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Human Rights

    March 02, 2020

    Responding to today’s death sentences of 37 defendants by the Cairo Criminal Court following their conviction on terrorism-related charges, Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said:

    “There is no doubt that those sentenced to death today have been convicted of serious crimes, including deadly attacks. However, the death penalty can never deliver justice, all the more so when it has been issued after a trial in which dozens of defendants say they were subjected to enforced disappearance and torture. 

    “We are calling on the Egyptian authorities to retry the defendants in proceedings that comply with international human rights law and fair trial standards, without recourse to the death penalty.”


    February 28, 2020

    The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau                      The Honourable Francois-Philippe Champagne
    Prime Minister of Canada                                         Minister of Foreign Affairs
    Office of the Prime Minister                                     125 Sussex Drive
    80 Wellington Street                                                Ottawa, Ontario

    February 28, 2020
    Amnesty International says Nevsun ruling ‘sends clear message’ that Canadian companies must be held accountable for alleged human rights abuses abroad 

    In a landmark ruling, the Supreme Court of Canada has decided that a human rights lawsuit against a Vancouver-based mining company can be heard in British Columbia, and not Eritrea where the human rights abuses allegedly occurred.   

    The Eritrean plaintiffs say they were forced to work in a gold, copper and zinc mine largely owned by Nevsun Resources. The employees allege they suffered gross human rights abuses while working for the Canadian mining company, including forced labour and torture. Nevsun argued that the case should be heard in Eritrea, not Canada. 

    February 27, 2020

    Having been in court to observe Julian Assange’s extradition hearing, Amnesty International's expert on human rights in Europe Julia Hall said:

    "This week has underscored the threat to the right to freedom of expression and access to information worldwide should Julian Assange be sent to the USA to be prosecuted under espionage charges.

    “The potential chilling effect on journalists and others who seek to reveal information in the public interest from their sources is self-evident. Journalists around the world will know that they could be charged for espionage or under terrorism laws as a threat to national security simply for exposing war crimes or other human rights violations. That would leave us all ignorant of facts and information we need to hold our governments to account for such wrongdoing.

    February 27, 2020

    Following Sri Lanka’s decision to withdraw from its commitments to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva this week, Amnesty International calls on the Council to establish an international accountability mechanism to ensure the victims of decades-long conflict get the justice that is owed to them.

    The call comes as the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights’ latest report on Sri Lanka raises concerns about human rights commitments being rolled back.

    The Sri Lankan government has said it will no longer be cooperating with the UN Human Rights Council’s landmark resolution 30/1, which the previous government had co-sponsored, to promote reconciliation, accountability and human rights in the country.

    “Sri Lanka’s decision to go back on its commitments to the Human Rights Council requires a robust response by the Council, including steps towards the creation of an accountability mechanism to ensure the victims of the nearly three-decade long conflict get the justice that is owed to them,” said Thyagi Ruwanpathirana, South Asia Researcher at Amnesty International.

    February 27, 2020

    As millions took to the streets to protest rampant violence, inequality, corruption and impunity, or were forced to flee their countries in search of safety, states across the Americas clamped down on the rights to protest and seek asylum last year with flagrant disregard for their obligations under domestic and international law, Amnesty International said today upon launching its annual report for the region.

    “2019 brought a renewed assault on human rights across much of the Americas, with intolerant and increasingly authoritarian leaders turning to ever-more violent tactics to stop people from protesting or seeking safety in another country. But we also saw young people stand up and demand change all over the region, triggering broader demonstrations on a massive scale. Their bravery in the face of vicious state repression gives us hope and shows that future generations will not be bullied,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International.

    February 26, 2020

    Responding to reports that Saudi Arabia is to launch a Women’s Football League, Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Middle East Research Director, said:

    “The launch of a women’s football league in Saudi Arabia is no doubt a step that will be welcomed by Saudi citizens - but as with other reforms relating to women in the Kingdom, it is also a painful reminder of the abysmal situation for the very women and men who have fought for such change.

    “In recent months, Saudi Arabia has worked hard at ‘sportswashing’ its reputation – trying to use the glamour of sport as a public relations tool to improve its international image, particularly following the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

    “This drive to improve the overall situation of women in Saudi Arabia can only be welcomed when it goes hand-in-hand with the inclusion of the brave individuals who fought for decades for this change. Instead, they are still locked up and undergoing trials as a form of repression, while those responsible for their torture in detention remain free.

    February 25, 2020

    Following report that 10 schools were hit by shelling in Idlib and Aleppo countryside, Heba Morayef, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Regional Director, said:

    “Schools should be safe places for children to learn and play, even in a conflict zone. