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Syria

    August 17, 2016

    The horrifying experiences of detainees subjected to rampant torture and other ill-treatment in Syrian prisons are laid bare in a damning new report published by Amnesty International today which estimates that 17,723 people have died in custody in Syria since the crisis began in March 2011 – an average rate of more than 300 deaths each week.

    ‘It breaks the human’: Torture, disease and death in Syria’s prisons documents crimes against humanity committed by government forces. It retraces the experiences of thousands of detainees through the cases of 65 torture survivors who described appalling abuse and inhuman conditions in security branches operated by Syrian intelligence agencies and in Saydnaya Military Prison, on the outskirts of Damascus. Most said they had witnessed prisoners dying in custody and some described being held in cells alongside dead bodies.

    August 14, 2016

    A 10-year-old Syrian girl seriously wounded by sniper fire from a Syrian government forces checkpoint in Madaya was successfully evacuated last night for urgent surgery following international pressure, Amnesty International can confirm.

    According to the Syrian Red Crescent, Ghina Ahmad Wadi and her mother were escorted from the besieged town to Damascus overnight last night. The move follows appeals by the girl’s UK-based aunt, supported by Amnesty International and others.

    “This is clearly a very welcome move that could prove to be a lifeline for Ghina, a brave young girl who was caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. It is appalling that she was left to suffer for days on end before being granted this vital reprieve,” said Magdalena Mughrabi-Talhami, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Programme Director at Amnesty International.

    “Amnesty International has information about many other civilians in Madaya who are critically ill or injured – in some cases for up to two months – and in need of urgent medical attention immediately.

    August 12, 2016

    Amnesty International is calling for Russia, the USA and the United Nations to arrange the humanitarian evacuation of a badly-injured ten-year-old girl from the Syrian town of Madaya, which is besieged by Syrian government forces.

    The girl, Ghina Ahmad Wadi, was shot in the leg by a sniper on 2 August at the Abdel Majed checkpoint when she was on her way to buy medicine for her mother. She was shot in her left thigh, causing a complex bone fracture and a severing of a nerve. Her eight-year-old sister who was with her was also injured.

    Madaya is controlled by Syrian government forces in alliance with Hezbollah fighters, and Ghina’s family have appealed to the Syrian authorities to allow her to be evacuated to a hospital in Damascus or in Lebanon - a request which has been denied, including in the past week.

    A doctor working at a field hospital in Madaya has told Amnesty that the girl urgently needs surgery that is not available in Madaya, which has been under a tight government siege since July last year. Instead, Ghina has only been provided with sedatives - including morphine - which ease her extreme pain for only ten to 15 minutes at a time.

    August 11, 2016

    The Syrian city of Aleppo has been hit by a suspected chlorine attack, which would amount to a war crime if confirmed, and constitutes an alarming sign that Syrian government forces are intensifying their use of chemical weapons against civilians, Amnesty International said Thursday.

    The attack on a residential neighbourhood in a part of Aleppo controlled by armed groups is the third reported use of chemical weapons in northern Syria in just two weeks and has reportedly killed at least four people. Amnesty International has confirmed at least 60 others, mostly children, sought medical care after showing symptoms characteristic of a chlorine attack.

    “This attack in Aleppo is yet another flagrant violation of international humanitarian law and signals a distressing pattern in the use of chemical weapons by regime forces,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme.

    The latest attack comes as Russia announced a three-hour daily ceasefire on the city, as humanitarian aid is desperately needed in some areas.

    July 29, 2016

    An aerial attack which struck and partially destroyed a maternity hospital in rural Idlib province, north-western Syria, this afternoon appears to be part of a despicable pattern of unlawful attacks deliberately targeting medical facilities, Amnesty International said.

    The number of casualties in today’s attack is not yet clear, but a spokesperson from Save the Children, which supports the hospital, told media there were at least two fatalities. It is unclear who carried out the attack, but it was in an area under the control of armed groups where Syrian and Russian armed forces had been launching airstrikes.

    July 28, 2016

    Unfettered and impartial humanitarian assistance is urgently needed to alleviate the suffering of thousands of civilians in Aleppo city on the verge of running out of food and other essential supplies, said Amnesty International today.  

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    July 20, 2016

    A video showing the beheading of a boy by an armed opposition group in northern Syria is the latest abhorrent signal that some such groups are carrying out serious abuses with impunity, said Amnesty International.

    The video, believed to be filmed near Aleppo, shows a man standing on the back of a truck carrying out an execution-style killing of a boy. 

    “This horrific video showing the beheading of a boy suggests some members of armed groups have truly plumbed the depths of depravity. It is yet another gruesome example of the summary killing of captives, which amounts to a war crime,” said Philip Luther, Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.

    July 19, 2016

    US-led coalition forces carrying out airstrikes in Syria must redouble efforts to prevent civilian deaths and investigate possible violations of international humanitarian law, Amnesty International urged amid growing reports that scores of men, women and children were killed in their homes in al-Tukhar village, near Manbij, on 18 July.

    Since June, more than 100 civilians are reported to have been killed in suspected coalition attacks on the Manbij area of northern Syria, which has been controlled by the armed group calling itself Islamic State (IS).

