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    August 22, 2018

    Florida’s approach to the death penalty is deepening its outlier status on this human rights issue and has now added an extra layer of arbitrariness to its already discriminatory and error-prone capital justice system, Amnesty International said in a new report released today.

    “While several US states have embraced abolition in recent years, Florida remains a diehard proponent of the death penalty and one of a handful of states that account for the bulk of executions in the USA,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    “Despite its capital sentencing law being found unconstitutional two years ago, Florida still has the second largest death row in the country. Its response to that ruling has been to dig in and defend the indefensible, including the execution of people with mental and intellectual disabilities.”

    Florida shows few signs of joining the USA’s 19 states that have already abolished the death penalty or the others that are rethinking it. It is ranked fourth in the number of executions carried out in the USA since 1976, when the US Supreme Court approved new capital laws.

    August 01, 2018

    Amnesty International USA Release

    Responding to reports that President Donald Trump may seek to cap U.S. refugee admissions at no more than 25,000 refugees for Fiscal Year 2019, the lowest goal in the history of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program, Ryan Mace, Grassroots Advocacy and Refugee Specialist at Amnesty International USA stated:

    “The United States betrays both its values and long history of helping those escaping war, persecution, and horrific violence when it denies refuge to those for whom resettlement is the only option. The Administration’s policies are denying thousands of refugees a chance at a new life. Many refugees are also hoping to be reunified with their families here in the US – some of whom have waited years to see their family again.

    “People across the United States are ready to stand with the global community in welcoming refugees as their neighbors, colleagues, classmates, families, and friends. The Administration’s policies continue to keep people in grave danger.”

    More information:

    July 24, 2018

    The House Appropriations Committee must reject all funding increases for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in next year’s budget for the Department of Homeland Security, Amnesty International urged in a letter as the committee prepares to mark up the FY19 DHS budget.

    The current bill proposes increased spending on border enforcement, including an unprecedented $5 billion for President Trump’s Border Wall, as well as funds for 44,000 ICE detention beds per day, a record high.

    “This bill will threaten asylum seekers at every turn. It will fuel this administration’s cruel policies of detaining, deporting, and punishing children and families seeking humanitarian protection” stated Joanne Lin, Amnesty International USA’s National Director of Advocacy and Government Affairs.

    “Congress should have no hand in funding and fueling the inhumane practice of locking up children and parents seeking humanitarian protection.”

    July 16, 2018

    Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump must use their upcoming summit in Helsinki to tackle the world’s most urgent human rights issues and restore their nations’ credibility as responsible international players, Amnesty International said ahead of the meeting between the Russian and US presidents in Finland’s capital on Monday.

    The organization calls on the two leaders to put the international refugee situation and the war in Syria at the top of their agenda during the summit, as well as violations taking place in their own countries.

    “Presidents Putin and Trump have been toxic for human rights. Their respective policies have resulted in broken families, children being held in cages, continuing atrocities in a prolonged war in Syria and the torture and killing of LGBTI people in Chechnya, to name just a few of the horrors that have unfolded under their watch,” said Anna Neistat, Amnesty International’s Senior Director of Research.

    July 05, 2018

    Amnesty International calls for “zero-tolerance” on child migration detention

    With hundreds of traumatized children still trapped in detention centres in the USA as a result of the Trump administration’s family separation policy, Amnesty International is calling on world leaders to take action by including a commitment to end child migration detention in the text of the Global Compact on Migration (GCM), which enters the final stage of negotiations next week.

    “The appalling scenes in the USA have illustrated why an international commitment to ending child migration detention is so desperately needed – these negotiations could not have come at a more crucial time,” said Perseo Quiroz, Amnesty International’s Senior Americas Advocate.

    “Many world leaders have expressed their outrage at the Trump administration’s recent horrendous treatment of children whose parents have arrived in the USA irregularly. Now is the time to channel that outrage into concrete action.

    July 04, 2018

    The Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR), Amnesty International (AI) and the Canadian Council of Churches (CCC) yesterday completed filing extensive evidence in Federal Court to support their legal challenge of the designation of the United States as a safe third country for refugees.

    “Canadians have seen over the last few weeks how refugees are treated heartlessly in the US under President Trump: children separated from their parents, long-term detention in horrific conditions, criminal prosecution of people just for crossing the border to seek safety, new policies closing the door on women fleeing gender-based violence,” said Claire Roque, CCR President. “The conclusion is clear: the US cannot be considered a safe country for refugees.”

