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    May 04, 2020
    Warning comes as Government plans to introduce COVID-19 tracking app Move could ‘open the door to pervasive state surveillance and privacy infringement’ - Kate Allen

    UK Government plans to introduce a COVID-19 tracing app with a potentially centralized contract tracing system are deeply concerning and may mean that people’s right to privacy could become “another casualty” of coronavirus, Amnesty International UK warned today.

    Kate Allen, Amnesty International UK Director, said:

    “We’re extremely concerned that the Government may be planning to route private data through a central database, opening the door to pervasive state surveillance and privacy infringement, with potentially discriminatory effects.

    “Ministers should instead be examining decentralized, privacy-preserving models such as those many European governments are pursuing.

    March 25, 2020

    Ahead of tomorrow’s application by Julian Assange's lawyers calling for bail on the grounds that he is in imminent danger from COVID-19 spreading through the prison population, Massimo Moratti, Amnesty International’s Europe Deputy Director of Research, said:

    “In light of the COVID-19 crisis, UK authorities should urgently consider releasing some people who are currently in detention or prison, especially those who are more at risk from the virus. Julian’s Assange’s claim of being vulnerable to COVID-19 must be rigorously examined.

    “Those with underlying medical conditions and the elderly should be immediately considered for alternatives to detention if they do not pose a threat to themselves or society, and there should be a presumption of release for people charged with a crime and awaiting trial.

    “The government should also consider amending sentencing guidelines to recommend non-custodial measures for people who have been convicted of lesser criminal offences.

    March 06, 2020

    Julian Assange is currently being held at Belmarsh, a high security prison in the UK, on the basis of a US extradition request on charges that stem directly from the publication of disclosed documents as part of his work with Wikileaks. Hearings on the case were held last week. Amnesty's Julia Hall was there as an observer. Read her reflections here.

    In this context, publication of disclosed documents mirrors the work of investigative journalists. Punishing this kind of activity can have a chilling effect on the right to freedom of expression, leading journalists to self-censor from fear of prosecution.

    February 27, 2020

    Having been in court to observe Julian Assange’s extradition hearing, Amnesty International's expert on human rights in Europe Julia Hall said:

    "This week has underscored the threat to the right to freedom of expression and access to information worldwide should Julian Assange be sent to the USA to be prosecuted under espionage charges.

    “The potential chilling effect on journalists and others who seek to reveal information in the public interest from their sources is self-evident. Journalists around the world will know that they could be charged for espionage or under terrorism laws as a threat to national security simply for exposing war crimes or other human rights violations. That would leave us all ignorant of facts and information we need to hold our governments to account for such wrongdoing.

    February 21, 2020
    Expert will be live tweeting from Woolwich Crown Court from 10am, 24 February

    Amnesty International's expert on human rights in Europe will be attending the extradition hearing of Julian Assange on Monday.

    She will be live tweeting from the hearing and will be available for interview. Amnesty International is calling on authorities in the US to drop all espionage and other related charges that Julian Assange is facing as part of the US extradition request to allow for his prompt release.  

    If these charges are not dropped, Amnesty International is calling on the UK authorities to ensure that he is not extradited to the USA where he would face a real risk of serious human rights violations.

    For more information or to arrange an interview contact  Lucy Scholey, Media Relations, Amnesty International Canada, 613-853-2142, lscholey@amnesty.ca  

    February 20, 2020
    Amnesty International launches new campaign ahead of extradition hearing Espionage charges are chilling blow to publishers and journalists

    Authorities in the US must drop all espionage and other related charges that Julian Assange is facing as part of the US extradition request to allow for his prompt release, said Amnesty International ahead of his 24 February extradition hearing.

    If these charges are not dropped, the UK authorities must ensure that Julian Assange is not extradited to the USA where he would face a real risk of serious human rights violations.

    "The US government’s unrelenting pursuit of Julian Assange for having published disclosed documents that included possible war crimes committed by the US military is nothing short of a full-scale assault on the right to freedom of expression,” said Massimo Moratti, Amnesty International’s Deputy Europe Director.

    January 13, 2020

    The UK Government is deliberately and destructively preventing child refugees from being with their families, Amnesty International UK, Refugee Council and Save the Children said in a new report today.

    The 38-page report - Without My Family - shows how the UK Government’s refugee family reunion rules - which block child refugees in the UK from being reunited with their families - are at odds with national law and a flagrant breach of international law, causing irreversible harm to children in this country.

    October 23, 2019

    Responding to the news that the bodies of 39 people have been found in a lorry container in Essex, Steve Valdez-Symonds, Amnesty International UK’s Refugee and Migrant Rights Director, said:

    “This is a heartbreaking and horrifying incident. People who are forced to take dangerous and sometimes fatal passages to reach the UK often do so because current immigration policies and practices deny them safe and legal options.

    “As the police investigation continues our thoughts remain with the families and friends of those affected by this awful tragedy.”

    October 21, 2019

    Ahead of today’s extradition hearing in the Westminster Magistrates’ Court, Massimo Moratti, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Europe, said:

    “The British authorities must acknowledge the real risks of serious human rights violations Julian Assange would face if sent to the USA and reject the extradition request. The UK must comply with the commitment it’s already made that he would not be sent anywhere he could face torture or other ill-treatment.

