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    June 02, 2020

    OTTAWA – The Canadian government must advance consistent and globally-coordinated action to reverse China’s deeply problematic decision to apply its national security laws to Hong Kong. This troubling move poses extremely dangerous implications for the people of Hong Kong, said several human rights defenders and federal politicians in a press conference today.

    Last week, the Canadian government released a joint statement – along with the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia – condemning the new legislation. Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada’s English branch, said “it is now vital to deepen and expand on this joint declaration of concern, through consistent and forceful diplomacy with China, with other governments around the world, and in all available multilateral fora.”  

    June 02, 2020

    Today, on International Sex Workers’ Day, Amnesty International and the Network of Women Sex Workers from Latin America and the Caribbean (RedTraSex) call on states in the Americas to take immediate measures to guarantee the rights of women who engage in sex work in the context of COVID-19. In particular, they must guarantee access to adequate health services without discrimination, access to social security and protection from human rights violations, such as torture, which in this case is gender-based, committed by the security forces in the context of states of emergency.

    “Cisgender and transgender women who engage in sex work are systematically marginalized, stigmatized and face multiple barriers when exercising their rights. There is concern that the COVID-19 pandemic is aggravating this inequality. States in the Americas have an obligation to protect all women, regardless of their occupation, from the violence and insecurity caused by gender-based discrimination,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International.

    June 02, 2020

    Responding to remarks by President Donald Trump today in the Rose Garden, Ernest Coverson, the End Gun Violence campaign manager at Amnesty International USA said:

    “The violence that can no longer be ignored is the violence committed against Black lives by the police. The real disgrace is the anti-Black racism of the Trump administration.The President swore an oath to the nation to protect all of its people - not just those he deems worthy. 

    “The time for justice has passed for George Floyd, his children, and his loved ones. The possibility for justice was taken away the day that he was killed. All that remains is accountability - and accountability has been absent from an administration that continues to fan the flames of hate. 

    June 01, 2020

    Responding to the authorities’ banning of Hong Kong’s annual June Fourth Tiananmen anniversary vigil for the first time in 30 years due to COVID-19 social distancing measures, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for East and South East Asia, Joshua Rosenzweig, said:   

    “COVID-19 must not be used as an excuse to stifle freedom of expression. Hong Kong authorities should help facilitate a socially distanced Tiananmen vigil rather than outright banning it. On June Fourth, of all days, people in Hong Kong must be allowed to peacefully exercise their rights to freedom of expression and assembly.

    “In recent weeks we have seen the Hong Kong police repeatedly clamp down on peaceful protests with arbitrary mass arrests and excessive force – including the use of tear gas and pepper pellets. By deeming this important memorial event ‘illegal’, the police have again needlessly exacerbated rising tensions when thousands of people simply want to light a candle for those who lost their lives during the horrific events of 4 June, 1989.

    May 29, 2020

    The shocking death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer has once again highlighted that anti-Black racism in policing across the United States is an entrenched, unrelenting human rights crisis that needs concerted action at all levels of government and society. 

    The number of Black people in the US who have been killed, profiled, harassed or otherwise targeted by law enforcement including police, security guards and by private citizens continues to grow at a staggering rate. Further, the number of Black women, transgender, and gender non-conforming people who die from racist, sexist, and transphobic violence is an alarming cause for concern. Breonna Taylor and Tony McDade are the latest on this often-omitted list.

    “The intersections of race, gender, and sexuality play a key role in who is remembered, who is not, and whose deaths spark widespread outrage,” said Daniella Barreto, Digital Activism Coordinator with Amnesty International Canada. “Any Black person murdered is a tragedy that warrants action.”

    May 27, 2020

    Responding to a May 25 video showing a Minneapolis police officer using his knee to pin down a man by his neck until he was unable to breathe, Kristina Roth, the senior program officer for Criminal Justice Programs at Amnesty International USA said:

    “No person should ever wake up wondering if that day will be the day that a police officer ends their life, yet people of color, particularly black people, across the country live with that painful and traumatic reality. The actions of this Minneapolis police officer have terrorized people who have already lost so much.

    May 27, 2020

    Responding to the Hong Kong police’s heavy-handed response to today’s protests against the proposed national anthem and national security laws, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for East and South East Asia Joshua Rosenzweig said:

    “Today’s excessive and indiscriminate use of force by the police to disperse protesters once again exposes the authorities’ utter disregard for human rights on the streets of Hong Kong. Mass arrests in entirely peaceful assemblies show that the Hong Kong government is targeting anyone exercising their right to freedom of expression.

    “As rights in Hong Kong come under ever increasing threat, the national anthem bill is another attempt to make peaceful dissent a crime in the city. Under this vaguely worded and repressive law, people in Hong Kong could face up to three years in prison if they are deemed to have ‘insulted’ or ‘misused’ China’s national anthem.

    May 22, 2020

    Responding to the Chinese government’s proposal to enact new national security legislation for Hong Kong, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East and South East Asia, Joshua Rosenzweig, said:

    “China routinely abuses its own national security framework as a pretext to target human rights activists and stamp out all forms of dissent. This dangerous proposed law sends the clearest message yet that it is eager to do the same in Hong Kong, and as soon as possible.

    “The Hong Kong government has progressively embraced the mainland’s vague and all-encompassing definition of ‘national security’ to restrict freedom of association, expression and the right to peaceful assembly. This attempt to bulldoze through repressive security regulations poses a quasi-existential threat to the rule of law in Hong Kong and is an ominous moment for human rights in the city.

