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    January 31, 2019
    Mexico USA border wall with barbed wire at top

    Amnesty International Canada Secretary General Alex Neve is currently part of a delegation of senior Amnesty leadership who are visiting the Mexico/USA border to witness the impacts of US policy on migrants and asylum seekers.|

    El Paso, Texas

    So many times over the past two years, since Donald Trump’s presidency and assault on the rights of refugees and migrants began, I have asked myself: what more will it take for the Canadian government to agree that the United States is not “safe” when it comes to refugee protection?

    And while I do not have the answer yet, as the accounts of utter contempt for international obligations and the lack of even a minimal sense of compassion mounted during our visit to Tijuana, El Paso and Ciudad Juárez this week, as a Canadian I felt a deepening sense of shame that this remains an open question.

    What more will it take?

    January 28, 2019

    Amnesty International Canada Secretary General Alex Neve is currently part of a delegation of senior Amnesty leadership who are visiting the Mexico/USA border to witness the impacts of US policy on migrants and asylum seekers. 

    Tijuana, Mexico

    We began the day walking across the border between the United States and Mexico, separating San Ysidro, California and Tijuana. We ended the day back at that exact same border post, accompanying three courageous LGBTQ teens from Honduras as they sought, against considerable odds, to lodge their asylum claims with US officials.

    In between we had ample occasion to see and hear firsthand that despite Donald Trump’s toxic rhetoric, the only crisis that is playing out along this frontier is a politically-driven one that spreads distortions and fear on the backs of people – mainly, but not only, from Mexico and Central America – who are fleeing terrifying persecution, endemic violence and grinding poverty.

    It is a crisis of conscience, compassion and justice.

    January 25, 2019

    WASHINGTON, DC – Amnesty International and the National Immigrant Justice Center are sending an international delegation of senior leadership to monitor the impact of US policy on asylum seekers and migrants traveling to the US-Mexico border. The delegation will be traveling from January 27 to 31. They will be meeting with Mexican and US authorities, documenting conditions at shelters in Tijuana for families and individuals whom the US had denied access to asylum protections, and meeting with non-governmental organizations directly working with asylum-seekers and migrants in El Paso.

    The delegation includes ; Alex Neve, secretary general of Amnesty International Canada ; Margaret Huang, executive director of Amnesty International USA; Tania Reneaum, executive director of Amnesty International Mexico; Colm O’Gorman, executive director of Amnesty International Ireland; Philippe Hensmans, director of Amnesty International Belgium; and John Peder Egenes, head of Amnesty International Norway. They will be joined by Mary Meg MacCarthy, executive director of the National Immigrant Justice Center.

    January 17, 2019

    In response to a report from the Health and Human Services (HHS) inspector general’s office confirming that thousands more families were separated at the border than previously acknowledged by US authorities, Amnesty International regional researcher Brian Griffey issued the following statement:

    “Today’s report confirms Amnesty International’s research, which found that thousands more families at the southern border were separated than the administration initially disclosed. By their own admission, US authorities intentionally separated families in order to deter others from trying to seek safety in the United States. This cruel and dangerous policy must never be put into practice again.

    “Ripping children from the arms of their parents or guardians is a brazen violation of human rights. US authorities must immediately reveal full statistics on family separations for public scrutiny and ensure that all separated families are reunited.”

    January 11, 2019
    Protester dressed in prison uniforms outside the White House

    I remember that ever-present day that is seared in my memory forever as if it was yesterday. It was more than 17 years ago when secret police officers led me to my old car parked outside my mother’s house in Mauritania, and asked me to follow them in their unmarked, inconspicuous vehicle. There was a visibly ashamed agent waiting to sit beside me in my car.

    As I emerged from my mother's door, she stopped me. She suspected these were agents just from the way they looked. She was afraid for me. Even an apolitical person like my mother could spot them every time.

    January 10, 2019

    The military prison at Guantánamo Bay remains a stain on the human rights record of the United States and continues to present site for ongoing violations as long as it stays open, said Amnesty International USA on the eve of the January 11 anniversary of its opening.

    “When President Trump revoked President Obama’s order to close the military prison at Guantánamo, he opened the door for a whole new era of horrific human rights violations to take place,” said Daphne Eviatar, director of Security with Human Rights at Amnesty International USA.

    “While the prison should have been relegated long ago as an appalling chapter in U.S. history, Guantánamo continues to operate 17 years later as a symbol of Islamophobia that embodies the fear-mongering and xenophobia that defines Trump’s presidency.”

    January 09, 2019

    DROP PROJECT DRAGONFLY

    Google publicly exited the search engine market in China in 2010, citing restrictions to freedom of expression online. Since then, the Chinese government has strengthened its controls over the internet and intensified its crackdown on freedom of expression. 

    Indicating a reversal in strategy, Google is now preparing to re-enter the Chinese search engine market, and is developing a new, search engine app codenamed “Dragonfly” that would facilitate China’s online censorship and surveillance. This would represent an alarming capitulation by Google on human rights, and a dark day for internet freedom as it would legitimize China’s model of internet repression for other governments and set a precedent for tech companies compromising human rights in exchange for access to new markets.

    It has been reported in the media that Google is now planning to drop its Dragonfly project. While this is amazing news, it isn't confirmed yet, so we intend to keep the pressure on until it it official.

