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    January 19, 2014

    Posted at 0001 GMT 20 January 2014

    The continued operation of the US detention camp at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, is a prime example of the USA’s double standard on human rights, Amnesty International said today, almost five years after President Barack Obama signed an executive order to close the facility.

    "On 22 January 2009, ordering the closure of Guantánamo within a year was among President Obama’s first official decisions after he came to office,” said Erika Guevara Rosas, Director of Amnesty International's Americas Program.

    “Five years later, this promise of change has become a human rights failure that threatens to haunt President Obama’s legacy, just as it has his predecessor’s."

    Twelve years after the first detainees were brought to Guantánamo, strapped down in planes like cargo, more than 150 men are still held there. Most of them are held without charge or trial.

    January 09, 2014

    Four years after the devastating earthquake which killed around 200,000 people and left some 2.3 million homeless, very little has been done to ensure the respect, protection and fulfilment of the right to adequate housing in Haiti, Amnesty International said today.

    More than 170,000 people are estimated to still be living in more than 300 displacement camps, in the majority of cases in appalling conditions with no access to essential basic services such as clean water, toilets and waste disposal. While the dire sanitation conditions leave them exposed to the risk of cholera and other diseases, the lack of solid shelters makes them vulnerable to flooding and other adverse weather conditions especially during the hurricane season.

    Although official numbers of internally-displaced persons (IDPs) have significantly gone down from the initial estimated 1.5 million in July 2010, most people who have been relocated from camps have not benefitted from durable housing solutions which ensures their right to adequate housing.

    January 09, 2014

    The French government must no allow the extradition of Kazakhstani banker and opposition figure Mukhtar Ablyazov, Amnesty International said today, shortly after a French court ruled that he should be sent to Russia or Ukraine to face fraud charges.

    “Today's decision by the French court flies in the face of the realities on the ground. Russian and Ukrainian security services collaborate routinely with the security apparatus in Kazakhstan,” said Julia Hall, Amnesty International’s expert on counter-terrorism and human rights.

    “Not only do we have fears that Ablyazov would not get a fair trial in Russia or Ukraine, there is the real danger that he will eventually end up in Kazakhstan, where he will be at risk of torture and other ill-treatment. The French authorities must not send Ablyazov to any country where he will face serious human rights violations or be forced back to Kazakhstan."

    December 18, 2013

    Posted at 0001 GMT 19 December 2013

    Torture, flogging, and summary killings are rife in secret prisons run by the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), an armed group that controls large areas of northern Syria, said Amnesty International in a briefing published today.

    ISIS, which claims to apply strict Shari’a (Islamic law) in areas it controls, has ruthlessly flouted the rights of local people. In the 18-page briefing, entitled Rule of fear: ISIS abuses in detention in northern Syria, Amnesty International identifies seven detention facilities that ISIS uses in al-Raqqa governorate and Aleppo.

    “Those abducted and detained by ISIS include children as young as eight who are held together with adults in the same cruel and inhuman conditions,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

    October 22, 2013

    In October 2012, 8-year-old Nabeela ventured out with her 68-year-old grandmother Mamana Bibi to do daily chores in their family's large, open field. Moments later, Mamana was blasted into pieces by a US drone strike that appears to have been aimed directly at her. Amnesty International did not find any evidence she was endangering anyone, let alone posing an imminent threat to the US. Yet a year has passed and the US government has not acknowledged Mamana Bibi's death, let alone provided justice or compensation for it.

    "Will I be next?," a new report from Amnesty International, finds that this killing, and several other so-called targeted killings from US drone strikes in Pakistan, may constitute extrajudicial executions or war crimes. Based on interviews with 60 survivors and eyewitnesses to these strikes, "Will I be next?" documents potentially unlawful killings and abuses, and makes recommendations to the US government for how to uphold the right to life and ensure accountability for any unlawful killings.

     

    July 26, 2013
    Still no justice one year after Nahibly camp attack

    One year ago, on 20 July 2012, Nahibly Camp, home to an estimated 2,500 internally displaced persons, near the town of Duékoué in western Côte d’Ivoire, was attacked and destroyed by a large crowd of local townspeople, Dozos - a state-supported militia of traditional hunters -, and elements of the Ivorian army. UN soldiers and police personnel posted at the camp failed or were unable to stop the attack. Local political and military officials who were present during the attack did nothing to prevent it nor to protect the internally displaced persons (IDPs), some of whom were beaten and killed. To the contrary, members of the armed forces, the Forces républicaines de Côte d’Ivoire (FRCI), arrested scores of people as they fled the camp, some of whom were then subjected to enforced disappearance and extrajudicial execution.

    June 28, 2013
    Criminalization of consensual same-sex behaviour in sub-Saharan Africa

    This report provides an analysis of the legal environment and wider context of human rights violations against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) individuals in subSaharan Africa. Recent years have seen increasing reports of people being harassed, marginalized, discriminated against and attacked because of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. This is occurring in countries whose legal systems still condone the criminalization of consensual same-sex behaviour, and in countries where the police and justice systems are failing to prevent these crimes from happening.

