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Human Rights Abuses

    July 05, 2017
      During his official visit to Israel, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi must ask Israel to immediately lift the illegal 10 year blockade of Gaza and raise the issue of 50 years of illegal Israeli settlements built on stolen Palestinian land, Amnesty International India said today. 

    This is the first visit by an Indian Prime Minister since establishment of diplomatic relations 25 years ago.

    “Prime Minister Modi must tell his Israeli counterparts that the illegal settlements are a violation of international humanitarian law and cause of mass violations of human rights. He must also press them to lift the 10 year blockade of Gaza that has unlawfully deprived Palestinians in Gaza of their most basic rights and necessities,” said Aakar Patel, Executive Director at Amnesty International India.           

    “Merely condemning Israel’s settlement expansion cannot suffice. India should ban products from these illegal settlements as helping them flourish economically blatantly undermines its own international obligations.”

    June 13, 2017

    The conviction of five people for the charge of “public indecency” after smoking a cigarette or eating in public during the month of Ramadan is a clear violation of individual freedoms in Tunisia, said Amnesty International.

    In the latest incident, a man was sentenced to one month in jail for “public indecency” in the town of Bizerte, northwest of Tunis, for smoking outside a courthouse on 12 June. A day earlier, dozens of protesters took to the streets in Tunis to demand their right not to fast during Ramadan. He is the fifth man to be sentenced by the same court to a jail term for breaking his fast during Ramadan this month. Four other men were sentenced to one month in prison after eating in public on 1 June.

    June 12, 2017

    A new wave of killings and attacks targeting people with albinism over the past six months is being fueled by systemic failures in Malawi’s criminal justice system which leave members of this vulnerable group at the mercy of criminal gangs, Amnesty International said today on International Albinism Awareness Day.

    Since January 2017, at least two people with albinism have been killed while seven more have reported crimes such as attempted murder or abduction. This stands in stark contrast to the last six months of 2016, when no such incidents were reported.

    “Despite stronger legislation, including reforms to the Penal Code and the Anatomy Act, to tackle attacks against people with albinism, we are seeing an alarming resurgence of killings and attacks against this vulnerable group in 2017,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southern Africa.

    “When the wheels of justice turn so painfully slowly, as they do in Malawi, and historic cases of attacks on people with albinism remain unresolved, it creates a climate of impunity and emboldens suspected perpetrators of these horrific crimes.”

    June 08, 2017

    (Beirut, June 8, 2017) – The expected battle involving Iraqi and US-led coalition forces against the Islamic State (ISIS) in west Mosul’s Old City poses a considerable threat to civilians and civilian objects, international humanitarian and human rights organizations said today. All warring parties should cease using explosive weapons with wide area effects and inherently indiscriminate weapons in densely populated west Mosul. ISIS’s unlawful use of civilians as “human shields” and the difficulty of identifying civilians in buildings increases the risk of civilian casualties.

    The United Nations has estimated that 200,000 civilians remain in the two-square-kilometer area in west Mosul’s Old City, which Iraqi and US-led coalition forces are encircling in preparation for the battle there.

    June 07, 2017

    The group calling itself Islamic State (IS) has claimed responsibility for today’s suicide bombing and gun attack at parliament and the mausoleum of Ayatollah Khomeini, the first Leader of Islamic Republic, which killed a number of people and injured dozens in Tehran. In response, Magdalena Mughrabi, Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International, said:

    “The coordinated attack today at parliament and Ayatollah Khomeini’s mausoleum was a brutal and deliberate assault on civilians carried out in cold blood. There can never be a justification for targeting civilians. The group calling itself Islamic State (IS) has again displayed its utter contempt for human life and fundamental principles of humanity.

    “The Iranian authorities must promptly carry out an impartial and independent investigation into this attack and bring those responsible to justice in fair trials, without violating the absolute prohibition on torture and other ill-treatment and without recourse to the death penalty as punishment.”

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    June 01, 2017

    (Geneva, June 1, 2017) – The United Nations Human Rights Council should urgently establish a commission of inquiry into the situation in the central Kasai region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, a coalition of 262 Congolese and 9 international nongovernmental organizations said today

    June 01, 2017

    The desecration of a mass grave site in Ahvaz, southern Iran that contains the remains of at least 44 people who were extrajudicially executed would destroy vital forensic evidence and scupper opportunities for justice for the mass prisoner killings that took place across the country in 1988, said Amnesty International and Justice for Iran.

    Photo and video evidence obtained by the NGO Justice for Iran and reviewed by Amnesty International shows bulldozers working on a construction project directly alongside the mass grave site at Ahvaz, as well as piles of dirt and construction debris surrounding the grave. Although the Iranian authorities have made no official announcements about Ahvaz, families learned through a construction worker that the plan is to ultimately raze the concrete block marking the grave site and build over the area.

    May 30, 2017

    In response to the launch today in Bangui of an extensive United Nations report mapping 620 incidents involving serious human rights violations and abuses, as well as crimes under international law committed in the Central African Republic (CAR) between 2003 and 2015, Erica Bussey, Amnesty International’s Senior Legal Advisor said:

    “This report provides a systematic and comprehensive account of hundreds of horrendous human rights violations and abuses committed over 12 years, and clearly demonstrates the need for accountability to ensure justice and peace in the country.”

    “This report will be of critical importance to the newly-appointed Special Prosecutor of the Special Criminal Court, particularly in determining a prosecutorial strategy, given the vast scale of the crimes committed and the need to prioritize amongst them.”

    “The report comes at an important point in the fight against impunity. Several important steps have recently been taken to establish the Special Criminal Court and nominate magistrates, and this report should help advance efforts to ensure justice for victims of the conflict.”

