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Human Rights

    August 28, 2019

    Responding to news that hundreds of internally displaced Iraqis, mostly women and children, have been forcibly returned today from a northern camp, Hammam al-Alil, to their hometown in Hawija despite serious humanitarian and security concerns, Amnesty International’s Middle East Research Director, Lynn Maalouf said:

    “These reports that hundreds of internally displaced Iraqis are being loaded onto buses and taken to Hawija are extremely disturbing – much of the city is in ruins. Many of these people don’t have homes to go back to, and will struggle to access essential services such as health care and schooling and may not afford access to water and electricity. Until the government has established a framework to ensure their safe, voluntary return, the Iraqi government must refrain from sending anyone back. 

    August 28, 2019
    Amnesty International urges Canada to lead on providing education for Rohingya youth, following new report

    Two years after a brutal ethnic cleansing campaign forced around 700,000 Rohingya to flee Myanmar for Bangladesh, refugees are still trapped in unbearable conditions in overcrowded camps, Amnesty International said in a new briefing.

    “I don’t know what my future will be”: Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh warns that a ‘lost generation’ of Rohingya children are being systematically denied an education in Bangladesh, and documents the sense of hopelessness and uncertainty expressed by many teachers, parents and young people in the camps.

    Amnesty International is calling on the Bangladeshi government to lift restrictions that limit the enjoyment of refugees’ rights. The organization also calls on the international community to support Bangladesh in pursuing longer-term solutions to help Rohingya refugees rebuild their lives.

    August 27, 2019

    Responding to an official communication obtained by Amnesty International that the Lebanese authorities forcibly deported almost 2,500 Syrian refugees back to Syria in the past three months, Amnesty International’s Middle East Research Director, Lynn Maalouf, said:

    “We urge the Lebanese authorities to stop these deportations as a matter of urgency, and the Higher Defense Council to cancel its related decision.

    “As long as independent monitoring bodies are not allowed access to Syria - including the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria – in order to assess the security situation for the safe return of refugees, there is no way of determining whether returnees would be at real risk of serious human rights violations once back in Syria.

    “Such access and monitoring mechanism inside Syria would be a first step in setting the process for returns. In the meantime, while risks upon return cannot be determined, any attempts to forcibly return refugees is a clear violation of Lebanon’s non-refoulement obligations.

    August 26, 2019
    100 people arrested by French authorities and many more prevented from peacefully demonstrating Summit talks about the climate crisis and gender equality undermined by heavy-handed restrictions on protest movements who helped get these issues on the agenda Spokespeople available on the ground

    The G7 meeting in Biarritz has been marred by an unjustifiable crackdown on freedom of assembly and movement, Amnesty International said today.

    Authorities also prevented a number of peaceful protests organized around the Summit in cities and areas close to Biarritz, with only two demonstrations allowed to proceed.

    “From the beginning of this G7 Summit in Biarritz, it was clear that the French authorities had a plan to restrict freedom of assembly and movement, with the announced presence of more than 13,000 police to man the area.” said Marco Perolini, Amnesty International’s France Researcher.

    August 26, 2019

    Spokespeople available for interviews

    The Cameroonian authorities must leave no stone unturned in their pursuit of justice for two women and two children who were brutally murdered by the military, Amnesty International said today. Seven soldiers allegedly caught on video carrying out the killings are set to go on trial tomorrow.

    August 26, 2019

    During his first year as President of Zimbabwe, Emmerson Mnangagwa has presided over a systematic and brutal crackdown on human rights, including the violent suppression of protests and a witch-hunt against anyone who dared challenge his government, Amnesty International said today.

    The socio-economic conditions of many Zimbabweans have also declined over the past 12 months. The weak economy has seen fuel prices skyrocket and high inflation push the prices of basic commodities such as bread through the roof as well as eroding people’s salaries.

    “What we have witnessed in Zimbabwe since President Emmerson Mnangagwa took power is a ruthless attack on human rights, with the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association increasingly restricted and criminalized,” said Muleya Mwananyanda, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Southern Africa.

    August 26, 2019

    The Government of India must immediately release all political leaders in Jammu and Kashmir and put an end to the deliberate silencing of voices in the region, said Amnesty International India today.

    “For the 22nd day in a row, life has been derailed for the people of Jammu and Kashmir. The communication blockade and security clampdown, the alleged detention of political leaders and restrictions on media to report has created an information black hole in Jammu and Kashmir, a region which has witnessed serious human rights violations in the past. Depriving an entire population of their right to freedom of expression, opinion and movement for an indefinite period runs squarely counter to international norms and standards. Worse, it gives the Government of India a near-total control over the information coming out of the region,” said Aakar Patel, head of Amnesty International India.

    August 23, 2019
    Black people in Toronto are 20 times more likely to be shot dead by the police.

    It has long been recognized that the Canadian justice system is fraught with racism that disproportionately impacts Black people and communities across the country, resulting in racial profiling, harsher sentencing, mistreatment in prison, denial of services, and other injustices which can be compounded for people with intersecting identities (e.g. Black Muslims, Black LGBTQ2S folks, etc.)The way that racism is institutionalized in the justice system, as well as in broader society, is connected to Canada’s long, sordid legacy of perpetrating anti-Black racism throughout history with enslavement, exclusionary immigration, and more. 

