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    June 02, 2020

    Responding to remarks by President Donald Trump today in the Rose Garden, Ernest Coverson, the End Gun Violence campaign manager at Amnesty International USA said:

    “The violence that can no longer be ignored is the violence committed against Black lives by the police. The real disgrace is the anti-Black racism of the Trump administration.The President swore an oath to the nation to protect all of its people - not just those he deems worthy. 

    “The time for justice has passed for George Floyd, his children, and his loved ones. The possibility for justice was taken away the day that he was killed. All that remains is accountability - and accountability has been absent from an administration that continues to fan the flames of hate. 

    May 29, 2020

    The shocking death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer has once again highlighted that anti-Black racism in policing across the United States is an entrenched, unrelenting human rights crisis that needs concerted action at all levels of government and society. 

    The number of Black people in the US who have been killed, profiled, harassed or otherwise targeted by law enforcement including police, security guards and by private citizens continues to grow at a staggering rate. Further, the number of Black women, transgender, and gender non-conforming people who die from racist, sexist, and transphobic violence is an alarming cause for concern. Breonna Taylor and Tony McDade are the latest on this often-omitted list.

    “The intersections of race, gender, and sexuality play a key role in who is remembered, who is not, and whose deaths spark widespread outrage,” said Daniella Barreto, Digital Activism Coordinator with Amnesty International Canada. “Any Black person murdered is a tragedy that warrants action.”

    May 27, 2020

    Responding to a May 25 video showing a Minneapolis police officer using his knee to pin down a man by his neck until he was unable to breathe, Kristina Roth, the senior program officer for Criminal Justice Programs at Amnesty International USA said:

    “No person should ever wake up wondering if that day will be the day that a police officer ends their life, yet people of color, particularly black people, across the country live with that painful and traumatic reality. The actions of this Minneapolis police officer have terrorized people who have already lost so much.

    May 26, 2020

    Kelly Gonzalez Aguilar, a 23-year-old transgender woman, fled Honduras, where she experienced violence because of her gender identity. She traveled to the United States and has been held at the Aurora Detention Facility in Colorado since August 2017.

    Kelly fears becoming infected by COVID-19 because of the inadequate measures taken by authorities to protect detainees and staff from the virus. She told Amnesty that, “our lives are in danger because there are people here who tested positive for the COVID-19 virus and there is nothing we can do. More detainees keep coming and going. This is a time bomb for our lives. We pray that someone will do something.”

    Kelly is one of many transgender women being held in immigration detention in the US, where they risk ill-treatment because of their gender identity, and because of COVID-19.

    Amnesty International calling on US immigration authorities to release Kelly immediately!

    April 27, 2020

    Reacting to the publication today of US Africa Command’s (AFRICOM) first quarterly assessment of civilian casualties resulting from its operations in Africa, which acknowledges that two Somali civilians were killed and three injured in an air strike, Seif Magango, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for Eastern Africa, said:

    “This first regular public report acknowledging AFRICOM’s role in civilian casualties is a welcome glimmer of transparency in more than a decade of deadly military operations that until now have been shrouded in secrecy. Now there must be accountability and reparation for the victims and their families – the US military has still neither contacted nor offered reparation to the families of any of the civilians it has admitted to killing.

    April 24, 2020

    The multinational US-based company Amazon must ensure its workers across the globe receive adequate health and safety protection during the COVID-19 pandemic, Amnesty International said, as hundreds of US Amazon workers prepare to call in sick on Friday in protest over labour issues.

    Worker organizations report that hundreds of Amazon warehouse workers in the USA have already stayed home from work this week, citing concerns including a lack of health protection at warehouses.

    Amnesty International also called on the e-commerce giant to protect the rights of workers who speak out, amid allegations that staff have been fired after voicing safety concerns.

    “We stand in solidarity with Amazon workers who are speaking up for their rights. Amazon warehouse and delivery workers are risking their lives in the midst of a pandemic to deliver essential goods to all of us,” said Joe Westby, Researcher at Amnesty International.

    April 22, 2020
    DOWNLOAD PDF OF UA 59/20 HERE

    Kelly Gonzalez Aguilar, a 23-year-old transgender woman, fled Honduras when she was 12 years old because of violence against her based on her transgender identity. After she traveled to the USA, US immigration authorities detained her in August 2017. She has been held since then, awaiting the results of her asylum claim. She fears becoming infected by COVID-19 because of the inadequate measures taken by authorities to protect detainees and staff from the virus. Amnesty International calls on the authorities to release Kelly immediately on parole. 

    Amnesty International is concerned about the safety of Kelly and other people in detention during the COVID-19 pandemic. Amnesty International has received accounts by detainees of dangerous conditions in the immigration detention facility where Kelly is held, including that authorities will not provide hand sanitizer or face masks to detainees, even though it is impossible for them to physically distance themselves.

    April 21, 2020

    Responding to plans announced by U.S. President Donald J. Trump to sign an executive order “to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States”, Joanne Lin, the national advocacy director of Amnesty International USA, said:

    “While the scope of Trump’s new proposed policy is unclear, the message it sends is: the President is manipulating a pandemic to further the bigotry and xenophobia that have been hallmarks of his presidency from day one.

    "We are one country and there is no way we could address the spread of COVID-19 without the unending efforts of immigrants providing healthcare and home aid, staffing grocery stores, and producing food, whose work has been deemed essential while they are simultaneously struggling to access to care, support, and services.

