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    December 19, 2018

    Police in Viet Nam’s capital, Hanoi, shut down a major annual meeting of grassroots groups and non-government organizations (NGOs) this morning in an alarming step-up of the authorities’ repression of civil society, said Amnesty International.

    “This is an absurd and shocking crackdown on a well-established, peaceful event. To use an arcane wartime decree about holding events in public spaces to stop a private gathering at a hotel is clearly unjustified and cynical,” said Minar Pimple, Amnesty International’s Senior Director for Global Operations.

    A coalition of local groups were holding their third annual workshop today at the Hanoi Club Hotel. As in previous years, the meeting aimed to discuss approaches to social issues including public service access, health and gender equality.

    Once the workshop was underway, local police entered the premises and ordered organizers to shut it down. Police accused organizers of violating a wartime law from 1957, Decree 257-TTg, which provides that public authorities must be informed of events at least 24 hours in advance.

    December 17, 2018
    Amnesty International will be monitoring the protests

    The police must rein in unnecessary and excessive force, including the use of tear gas, against peaceful protesters, Amnesty International said today ahead of further demonstrations planned tonight in Budapest.

    “Demonstrators are expected to descend onto Budapest’s streets tonight for a sixth night of anti-government protests. Last night we witnessed displays of unnecessary and excessive force against peaceful protesters that included the use of tear gas. This must not be repeated again. The police must use force only when strictly necessary and only when all other means to contain the violence have failed," said Massimo Moratti, Deputy Director for Europe at Amnesty International.

    December 17, 2018

     “Going ahead with Project Dragonfly would represent a massive capitulation on human rights by one of the world’s most powerful companies” – Kumi Naidoo

    Responding to media reports that Google is planning to shut down Project Dragonfly, its controversial censored search app for China, Kumi Naidoo, Amnesty International’s Secretary General, said:

    “Media reports that Google is shelving Dragonfly follow intense criticism of the project from human rights groups and Google’s own staff. 

    “We would welcome a decision by Google to drop Dragonfly and abandon its plans to cooperate in large-scale censorship and surveillance by the Chinese government.

    “Going ahead with Project Dragonfly would represent a massive capitulation on human rights by one of the world’s most powerful companies.

    “It’s worrying that these reports suggest that Project Dragonfly has been shelved due to discrepancies over internal process, rather than over human rights concerns.

    December 10, 2018
    ‘This whole case will send a shiver down the spine of anyone who cares about the right to protest in our country’ - Kate Allen

    Following guilty verdicts today in the case of 15 people tried in relation to their attempt to prevent what they believed was the unlawful deportation of a group of people at Stansted Airport last year, Amnesty International has reiterated its strong concern over the decision to charge the human rights defenders with a terrorism-related offence.

    The 15 people - known as the “Stansted 15” - took non-violent direct action at Stansted in March 2017 to prevent the deportation of 60 people on a charter flight bound for Ghana and Nigeria.

    The Stansted 15’s actions prevented the flight from leaving. Of the 60 individuals due to have been deported, ten are currently pursuing asylum claims in the UK, and at least one has since been granted permission to remain in the UK.

    November 27, 2018

    Amnesty launches global day of action against secretive “Project Dragonfly”

    Google’s plans to launch a censored search app in China could irreparably damage internet users’ trust in the tech company, Amnesty International said today, warning that going ahead with the app would set a dangerous precedent for tech companies enabling rights abuses by governments.

    The organization has launched a global petition calling on Google CEO Sundar Pichai to drop the app, which is codenamed Project Dragonfly and would blacklist search terms like “human rights” and “Tiananmen Crackdown”. Following a public outcry from Google’s own workforce, Amnesty International is reaching out to the company’s staff through protests outside Google offices and targeted messages on LinkedIn calling on them to sign the petition. A spoof promotional video offering Google staff the chance to participate in Project Dragonfly ends with a twist on Google’s motto: “Don’t be evil – unless it’s profitable”. 

