Select this search icon to access the amnesty.ca search form

Main menu

Facebook Share

Freedom of Expression

    June 22, 2018

    Amid persistent human rights violations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Amnesty International wants the government to ensure that everyone can exercise their freedom of expression and association as the country prepares for the long-awaited December elections.

    DRC authorities must open up the civic space by lifting the ban on peaceful protests, releasing dissidents and stopping the ongoing crackdown on human rights defenders.

    “All unlawful measures that prevent or limit citizens’ participation and engagement, including the blanket ban on demonstrations, must be removed immediately, and freedom of expression – including press freedom - fully restored ahead of the elections,” said Jean-Mobert Senga, Amnesty International’s Researcher for the DRC.

    The country’s Electoral Commission is expected to announce the elections on 23 June, six months before the polling date, 23 December 2018.

    June 21, 2018

    Nicaragua remains mired in an ongoing cycle of violence, despite numerous efforts by Nicaraguan civil society for national dialogue and calls from international organizations to stop the grave violations of human rights committed by state agents and affiliated groups.

    Amnesty International has continued to monitor and document the grave human rights crisis in the country and can confirm that state repression and violence have intensified in recent weeks. According to the Nicaraguan Centre for Human Rights (CENIDH), the number of people killed, most at the hands of the police and pro-government armed groups, has risen to over 190. The harassment of journalists and human rights defenders is continuing, as are restrictions on access to the right to health of injured protesters.

    “The upsurge of violence and attacks against civilians by Nicaraguan government agents and pro-government armed groups acting with their acquiescence in recent days highlights President Ortega’s insincerity and lack of commitment to resolving this crisis peacefully,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    June 21, 2018

    In response to the continued detention of human rights defender, Taner Kılıç, after the latest hearing against him, Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General said:

    “Today’s heart-breaking decision to keep our colleague in jail is yet another travesty of justice.

    “After more than a year away from his family, and without a a shred of credible evidence presented to substantiate the absurd charges made against him, his cruel and protracted incarceration defies all logic.

    “Earlier this month, any fig-leaf of legitimacy for the prosecutor’s case was stripped away with the submission of the long-delayed police report. By failing to find any evidence that Taner ever had the ByLock messaging app on his phone, the report removed the central accusation against him. A second police report submitted to the court this morning, confirmed that there was no trace of Bylock on Taner’s phone.

    June 20, 2018
    Amnesty Secretary General meets Taner Kılıç in jail for first time Trial resumes in Istanbul on 21 June Amnesty Secretary General and directors from four countries to attend hearing

    On the eve of the resumption of his trial, jailed Amnesty International Turkey’s Honorary Chair, Taner Kılıç, has made an impassioned plea for people not to stay silent on the issue of human rights abuses in Turkey and vowed to carry on his work when he is released.

    “When I am released I want to carry on. I know now more than ever how important human rights are,” Taner told Amnesty International’s Secretary General, Salil Shetty, who visited him in Şakran high security prison today.

    “Others in are in a worse situation than me,” Taner continued, stressing the need for solidarity with everyone who has been unjustly jailed in Turkey.

    June 18, 2018

    •         Police report finds nothing to suggest Taner Kılıç ever had the controversial ByLock app on his phone

    •         Trial resumes in Istanbul on 21 June

    •         Amnesty Secretary General and directors from four countries to attend trial

    More than a year after his arrest, a 15-page police report finally submitted by the prosecution, fails to find any evidence that Amnesty International Turkey’s Honorary Chair, Taner Kılıç, ever had ByLock on his phone. The alleged presence of the secure messaging application was central to the case against the rights defender, who is still languishing in prison.

    The findings of the police report do not substantiate the central accusation against Taner and Amnesty International is therefore renewing its call for his immediate release and acquittal.

    June 13, 2018

    Honduran authorities have continued to violate the human rights of people arrested during last year’s post-election protests by denying their right to due process and holding them in inhumane conditions, said Amnesty International in a report released today.