    April 20, 2020

    Nazik Awad is the founder of the Sudanese Women Human Rights Project. She fled to Egypt in 2011 after being detained for her human rights work. There she continued to face harassment and threats for her activism, and faced years of limbo as she sought refugee resettlement in the US. During Write for Rights 2018, Amnesty activists from around the world spoke out for her safety. Nazik was finally resettled to Canada recently. Here is her story. 

    Being a refugee is, for me, a matter of personal identity. Being a refugee is a statement of my struggle and the struggle of millions of other people around the world forced to leave their homes. Being a refugee is a reminder of the different global crises that drove us from our homes—conflicts, poverty, inequality, injustice, climate change, or sexual violence.

    April 15, 2020

    Responding to US President Donald Trump’s announcement that the United States will halt funding to the World Health Organization (WHO) pending the administration’s review of the organization’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International said:

    “In trying to distract from criticisms of his own administration's response, President Trump is undermining global efforts to protect people from one of the worst health crises in over a century.”

    “This crisis can only be solved through collective effort. COVID-19 does not respect borders, and Trump’s withdrawal will harm the United States as well as other countries fighting the virus. While other world leaders are pledging more support to the WHO, President Trump’s proposal to slash their resources at this moment of crisis will undermine efforts to save lives and halt the spread of the virus. The WHO cannot do its job if it is held hostage to the whims of powerful states, and other countries must do all they can to ensure this reckless decision does not hamper the fight against COVID-19.”

    April 07, 2020

    The Trump administration is failing to protect people in immigration detention during the COVID-19 public health emergency, Amnesty International said today in a new report, ‘We are adrift, about to sink’: The looming COVID-19 disaster in US immigration detention facilities. 

    The United States has the largest immigration detention system in the world, with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) holding nearly 40,000 people in over 200 centers across the country. Detainees at several ICE detention facilities have launched hunger strikes to demand their freedom and protest against dangerous and inadequate hygiene and sanitation conditions.

    “Today, the health and safety of every one of us is bound together. The United States has confirmed more cases of COVID-19 than any other country in the world, yet ICE continues to fail to adopt effective measures to prevent the pandemic in immigration centers across the country, putting everyone’s safety in peril,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International.

    April 01, 2020

    Reacting to a statement from US Africa Command (AFRICOM) pledging to begin, by the end of April, public reporting on civilian casualties resulting from its military operations in Somalia, Libya and elsewhere in Africa, Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Director for East and Southern Africa, said:

    “This is a welcome, though long overdue, step towards providing truth and accountability for the victims of US air strikes and their families in Somalia and beyond. It’s shocking that it has taken more than a decade of AFRICOM’s secret air war in Somalia for this to happen.

    “We continue to stand in solidarity with families of civilians who have been killed or injured in US attacks, only to have their loved ones smeared as ‘terrorists’ and have their plight ignored. The truth must come out and they deserve transparency, accountability and reparation – all of which have been sorely lacking from the US military to date.

    March 31, 2020

    Civilian casualties continue to mount from the US military’s secret air war in Somalia, with no justice or reparation for the victims of possible violations of international humanitarian law, Amnesty International warned as it released details of two more deadly air strikes so far this year.

    US Africa Command (AFRICOM) has conducted hundreds of air strikes in the decade-long fight against the armed group Al-Shabaab, but has only admitted to killing civilians in a single strike that took place exactly two years ago today. This lone admission was prompted by Amnesty International’s research and advocacy. 

    “The evidence is stacking up and it’s pretty damning. Not only does AFRICOM utterly fail at its mission to report civilian casualties in Somalia, but it doesn’t seem to care about the fate of the numerous families it has completely torn apart,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Director for East and Southern Africa.

    March 24, 2020

    Reacting to news that the Colorado legislature has signed a bill to repeal the death penalty, Kristina Roth, Senior Program Officer at Amnesty International USA, stated:

    "Colorado becomes the 22nd state to have abandoned the death penalty, bringing this country one state closer to joining the over two-thirds of the countries in the world that have abolished the death penalty in law or practice. This is the kind of human rights leadership this country needs, now more than ever.

    "The Governor must also be commended for commuting the death sentences of people currently on death row.

    "The death penalty is irreversible, it is ineffective, and it does not deter crime. The way the death penalty is carried out is painful, violent, and inhumane, and it is weaponized in this country disproportionately against communities of color. The use of the death penalty as a punishment is outdated, fundamentally broken and must end once and for all."

    Background: 

    March 20, 2020

    Responding to the United States announcement that the country will imminently close its border with Mexico and Canada, Charanya Krishnaswami, the Advocacy Director for the Americas at Amnesty International USA, said:

    "It's hard to imagine travel more essential than the journey an asylum-seeker makes to flee persecution. Yet today's restrictions, which empower the US to push back people who lack proper documentation, may inexcusably prevent asylum-seekers and unaccompanied children - two of the populations at greatest risk of danger - from accessing safety.

    "This is cruel, short-sighted, and opportunistic. Every person has the right to seek safety. Full stop."

    To schedule an interview or for further background, contact Lucy Scholey, Media Relations, Amnesty International Canada (English branch), 613-853-2142, lscholey@amnesty.ca   

    More information: 

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