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Human Rights

    April 25, 2018

    The efforts of the Attorney General’s Office to fight rampant impunity and protect human rights in Guatemala must continue and even increase, Amnesty International said today, ahead of the appointment of the new Attorney General and Head of the Public Prosecutor’s Office.

    “President Jimmy Morales must appoint an Attorney General who guarantees prompt and effective justice for all, and who complies effectively with Guatemala’s international human rights obligations,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    “This is a critical moment in Guatemala’s modern history. There cannot be any backwards steps in the fight against impunity which the country has been tackling.”

    President Morales is responsible for choosing between six candidates who hope to assume the post of Attorney General and Head of the Public Prosecutor’s Office for the next four years. The decision must be made by 17 May at the latest, when the current Attorney General Thelma Aldana Hernández’s term comes to an end.

    March 28, 2018

    March 28, 2018 - Ethiopia’s incoming prime minister must prioritize addressing the deep-rooted human rights crisis in the country, said Amnesty International following the election of Abiy Ahmed as chairman of the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) party, paving the way for him to become the next premier.

    If approved by parliament, Abiy Ahmed, who also currently heads the Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO) – an EPRDF member party - will replace Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, who announced his resignation in February “in an effort to facilitate reforms.”

    “Abiy’s election could herald a new dawn in Ethiopia if it is followed by concrete steps to implement far-reaching reforms towards respect for human rights in the country,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.

    “If approved as prime minister, Abiy and his government must take urgent measures to address the human rights crisis in Ethiopia, through concrete and genuine reforms.”

    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:

    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.

    February 06, 2018

    The Maldivian government must immediately release judges and opposition politicians it has arbitrarily detained through emergency powers, Amnesty International said today.

    “Since the declaration of a state of emergency on 5 February, we have seen a wave of arbitrary arrests in the Maldives. A state of emergency cannot be used to carry out what appears to be a purge of the Supreme Court and the opposition. These judges and opposition politicians must be released immediately,” said Biraj Patnaik, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director.

    Invoking sweeping emergency powers, the government has arrested the Chief Justice, Abdulla Saeed, another Supreme Court judge, Justice Ali Hameed, a former president, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, the former president’s son-in-law, Mohamed Nadheem, and the head of the Department of Judicial Administration, Hassan Saeed.

    Colonel Nazim, a former Defence Minister who was under house arrest, has now been moved back to jail by the Maldivian correctional services, in defiance of a 1 February 2018 Supreme Court order for his release.

    February 06, 2018

    As Parliament resumes and MPs and Senators set to work tackling numerous and wide-ranging challenges, Amnesty International’s 2018 Human Rights Agenda for Canada highlights a mixed record of progress in 2017 and lays out important recommendations for domestic and international human rights action over the coming year that will require more consistent political commitment, increased resources and determined leadership.

    February 05, 2018

    Amnesty International has warned that the 15-day declaration of the state of emergency in the Maldives must not become a licence for further repression.

    “The declaration of the state of emergency in the Maldives is an extremely worrying development that comes at a time of heightened political anxieties in the country. But respect for human rights must not become another casualty of this ongoing crisis,” said Dinushika Dissanayake, Amnesty International’s Deputy South Asia Director.

    “The Maldivian authorities have an appalling track-record of suppressing freedom of expression and any form of opposition, a pattern of behaviour that has intensified over recent years. It is vital that authorities respect their obligations under international human rights law during this period of emergency. This cannot be a licence for further repression.”

    Background

    The declaration of the state of emergency – which suspends several clauses of the Maldivian constitution – comes days after the Maldivian Supreme Court overturned a politically-motivated conviction against former President Mohamed Nasheed on ‘terrorism’ charges.

    December 14, 2017

    Contrast VR and Amnesty International immerse viewers in Rohingya crisis with Forced to Flee

    DOHA, SAN FRANCISCO, LONDON (December 12, 2017) – A man forced to bury his son after watching Myanmar’s military kill him, a woman who was gang-raped by soldiers, and another woman who had her family murdered and house burnt down – these are only three of the Rohingya refugees who share their harrowing stories in a hard-hitting new virtual reality documentary released today.

    Forced to Flee, launched jointly by Contrast VR, Al Jazeera Media Network’s new immersive studio and Amnesty International was directed and produced by Contrast VR Editorial Lead Zahra Rasool, co-produced by Viktorija Mickute and edited by Maria Fernanda Lauret. It was shot in late October in Kutupalong camp, Bangladesh, which is now home to more than 620,000 Rohingya refugees who fled ethnic cleansing in neighbouring Myanmar’s Rakhine State since late August.

    In the immersive film, Rohingya women and men recount the horrors of fleeing systematic and widespread violations and urge the world to secure their basic rights.