    May 30, 2017

    The Nigerian security forces must exercise restraint when policing demonstrations marking the 50th Anniversary of the end of the Biafra War on 30 May, and avoid a repetition of the bloodbath caused by their heavy-handed response last year when more than 60 people were gunned down, said Amnesty International today.

    “Last year’s heavy-handed response against pro-Biafra activists further stirred up tensions in the south east of Nigeria. The reckless approach to crowd control favoured by the security forces when policing peaceful pro-Biafra protests has left more than 150 dead since August 2015, not to mention cases of enforced disappearance and unlawful detention,” said Osai Ojigho, Director of Amnesty International Nigeria.

    “We urge the Nigerian security agencies to conduct themselves in a manner that will ensure public order without resorting to force.”

    May 26, 2017

    In response to the Lusaka Magistrate Court’s decision to adjourn the case of United Party for National Development (UPND) leader Hakainde Hichilema and five of his employees until 12 June, Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southern Africa said:

    “Hakainde Hichilema and his five employees are currently undergoing persecution through prosecution and the charge against them must be dropped. Their arrest and detention is part of a cynical ploy to silence all political opposition in Zambia.

    “This treason charge is designed to intimidate Hichilema and stop him and others in the opposition from taking part in public affairs. The Zambian authorities must stop misusing the criminal justice system to target and harass the political opposition.”

    Background

    Hakainde Hichilema is the president of the main opposition political party, the United Party for National Development (UPND) in Zambia.

    The six were arrested on 11 April after they allegedly failed to give way to a Presidential convoy in Mongu district. They claim they were beaten, teargassed and pepper sprayed on their genitals by the police.

    May 25, 2017

    As the Pentagon reports on its findings following the investigation into the US-led coalition airstrike that killed at least 100 civilians in West Mosul’s Jadida neighbourhood on 17 March 2017, Amnesty International said:

    “The attack on the Jadida neighbourhood was a tragedy that alerted the world to the horrors being inflicted upon Iraqi civilians. Entire families are being killed inside their homes, where they are stuck between ground fighting and airstrikes.

    “As the battle for Mosul draws to an end, there is no doubt that, once uncovered, the civilian death toll will raise alarm bells about the conduct of hostilities on all sides. Recent field visits to Mosul by Amnesty International have revealed that, Iraqi forces and the US-led coalition did not refrain from using explosive munitions in heavily populated areas, where civilians were being used as human shields by the group calling itself the Islamic State.

    “While we welcome the US investigation into the Jadida airstrike, we are curious to know whether any lessons were learned and what steps were taken to ensure such horrors do not occur again.

    May 11, 2017
    Members of armed groups who committed rapes and killings remain at large CAR public demands accountability for crimes Amnesty International and CAR civil society call for justice and reparation for victims in #CARJustice campaign Amnesty International and civil society organisations in Central African Republic (CAR) are today launching a national campaign urging authorities in CAR to tackle a deeply entrenched culture of impunity which has prevented thousands of victims of human rights abuses and crimes under international law from receiving any form of justice.   The campaign Justice Now! Towards lasting peace in CAR calls on authorities to commit to a tougher stance against impunity by holding those responsible for serious crimes to account and for CAR’s technical and financial partners to support the government’s efforts, including by funding the country’s new Special Criminal Court.  
    May 10, 2017
    The use of military courts to try civilians in Venezuela undermines the rule of law in the country, violating the Venezuelan constitution and international laws, said Amnesty International today.   “The increasing use of military courts to try civilians is proof of the resolute determination of the Venezuelan authorities to stifle the increasing protests and terrorize anyone who even considers expressing their opinions,” said Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.   “With this practice, the Venezuelan government is moving yet further away from the realm of legality. International law clearly establishes that it is unacceptable to treat civilians in the same way as the military, and is a total infringement on the exercise of human rights.”   According to official data, more than 250 people are currently deprived of their liberty and were brought before military judges and prosecutors. They were all prosecuted for crimes such as “association with intent to incite rebellion” and “attacking a sentinel”, under military jurisdiction.  
    May 09, 2017

    The conviction and imprisonment of Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, better known as “Ahok”, will tarnish Indonesia’s reputation for tolerance, Amnesty International said today.

    "This verdict demonstrates the inherent injustice of Indonesia's blasphemy law, which should be repealed immediately," said Champa Patel, Amnesty International's Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

    "Despite protests of his innocence and evidence that his words were manipulated for political purposes, he has been sentenced to two years in jail. The verdict will tarnish Indonesia's reputation as a tolerant nation."

    Amnesty International calls the Indonesian authorities to repeal blasphemy laws, including Articles 156 and 156(a) of the Criminal Code that have been used to prosecute and imprison people may be imprisoned for “defamation” of religion for as long as five years simply because they have peacefully exercised their right to freedom of expression or to freedom of thought, conscience or religion, which are protected under international human rights law.

    Background

    April 13, 2017

    Israel’s decades-long policy of detaining Palestinians from the occupied West Bank and Gaza in prisons inside Israel and depriving them of regular family visits is not only cruel but also a blatant violation of international law, said Amnesty International, ahead of a mass prisoner’s hunger strike beginning next week to mark Palestinian Prisoner’s Day on 17 April.

    Testimonies gathered by the organization from family members and Palestinian prisoners detained in the Israeli prison system shed light on the suffering endured by families who in some cases have been deprived from seeing their detained relatives for many years.

    “Israel’s ruthless policy of holding Palestinian prisoners arrested in the Occupied Palestinian Territories in prisons inside Israel is a flagrant violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. It is unlawful and cruel and the consequences for the imprisoned person and their loved ones, who are often deprived from seeing them for months, and at times for years on end, can be devastating,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

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