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USA

    April 03, 2018

    We all want to be good, responsible people, don't we? But sometimes doing the right thing in our daily lives is made next-to-impossible by forces well beyond us. At these times, we need to work together, creatively, to do what's right. 

    Amnesty International's palm oil campaign gives you a chance to help fix a serious problem hidden in your breakfast cereal and possibly in the toothpaste you used this morning. Palm oil and palm oil ingredients are now in half of all consumer products, yet the harvesting of this product is leading to the exploitation of children, and human rights abuses of women and workers. 

    We have a plan to stop these abuses, and it starts with your signature.

    March 27, 2018

    Sadly, the United States has become somewhat infamous for school shootings, but there’s a crucial point missing from the gun violence debate: saving lives is not a policy choice for elected officials to consider or ignore. 

    It is a legal obligation on the US government under human rights treaties that the country has committed to abide by.

    Of course, a key challenge is how to enforce these obligations and that’s where activism – like the youth-led March for Our Lives on March 24 in Washington DC and across the world – plays a critical role.

    People must demand that elected officials respect, protect and fulfil our human rights –  including those of people most impacted by gun violence: youth, women and people of colour.

    There is plenty that can be done

    In that context, there are several steps that the US government can and should take to protect people’s lives from gun violence.

    No elected official should ever claim that there’s nothing that can be done to stop gun violence. It’s the opposite – there’s plenty.

    The US government can and should:

    March 21, 2018

    Amnesty International USA will have member and staff-led delegations in 14 cities around the country as part of the March for Our Lives event this Saturday, March 24. Amnesty International USA is not an organizer of the event, but has endorsed the march.

    “Gun violence in the United States is a human rights crisis,” said Margaret Huang, executive director of Amnesty International USA. “It is unacceptable that people cannot live their lives without fear of being shot. The laws currently in place at all levels are not enough to protect the fundamental right to live. We stand with all students, parents, co-workers, neighbors and loved ones who have been touched by gun violence in saying ‘no more.’ In many communities across the U.S., gun violence is a daily occurrence. They have been calling for change for years--- we need meaningful reform without delay.”

    AIUSA delegations will march in the following cities: Washington DC, New York City, Boston, Chicago, Atlanta, Oakland and Los Angeles, Orange County, Colorado Springs, Fort Collins, Dallas/Fort Worth, Minneapolis, Columbus and Detroit.

    March 20, 2018

    Responding to an initiative announced by President Donald Trump on the use of the death penalty as a means to address the opioid crisis, Amnesty International’s Senior Program Officer for Criminal Justice, Kristina Roth stated:

    “We are deeply concerned about the administration’s plans to address the United States opioid crisis, by ramping up the use of the death penalty. The death penalty is the ultimate denial of human rights. All people have the right to life, and we all have the right to be free from cruel, inhuman, or degrading punishment. These are human rights that people have, regardless of whether they have been convicted of crimes. The death penalty is never an appropriate option in any circumstance, let alone when responding to a public health crisis.

    “There is no evidence that the death penalty has a unique deterrent effect, improves public safety, or reduces drug-related harm. The death penalty will not lower the alarming number of deaths related to the use of opioids. What we need are more humane, effective and evidence-based policies, to better protect public health and human rights.

    March 14, 2018

    By Rebecca Ma, Associate Campaigner, Amnesty International USA

    For the past three years, fourteen-year-old Astrid and her father Arturo were living an ordinary life in Easton, Pennsylvania. She was in the eighth grade, studying at Easton Area Middle School, where her favorite subject is Math.

    Less than a month before the much anticipated quinceañera celebration of her fifteenth birthday, life as Astrid knew it was turned upside down.

    On February 20, at approximately 5:00 AM, Astrid was asleep in her room when she was awoken by six male Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) armed agents standing before her bed and yelling: “IMMIGRATION — GET UP!” They ordered everyone in the house into a room and asked them for identification. The ICE agents did not show a warrant or say why they were there.

    March 13, 2018

    In response to reports that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will be replaced by current CIA director Mike Pompeo – who will in turn be replaced by current CIA deputy director Gina Haspel -- Margaret Huang, executive director of Amnesty International USA, issued this statement:

    “Both Pompeo and Haspel have deeply alarming records when it comes to human rights. Before they assume positions that could have repercussions for human rights around the world, they should be given utmost scrutiny by the Senate in the confirmation process.

    “Pompeo has previously voiced his support for interrogation tactics like waterboarding and there are reports that Haspel directed a CIA ‘black site’ at a time when detainees were subjected to torture and enforced disappearance. She may also have had a role in the destruction of evidence of such crimes under international law.

    February 22, 2018
    Amnesty International publishes State of the World’s Human Rights report for 2017 to 2018 “Last year our world was immersed in crises, with prominent leaders offering us a nightmarish vision of a society blinded by hatred and fear. This emboldened those who promote bigotry, but it inspired far more people to campaign for a more hopeful future,” says Salil Shetty, head of Amnesty International

    The world is reaping the terrifying consequences of hate-filled rhetoric that threatens to normalize massive discrimination against marginalized groups, Amnesty International warned today as it launched its annual assessment of human rights.

    Nevertheless, the organization found that a growing movement of both first-time and seasoned activists campaigning for social justice provides real hope of reversing the slide towards oppression.

    The report, The State of the World’s Human Rights, covers 159 countries and delivers the most comprehensive analysis of the state of human rights in the world today.

    January 11, 2018

    On the 16th anniversary of the opening of the notorious detention facility at the US naval base at Guantánamo Bay, Amnesty International is again calling for the fair trial or immediate release of those detained there and closure of the facility.