    August 23, 2019

     

    Alex Neve is the Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada

    The conflict between the people Hong Kong and their government has become increasingly alarming to watch. While no one wants to imagine an ongoing human rights crisis, there is already cause for grave concern. Amnesty International has repeatedly documented police abuses against protesters, including unlawful use of tear gas and rubber bullets. As hundreds of thousands of protesters continue to flood the streets, the world watches and wonders if various frightening and violent scenarios are forthcoming. Might Hong Kong conduct mass arrests? Might China intervene and take repressive action? Will refugees begin to flee from Hong Kong?

    If so, will Canada be ready to step up and offer safety? We very much need to prepare.

    August 22, 2019

    Responding to the news of the wildfires that have been raging in the Amazon rainforest for several weeks, Kumi Naidoo, Secretary General of Amnesty International said:

    “The responsibility to stop the wildfires that have been raging in the Amazon rainforest for several weeks now lies squarely with President Bolsonaro and his government. They must change their disastrous policy of opening up the rainforest for destruction, which is what has paved the way for this current crisis.

    “Earlier this year Amnesty International documented illegal land invasions and arson attacks near Indigenous territories in the Amazon, including Rondônia state where many of the fires are raging.

    August 22, 2019
    Spokespeople available for interviews

    With the threat of returns to Myanmar once again looming over Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, Amnesty International warned that Rakhine State remains unsafe while those responsible for atrocities continue to evade justice. Action from the Canadian government is urged as the needs of refugees pivot from shorter-term humanitarian response, to sustained human rights protections.

    This Sunday marks two years since the Myanmar military launched operations in Rakhine State which forced more than 740,000 Rohingya women, men and children to flee their homes and villages. The brutal campaign was marked by widespread atrocities, which a UN investigation team has said amount to crimes against humanity and likely genocide.

    August 22, 2019

    Responding to the decision of the Communications and Information Ministry to shut down mobile internet in Papua and West Papua provinces, Amnesty International Indonesia’s Executive Director Usman Hamid said:

    “This blanket internet blackout is an appalling attack on people’s right to freedom of expression in Papua and West Papua. This is not a time for censorship. These tensions are not an excuse to prevent people from sharing information and peacefully speaking their mind. In addition, the decision would also prevent people from documenting and sharing evidence of abuses committed by security forces, just as authorities are sending more security forces to the region.

    “The immediate priority for the authorities should be to launch a thorough and effective investigation into the root cause of the unrest: allegations of discrimination and unlawful use of force against Papuan students in Surabaya and Malang in East Java over the weekend. Further restricting the exercise of human rights must not be the answer.”

    Background

    August 21, 2019

    Attackers who use phishing scams to target human rights defenders in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) are developing increasingly sophisticated techniques to infiltrate their accounts and evade digital security tools, according to new research published by Amnesty Tech. 

    The organization highlighted three key tactics attackers are employing to ensnare people who take extra steps to secure their accounts online. These include asking users to reset the password on their Google accounts; tricking them into authorizing apps which purport to “secure” their Outlook accounts; and abusing legitimate authentication process apps to infiltrate accounts.

    “Human rights defenders across MENA need to be on high alert. Even as they get better at using digital tools to secure their accounts, attackers are developing sophisticated new ways to get past these tools,” said Claudio Guarnieri, Senior Technologist, Amnesty Tech.

    August 20, 2019

    Reacting to reports that Planned Parenthood will withdraw from Title X, the federal family planning program, rather than comply with a new Trump administration rule that restricts what health providers can say about abortion, Tarah Demant, director of the Gender, Sexuality and Identity Program at Amnesty International USA said:

    “The Trump administration's restrictions on Title X trample on sexual and reproductive rights, putting the lives of all pregnant people at significant risk, especially low-income women. Over four million people in the United States who depend on health care will be impacted because of these cruel policies aimed at Planned Parenthood.

    “The only people who should be making decisions about their pregnancies are those who are pregnant or can become pregnant. Any and all policies by a government should support and respect a pregnant persons’ reproductive autonomy and basic human rights - any policies that refuse to do that are illegitimate and unlawful.” 

    Background:

    August 19, 2019

    15 August 2019

    The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor
    Minister of Health
    The Honourable James Carr 
    Minister of International Trade Diversification
    The Honourable David Lametti
    Minister of Justice and Attorney-General

    Re: Kattenburg v. Canada (Attorney General) – Israeli settlement products – Canada Israel Free Trade Agreement

    Dear Ministers Petitpas Taylor, Carr and Lametti:

    We write with an urgent request that the Canadian government not appeal the recent, important Federal Court decision – in Kattenburg v. Canada (Attorney General) – that goods imported into Canada from the Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem must not be identified as “Products of Israel.” The ruling provides important human rights safeguards which we call on the government to accept and respect.

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