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    August 10, 2017

    Federal government’s failure to comply with Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruling at issue next week during United Nations review

    Federal government’s failure to comply with Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruling at issue next week during United Nations review

    Prominent Canadian child welfare and human rights organizations want the United Nations’ top body for combatting racism to take the federal government to task over its persistent failure to ensure that First Nations children have fair and equitable access to the care and support they need.

    On August 14 and 15th Canadian government officials will appear before the independent expert body that oversees compliance with the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. In past reviews, the Committee has raised concerns the disproportionately large numbers of First Nations children who are being placed in state care away from their families and cultures.

    August 10, 2017
      Following today’s execution of Alireza Tajiki, a young Iranian man who was arrested, convicted and sentenced to death as a child, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa Magdalena Mughrabi said:   “By going ahead with this execution in defiance of their obligations under international law, and despite huge public and international opposition, the Iranian authorities have again cruelly demonstrated their complete disdain for children’s rights. This shameful act marks a critical turning point for Iran, and exposes the hollowness of the authorities’ claims to have a genuine juvenile justice system.”   “Alireza Tajiki is the fourth person executed in Iran this year who was arrested as a child. His execution, which was carried out despite his allegations that he was tortured into “confessing”, consolidates a horrendous pattern that has seen Iran repeatedly send people arrested as children to the gallows, often after deeply unfair trials.  
    August 10, 2017

    Amnesty International welcomes the release of Lim Hyeon-soo to receive urgent medical treatment. The Canadian pastor and humanitarian worker has been detained in North Korea for the past two and a half years.

    He was convicted of “plotting to overthrow the government” and sentenced to life in prison with hard labour in December 2015 after spending almost one year in detention. The Canadian government has confirmed that Lim Hyeon-soo will be soon be reunited with his family in Canada. According to North Korean state media, Lim Hyeon-soo was released “on sick bail” for “humanitarian reasons”.

    He had developed a host of health problems including malnutrition, high blood pressure, arthritis, and stomach problems as a side effect of medicine that was not properly administered prior to his release. International civil society and governments have been pressuring North Korea to release Lim Hyeon-soo and to allow him to return to Canada. His release took place amid high military tensions on the Korean Peninsula, and after the death of Otto Warmbier, an American student who was previously imprisoned in North Korea and returned to the United States in a coma.

    August 09, 2017
      In response to Moscow City Court’s decision to suspend the deportation to Uzbekistan of openly gay journalist Khudoberdi Nurmatov (better known by his journalist alias Ali Feruz) but to keep him in detention while his case is reviewed by the European Court of Human Rights, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Europe and Central Asia, Denis Krivosheev, said:   “The suspension of Ali Feruz’s deportation to Uzbekistan - where he faces a real risk of persecution and torture and homosexuality is a crime - is a positive step. However, his continued detention despite his claims he has been beaten is disgraceful. He has committed absolutely no crime and it could take months or even years before a final decision by the European Court of Human Rights.”   “Ali Feruz complained that security officials beat him during transfer to the detention centre and showed bruises during today’s court hearing. The judge decided to ignore these shocking allegations.”

    August 09, 2017

    Kenyan police must not use unnecessary force in their handling of any election-related protests, said Amnesty International today amid fear and uncertainty in the country after the opposition rejected the initial publicly announced results.

    In a live press briefing this morning, opposition candidate Raila Odinga, of the National Super Alliance (NASA) coalition, alleged the electoral commission’s website had been hacked and the results manipulated in favour of the ruling Jubilee Party. He claimed the system had been hacked using the log-in details of Chris Msando, the top election body official who was found murdered on 31 July.

    Initial publicly announced results showed the incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta leading in the votes.

    August 08, 2017

    Amnesty International is calling for concrete action to improve the situation of Indigenous peoples, migrants and refugees as Canada prepares for a review before the UN Committee in the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

    Canada’s human rights record is reviewed at roughly five year intervals by the Committee on Elimination of Racial Discrimination.  In a submission to this independent, expert body, Amnesty International welcomed the substantial changes in tone under the Trudeau government and the significant initiatives already made in a number of areas. However, Amnesty International also raised very serious concerns about a persistent failure to put key human rights commitments into action and, some cases, blatant disregard the human rights protections provided in both Canadian and international law.

    August 08, 2017
      Information gathered by Amnesty International suggests that Egyptian security forces forcibly disappeared and extrajudicially executed a schoolteacher who went missing after his arrest on 9 April, in the latest evidence of a chilling pattern of unlawful killings in the country.  
    August 08, 2017
      1,000 musicians will perform all over the world for Amnesty International and Sofar Sounds’ refugee solidarity concerts on 20 September.   Amnesty International and Sofar Sounds have added new acts to perform intimate shows for the huge global refugee concert series Give a Home. Added to the line-up are Irish Blues-Rock singer Hozier, Grammy award-winning Mexican-American pop duo Jesse & Joy, world-renowned Italian composer Ludovico Einaudi, Arabic indie heavyweights Mashrou' Leila, and many more. The intimate concerts will take place in people’s homes around the world on 20 September.  
    August 02, 2017

    The Russian authorities must immediately overturn their decision to deport asylum seeker Khudoberdi Nurmatov, better known under his journalist alias Ali Feruz, to Uzbekistan, Amnesty International said today.