    “The UK must abide by its obligations under international human rights law that forbids the transfer of individuals to another country where they would face serious human rights violations. Were Julian Assange to be extradited or subjected to any other transfer to the USA, Britain would be in breach of these obligations.”

    For more information contact Lucy Scholey, Media Relations, 613-744-7667 ext 236, lscholey@amnesty.ca

    Background:

    Julian Assange: Rape allegations must be treated with utmost seriousness

    October 15, 2019

    On Monday evening, the Metropolitan Police issued a revised section 14 order saying demonstrators protesting in London after 21:00 BST could be arrested.

    Allan Hogarth, Head of Advocacy and Programmes at Amnesty International UK, said:

    “Imposing a blanket ban on Extinction Rebellion protests is an unlawful restriction on the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. Under UK and international human rights law, the Government has an obligation to facilitate the exercise of these rights. 

    “The majority of those protesting have been doing so peacefully, removing and prosecuting activists for engaging in non-violent direct action to raise their voice is deeply worrying. Overly harsh and disproportionate charges will have a chilling effect on rights.

    “This is a heavy-handed and unacceptable move by the Metropolitan Police. Certain disruption to ordinary life for protesting is natural, and it needs to be tolerated. The police must respect the rights of those peacefully protesting and ensure that the voices of those demanding action on tackling the climate crisis are allowed to be heard.”

    September 09, 2019

    The on-going uncertainty around Brexit poses serious human rights issues, Amnesty International said today.

    While Amnesty does not take a position on the Referendum result or whether the UK leaves the EU with or without a deal, the human rights organization has pinpointed serious human rights issues.

    These include a potential shortage of access to food and medicine, as well as concerns over the future of EU citizens in the UK, the right to immigration and asylum, and the future of the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland.

    Kate Allen, Amnesty International UK Director, said:

    “The reassurances from the Government to date have simply not been good enough. Deal or no deal, Brexit poses serious human rights concerns to UK residents.

    “The Government and politicians of all parties must do everything they can to ensure that the human rights of those living in the UK are protected and respected, not degraded or undermined.

    “We’re calling on the leaders of all parties to make a statement to this effect, making clear what they’ll do to ensure our concerns are met.”

    June 20, 2019

    AI UK Release

    Ruling is first time UK court has acknowledged risks of continued arms sales to Saudi Arabia

    UK has sold more than £4bn of arms to Saudi Arabia since Yemen conflict began

    ‘We welcome this judgment as a major step towards preventing further bloodshed’ - Lucy Claridge

     

    Amnesty International has welcomed a judgment from the Court of Appeal today which has found that the UK Government’s decision to continue licensing exports of military equipment to Saudi Arabia is unlawful.

    The ruling came in a judicial review brought by Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT), which was joined by Amnesty, Human Rights Watch and Rights Watch UK.

    Lucy Claridge, Amnesty International’s Director of Strategic Litigation, said:

    “This judgment is a rare piece of good news for the people of Yemen.

    December 10, 2018
    ‘This whole case will send a shiver down the spine of anyone who cares about the right to protest in our country’ - Kate Allen

    Following guilty verdicts today in the case of 15 people tried in relation to their attempt to prevent what they believed was the unlawful deportation of a group of people at Stansted Airport last year, Amnesty International has reiterated its strong concern over the decision to charge the human rights defenders with a terrorism-related offence.

    The 15 people - known as the “Stansted 15” - took non-violent direct action at Stansted in March 2017 to prevent the deportation of 60 people on a charter flight bound for Ghana and Nigeria.

    The Stansted 15’s actions prevented the flight from leaving. Of the 60 individuals due to have been deported, ten are currently pursuing asylum claims in the UK, and at least one has since been granted permission to remain in the UK.

    October 25, 2018

    “It seems to be the only way to get the Government to finally do the right thing” - Rachel Logan

    Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Rights Watch UK will be intervening in an appeal over the UK’s arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

    The case, which was originally brought by Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT), is seeking to test the legality of the Government’s decision to issue licences for arms exports to Saudi Arabia despite the risk of the weapons being misused in the conflict in Yemen.

    Last year the High Court in London dismissed CAAT’s case, which had argued that arms transfers to Saudi Arabia should be halted because of the clear risk that the weapons supplied would be used to commit serious violations of international humanitarian law in Yemen. Among other things, the ruling (paragraph 209) discussed the significance of the “finely-balanced” nature of the decision said to be confronting officials and ministers.

    September 28, 2018

    Amnesty International considers the 15 to be human rights defenders

    ‘We’re concerned the authorities may be using a sledgehammer to crack a nut with this case’ - Kate Allen

    Amnesty International will be observing the trial of 15 human rights defenders set to go on trial at Chelmsford Crown Court next week (Monday 1 October) relating to their attempt to prevent what they believed was the unlawful deportation of a group of people at Stansted airport.

    The protesters - known as the “Stansted 15” - are facing lengthy jail sentences for their non-violent intervention in March last year.

    Amnesty is concerned that the serious charge of “endangering safety at aerodromes” may have been brought to discourage other activists from taking non-violent direct action in defence of human rights. The organisation has written to the Director of the Crown Prosecution Service and the Attorney General calling for this disproportionate charge to be dropped.

    The trial is currently expected to last for approximately six weeks.

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