    November 16, 2018

    Responding to today’s detention of 13 civil society figures in Turkey in connection with the investigation into jailed civil society leader Osman Kavala, Amnesty International’s Turkey Strategy and Research Manager, Andrew Gardner said:

    “This latest wave of detentions of academics and activists, on the basis of absurd allegations, shows that the authorities are intent on continuing their brutal crackdown of independent civil society, and shatters any illusion that Turkey is normalizing following the lifting of the state of emergency.

    “The fact that they have been detained in relation to innocuous activities alleged around the overwhelmingly peaceful ‘Gezi Park’ protests in 2013 shows how desperate Turkish authorities are to crack down on any form of dissent.

    November 16, 2018
    Trial of nine Umbrella Movement leaders due to start on Monday

    The Hong Kong government must drop the politically motivated prosecution of nine leaders of the 2014 pro-democracy Umbrella Movement protests, as it amounts to an attack on free speech and peaceful assembly, Amnesty International said ahead of the start of their trial on Monday.

    Among the nine activists facing trial at West Kowloon Magistrates’ Courts are the co-founders of the “Occupy Central” campaign – legal scholar Professor Benny Tai Yiu-ting, sociologist Professor Chan Kin-man and retired pastor Reverend Chu Yiu-ming – who each face a maximum penalty of seven years’ imprisonment if convicted. Six other defendants in the case include student leaders, lawmakers and political party leaders.

    November 15, 2018

    AMNESTY INDIA PRESS RELEASE
    BENGALURU/DELHI

    The latest leak of a dossier on Amnesty India by the Enforcement Directorate, a financial investigation agency under the Ministry of Finance, based on its ongoing investigations, indicates a deliberate attempt by the government to tarnish Amnesty India’s reputation. Amnesty India calls for an immediate end to this smear campaign and an independent inquiry into the selective leaks of information that are fueling this smear campaign.

    “In the three weeks since we were raided by the Enforcement Directorate, no formal charges have been filed against us. So, it is really shocking to see media coverage of what is alleged to be documents from the investigation. If the authorities believe that Amnesty India has committed an offence, they must prove it in a court of law. However, the Enforcement Directorate seems to be leaking selective information and conducting a media trial,” said Aakar Patel of Amnesty India

    November 07, 2018

    Responding to the decision by an Istanbul court to further postpone the trial of Amnesty International Turkey’s Honorary Chair, Taner Kılıç, former Director, İdil Eser, and nine other human rights defenders, Andrew Gardner, Amnesty International’s Turkey Strategy and Research Manager said:

    “The farce continues for these human rights defenders who are facing absurd terrorism charges. The ridiculous allegations that the Istanbul 10 participated in a secret and subversive meeting has been proven to be entirely untrue in previous hearings. It boggles the mind that the authorities are yet to analyse the digital devices seized when they were first arrested almost a year-and-a-half ago.

    “The trial has now been heard in six separate hearings. Dragging out proceedings in politically motivated cases is nothing new. It is a deliberate tactic forcing innocent human rights defenders to suffer a tortuous wait with the threat of conviction under terrorism charges hanging over their heads.

    November 06, 2018
    High level delegation to attend trial of Amnesty’s Turkey chair, Taner Kılıç, and the Istanbul 10 

    Almost a year-and-a-half after they were first arrested, and still facing absurd charges, Amnesty International Turkey’s Honorary Chair, former Director and nine other human rights defenders must be acquitted, said Amnesty International as their trial resumes tomorrow in Istanbul. 

    Taner Kılıç, Amnesty Turkey’s Honorary Chair, and İdil Eser, the organisation’s former Turkey Director, are being tried alongside nine other human rights defenders on baseless allegations of ‘membership of a terrorist organisation’.  

