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Human Rights

    April 27, 2020

    Honourable John Horgan                                              Deputy Commissioner Jennifer Strachan

    Premier of British Columbia                                         Royal Canadian Mounted Police

    Parliament Buildings                                                       “E” Division

    April 24, 2020

    Responding to news of the death of Dr Abdullah al-Hamid, a prisoner of conscience who passed away while in detention in Saudi Arabia, Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Middle East Research Director, said:

    “We are devastated to learn of Dr Abdullah al-Hamid’s passing while he remained in detention for his peaceful activism.

    “Dr al-Hamid was a fearless champion for human rights in Saudi Arabia, who was determined to build a better world for all. Our thoughts are with his family and friends, who for the past eight years had been deprived of his presence as a result of the state’s inhumane repression.

    “As a prominent human rights campaigner, Dr al-Hamid’s important work continues to resonate throughout the region. He, and all other prisoners of conscience in Saudi Arabia, should never have been in jail in the first place.

    “We again call on the Saudi Arabian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release all those still imprisoned solely for peacefully exercising their human rights.”

    Dr Abdullah al-Hamid

    April 24, 2020

    The multinational US-based company Amazon must ensure its workers across the globe receive adequate health and safety protection during the COVID-19 pandemic, Amnesty International said, as hundreds of US Amazon workers prepare to call in sick on Friday in protest over labour issues.

    Worker organizations report that hundreds of Amazon warehouse workers in the USA have already stayed home from work this week, citing concerns including a lack of health protection at warehouses.

    Amnesty International also called on the e-commerce giant to protect the rights of workers who speak out, amid allegations that staff have been fired after voicing safety concerns.

    “We stand in solidarity with Amazon workers who are speaking up for their rights. Amazon warehouse and delivery workers are risking their lives in the midst of a pandemic to deliver essential goods to all of us,” said Joe Westby, Researcher at Amnesty International.

    April 21, 2020

    Responding to plans announced by U.S. President Donald J. Trump to sign an executive order “to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States”, Joanne Lin, the national advocacy director of Amnesty International USA, said:

    “While the scope of Trump’s new proposed policy is unclear, the message it sends is: the President is manipulating a pandemic to further the bigotry and xenophobia that have been hallmarks of his presidency from day one.

    "We are one country and there is no way we could address the spread of COVID-19 without the unending efforts of immigrants providing healthcare and home aid, staffing grocery stores, and producing food, whose work has been deemed essential while they are simultaneously struggling to access to care, support, and services.

    April 17, 2020

    OTTAWA – Amnesty International is pleased to announce the winners of the 25th annual Amnesty International Canada Media Awards:

    Long-Form Audio: Justin Ling, Jennifer Fowler, Erin Byrnes and Cesil Fernandes, CBC Podcasts, Uncover: The Village

    Mixed Media: Jillian Kestler-D’Amours and Megan O’Toole, Al Jazeera (freelance), Nations Divided: Mapping Canada's Pipeline Battle

    Long-Form Text: Shree Paradkar, Toronto Star, These Girls Were Powerless, Living On The Edge Of Society, But One School Is Turning Them Into Heroes, Feminists, And Resisters

    April 16, 2020

    People’s rights are being violated by governments in Europe and Central Asia, who are cracking down on protests and seeking to erode the independence of the judiciary to avoid accountability, Amnesty International said today as it published its annual review of human rights in the region.

    The organization praised those brave people who took to the streets to defend their own and others’ rights but warned that governments continue to perpetrate human rights violations with impunity across the region.

    “In 2019, people in Europe and Central Asia were threatened, intimidated, prosecuted, subjected to excessive use of force by police, and suffered discrimination. However, the grassroots mobilization of courageous people who dared to stand up and hold states accountable provides a ray of hope for the future,” said Marie Struthers, Europe Director at Amnesty International.

    Independence of the judiciary under threat

    April 01, 2020

    Reacting to a statement from US Africa Command (AFRICOM) pledging to begin, by the end of April, public reporting on civilian casualties resulting from its military operations in Somalia, Libya and elsewhere in Africa, Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Director for East and Southern Africa, said:

    “This is a welcome, though long overdue, step towards providing truth and accountability for the victims of US air strikes and their families in Somalia and beyond. It’s shocking that it has taken more than a decade of AFRICOM’s secret air war in Somalia for this to happen.

    “We continue to stand in solidarity with families of civilians who have been killed or injured in US attacks, only to have their loved ones smeared as ‘terrorists’ and have their plight ignored. The truth must come out and they deserve transparency, accountability and reparation – all of which have been sorely lacking from the US military to date.

    March 31, 2020

    Civilian casualties continue to mount from the US military’s secret air war in Somalia, with no justice or reparation for the victims of possible violations of international humanitarian law, Amnesty International warned as it released details of two more deadly air strikes so far this year.

    US Africa Command (AFRICOM) has conducted hundreds of air strikes in the decade-long fight against the armed group Al-Shabaab, but has only admitted to killing civilians in a single strike that took place exactly two years ago today. This lone admission was prompted by Amnesty International’s research and advocacy. 

