “It is disgraceful that Hisham Gaafar has been forced to spend two years behind bars. His arbitrary and prolonged pre-trial detention is another shameful illustration of how Egypt’s judiciary is abusing the criminal justice system to punish peaceful critics and dissidents,” said Najia Bounaim, North Africa Campaigns Director at Amnesty International.

    October 18, 2017

    The Russian authorities must abolish their absurd “homosexual propaganda law” and end persecution of human rights activists, said Amnesty International after a female activist was heavily fined for posting links to LGBTI-related stories on social media.

    Evdokia Romanova was today found guilty of the administrative offence of “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships among minors using the Internet” and fined 50,000 roubles (USD $870) by a court in Samara. The accusations against her related to links she shared on Facebook in 2015 and 2016, including a Guardian story on Ireland’s same sex marriage referendum and a Buzzfeed article about an LGBTI exhibition in St Petersburg.

    “The absurd accusations against Evdokia Romanova are a sad illustration of the desperate circumstances currently faced by activists working on LGBTI issues in Russia. Even the simple freedom to share an online story with friends is now limited by legislation that is blatantly discriminatory and homophobic,” said Denis Krivosheev, Deputy Director for Europe and Central Asia at Amnesty International.

    October 18, 2017
    European Parliament President calls for release of Amnesty Turkey Director Spokespeople available

    Ahead of the 19-20 October European Council meeting, which is expected to issue conclusions on Turkey, Iverna McGowan, Director of Amnesty International’s European Institutions Office, said:

    “EU leaders must publicly condemn the brutal and protracted crackdown on human rights defenders and journalists in Turkey, and stand firmly on the side of human rights. They must call for the immediate and unconditional release of all those wrongfully imprisoned in Turkey, including our colleagues.”

    Amnesty International yesterday held a birthday party for its Turkey Director Idil Eser in the European Parliament. This was joined by a number of MEPs, including the Chair of the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights Antonio Panzeri and the European Parliament President Antonio Tajani who both called for her release.

    October 18, 2017

    NEW YORK – Following a federal judge’s decision to block the Trump administration from implementing the latest travel ban, Naureen Shah, Amnesty International USA senior director of campaigns, released the following statement:

    “This ruling will provide hope to thousands of people across the world. It’s a blow to the Trump administration’s attempts to tear families apart and block people fleeing horrific violence from gaining safety. This cruel and bigoted ban remains as senseless as ever. President Trump cannot continue to demonize people based on where they come from or how they worship. The Trump administration must end this legal battle and abandon the Muslim ban.”

    Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning global movement of more than 7 million people who campaign for a world where human rights are enjoyed by all. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.

    October 18, 2017

    On 16 October, a judge of the Audiencia Nacional ordered the pre-trial detention of Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Cuixart, the presidents, respectively, of the pro-Catalan independence organisations the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) and Omnium Cultural. They have been charged with sedition under article 544 of the Spanish Criminal Code in connection with protests they organized in Barcelona on 20 and 21 September. The protests opposed and sought to obstruct an operation conducted by law enforcement and judicial authorities in several governmental buildings to prevent the organization of the referendum on the independence of Catalonia on 1 October.

    The police and judicial operation conducted on 20 and 21 September was based on a judicial order issued by a court in Barcelona and involved the searches of several official governmental buildings. On 7 September, the Constitutional Court had ruled that the referendum was illegal and against the Spanish Constitution.

    October 18, 2017

    The civil engineering company Canstruct International Pty Ltd (‘Canstruct’) has taken on a toxic contract to run facilities on Nauru where the Australian government has trapped refugees in a system that amounts to torture, Amnesty International said today.

    Canstruct, an Australian family-run company, has signed a contract to run refugee processing centres on the island, where hundreds of people have been forcibly transferred after trying to seek asylum in Australia. Australian officials have admitted this system is intentionally harsh.

    “What is so deeply shocking is that Canstruct has taken on this contract despite a mountain of evidence which shows that Australia’s whole offshore processing system is inherently abusive,” said Audrey Gaughran, Amnesty International’s Director of Global Issues.

    “The company will provide the very services that sustain a system that keeps women, men and children trapped in a cycle of cruelty and desperation.”

    October 17, 2017
    View visual summary of the report (Warning: this link contains distressing images and details) Donate

    More than 530,000 Rohingya men, women and children have fled northern Rakhine State in terror in a matter of weeks amid the Myanmar security forces’ targeted campaign of widespread and systematic murder, rape and burning, Amnesty International said today in its most detailed analysis yet of the ongoing crisis.