    October 29, 2018

    Reacting to the election of Jair Bolsonaro and Hamilton Mourão as president and vice president of Brazil, Amnesty International said today:

    “The president-elect has campaigned with an openly anti-human-rights agenda and frequently made discriminatory statements about different groups of society. His election as Brazil´s president could pose a huge risk to Indigenous Peoples and quilombolas, traditional rural communities, LGBTI people, black youth, women, activists and civil society organizations, if his rhetoric is transformed in public policy” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International.

    Bolsonaro’s campaign promises include loosening gun control laws and granting prior authorization for law enforcement officials to kill. These proposals, if adopted, would worse the already dire context of lethal violence in Brazil, where there are 63,000 homicides each year, more than 70% of them from firearms, and police commit approximately 5,000 homicides a year, many of which are indeed extrajudicial executions.

    October 26, 2018

    Amnesty India is the latest target of the Modi government’s assault on civil society. On Thursday,  the Enforcement Directorate, an agency that looks into financial crimes, raided the organization’s office and froze its bank accounts, effectively stopping its vital human rights work.

    Swift on the heels of its assault on Greenpeace India earlier this month, when the environmental group’s bank accounts were frozen, the Indian government is claiming violations of foreign funding regulations to shut down another prominent NGO.

    “The Enforcement Directorate’s raid on our office today shows how the authorities are now treating human rights organizations like criminal enterprises, using heavy-handed methods that are commonly found in repressive states. Our staff have been harassed and intimidated,” said Aakar Patel, Amnesty International India’s Executive Director.

    October 20, 2018

    Responding to the Saudi public prosecution’s investigation findings revealing that Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi died after a ‘fist-fight’ inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Samah Hadid, Amnesty International’s Middle East director of campaigns said:

    “We are shocked and saddened by the dreadful news confirming the death of Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate. The investigation findings by the Saudi authorities claiming that Khashoggi died as a result of a “fist-fight” inside the consulate are not trustworthy and marks an abysmal new low to Saudi Arabia’s human rights record.

    “We call on the Saudi Arabian authorities to immediately produce Jamal Khashoggi’s body so an autopsy can be performed by independent forensic experts in accordance with international standards. They must similarly produce for independent investigation any other evidence they have on the killing of Khashoggi to establish the circumstances surrounding his death.

    October 18, 2018

    From the beginning of June, the government of President Daniel Ortega intensified its strategy for repression in a so-called “clean-up” operation, targeting protesters with arbitrary arrests, torture, and the widespread and indiscriminate use of lethal force by police and heavily armed pro-government groups, said Amnesty International today in a new report.

    Released six months after a state crackdown began in response to public protests over social security reforms, Instilling terror: From lethal force to persecution in Nicaragua documents possible grave human rights violations and crimes under international law that the Nicaraguan authorities committed between 30 May and 18 September.

    “Not only did President Ortega deploy police to arbitrarily arrest and torture demonstrators, he also used heavily armed pro-government groups to kill, wound and intimidate all those brave enough to stand up to his repressive strategy,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International.

    October 17, 2018

    Responding to this morning’s arbitrary detention by Russian police of Aleksandr Golovach, a lawyer for the Anti-Corruption Foundation, on spurious charges of breaking a repressive law on public gatherings months ago, the Director of Amnesty International’s Russia office Natalia Zviagina said:

    “The detention of Aleksandr Golovach is the latest example of the Russian authorities’ ongoing crackdown on human rights defenders and activists and illustrates how they will resort to any excuse to target those who dare to criticise them.

    “This case reveals that Russia’s repressive law on public assemblies is not only being used as a tool of wiping protests from the streets; it can also be a reason to arbitrarily arrest and detain anyone at any time.

    “The police have used the draconian law as a false pretext under which to detain Golovach.

    “For as long as Aleksandr Golovach is deprived of his rights to liberty, freedom of expression and peaceful assembly solely in connection with his anti-corruption activism, he is a prisoner of conscience. He must be freed immediately and unconditionally.”

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