    June 28, 2018
      US authorities must put an immediate end to both the separation and detention of children and families who come to the US border with Mexico seeking asylum, while also immediately reuniting the thousands of families who remain separated as a result of the Trump administration’s unlawful and damaging policies, said Amnesty International ahead of the Global Day of Action against these practices planned for 30 June.   “Despite the executive order that President Trump signed last week, thousands of frightened children are still being kept apart from their distraught parents, who have no idea when they’ll see them again. By holding kids in cages or flying them to shelters thousands of miles away, the US authorities are deliberately inflicting deep and lasting mental suffering on them in a bid to deter desperate families from seeking asylum,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.  
    June 26, 2018

    The following can be attributed to Ryan Mace, Grassroots Advocacy & Refugee Specialist at Amnesty International USA:

    “This hateful policy is a catastrophe all around – not only for those who simply want to travel, work, or study here in the States, but for those seeking safety from violence as well. While this decision doesn’t address the separate and equally harmful ban on refugees, it cruelly traps people in conflict-afflicted countries and prevents them from seeking safety in the U.S. or being reunited with family.  Some of the people banned from this policy are fleeing conflicts that the United States has had a direct hand in creating or perpetuating, as is the case in Yemen and Syria. In those cases especially we are essentially lighting a house on fire and locking the escape door shut. This ban, and the anti-Muslim sentiment in which it originated, has no place in a country that claims to value human rights.” 

    For more information please contact Jacob Kuehn Media Relations Officer at jkuehn@amnesty.ca

    June 22, 2018

    In response to a letter sent by the United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley to human rights groups, accusing them of blocking reform at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General, said:

    “Following the USA’s showy departure from the Human Rights Council, Nikki Haley’s letter is another sign that the Trump administration prefers confrontation to compromise.

    “This letter expresses open hostility towards human rights organizations with different opinions to the United States. As civil society, our job is to hold those in power to account, and refusing to engage with anyone who disagrees with it will leave the Trump administration in a very lonely place.

    “Blaming human rights groups for the USA’s regrettable decision ignores the tireless campaigning done by Amnesty International and others to reform the Human Rights Council, including calling for higher membership standards. Glossing over the facts will not help the USA’s standing on the international stage.

    June 20, 2018

    WASHINGTON, DC – President Trump signed an executive order today mandating for children to stay with their parents in detention while their asylum claims are processed. This executive order seeks to modify the Flores Agreement, which states that children should not be held in detention for more than 20 days. Denise Bell, refugee and migrant rights researcher at Amnesty International USA, issued this statement:

    “Over the last few weeks, we have seen an outcry from people around the world denouncing the cruel and unnecessary separation of more than 2,000 babies and children from their parents. In response, the Trump administration has now found another way to punish parents and children for seeking protection. Detaining families is not the solution to ending family separation.

    June 20, 2018

    Nuri Mohammed is just like other boys his age: he likes spending time with friends and family and dreams of what life will be like when he grows up. He hopes to one day buy a store and run his own business. But Nuri’s life changed completely when he came home one day to find the military in his village, killing his neighbors. The military killed his parents and eight of his siblings. His last memory of his mother was of her pleas for him to flee. Nuri ran to a nearby lake, where a bullet struck him and injured his leg. He continued on, walking for three days until he escaped from Myanmar to Cox’s Bazaar, Bangladesh, where he reunited with his remaining two sisters.

    June 20, 2018

    An Amnesty International USA Release

    This World Refugee Day, Amnesty International USA is calling on all people living in the United States to welcome refugees and asylum-seekers into their communities. While some elected leaders would have us believe that those seeking safety do not deserve to be welcomed here in the United States, we know this to be false. Every day, we see the tremendous popular support that exists for welcoming refugees and asylum seekers in towns, cities, and public squares around the country. On this World Refugee Day, Amnesty International USA urges individuals to take action to welcome those in search of safety into their communities.

    June 19, 2018

    Following the announcement that the United States will leave the United Nations Human Rights Council, Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General, said:

    “Once again President Trump is showing his complete disregard for the fundamental rights and freedoms the US claims to uphold. While the Human Rights Council is by no means perfect and its membership is frequently under scrutiny, it remains an important force for accountability and justice.

    “The US should urgently reverse this decision, which places it squarely on the wrong side of history. It is wilfully choosing to undermine the human rights of all people everywhere, and their struggles for justice.”

     

    For more information please contact Elizabeth Berton-Hunter 416-363-99333 ext 332 bberton-hunter@amnesty.ca

     

    June 18, 2018

    The sickening images of children cruelly separated from their parents and held in cages as a result of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ policy of ‘zero-tolerance’ will leave an indelible stain on the reputation of the USA, said Amnesty International today.

    “This is a spectacularly cruel policy, where frightened children are being ripped from their parent’s arms and taken to overflowing detention centres, which are effectively cages. This is nothing short of torture. The severe mental suffering that officials have intentionally inflicted on these families for coercive purposes, means that these acts meet the definitions of torture under both US and international law,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Amnesty International’s Americas Director.

    June 12, 2018

    Amnesty International USA  Release

    CONTACT: Nidya Sarria, media@aiusa.org

    WASHINGTON – According to President Trump, human rights were discussed during the summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Francisco Bencosme, advocacy manager for Asia Pacific at Amnesty International USA, issued the following statement:

    “While we welcome news that President Trump raised human rights at the summit, Amnesty International urges the U.S. government to continue to push for urgent reforms in North Korea. Human rights should not be a footnote in any engagement with Kim Jong Un, but rather a crucial component in negotiations between the two countries.

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