    Protest prohibited: Use of force and arbitrary detentions to suppress dissent in Honduras documents how the authorities used excessive force and arbitrary or prolonged pre-trial detention, among other measures, to suppress the wave of demonstrations that followed the elections on 26 November 2017 and to discourage further dissent.

    “Not only did Honduran security forces use excessive force to repress peaceful protesters in the immediate aftermath of last year’s contested election; the state then held detainees in deplorable conditions for months on end while denying their rights to due process and an adequate defence,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    June 06, 2018

    Despite the government’s cynical crackdown on human rights, activists for justice and freedom will not be silenced, Amnesty International said on the first anniversary of the detention of Taner Kılıç.

    The Honorary Chair of Amnesty International Turkey was arrested on 6 June 2017 on a baseless charge of belonging to a terrorist organization. More than a million people have since raised their voices and backed Amnesty’s campaign for his immediate release.

    “Today we mourn the year of Taner Kılıç’s life that Turkey’s government has unjustly taken from him, but this is also a moment to redouble our efforts to secure his release and that of many other civil society activists whose work has cost them their freedom,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.

    “Turkish authorities have fostered a climate of fear by mercilessly persecuting those who dare to speak out. But today, Taner’s hundreds of thousands of supporters worldwide stand in solidarity to send a resounding message to the Turkish government: we will not be silenced.”

    May 29, 2018
     

    A protester is in critical condition in hospital after being attacked by police dogs on 27 May, as part of a crackdown on freedom of association, assembly and expression that stifles dissenting views, Amnesty International said today.A protester is in critical condition in hospital after being attacked by police dogs on 27 May, as part of a crackdown on freedom of association, assembly and expression that stifles dissenting views, Amnesty International said today.

    The protester was participating in a peaceful protest demanding justice for the victims subjected to torture and extrajudicial executions in Angola in 1977 under late president Agostinho Neto.

    “This latest crackdown on dissent in Angola is unfortunately a clear demonstration that there is little space for differing views,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southern Africa.

    “This crackdown shows that freedom of expression, association and assembly are still in danger in Angola. Authorities must stop targeting dissent.”

    May 29, 2018

    JOINT RELEASE OF AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL CANADA   PEN CANADA   TORONTO ASSOCIATION FOR DEMOCRACY IN CHINA

    Amnesty International Canada, PEN Canada and the Toronto Association for Democracy in China jointly announced today the kickoff of the Liu Xiaobo Memorial project to erect a bronze sculpture of an empty chair to commemorate his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China.

    Liu Xiaobo was a writer, literary critic, human rights activist, and co-author of Charter 08, a manifesto calling for political reform in China. He was arrested in 2009 on suspicion of “inciting subversion of state power” and sentenced to eleven years' imprisonment. 

    Liu Xiaobo was awarded the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize. At the award ceremony in Oslo, the award was presented to an empty chair. In 2017, Liu became the second Nobel Peace Laureate to die in state custody.

    May 16, 2018

    The arrest of musician and activist Fumba Chama, also known as ‘Pilato’, is a shocking demonstration of how far the Zambian government is prepared to go to strangle all criticism and crack down on freedom of expression, Amnesty International said today.

    Pilato was arrested at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport this afternoon on his return home after spending four months in Johannesburg, South Africa. He left Zambia in early January after receiving threats in response to his song Koswe Mumpoto (rat in the pot), which was interpreted as criticising President Edgar Lungu and his ruling Patriotic Front (PF) ministers.

    A warrant for Pilato’s arrest was issued on 5 February after he failed to appear in a Zambian court on trumped up charges connected to his participation in a peaceful protest in September 2017.

    “The arrest of Pilato as soon as he arrived back on home soil is a shocking affront to justice. It shows the lengths to which Zambian authorities are prepared to go to stifle dissent,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southern Africa.

    May 16, 2018

    Responding to the news that a court in Bahrain yesterday revoked the citizenship of 115 people and handed 53 of them life sentences on terrorism-related charges, Lynn Maalouf, Middle East Research Director at Amnesty International, said:

    “The sheer scale of this mass trial is ludicrous; it is hard to believe that justice can have been delivered through a fair trial process when this number of people are simultaneously sentenced.

