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    April 17, 2019

    Following the attorney general’s decision that individuals who seek asylum after crossing between ports of entry and pass their initial credible fear test will not be eligible for bond and could be detained indefinitely if not released on humanitarian parole, Charanya Krishnaswami, Americas advocacy director for Amnesty International USA, made the following statement:

    “Seeking asylum is a human right, not a crime, and families forced to flee for their lives shouldn’t be treated like criminals. This appalling decision could also force parents to decide to either be locked up with their children indefinitely, or relinquish custody of them for the duration of their approval process, which could take months or years. This is both a heartless punishment against vulnerable people, and a potential back-door way for the administration to  separate families. This decision must be reversed.”  

    April 12, 2019

    In response to President Trump’s transgender military ban going into effect, Tarah Demant, director of the gender, sexuality, and identity program at Amnesty International USA, made the following statement:

    “The ban on transgender service members is a shameful step backward. The Trump Administration seems committed to creating policies that are based on bigotry and discrimination. Regarding transgender people in particular, President Trump has stripped away protections for students, employees, and now those serving in the military. The Trump administration is sending a dangerous message globally that the United States is ready and willing to blatantly disregard the human rights of thousands of people.”

    April 11, 2019

    The US government must immediately halt its illegal pushbacks of thousands of asylum seekers at the border with Mexico and instead facilitate their prompt reception and the processing of their cases under US law, said Amnesty International today during a visit to the border.

    “Pushbacks violate international law, and US authorities are forcing thousands of people who are seeking asylum to wait on the Mexican side of the border for months both before and after receiving their requests for protection. The courts are playing a vital role in limiting abuses of power by US authorities, but most of those seeking asylum still lack adequate access to justice and continue to suffer wholesale violations of their rights,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International.

    From 8 to 10 April, Amnesty International monitored the hearings of 28 asylum cases in San Diego, involving 31 adults and 26 children whom US authorities had forcibly returned to Mexico under the “Remain in Mexico” policy since late January. During their hearings, over 40 percent of them proactively expressed their fears of return to Mexico.

    April 11, 2019

    Following the announcement of Julian Assange’s arrest, and request for extradition to the United States, Massimo Moratti, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Research in Europe, said:

    “Amnesty International calls on the UK to refuse to extradite or send in any other manner Julian Assange to the USA where there is a very real risk that he could face human rights violations, including detention conditions that would violate the absolute prohibition of torture and other ill-treatment and an unfair trial followed by possible execution, due to his work with Wikileaks.

    “We are aware of allegations of rape and other sexual violence against Julian Assange, which should be properly investigated in a way that respects the rights of both the complainants and the accused and be brought to justice if there is sufficient evidence against him. If Sweden decides to pursue an extradition of Mr. Assange from the UK, there must be adequate assurances that he would not be extradited or otherwise sent to the USA.”

    April 09, 2019

    While Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that 16 Saudis would be barred form entering the United States in response to the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Amnesty International reiterated its call for an independent investigation into his death. Philippe Nassif, the Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International USA, stated:

    “If the United States is serious about seeking accountability for the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, then Secretary Pompeo must call for and support an independent investigation, led by the United Nations. Unfortunately, the Trump Administration’s historic willingness to look the other way in the face of human rights violations by the Saudi government means that an impartial U.N. investigation is the only hope to get the full truth about what happened to Khashoggi and to convey to Saudi officials that they will not evade accountability for this crime.”

    For more information or to request an interview, please contact:

    March 29, 2019

    Responding to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen’s letter to Congress, Charanya Krishnaswami, Americas Advocacy Director at Amnesty International USA stated:

    “Secretary Nielsen is ready to exploit the vulnerable situations of families in order to send a loud message to the world that refugees are not welcome in America.

    “The US must live up to its promise and implement humane policies that do not unnecessarily detain people seeking safety and protection.

    “The DHS’s argument that treating asylum seekers humanely fuels migration is a blatant lie meant to curb the basic rights of those fleeing violence and persecution in their home countries.”

    Amnesty International USA calls on Congress to reject Secretary Nielson’s request for more powers and demand that DHS renew its ‘Alternative to Detention’ programs.

    Background

    In October, Amnesty International launched a report on the policy of family separation and illegal pushbacks and the arbitrary detention of asylum seekers.

    March 19, 2019
    Forensic investigation yields credible evidence 14 civilians were killed in just five strikes More than 100 strikes by US drones and manned aircraft since early 2017 Strikes in Somalia tripled under Trump, outpacing Yemen and Libya combined

    The US government must carry out impartial, thorough investigations into credible evidence its rapidly escalating air strikes in Somalia have killed numerous civilians, Amnesty International said in a new report today.

    The Hidden US War in Somalia details how 14 civilians were killed and eight more injured in just five of the more than 100 strikes in the past two years. These five incidents were carried out with Reaper drones and manned aircraft in Lower Shabelle, a region largely under Al-Shabaab control outside the Somali capital Mogadishu. The attacks appear to have violated international humanitarian law, and some may amount to war crimes.

    March 15, 2019

    Responding to reports that the U.S. will restrict visas for International Criminal Court personnel looking into the U.S. military personnel actions in Afghanistan, Daniel Balson, Advocacy Director at Amnesty International USA stated:

    “This announcement is the latest attack on international justice and international institutions by an administration hellbent on rolling back human rights protections.

    “While victims’ rights should be the very top priority of the United States government, throwing roadblocks in front of the ICC’s investigation undermines justice not only for abuses committed in Afghanistan, but also for the millions of victims and survivors throughout the world who have experienced the most serious crimes under international law.