    “The evidence is stacking up and it’s pretty damning. Not only does AFRICOM utterly fail at its mission to report civilian casualties in Somalia, but it doesn’t seem to care about the fate of the numerous families it has completely torn apart,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Director for East and Southern Africa.

    March 23, 2020

    Unlawful detention during the ongoing conflict in Yemen - ranging from politically-motivated death sentences, to forcibly disappearing and torturing detainees in ‘black sites’ - remain rife ahead of the fifth anniversary (Wednesday 25 March) of the war, Amnesty International has said.

    Since the current conflict erupted in March 2015, scores of people – including journalists, academics and members of the Baha’i faith – have been disappeared and detained, primarily because of their human rights activism, political affiliation or their conscientiously-held beliefs.

    “The last five years of relentless conflict have been a breeding ground for serious violations against detainees on both sides – in some cases amounting to war crimes,” said Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Middle East Research Director.

    March 16, 2020

    An exclusive new visual investigation by Amnesty International and SITU Research shows that Iraqi security forces intended to kill or severely maim dozens of protesters when they fired military-style grenades directly into crowds on the streets of Baghdad from last October onwards.

    The organizations’ interactive website, Smokescreen – Iraq’s use of military-grade tear gas grenades to kill protesters, includes a 3D reconstruction of deadly incidents captured on video around the capital’s Tahrir Square and Jimhouriya Bridge. The distinctive grenades are known to have mortally wounded at least two dozen protesters in that area since October 2019.

    Ballistics simulations and spatial analysis presented on the Smokescreen website show how the projectiles were fired to kill or cause serious bodily harm.

    March 13, 2020

    Two years after the fatal shooting of the human rights defender and Rio de Janeiro city councillor Marielle Franco, and her driver, Anderson Gomes, on 14 March 2018, the crime remains unsolved and has become an example of the impunity regarding violence against human rights defenders in Brazil, said Amnesty International today.

    “Two years is too long to wait. The lack of solid results in identifying those who ordered the assassination, or clarifying the circumstances of the crime, that has characterized the last year of the investigation demonstrates that human rights defenders can be killed in Brazil and that these crimes go unpunished,” said Jurema Werneck, executive director of Amnesty International Brazil.

    March 11, 2020

    To: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Premier Dwight Ball, Premier Caroline Cochrane, Premier Doug Ford, Premier Blaine Higgs, Premier John Horgan, Premier Jason Kenney, Premier Dennis King, Premier François Legault, Premier Stephen McNeil, Premier Scott Moe, Premier Brian Pallister, Premier Joe Savikataaq, Premier Sandy Silver

    March 5, 2020

    Dear Prime Minister and Premiers,

    RE: Urgent need to respond to violence and hate directed at human rights defenders in Canada

    We are writing this Open Letter, in advance of next week’s First Ministers’ Meeting, to urge that you individually and collectively commit to measures that will ensure that human rights defenders across Canada, particularly women and Indigenous human rights defenders working on issues related to territory, land and the environment, are recognised for their human rights work and able to carry out that vital work free from threats and violence, in a safe and enabling environment.

    March 09, 2020

    Spokespersons available to take media interviews

    An Amnesty International investigation has found that Sudan’s crackdown on protests against the government of deposed President Omar al-Bashir in 2018 and 2019 involved all branches of the country’s security forces and revealed new evidence about how protesters were killed.

    In a new report, “They descended on us like rain”, the organization documents how the police, the National Intelligence Security Service (NISS) and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) at different times led deadly assaults on protesters.

    “During our research many victims and their families clearly pinpointed specific arms of the security forces that ruthlessly attacked protesters. We have documented evidence of the specific killings and which of the security forces were involved,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Director for East and Southern Africa.

    March 06, 2020

    Amnesty International will participate in the demonstrations on 8th March alongside women's movements fighting for the protection and ongoing promotion of their rights.

    In view of the disturbing global trend of misogynist messages currently disseminated by some political and religious leaders, and the increase in oppressive and sexist policies and practices, women around the world are joining forces to consolidate and protect the rights and freedoms achieved to date. The women's movement seeks to ensure that, far from restricting rights, further progress is made in combating the inequalities persisting in many corners of the planet. Millions of women are challenging discourses that demonize them and attempt to jeopardise the feminist movement, as well as advocates of women's rights, gender equality and sex education.

    March 04, 2020

    An independent investigation into police violence during the Hong Kong protests is essential to preventing unrest from reigniting in the city and rebuilding public trust, Amnesty International said in a new briefing released today. 

    “Missing truth, missing justice” examines the insurmountable defects of the Hong Kong police’s accountability mechanisms. The briefing sets out the need for establishing an independent commission of inquiry to investigate widespread human rights violations that occurred during the mass protests which erupted last year.

    “Each passing day that the Hong Kong government stubbornly resists establishing an independent inquiry adds to the accountability vacuum and erodes public trust further,” said Nicholas Bequelin, Amnesty International’s Regional Director.

    “Hong Kong’s existing police complaint system is not fit for purpose. No institution should be trusted to investigate itself – the police is accountable to the public.

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