    ‘My World Is Finished’: Rohingya Targeted in Crimes against Humanity in Myanmar describes how Myanmar’s security forces are carrying out a systematic, organized and ruthless campaign of violence against the Rohingya population as a whole in northern Rakhine State, after a Rohingya armed group attacked around 30 security posts on 25 August.

    October 17, 2017

    Baseless allegations against 11 human rights defenders, including Amnesty International’s Turkey director and chair, should have been rejected in their entirety, said Amnesty International after an Istanbul court accepted the indictment today.

    “This indictment fails to provide a shred of incriminating evidence to substantiate the trumped up terrorism charges it contains. In accepting this indictment the Istanbul Court has missed a golden opportunity to bring this grotesque miscarriage of justice to a halt,” said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Europe Director.

    “This is politically motivated prosecution aimed at silencing the work of some of Turkey’s most prominent human rights defenders. It beggars belief that anyone who has read the fantastical allegations laid out in the indictment could see it in any other way.”

    For more information or to arrange an interview contact Elizabeth Berton-Hunter, Media Relations 416-363-9933 ext 332 bberton-hunter@amnesty.ca

    October 17, 2017

    Ottawa -- Days after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s state visit to Mexico, nine leading Mexican human rights experts are in Ottawa to seek strengthened Canadian support for their efforts to address an acute and worsening human rights crisis in Mexico.

    While Canada has been vocal in its support for the victims of two severe earthquakes that hit Mexico in September, the visiting Mexican human rights experts want Canada to respond with even greater attention to the hundreds of thousands of victims of an acute human rights emergency that worsens with each day.

    October 16, 2017

    Authorities Should Rein in Law Enforcement for Repeat Election



    (Nairobi, October 16, 2017) – Kenyan police killed at least 33 people, possibly as many as 50, and injured hundreds more in some parts of Nairobi, the capital, in response to protests following the August 8, 2017 elections, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said in a joint report released today.



    The 37-page report, “‘Kill Those Criminals’: Security Forces’ Violations in Kenya’s August 2017 Elections,” documents excessive use of force by police, and in some cases other security agents, against protesters and residents in some of Nairobi’s opposition strongholds after the elections.



    Researchers found that although police behaved appropriately in some instances, in many others they shot or beat protesters to death. Other victims died of asphyxiation from inhaling teargas and pepper spray, from being hit by teargas canisters fired at close range, or from being trampled to death by fleeing crowds.



    October 13, 2017

    Groups Warn Bill c-47 IS INCOMPLETE AND DOES NOT COVER THE Majority of CanadIAN Arms ExportS

    Canada’s welcome commitment to accede to the global Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) risks being fundamentally undermined by troubling shortcomings in the federal government’s proposed approach to implementation, warns a group of ten human rights, arms control and disarmament organizations in a briefing paper submitted to Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development.

    October 13, 2017

    HUMAN RIGHTS AND ARMS CONTROL GROUPS TO CALL FOR CHANGES TO BILL C-47

    Ottawa – On October 16th, a group of human rights, arms control and disarmament groups will host a press conference on Parliament Hill calling on the government to make changes to Bill C-47, legislation tabled by the government in May 2017 in order to prepare Canada for accession to the global Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). In its current form, Bill C-47 would fall significantly short of Canada’s ATT treaty obligations towards arms exports. We have therefore submitted to the government a policy paper, to be released publicly at the press conference, outlining 10 key areas where Canada’s proposed approach to ATT accession raises serious concerns. The organizations endorsing the policy paper include Amnesty International Canada (English Branch), Amnistie internationale Canada francophone, Project Ploughshares, Oxfam-Canada, Oxfam-Québec, the Rideau Institute, Group of 78, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East, World Federalist Movement-Canada and the Human Rights and Research Education Centre at the University of Ottawa.

    October 13, 2017

    The Iranian authorities must urgently stop the execution of a 17-year-old boy who was convicted of murder and rape, and commute his death sentence to imprisonment, said Amnesty International.

    Amirhossein Pourjafar is scheduled to be executed in a prison in Tehran on 19 October 2017. He was detained in April 2016 and sentenced to death six months later after being convicted of the rape and murder of a seven-year-old girl, Setayesh Ghoreyshi, from Iran’s marginalized Afghan community.

    “There is no question that this was a horrific crime and the perpetrator should be held accountable. Amnesty International supports the demands for justice voiced by Setayesh’s bereaved family and the wider Afghan community in Iran, but executing a 17-year-old boy is not justice,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International.

    “The use of the death penalty against people convicted of crimes committed while they were under 18 is absolutely prohibited by international human rights law. If Iran goes ahead with the execution next week it will be another appalling breach of its international obligations.”

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