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    May 15, 2019

    Responding to the Alabama Senate approving a measure on Tuesday that would outlaw almost all abortions in the state, Tarah Demant, the Director of the Gender, Sexuality and Identity Program at Amnesty International USA, said:

    "Alabama’s vote is the latest in a string of abortion bans specifically designed to strip people’s reproductive rights away. These bans will be deadly, endanger pregnant people’s lives, and criminalize doctors and health care providers for simply doing their jobs and providing care.

    "These bans reinforce violence against women by victimizing survivors of rape and sexual violence twofold by denying their right to access abortion. They are a gross and dangerous turn back to a dark history where women risked their lives to access their sexual and reproductive rights."

    May 15, 2019

    Danna Ingleton is Deputy Director of Amnesty Tech 

    In June last year, one of my colleagues at Amnesty International received a WhatsApp message from an unknown number. It contained details about a protest supposedly taking place at the Saudi embassy in Washington DC, and my colleague was instantly suspicious. The message came at a time when Amnesty International was campaigning for the release of six jailed activists in Saudi Arabia, and something didn’t feel right.

    An analysis of the links in the message proved these suspicions to be well-founded. Amnesty’s Tech team found that clicking the link would have secretly installed potent spyware on the phone, obtaining total access to calls, messages, photos and GPS location. A closer look enabled us to trace the attack back to a secretive Israeli company: NSO Group.

    May 14, 2019

    Today marks the first anniversary of the arrests of several prominent women human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia, after a shameful year for human rights in the Kingdom in which activists, journalists, academics, and writers were targeted, Amnesty International said today.

    In the past year, Saudi Arabian activists, including several women human rights defenders, have suffered the terrible ordeal of arbitrary detention, unable to speak to or see their loved ones for long months and with no access to legal representation. Women activists also detailed accounts of their torture, ill-treatment and sexual abuse to the court, and many of them now face a prison term for their peaceful activism and speech.  

    May 14, 2019
    Nabi Saleh demonstrations, 2013

    Palestinians living in the occupied territories cannot get to work or school, or see their friends and family without feeling the disruptive effect of Israel’s military rule. It restricts the ability to farm their land, attend a protest, improve their homes, raise families, travel for medical purposes, or access essential services such as electricity and clean water.

    A Palestinian prisoner’s experience is even more dire: they must not only withstand all the above, but also arbitrary detention from Israeli and Palestinian forces, cruel and unlawful treatment, the repression of fundamental human rights, and the ongoing unlawful detention of children.

    For both, life is made all the more insufferable by Israel’s ever-expanding settlement operation.

    May 13, 2019

    This article was originally published by First Nations Drum 

    By Grand Chief Dr. Abel Bosum and Alex Neve

    In 2010, former prime minister Stephen Harper publicly reversed his government’s opposition to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. In a formal “statement of support,” the Harper government said that it had listened to Indigenous leaders in Canada and “learned from the experience of other countries” and was now “confident” that Canada could move ahead with implementation of the Declaration “in a manner that is consistent with our Constitution and legal framework.”

    So why wouldn’t Conservative Members of Parliament and Senators support legislation intended to finally move ahead with the work of implementing the Declaration in Canada?

    May 13, 2019

    Reacting to the onward voyage of the Saudi Arabian state shipping company’s vessel, the Bahri Yanbu, from the Spanish port of Santander this afternoon, Ara Marcen Naval, Deputy Director for Arms Control and Human Rights at Amnesty International, said:

    “Laden with arms that will likely be used in the war in Yemen, the Bahri Yanbu has been bouncing off European ports like a pinball. After loading up with Belgian munitions in Antwerp, it has visited or attempted to visit ports in the UK, France and now Spain, and is due to dock at the Italian port of Genoa later this week. 

    “This is a serious test of EU countries’ resolve to uphold their obligations under the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) and EU Common Position on Arms Exports. Several states have failed this test in the space of just a few days.

    “No EU state should be making the deadly decision to authorize the transfer or transit of arms to a conflict where there is a clear risk they will be used in war crimes and other serious violations of international law.

    May 10, 2019

    Amnesty International welcomes today’s landmark decision in Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness v Chhina, finding that the statutory regime in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act does not provide for review that is “at least as broad and advantageous as habeas corpus.”

    This case was about the basic right of immigration detainees to challenge the lawfulness of their detention by way of habeas corpus – a constitutionally protected right rooted in centuries of common law protections limiting the power of the State to arbitrarily deprive individuals of their liberty. When the case was heard last fall, Amnesty International argued that Canada has an international legal obligation to guarantee immigration detainees are able to exercise this right.

    May 10, 2019

    The Sudanese people have been protesting since December 2018 when they took to the streets to express their anger over rising costs of living and the decline of political freedom. Their pressure worked and on 11 April, Sudan’s military overthrew the National Congress Party (NCP) government, arresting President Omar al-Bashir and other senior party leaders.