    May 20, 2020

    GENEVA (20 May 2020) – UN experts today called on Canada to secure the urgent release and repatriation of a five-year-old orphaned girl being held in inhuman conditions in north-eastern Syria’s overcrowded Al-Hol camp.

    “Canada has an obligation to intervene in favour of its nationals abroad, particularly if there are reasonable grounds to believe that their non-derogable human rights have been violated,” said the experts.

    “Within this context, special care must be taken for children, particularly if their parents are dead,” the experts emphasized.

    “With the COVID-19 pandemic in play, and thus in a time of new vulnerabilities for children, the return of this orphaned child to Canada and reunion with her family/relatives is even more urgent.” 

    After her parents – suspected of affiliation with ISIL – were reportedly killed in a 2019 airstrike, she was taken to Al-Hol camp, which houses an estimated 70,000 people, including more than 40,000 children.

    May 12, 2020
    Canadian Coalition on Human Rights in China says Canadian government’s inadequate response emboldens pro-Beijing actors

    OTTAWA – Advocates across Canada are increasingly facing threats, intimidation, and harassment for sounding the alarm on serious human rights concerns in China, according to a new report.       

    The Canadian Coalition on Human Rights in China, a coalition of Canada-based civil society organizations with a specific focus on the place of human rights in Canada’s foreign policy with China, released the report today. The Coalition is calling on Canadian officials to urgently address these deeply worrying incidents, some of which have involved cyberbullying, death threats, racist insults, and aggressive counter-protests organized in response to pro-democracy demonstrations. Many of these cases are clearly linked, either directly or indirectly, to Chinese state actors.

    Further, the report highlights a new trend of such incidents taking place on university campuses and secondary schools across Canada.

    May 10, 2020
    Detailed investigation into 18 air and ground attacks on schools and hospitals Russia and Syria deliberately hit hospitals on UN ‘do not target’ list Strong evidence of Russia’s direct involvement in unlawful air strikes

    The UN Security Council must not cut a vital aid lifeline for civilians in the context of war crimes and crimes against humanity in north-west Syria, Amnesty International urged today, as a resolution allowing humanitarian assistance to reach Idlib across Syria’s borders is set to expire in the coming weeks.

    A new Amnesty International report, 'Nowhere is safe for us': Unlawful attacks and mass displacement in north-west Syria, details 18 cases – the majority in January and February 2020 – where Syrian and/or Russian government forces targeted medical facilities and schools in Idlib, western Aleppo and north-western Hama governorates.

    April 29, 2020
    Amnesty International visited 12 military camps in South Sudan Site visits and satellite imagery reveal multiple forces violating arms embargo Child soldiers, illicit concealment and diversion of arms also documented

    The UN Security Council must renew and strengthen enforcement of the arms embargo on South Sudan, Amnesty International said today, exposing new evidence that multiple security forces are breaching it and concealing weapons amid a volatile security situation. Next month the Security Council is set to vote on a resolution that would renew the embargo, which currently expires on 31 May 2020.

    Earlier this year, the organization’s investigators gained access to 12 military training and cantonment sites across the country run by members of formerly opposed forces including the South Sudan People’s Defence Forces (SSPDF), Sudan People’s Liberation Army-In Opposition (SPLA-IO) and South Sudan Opposition Alliance (SSOA), as well as the so-called “Organized Forces” of the police, fire brigade, and wildlife service.

    April 27, 2020

    Reacting to the publication today of US Africa Command’s (AFRICOM) first quarterly assessment of civilian casualties resulting from its operations in Africa, which acknowledges that two Somali civilians were killed and three injured in an air strike, Seif Magango, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for Eastern Africa, said:

    “This first regular public report acknowledging AFRICOM’s role in civilian casualties is a welcome glimmer of transparency in more than a decade of deadly military operations that until now have been shrouded in secrecy. Now there must be accountability and reparation for the victims and their families – the US military has still neither contacted nor offered reparation to the families of any of the civilians it has admitted to killing.

    April 27, 2020

    Following Saudi Arabia’s announcement that it plans to end the use of the death penalty against people below the age of 18 at the time of the crime in cases not involving the counter-terror law, Amnesty International has called on the country to totally abolish the death penalty.

    “While this represents a significant step for Saudi Arabia if implemented, the country’s continued use of the death penalty reached a shocking high last year with 184 recorded executions,” said Heba Morayef, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Regional Director.

    “The death penalty is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment; no country should still be using it and Saudi Arabia’s record is particularly bad in this respect. Saudi Arabia must now establish an official moratorium on executions as a first step towards abolishing the death penalty completely.

    “It should also not be forgotten that dozens of peaceful human rights activists remain detained following convictions in grossly unfair trials solely for campaigning for equality and justice in a vastly repressive environment.”

    April 27, 2020

    Amnesty International is disappointed in Canada’s decision to renew a measure banning refugee claimants from crossing into Canada from the US. Some claimants seeking to enter Canada have already been turned back to an uncertain fate in the US, potentially in violation of Canada’s international legal obligations under the Refugee Convention and the Convention Against Torture.

    The federal government has introduced some positive exceptions to the general ban it introduced last month. People crossing at land ports of entry who were exempt under the Safe Third Country Agreement will now be permitted to make their claims in Canada, as will US citizens, stateless persons and minors regardless of how they arrive. However, Amnesty International maintains that the measure puts some refugee claimants in danger and is out of step with public health measures.

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