    January 08, 2019

    In anticipation of President Trump’s address tonight on his administration’s policies toward asylum-seekers and migrants at the border, Margaret Huang, executive director of Amnesty International, issued the following statement:

    “The president’s persistent efforts to dehumanize asylum seekers at the border must no longer be enabled by any kind of federal support – period. His proposed wall is nothing more than a divisive symbol of fear and it should not be funded at all.

    “The Trump Administration has done everything in its power to make the situation at the border as unbearable as possible. From forcing people to remain in an unsafe country, to deliberately slowing the process to a crawl, to detaining children for months on end, to unlawfully turning asylum-seekers away entirely, the U.S. has only increased the misery for people seeking protection.

    “This is entirely a crisis of the administration’s own making. It’s time to stop the political posturing and get back to work to create policies that treat families with dignity, fairness and respect.”

    December 14, 2018

    In response to reports that a 7-year-old Guatemalan girl has died of dehydration and exhaustion after being taken into Border Patrol Custody, Amnesty International tactical campaigns manager Ashley Houghton issued this statement:

    “What wouldn’t you do to save your family’s life? This child’s father made a dangerous journey spanning almost 2,000 miles in hopes of ensuring safety and security for himself and his daughter. When ports of entry are all but closed, forcing asylum seekers to wait for weeks just to seek protection, families will be forced into taking more dangerous routes to reach the United States.

    “This was not the first death at the southern border and sadly, it will not be the last. Children seeking protection should never be detained. There must be a thorough and transparent investigation into the circumstances around her death.

    December 11, 2018
    Spokespeople available for interview in London and Washington DC Edward Snowden signs civil society open letter to Google New video available here

    US lawmakers must press Google CEO Sundar Pichai on the company’s disturbing plans for a censored search app in China, Amnesty International said ahead of Pichai’s appearance before Congress.

    Pichai is due to testify in Congress over allegations of political bias in Google’s search algorithm. The tech giant also faces questions over its prototype search engine for the Chinese market codenamed Project Dragonfly which would blacklist search terms like “human rights” and facilitate Chinese authorities in targeting dissidents online.  

    “Sundar Pichai has some serious questions to answer tomorrow. How can Google square Project Dragonfly with its own human rights commitments? Does Google care more about profits than people? Will Google listen to the outcry of protest from its own workforce over its China plans?” said Joe Westby, Technology and Human Rights Researcher at Amnesty International.

    November 30, 2018

    Thanks you so much to those of you who sent letters and postcards to the President of Microsoft Canada urging the company to investigate whether child labour and other human rights abuses are found in their cobalt supply chain. 

    Thanks to you and our supporters around the world Microsoft is beginning to bow to pressure. 

    The company released a report in October 2018 setting out the steps they’ve taken to map their cobalt supply chain. While this is progress, Microsoft has a long way to go to meet our concerns and international standards.

    The company has yet to tell us exactly how they’re identifying, preventing and addressing potential human rights abuses in their cobalt supply chain.

    We’re halting our action for the moment, but we won’t let Microsoft rest until they follow up on their commitments, and there is real evidence of change on the ground in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

    November 27, 2018

    Unlawful US border policies are leaving thousands of asylum seekers stranded in Mexico, where they are facing threats of deportation to their countries of origin, where they potentially face serious harm, Amnesty International said today following a research mission last week. Conditions could only worsen under a reported deal between both countries that, if agreed, would force asylum-seekers to remain in Mexico while their claims are processed, rather than allow them to enter the United States.

    November 20, 2018

    In response to a court decision temporarily blocking the Trump administration from denying asylum to people seeking protection arriving between ports of entry, Amnesty International USA executive director Margaret Huang issued this statement:

    “It is unlawful and cruel to deny protection to desperate families simply because they arrived between ports of entry, especially when we have seen many people being turned away even when presenting themselves at these ports.

    “This ruling is a temporary relief for thousands of families and reaffirms our responsibility to protect human rights. People who are fleeing violence and persecution have the right to seek safety. These are people just like you and me, except they are running for their lives. We must not abandon mothers, fathers, and children who have lost everything and are trying to rebuild their lives.”

    November 19, 2018

    Ahead of World Children’s Day on November 20, Amnesty International is calling for all children currently being held at the Dilley Detention Center to be freed with their families, and for the USA to end its plan of expanding family detention centers. The South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas, is currently the largest immigration detention center in the United States, holding hundreds of families. The capacity for the Center is now at 2,400 beds. Seven-year-old Mario is one of the children that remains behind bars at Dilley after being separated from his mother, Andrea, for 73 days for seeking safety. They left Guatemala after years of being targeted because they belong to the Q’eqchi Indigenous group.

    Margaret Huang, executive director of Amnesty International USA, stated:

    November 09, 2018

    In response to President Trump’s Proclamation to limit the rights of people seeking asylum along the Southern border, Amnesty International´s Secretary General Kumi Naidoo said:

    “President Trump’s Proclamation is yet another attempt to destroy the United States´ long tradition to guarantee the fundamental human right to seek protection from life-threatening fear and persecution. Asylum is not a loophole, it is a lifeline. This policy needlessly places the lives of thousands of people in danger. U.S law states that any individual can seek asylum, whether or not they are at an official point of entry.

    “Beyond Trump’s dehumanizing rhetoric are mothers, fathers, and children fleeing extremely dangerous situations enduring a perilous journey because they’ve had no choice but to leave their home.”

    Amnesty International USA´s executive director Margaret Huang added:

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