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    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.

    March 04, 2020

    Ahead of a summit between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Moscow tomorrow (Thursday 5 March) to discuss the escalating military conflict in Idlib in Syria, Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Middle East Research Director, said:

    “The Moscow summit represents an opportunity for Russia and Turkey to prioritize the safety of civilians.

    “The fate of almost one million people forced from their homes now hangs in the balance as this meeting goes ahead.

    “After nine years of fighting characterized by utter disregard for civilians’ lives, new attacks in Idlib - including the ongoing targeting of schools and hospitals - is causing more untold misery to civilians, many of whom have already been forced to flee multiple times in this humanitarian horror story.

    “As a matter of priority, Russia and Turkey should pressure the Syrian government to end attacks on civilians to avoid escalating deaths and injuries and further displacement.

    March 04, 2020

    The investigation of more than 20 peaceful protesters after they held two demonstrations in Malaysia over the weekend is an alarming sign of the new government’s attitude towards human rights, Amnesty International said today.

    Police have summoned at least 20 human rights defenders and political activists to give statements or undergo questioning later today. Among them is lawyer Fadiah Nadwa Fikri, one of the protest organizers. She was already questioned on 3 March and was forced to allow the police access to her Twitter account.

    “Police summons in response to peaceful protests are a return to Malaysia’s authoritarian past,” said Nicholas Bequelin, Amnesty International’s Regional Director.

    “This new government must not reverse human rights progress achieved over the last two years. These investigations are baseless and must be dropped – Malaysian people in the country must be allowed to come together and demonstrate peacefully.”

    March 03, 2020

    An investigation by Amnesty International has uncovered evidence that at least 23 children were killed by Iranian security forces in the nationwide protests in November last year.

    At least 22 of the children were shot dead by Iranian security forces unlawfully firing live ammunition at unarmed protesters and bystanders, according to the findings.

    The children killed include 22 boys, aged between 12 and 17, and a girl reportedly aged between eight and 12. Details of their deaths are included in a new Amnesty International briefing, ‘They shot our children’ - Killings of minors in Iran’s November 2019 protests.

    “In recent months an increasingly gruesome picture has emerged of the extent to which Iranian security forces unlawfully used lethal force to crush last year’s nationwide protests. However, it is still devastating to learn that the number of children who fell victim to this brutality is so shockingly high,” said Philip Luther, Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

    March 03, 2020

    Following the announcement by the Spanish government today of a new bill on comprehensive responses to sexual violence, including a reform of the legal definition of rape, Amnesty International’s Senior Campaigner on Gender Monica Costa Riba said:

    “We welcome the step taken by the government to improve the State’s responses to sexual violence in Spain. This is a victory for survivors of rape and for the countless women, campaigners and activists who raised so much awareness of the need for reforms in law, policy and practice through their protests and street actions.

    “The proposed change of the legal definition of rape will make Spain become the tenth country out of the 31 analysed by Amnesty in Europe, which clearly define sex without consent as rape in line with international human rights law and standards. It is high time that other countries in Europe follow suit, and through improving their laws and policies, advance societal understanding of rape, consent and sexual autonomy.”

    March 03, 2020

    The decision by the Constitutional Court of Colombia not to take action to decriminalize abortion represents a missed opportunity for the realization of the sexual and reproductive rights of women and other people who can become pregnant in the country, said Amnesty International.

    “By failing to take this historic opportunity to move towards the decriminalization of abortion in Colombia, the Constitutional Court has turned its back on women and their struggle to end the cycle of violence and the control mechanisms of which they have been the victims. Amnesty International regrets the Court’s decision to continue restricting women’s sexual and reproductive rights instead of setting a positive example for the region,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    March 03, 2020

    Responding to reports that the jailed British charity worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe may be released on furlough from Tehran’s Evin Prison following reports from her family that she could have contracted coronavirus in the jail, Kate Allen, Amnesty International UK’s Director, said:

    “We sincerely hope reports of coronavirus in Evin and other prisons in Iran are untrue, but this should be a wake-up call to the Iranian authorities to improve conditions of detention and access to health care for everyone in detention. 

    “We renew our call to immediately and unconditionally release Nazanin, a prisoner of conscience who shouldn’t even be behind bars at all.

    “Nazanin’s health has already suffered because of her mistreatment in prison, where she has previously been denied vital medical care. From numerous past cases, we know the Iranian authorities will sometimes use the denial of medical treatment as an extra layer of punishment for prisoners of conscience, so there are already heightened fears for Nazanin.

    March 02, 2020

    The inhumane measures which the Greek authorities are taking to prevent people from entering the country are an appalling betrayal of Greece’s human rights responsibilities and will put the lives of people fleeing violence at risk, Amnesty International said today.

    Yesterday, following a meeting of Greece’s National Security Council, the authorities announced they would temporarily suspend the registration of asylum claims from people who enter the country irregularly. This measure will be coupled with the immediate return without registration of new arrivals if the return to their country of origin is “possible.” It’s not clear how the Greek authorities are interpreting “possible” in this context.

    “Everyone has a right to seek asylum. Deporting people without due process could mean sending them back to the horrors of war or expose them to grave human rights violations, breaching the fundamental principle of non-refoulement,” said Eve Geddie, Director of Amnesty International’s European Institutions Office.

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