    “Over the years Guantánamo has come to symbolize torture, rendition and indefinite detention without charge or trial – in complete violation of internationally agreed standards of justice and human rights. Its closure is both essential and long overdue,” said Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    Forty-one individuals remain held at Guantanamo, all of whom have been in US custody for more than a decade. Most are held without charge and haven’t been brought for trial, while others are facing unfair trial by military commissions, with some facing the possibility of the death penalty.

    January 08, 2018

    WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the Department of Homeland Security announced the end of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation to El Salvador. Over 250,000 people from El Salvador in the United States are protected by TPS, including mothers and fathers of U.S. citizens. If forced to leave the country, they could face grave danger in El Salvador.

    Marselha Gonçalves Margerin, advocacy director for the Americas at Amnesty International USA, issued this statement:

    “The end of TPS for El Salvador is a devastating betrayal for thousands of families who arrived at the United States seeking safety as well as their U.S. citizen children. If forced to return to El Salvador, mothers, fathers, and children could face extortion, kidnapping, coerced service to gangs, and sexual violence. By returning TPS recipients to El Salvador, the United States could be sending people to their deaths.”

    December 22, 2017

    Following the approval of a United Nations resolution condemning President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Sherine Tadros, head of Amnesty International’s UN Office in New York, made the following statement:

    “The global community has sent a strong message that it will not be swayed by bullying threats into supporting President Trump’s reckless disregard for international cooperation.

    “This is a much larger question than where the United States chooses to place its embassy. The international community has repeatedly condemned the U.S. recognition of the illegal annexation of Jerusalem. By rejecting this consensus, the United States is completely disregarding the rights of the Palestinian people and damaging efforts to maintain peace in the region.

    “The United States should consider why this policy is so widely opposed by the global community. Rather than acting as a partner in the peace process, the U.S. is fanning the flames of tension.”

    Background

    December 21, 2017

    In response to reports that President Trump has threatened to withhold aid to countries if they vote for a resolution condemning the U.S. decision recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Raed Jarrar, advocacy and government relations director for the Middle East at Amnesty International USA, made the following statement:

    “President Trump is doubling down on his reckless policies by coercing other countries into accepting his decision to recognize the unlawful annexation of East Jerusalem by Israel .

    “The Trump administration’s bullying tactics will only serve to further isolate the United States on the global stage. Rather than threatening those who depend on US aid, the Trump Administration should abide by its legal obligations not to recognize an illegal situation and reverse its course on Jerusalem.”

    CONTACT: media@aiusa.org

    December 15, 2017

    Today the Federal Communications Commission voted to remove the current regulations on network neutrality. Internet service providers (ISPs) can now restrict, block or give preferential access to different internet traffic, allow users access to only some online services for free, and give preferential treatment to certain traffic in return for payment.

    Margaret Huang, executive director of Amnesty International USA, issued this statement:

    “This decision has serious implications for human rights and freedom of expression in the United States. By rolling back on net neutrality regulations, the FCC is creating significant barriers to access to information for the poorest and most marginalized members of society. This decision also stifles non-governmental organizations unable to match the spending power of large media companies from using the internet to organize and communicate globally. Everyone should be able to access an open and equal internet without discriminating against different content, applications, services and devices.”

    December 06, 2017

    Condemning today’s announcement by the President of the United States, Donald Trump, that the US is recognizing unified Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and will move its embassy there, Raed Jarrar, Amnesty International USA’s Middle East Advocacy Director, said:

    “This is a reckless and provocative decision by the Trump administration that further undermines the human rights of the Palestinian people and is likely to inflame tensions across the region.

    “By recognizing unified Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and announcing the relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv, President Trump has shown yet again his blatant disregard for international law.

    “There is international consensus, including UN Security Council resolutions, on the illegality of Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem. With this move, the United States is violating its own international legal obligations not to recognize or assist an illegal situation and to ensure respect for the Geneva Conventions.

    December 01, 2017

    Responding to news that the US Pentagon will indefinitely postpone a ban on older models of cluster munitions, Patrick Wilcken, Researcher on Arms Control and Human Rights at Amnesty International, said:

    “Cluster munitions are internationally banned for very good reasons. Those that don’t instantly explode lie dormant until they are uncovered by unsuspecting civilians, often children, killing and maiming them. The decision by the Pentagon to indefinitely postpone a ban on the most dangerous types beggars belief.

    “This is a profoundly retrograde step that puts the US way out of line with the international consensus – cluster munitions are banned by more than 100 countries due to their inherently indiscriminate nature and the risks they pose to civilians.

    “Apparently conscious of these risks, the Pentagon had originally promised to ban models that result in more than 1% unexploded ordnance by 2019. But today it has reneged on that promise by keeping older types with dud rates* of 20% or more, raising serious questions about its regard for the lives of civilians in war zones.

    November 22, 2017

    An AI USA Release

    Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called the sustained and systemic attacks on the Rohingya population by the Myanmar military “ethnic cleansing” today in an acknowledgment of the nature of the humanitarian crisis. He also called for an independent probe into north Rakhine State. The announcement comes a week after promising an additional $47 million in humanitarian aid.

    “As our own researchers have documented on the ground, the Myanmar military has been brutally murdering, raping, and burning the Rohingya for months. Secretary Tillerson’s acknowledgement of ethnic cleansing and call for an investigation sets an example for how the world can respond to this crisis. The time for outrage and condemnation has passed. The international community must impose a comprehensive arms embargo and targeted financial sanctions against senior Myanmar military officials responsible for crimes against humanity,” said Joanne Lin, national director of advocacy and government relations for Amnesty International USA.

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