    “The bombing of al-Tukhar may have resulted in the largest loss of civilian life by coalition operations in Syria. There must be a prompt, independent and transparent investigation to determine what happened, who was responsible, and how to avoid further needles loss of civilian life. Anyone responsible for violations of international humanitarian law must be brought to justice and victims and their families should receive full reparation,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, interim Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.

    July 04, 2016

    Armed groups operating in Aleppo, Idleb and surrounding areas in the north of Syria have carried out a chilling wave of abductions, torture and summary killings, said Amnesty International in a new briefing published today.

    The briefing ‘Torture was my punishment’: Abductions, torture and summary killings under armed group rule in Aleppo and Idleb, Syria offers a rare glimpse of what life is really like in areas under the control of armed opposition groups. Some of them are believed to have the support of governments such as Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the USA despite evidence that they are committing violations of international humanitarian law (the laws of war). It also sheds light on the administrative and quasi-judicial institutions set up by armed groups to govern in these areas.

    June 20, 2016
    Written by Amnesty Canada Refugee Coordinator, Gloria Nafziger @refugeescanada  Champions. Prevention. Solidarity. Rights. Empowerment

    I’m not at home, I’m a refugee. I left my rights behind.

    In the world today we need to ensure that no rights are ever left behind. 

    May 12, 2016

    The Syrian government’s refusal today to allow a sorely needed humanitarian aid convoy into the town of Daraya is a cruel reality check of the suffering of thousands of civilians besieged there since 2012, Amnesty International said.

    The cancellation of the delivery was followed by mortar shelling of Daraya by government forces, killing a father and his son and injuring at least five other civilians. The delivery would have been the first since the siege began more than three years ago but was eventually cancelled after Syrian government forces held it up for some seven hours outside Daraya. It included medical and educational items and baby milk but, critically, did not include food. 

    “Not only was the limited aid long overdue, and it excluded food, the number one need for thousands of civilians, but it was blocked and then followed by what appears to have been indiscriminate shelling, killing and injuring civilians,” said Neil Sammonds, Amnesty International’s Researcher on Syria.

    May 03, 2016

    The UN Security Council should impose targeted sanctions on all those carrying out deliberate attacks on hospitals and other war crimes, said Amnesty International as it released harrowing testimony revealing how hundreds of civilians, including children, have been killed by intensified Syrian government air strikes since 21 April.

    The organization interviewed doctors and activists in Aleppo including several who were in the al-Quds civilian hospital when it was attacked on 27 April by the Syrian government. The eyewitnesses described terrible scenes of destruction, said that the hospital was well-known and clearly marked and that the nearest military installation was over a kilometre away.

    Al-Dabeet hospital, in the Syrian government-controlled al-Mohafaza area, catering for women and children was also damaged in a rocket attack today. It is unclear where the attack came from but media reports suggest it was from an armed group. A hospital employee told Amnesty International that four women were killed and several more injured when a rocket fell outside the hospital, destroying its emergency room.

    April 22, 2016

    On April 29, 2017, the family of Syrian human rights defender and lawyer Razan Zaitouneh marked yet another birthday without her. Instead of celebrating, they are demanding justice and working to ensure that the cases of thousands of “disappeared” people are not forgotten as the Syrian conflict grinds into its sixth year with no end in sight.

    On December 9, 2013, Razan, her husband Wael Hamada and their colleagues Samira Khalil and Nazem Hamadi – collectively known as the “Duma Four” – were abducted during a raid by a group of armed men on the offices of the VDC in Duma, near Damascus. They have not been seen since.

    Like many other human rights activists perceived by the government to be involved in pro-reform protests, Razan Zaitouneh was forced into hiding in 2011 after receiving threats from the Syrian authorities. In the last few months before her abduction, she received threats from at least one armed opposition group in the Eastern Ghouta area. 

    April 18, 2016

    Posted at 0001hrs  GMT   19 April 2016

    The terrifying reality of the Syrian government’s relentless barrel bombing of the besieged city of Daraya, outside Damascus, is made brutally clear in a new video released by Amnesty International today amid the latest round of peace talks in Geneva.

    Warning: Video contains graphic content

    The organization hopes the harrowing eyewitness footage will spur the international community to re-double its demands on the Syrian government to grant immediate lifesaving humanitarian access to Daraya and all areas still under siege.

    Although no barrel bombs have been dropped on Daraya since the partial “cessation of hostilities” came into effect on 26 February, there have been attacks with other weaponry and thousands of civilians who remain in the city continue to suffer from severe food and medical shortages and no electricity.

    March 25, 2016

     

    A poison pen letter has been circulating through e-mail and social media for several years now, which falsely claims that refugees receive significantly more income assistance than Canadian pensioners.  Readers of the missive are invited to share the author’s outrage.  But the provocative claims have been disproven by the Government of Canada and by the Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR).

     

    For example, the Cholokian family will not receive any government assistance from Canada or from their new home province, British Columbia. They came to Canada as privately sponsored refugees.  Mania, her spouse Asved, and their two sons arrived on December 31, 2015.  The family fled Syria because of escalating violence and spent three years as refugees in Lebanon.

     

    “Refugees come to Canada in different ways, but no matter the category, refugees receive very limited income assistance from the government,” states the CCR.  So here are the facts:

     

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