    June 03, 2013

    The new report Confronting a Nightmare - Disappearances in Mexico launched on June 4th, 2013, in Mexico City. The report addresses:

    Current situation of disappearances and enforced disappearances in the context of a rise in violent crime and human rights violations in the last few years Who are committing the crimes Who the victims are and the impact on families Risk for Human Right Defenders and relatives Impunity for virtually all cases What the Mexican government is doing on this What must be done For more information, please contact: Elizabeth Berton-Hunter Communications - Media Officer Amnesty International Canada 416-363-9933 ext 332
    May 22, 2013

    The Amnesty International Report 2013 documents the state of human rights during 2012.

    Human rights defenders, often themselves living in precarious situations, battled to break through the walls of silence and secrecy to challenge abusers. Through the courts, in the streets and online, they fought for their right to freedom of expression, their right to freedom from discrimination and their right to justice. Some paid a heavy price. In many countries, they faced vilification, imprisonment or violence. While governments paid lip service to their commitment to human rights, they continued to use national security and concerns about public security to justify violating those rights.

    May 16, 2013

    Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) people in Ukraine continue to face discrimination, and many are targeted for violence and abuse by public officials and members of the public.

    Amnesty International has documented several violent attacks against LGBTI people, some carried out by public officials, and some by members of the public. In some cases such attacks have resulted in death. Yet the authorities fail to investigate these crimes promptly, thoroughly, effectively and impartially, and, moreover, fuel the pervasive negative stereotypes about LGBTI people in Ukrainian society which underpin the attacks.

    Amnesty International therefore recommends that the Ukrainian government take negative stereotypes and hatred against LGBTI people on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity into account in the investigation, prosecution and sentencing of hate crimes.

    April 30, 2013
    Dissent is a dangerous undertaking in Sri Lanka.

    Following the end of the armed conflict new forms of political and social activism are beginning to emerge but intolerance of criticism is still very much the modus operandi of Sri Lankan government officials. Mounting evidence that violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, in some instances amounting to war crimes and crimes against humanity, were committed by parties to Sri Lanka’s protracted armed conflict has fuelled both domestic and international criticism of Sri Lanka’s human rights record and calls for accountability. Sri Lankan officials and those working at their behest assault, jail, abduct and even kill those who challenge their authority; to avoid the legal and political consequences of their war-time actions, they attempt to silence those who could expose the truth.

    March 20, 2013

    Reckless and illegal arms supplies from Europe, Africa and China to the warring parties in Côte d'Ivoire over the past decade continue to fuel grave human rights abuses and violent crime in the country, Amnesty International said in a detailed report launched at the United Nations headquarters.

    The 33-page report, Communities shattered by arms proliferation and abuse in Côte d’Ivoire, documents how a handful of states and a network of multinational arms traffickers supplied weapons and munitions to both sides in the conflict who committed war crimes and a range of human rights abuses including horrific violence against women and girls.

    The arms transfers took place both before and after the UN Security Council imposed an arms embargo on the country in November 2004.

    “Côte d'Ivoire provides a chilling reminder of how even a UN embargo can fail to halt arms from flowing freely to warring parties, with devastating consequences for the civilian population,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.

    February 26, 2013

    Almost two years after the end of the post-electoral crisis which resulted in almost 3,000 deaths, Côte d’Ivoire continues to be home to serious human rights violations committed against known or suspected supporters of former President Laurent Gbagbo. These violations were committed in response to an increase in armed attacks on military and strategic objectives which have created a climate of general insecurity.

    The Forces républicaines de Côte d’Ivoire (FRCI, Republican Forces of Côte d'Ivoire, the national army) and the military police were responsible for numerous human rights violations after arresting and detaining individuals outside any legal framework and often on the base of ethnic and political motivations. These exactions were made possible by the multiplication of places of detention not recognized as such where individuals suspected of attempts against state security were held incommunicado, sometimes for long periods, and in inhumane and degrading conditions. Many were tortured and some have been released against payment of a ransom.

    February 01, 2013

    An Amnesty International delegation concludes today a ten-day mission in Mali and presents below its preliminary findings. The delegation visited the towns of Ségou, Sévaré and Niono. They were also able to conduct research in the towns of Konna and Diabaly shortly after they had been retaken by the Malian and the French military forces.

    This is the fourth mission carried out by Amnesty International since the beginning of the conflict in January 2012. The organization published last year three reports highlighting serious human rights violations and abuses committed by the Malian army as well as Tuareg and Islamists armed groups

    December 19, 2012

    Canada has a strong record of accepting international obligations, including by ratifying most of the major international human rights treaties.  However, Canada’s record is less exemplary when it comes to complying with the findings and recommendations that come out of UN reviews.  Canada’s human rights record attracted considerable UN-level attention over the course of 2012.  The reviews covered a range of ongoing and very serious human rights concerns in the country. Amnesty International’s 2013 Human Rights Agenda for Canada is calling for concerted action to address this deepening concern. 

    Rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international instruments apply globally and equally to all people.  The integrity of the system depends on all countries, including Canada, living up to those obligations and being held accountable when they fail to do so.  It will require leadership.  It will require political will.  And it will require cooperation and coordination among federal, provincial and territorial governments.  But it cannot wait any longer. 

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