    But while al-Bashir’s 30-year rule has come to an end, the human rights situation in Sudan, which has deteriorated dramatically since the beginning of the protests, continues to worsen. Many of the protestors calling for peace, justice, rule of law and economic reforms have paid the price of change with their lives and liberty.

    May 10, 2019

    Why is a caribou protection plan needed in northeast BC?

    The BC government reported in 2018 that the six caribou herds in the southern Peace region “have undergone a dramatic decline in numbers” over the last decade and will disappear entirely if conditions do not change. All of the herds are currently listed as “threatened” under the Species at Risk Act, but the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada has recommended that five of the herds be classified under the even more urgent category of “endangered.”

    May 10, 2019
    Partnership Agreement on Caribou Protection in Northeast BC

    “When caribou disappear, a piece of our culture disappears and we lose a little bit of who we are as the Indigenous people of the area.” - Chief Roland Willson, West Moberly First Nations

    A Partnership Agreement between First Nations and the federal and provincial governments is an important opportunity to take practical steps to recover endangered caribou populations in British Columbia and take meaningful action on reconciliation.

    In the face of a public backlash characterized by racism and bigotry, Amnesty International is urging Premier John Horgan and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to be resolute in fulfilling their commitments and obligations, including recovery of endangered species, reconciliation with First Nations, and combatting racism, by seeing the Partnership Agreement on Caribou Recovery through to implementation.

    May 09, 2019

    Transgender people in China are performing highly dangerous surgery on themselves and buying unsafe hormone treatments on the black market because it is almost impossible for them to access the health care they urgently need, Amnesty International said in a new report.

    “'I need my parents’ consent to be myself'- Barriers to gender-affirming treatments for transgender people in China” reveals that prevalent discrimination and stigma, restrictive eligibility requirements, and a lack of information, leave transgender people to seek unregulated and unsafe gender-affirming treatments.

    “China is failing transgender people. Discriminatory laws and policies have left many people feeling they have no choice but to risk their lives by performing extremely dangerous surgery on themselves and to seek unsafe hormone drugs on the black market,” said Doriane Lau, China Researcher at Amnesty International.

    May 09, 2019

    Responding to the news that Gambia’s President Adama Barrow has commuted the death sentences of 22 prisoners to life imprisonment, Marie-Evelyne Petrus Barry, Amnesty International West and Central Africa Regional Director-who met with the Gambian President last week- said:

    “The President’s commutation of these death sentences to life imprisonment is an important milestone for Gambia which is slowly and steadily moving away from the death penalty.

    “Less than a week ago, Amnesty International met with President Adama Barrow who confirmed to us his commitment to outlaw this cruel punishment – it’s good to see him take another concrete step against the death penalty.

    “This decision is a positive step, however we want the authorities to go further by abolishing the death penalty for all crimes without delay, including in the country’s future constitution.

    “We also hope they will implement our recommendations to repeal draconian media laws, reform the security sector and end discrimination against women.”

    Background

    May 09, 2019

    This article was originally published in the Toronto Star.

    By Justin Mohammed

    Refugee claimants who cross the Canada-U.S. border irregularly do not reach that decision lightly. Upon doing so, they are arrested and temporarily detained until police establish their identity and ensure they aren’t a security threat. Possessions are restricted to those that they can carry. The route can be dangerous; frostbite has claimed fingers, and hypothermia has even claimed a life. After the refugee protection claim is launched, they remain in limbo for months or years without a guarantee they will be allowed to stay.

    This is what refugee claimants coming through the U.S. weigh when they decide to seek Canada’s protection.

    In spite of this, the federal government has decided to tighten its borders, further targeting refugee claimants who seek Canada’s protection by travelling through the U.S.

    May 08, 2019

    Responding to the reports that Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian woman freed from death row in 2018, has left Pakistan and arrived in Canada, Amnesty International’s Deputy South Asia Director Omar Waraich said:

    “If the news is true, it’s a great relief that Asia Bibi and her family are safe. She should never have been imprisoned in the first place, let alone faced the death penalty. That she then had to endure the repeated threats to her life, even after being acquitted, only compounds the injustice. This case illustrates the dangers of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws and the urgent need to repeal them.”

    Background

    May 07, 2019

    Responding to news of the amnesty and release of Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, Nicholas Bequelin, Amnesty International’s East and Southeast Asia Director said:

    “Today marks an important victory for press freedom in Myanmar. The case against Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo was a travesty of justice from start to finish and they should never have spent a day in prison.

    “While all those who campaigned for their release welcome the government’s decision, the reality is the country retains a range of repressive laws used to detain journalists, activists and any perceived critic of the authorities. Until these laws are repealed, journalists and activists remain under a permanent threat of detention and arrest.

    “In recent weeks, Amnesty International has recorded a surge in politically motivated arrests – most for criticism of the military. The government must follow through its rightful decision to free Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo by releasing all other journalists and prisoners of conscience detained on hollow charges, and by repealing all laws that keep a chokehold on freedom of expression.”

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