    “Ali Feruz is openly gay, a human rights activist and a correspondent for the independent Novaya Gazeta newspaper. This is a near-lethal combination for someone who is about to be handed over to Uzbekistan, where “sodomy” is a crime and torture is endemic,” said Denis Krivosheev, Deputy Director for Europe and Central Asia at Amnesty International.

    Ali Feruz fled from Uzbekistan in 2009 after he was arrested and tortured by the security forces in Uzbekistan and eventually came to Russia in 2011. He has repeatedly tried to claim asylum in Russia and had recently appealed the Russian immigration authorities’ refusal to grant him refugee status. In a late night court hearing yesterday, the judge found him in violation of “the rules of entry or stay in the Russian Federation by a foreign citizen” and ordered his deportation.

    August 02, 2017
      Responding to news of the execution of Syrian-Palestinian human rights activist Bassel Khartabil today, Anna Neistat, Amnesty International’s Senior Director of Research said:   “We are deeply saddened and outraged at this awful news. Bassel Khartabil will always be remembered as a symbol of courage, who peacefully fought for freedom to the very end. Our thoughts are with his family.   “Bassel Khartabil’s death is a grim reminder of the horrors that take place in Syrian prisons every day. The tens of thousands of people currently locked away inside Syrian government detention facilities face torture, ill-treatment and extra-judicial executions. These cruel acts undoubtedly amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.”  
    August 02, 2017
      Recent events in Kenya, including the chilling murder of a top electoral commission official, are creating a cloud of fear that must be properly addressed, warned Amnesty International today, ahead of next week’s election.   Chris Msando, who was in charge of the electronic voting system at the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), was found murdered three days after his family reported him missing to the police.   “This brutal murder has sent a chill down the spine of many Kenyans and raised the spectre of violence,” said Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.   “Msando’s murder is the most horrendous incident this election year, but it is not the only one with the potential to sow fear. Numerous threatening statements have been made by high-ranking officials and politicians that infringe on people’s rights to freedom of expression and to access information.”  
    August 02, 2017

    Iran’s judicial and security bodies have waged a vicious crackdown against human rights defenders since Hassan Rouhani became president in 2013, demonizing and imprisoning activists who dare to stand up for people’s rights, Amnesty International said in a new report published today.

    Caught in a web of repression: Iran’s human rights defenders under attack details how scores of human rights activists – often labelled “foreign agents” and “traitors” by state media – have been prosecuted and jailed on spurious “national security” charges, dealing a crushing blow to hopes of human rights reform raised during President Hassan Rouhani’s first election campaign. Some activists have been sentenced to more than 10 years behind bars for simple acts such as being in contact with the UN, EU or human rights organizations including Amnesty International.

    August 01, 2017
      ·         First executions in more than 60 years ·         Government seeks to divert attention from political crisis ·         Executions would violate Maldives commitments under international law   Authorities in the Maldives must halt the first executions in more than 60 years as the government seeks to divert attention from a worsening political crisis, Amnesty International said today.   The Minister of Home Affairs has announced that executions will resume “in the next few days”, leaving three men on death row who have exhausted their legal processes at imminent risk. No date for the executions has been specified.  
    August 01, 2017
      The dramatic increase in illegal use of force, scores of arbitrary detentions and the killing of at least 10 people, among other worrying attacks against the people of Venezuela recorded this weekend, confirm a consistent pattern of deteriorating human rights in the country, said Amnesty International.   “President Maduro and his government appear to be living in a parallel universe,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.   “The authorities cannot continue to ignore the tension and violence and should respond to the urgent needs of the entire population, including those who do not agree with the government.”   “The use of lethal force in Venezuela must stop immediately. The authorities must carry out impartial investigations in civil courts into all acts of violence, regardless of who is responsible. Immediate action must be taken to put an end to arbitrary detentions, killings and other serious human rights violations.”  
    July 31, 2017
      ·         Spokespeople available on the ground   Proposals to send warships to police Libyan territorial waters are a shameful attempt by the Italian authorities to circumvent their duty to rescue refugees and migrants at sea and to offer protection to those who need it, said Amnesty International, ahead of a vote in the Italian parliament tomorrow.   Under the plan up to six vessels would be deployed to support the Libyan coastguard in the interception and return of refugees and migrants to Libya, where they would face horrific abuses and human rights violations. Italian military personnel are likely to be authorized to use force against smugglers and traffickers, and the plan could also result in refugees and migrants being caught in the crossfire.   “Rather than sending ships to help save lives and offer protection to desperate refugees and migrants, Italy is planning to deploy warships to push them back to Libya,” said Amnesty International’s Europe Director John Dalhuisen.  

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