    “This is one of the most severe rulings yet, and is further proof that the Bahrain authorities have no regard whatsoever for international fair trial standards.

    “The Bahraini government is using revocation of nationality – rendering many of its citizens stateless in the process – and expulsion, as tools to crush all forms of opposition, dissent and activism.

    “Arbitrarily depriving citizens of their nationality, turning them into stateless people and banishing them by forcing them to leave the country is a violation of international law.

    May 16, 2018

    AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL & PEN AMERICA JOINT PRESS RELEASE

    Troubling Reports of Liu Xia’s Worsening Health Condition Stir Immediate Action from Artists and Activists

    NEW YORK—Dozens of celebrated writers, poets, and artists have called for the lifting of all restrictions on Chinese poet and artist Liu Xia, held under illegal house arrest without charge since October 2010.

    This show of literary solidarity comes following revelations about Liu Xia’s declining health, which she revealed in April during a harrowing phone conversation with friend and exiled writer Liao Yiwu.

    Rita Dove, Paul Auster, JM Coetzee, Khaled Hosseini, Hu Ping, and Michael Chabon are among the group of writers who have read excerpts of Liu Xia’s poetry as part of a video campaign advocating for her freedom.

    Khaled Hosseini, author of the Kite Runner, said: [I support this campaign for Liu Xia] as artists who are free to speak must do so on behalf of other artists whose voices are being stifled.”

    May 12, 2018

    The Palestinian authorities must immediately drop criminal defamation charges against Ahmad Awartani, a 25-year-old mechanical engineer from the Palestinian village of Anabta in the West Bank, said Amnesty International today ahead of his court hearing on 15 May.

    Ahmad Awartani has been detained in Jericho prison since 21 April on charges of defamation relating to a Facebook post in which he wrote, that he and residents of his village of Anabta do not pledge loyalty to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. A court in Jericho has extended his pre-trial detention twice since then, most recently on 9 May for an additional seven days.

    “The prosecution of Ahmad Awartani is the latest example of the Palestinian authorities’ use of draconian defamation laws to criminalize freedom of expression. For a harmless Facebook post Ahmad Awartani has spent more than three weeks in pre-trial detention, showing just how hell-bent the authorities have become on silencing critics,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, Middle East and North Africa Deputy Regional Director at Amnesty International.

    May 09, 2018

    Responding to Israel’s decision to expel Human Rights Watch’s Country Director Omar Shakir, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, Magdalena Mughrabi, said:

    “We stand in complete solidarity with Omar Shakir and strongly condemn Israel’s decision to revoke his work permit and order him to leave the country. This is yet another alarming sign of the country’s increasing intolerance of critical voices.

    “The Israeli authorities must immediately stop their ongoing harassment of human rights defenders. Barring access to those documenting human rights abuses won’t hide Israel’s mass violations carried out in the context of more than 50 years of occupation. Israel must repeal laws that arbitrarily restrict human rights advocacy, including criticism of human rights violations and breaches of international humanitarian law that it has committed.”

    Background

    May 06, 2018

    Following the forceful dispersal of today’s peaceful opposition rallies in Moscow and all over Russia, and the inaction of the police who allowed the beating of protesters by unknown people in ‘’Cossack’’ uniforms, Denis Krivosheev, Amnesty International Deputy Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia said:

    “The forceful dispersal of today’s opposition demonstrations is outrageous. The Russian authorities once again refused to authorise protest rallies, and then used this ban to crackdown on those gathered in Moscow and elsewhere.

    “But what is worse is the total police inaction, which allowed the beating of protesters by unknown men in Moscow. On what grounds people in ‘’Cossack’’ uniforms were allowed to use force remains a question.

    “Authorities should immediately release all peaceful protesters arrested and launch an independent, thorough and effective investigation of the use of force by police, and attacks on the protesters by the “Cossacks” with the inaction of the police.”

    Pages

    Subscribe to Freedom of Expression
    rights