    December 12, 2017

    In a joint statement released today, a group of 26 Indigenous peoples’ organizations and civil society groups are calling on Ministers from the federal, provincial and territorial governments to initiate a process of reform to address long-standing shortcomings in Canada’s implementation of international human rights obligations.  For the first time in 29 years, Ministers have met to discuss cross-jurisdictional weaknesses and challenges in implementing Canada’s commitments under an array of binding international human rights instruments.

    December 01, 2017

    Authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo must investigate the heavy-handed police crackdown on yesterday’s protests in which at least one man was shot dead and dozens more injured, said Amnesty International today.

    Police also arbitrarily arrested more than 200 protesters in cities across the country. While many were released later in the day, at least 100 remain in detention, including 45 in Goma and 12 in the capital Kinshasa.

    “This wanton disregard for protesters’ lives and the unlawful use of force cannot be tolerated. The use of firearms against unarmed protesters contravenes DRC’s obligations under international law,” said Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    “The DRC must promptly launch an effective and independent investigation into the killing and injuries and bring all those responsible to justice. The ongoing pattern of repression against peaceful protesters and its associated impunity must stop.”

    November 30, 2017
    Verified photographs show Soviet-made cluster munitions used over densely populated areas by Syrian government forces Doctors describe dire humanitarian situation – including widespread malnutrition – amid tightening siege Witnesses recount indiscriminate attacks killing civilians as Syrian forces commit daily war crimes

    Syrian government forces’ increasing use of banned Soviet-made cluster munitions to carry out indiscriminate attacks and direct attacks on civilians amid a tightening siege in rebel-held Eastern Ghouta has killed at least 10 civilians and brought the area’s humanitarian crisis to breaking point, Amnesty International can reveal today.

    The organization interviewed five people currently under siege in Eastern Ghouta, among them activists and medical professionals, who described a severely deteriorating situation as the government has escalated its bombing campaign of this rebel-held enclave, near the capital, Damascus, since 14 November.

    November 30, 2017

    The Canadian Coalition on Human Rights in China today released an Open Letter calling Prime Minister Trudeau to place human rights at the top of his agenda during his visit to China this week, including by rigorously pursuing human rights protections in discussions related to trade and by firmly calling for the release of prisoners of conscience – including 16 individuals with close Canadian connections - unjustly imprisoned in the country.

    November 23, 2017

    Amnesty International welcomes the federal government’s promise of a rights-based national housing strategy aimed at improving access to housing in Canada, including through “new legislation that promotes a human rights-based approach to housing and prioritizes the housing needs of Canada’s most vulnerable. “

    “The adoption of a human rights-based national housing strategy, backed up by legislation, is a positive step toward fulfilling Canada’s international legal obligations to uphold economic, social and cultural rights,” says Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada. “It stands to help address grave concerns raised by the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights during its 2016 review of Canada’s human rights record and recommendations brought forward by several other UN human rights bodies as well, including with respect to homelessness, inadequate housing and a persisting social and economic gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.”

    November 22, 2017

    Today’s conviction of the former Bosnian Serb war leader, general Ratko Mladić, for crimes under international law, including genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes has finally – after more than 20 years - delivered justice to tens of thousands of the victims of 1992-95 armed conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina, said Amnesty International.

    He was sentenced to life imprisonment.

    The verdict handed down by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague recognizes his individual criminal responsibility as Commander of the Bosnian Serb Army, and his participation in joint criminal enterprises, including to terrorize the population of Sarajevo and eliminate Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica.

    “This landmark verdict marks a significant moment for international justice and sends out a powerful message around the world that impunity cannot and will not be tolerated,” said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Europe Director.

    “Whilst it does not end the suffering of those relatives who have waited more than 20 years to see this day, seeing justice delivered might offer them some closure.”

    November 22, 2017

    Responding to today’s decision by the Istanbul Court to continue the pre-trial detention of Amnesty International’s Turkey Chair, Taner Kılıç, John Dalhuisen said:

     

    “Today in court lawyers for the defence and an independent expert witness demolished the prosecution’s arguments. All the evidence shows Taner is innocent but this evening he was nevertheless sent back to the overcrowded cell where he has spent more than five months.”

    “The court’s decision to ignore this evidence and continue his detention flies in the face of reason. It is yet another opportunity missed to correct a gross injustice. We will continue to fight for his release and for the dropping of all charges against both him and the Istanbul 10.”

    The next court hearing has been set for 31 January, 2018

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    For media inquiries, contact: Jacob Kuehn, Media Relations at (613) 744-7667 ext 236 or jkuehn@amnesty.ca 

     

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