    “The ICC prosecutes the most serious crimes under international law, including genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. Impeding the work of ICC investigators disrupts its vital function and demands impunity for the White House's own policies. In doing so, it risks setting a dangerous precedent.

    March 13, 2019

    Today the California Gov. Gavin Newsome signed an executive order placing a moratorium on executions. The order will affect over 700 people on death row.

    “This is an important step towards establishing a better criminal justice system that respects human rights,” said Kristina Roth, senior program officer of Amnesty International USA’s criminal justice program. “California has made a significant move toward being on the right side of history as momentum continues against the death penalty. While this is an important development, we will continue to work for the complete abolition of the death penalty in all states and nations around the world.”

    Amnesty International USA opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception as the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment. As of today, 142 countries have abolished the death penalty in law or practice.

    This statement available at: https://www.amnestyusa.org/press-releases/california-governor-signs-moratorium-on-executions/
     

    March 07, 2019

    Reacting to news that the Trump administration has revoked a part of an Obama executive order requiring reporting on civilian casualties, Daphne Eviatar, Amnesty International USA’s Director of Security with Human Rights stated:

    “This is a shameful decision that will shroud this administration’s actions in even more secrecy with little accountability for its victims.

    “The public deserves to know how many civilians are killed by U.S. actions. This is an unconscionable decision and in complete disregard of fundamental human rights.

    “It is incomprehensible that this vital work will be left only to human rights organizations such as ours.”

    Background

    In 2016, Amnesty International USA spoke out on the Obama-era policy documenting standards for airstrikes, when they were first announced, calling for more transparency and accountability.

    March 01, 2019

    WASHINGTON, DC – Reports indicate that the Remain in Mexico plan, also known as Migrant Protection Protocols, will soon be implemented in parts of California, New Mexico, and Texas. This plan forces asylum-seekers to stay in Mexico while their claims are reviewed. It is being implemented alongside ongoing large-scale illegal pushbacks at the border.

    Charanya Krishnaswami, advocacy director for the Americas at Amnesty International USA, issued this statement:

    “The Trump administration is not only abandoning people in their most desperate hour, it is actively putting them in harm’s way. Forcing people seeking protection in the United States to stay in Mexico while their claims are processed is irresponsible, cruel, and a stark violation of international law.

    February 25, 2019

    WASHINGTON – As US President Donald Trump is scheduled to meet with his North Korean counterpart Kim Jong-un at a two-day summit on February 27 - 28 to be held in Hanoi, Vietnam, Francisco Bencosme, advocacy manager for Asia Pacific at Amnesty International USA, issued the following statement:

    “Over a year ago, President Trump stood in front of Congress and pledged to challenge North Korea’s human rights record. Since then, President Trump has repeatedly disregarded the human rights of the North Korean people to gain favor with Kim Jung-un. His silence in the face of relentless and grave human rights violations has been deafening.

    “The people of North Korea have endured enforced disappearances, arbitrary detention, forced labor in prison camps, a total absence of press freedom, severe restrictions on freedom of expression and movement, and decades of separation of families. But President Trump has turned his back on them for the sake of a photo-op.

    February 08, 2019
    DOWNLOAD PDF OF UA 14/19 HERE

    Soro Tangboho (alias Carton Noir), an outspoken online activist, was arbitrarily arrested on 8 November 2018 in the northern town of Korhogo. At the time of the arrest, he was livestreaming a video on Facebook showing police officers who were, according to him, extorting money from motorists. He has been accused of disrupting public order. 

    While in detention at Korhogo police station, he was subjected to torture and other ill-treatment. After spending two nights at the police station, he was transferred to the Directorate for Territorial Surveillance (DST) where he spent the first night with his hands cuffed behind his back. On 16 November, he was then transferred to the Abidjan Correctional Facility and Penitentiary (MACA). 

    Soro Tangboho has been hospitalized at the MACA prison clinic since 22 January. However, the clinic at the prison is not well equipped.

    February 06, 2019

    By Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada

    The heartbreaking absurdity of the fact that Canada continues to maintain that the United States is a ‘safe’ country for refugees was apparent with every interview, observation or meeting I had as our six-country Amnesty International delegation moved along the US/Mexico border this past week.

    Far from being safe, it is beyond question that the frightening reality for refugees and migrants in the United States is one of unrelenting human rights violations.  Rather than pretending otherwise, it is time for Canada to suspend the Safe Third Country Agreement that shuts down access to official border posts for refugee claimants crossing into the country from the United States.  Instead, Canada should be exerting all possible pressure on the Trump Administration to end the deepening and dehumanizing assault on the safety and dignity of refugees and migrants.

    February 06, 2019

    The following can be attributed to Joanne Lin, national director of advocacy and government relations at Amnesty International USA:

    “Tonight’s State of the Union was just another opportunity for the president to peddle his politics of hate and fear to a captive audience. He has emboldened despotic regimes around the world by turning a blind eye, and in some cases, actively promoting human rights violations in places like Saudi Arabia and North Korea. At the southern border, his obsession with divisive symbols like a wall is just part of his continued efforts to stigmatize people desperately in need of protection. His policy of sending vulnerable asylum seekers back to dangerous conditions in Mexico is nothing short of cruel. 

    “No wall, no military buildup, no expansion of detention facilities, no pushbacks of people legally seeking asylum at the border. It’s time to come back to human rights and work for policies that treat all people and families with dignity.”

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