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    June 17, 2019

    When President Trump signed what has become known as the Muslim ban during his first week in office, he set into motion a series of events that continue to leave families in uncertainty and danger to this day, according to a new report by Amnesty International USA. In some cases, these families were cleared to come to the United States in late 2016 and early 2017, only to be stranded in countries where they face restrictive policies, increasingly hostile environments, and often lack the same rights as permanent residents or citizens.

    The new report, “The Mountain is in Front of Us and the Sea is Behind Us,” is based on nearly 50 interviews conducted by AIUSA with refugees currently living in Lebanon and Jordan. The report describes the desperate circumstances faced by families who continue to be locked in an impossible limbo because of discriminatory U.S. policies as they try to seek a safe new life and permanent home.

    May 31, 2019

    AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL USA

    Reacting to news that the New Hampshire legislature has voted to repeal the death penalty, Kristina Roth, Senior Program Officer at Amnesty International USA stated:

    “We welcome this outstanding news. With this vote, New Hampshire will become the 21st state to have abandoned the death penalty. This inhumane practice is the ultimate irrevocable punishment and denial of human rights. It does not deter crime and disproportionately impacts communities of color. This system is fundamentally broken and must end once and for all.”

    Amnesty International opposes the death penalty unconditionally.

    For more information, please contact Elizabeth Berton-Hunter, Media Relations 416-363-9933 ext 332 bberton-hunter@amnesty.ca

    May 31, 2019

    AI USA Release

    The Trump administration is reportedly considering barring anyone who transits through a third country from seeking asylum at the US southern border. Such a policy would effectively block anyone other than Mexicans and Canadians from seeking asylum in the United States. In response, Charanya Krishnaswami, Advocacy Director for the Americas at Amnesty International USA, made the following statement:

    “Seeking asylum is a human right, full stop.  This latest policy is a disgusting example of the lengths the Trump administration will go to deny people protection. Instead of taking sensible steps to fix this crisis of their own making, they choose to further their agenda of hate and fear against mothers, fathers, children, and anyone else who has been forced to flee their homes and who have no other way to seek safety. To effectively close the border to Central Americans and the vast majority of people seeking asylum not only violates human rights obligations, but is also fundamentally cruel.”

    Background:

    May 24, 2019

    Amnesty International USA Release

    Responding to reports that President Trump will attempt to exploit loopholes to continue sending arms to Saudi Arabia and the UAE without Congressional approval, Philippe Nassif, the advocacy director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International USA said:

    “The Trump administration must stop supplying arms to the Saudi-led coalition, which has repeatedly committed horrific violations in Yemen, some amounting to war crimes, devastating the lives of thousands.

    “This administration has made clear its desire to sell more weapons without concern for human rights. We know arms manufactured in the United States have been used in deadly strikes against civilians. U.S. munitions have been found in the remains of bombed homes, hospitals and hotels throughout Yemen’s devastating war, killing almost 7,000 people.”

    May 22, 2019

    The U.S. Department of Justice should immediately drop all criminal charges against humanitarian volunteer Dr. Scott Warren, and stop criminalizing humanitarian aid, Amnesty International said today.

    “The U.S. government is legally required to prevent the arbitrary deaths of migrants and asylum seekers in border areas. Yet instead, authorities have willfully destroyed humanitarian aid provisions in deadly desert terrain and are criminally prosecuting humanitarian volunteers in order to deter them from saving lives,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International. 

    The U.S. government is prosecuting Dr. Warren for allegedly “harbouring” two undocumented migrants by providing them with humanitarian aid in the form of food, water, and clean clothing, in the desert town of Ajo, Arizona, where he lives. If convicted on all three criminal charges against him, Dr. Warren could face up to 20 years in prison. His felony trial is scheduled to begin on 29 May.

    May 15, 2019

    Responding to the Alabama Senate approving a measure on Tuesday that would outlaw almost all abortions in the state, Tarah Demant, the Director of the Gender, Sexuality and Identity Program at Amnesty International USA, said:

    "Alabama’s vote is the latest in a string of abortion bans specifically designed to strip people’s reproductive rights away. These bans will be deadly, endanger pregnant people’s lives, and criminalize doctors and health care providers for simply doing their jobs and providing care.

    "These bans reinforce violence against women by victimizing survivors of rape and sexual violence twofold by denying their right to access abortion. They are a gross and dangerous turn back to a dark history where women risked their lives to access their sexual and reproductive rights."

    May 01, 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 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 the Swedish government decides to pursue an extradition of Mr. Assange from the UK, they must also uphold the principle of non-refoulement and  not extradite or otherwise send him on to the USA.

    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.

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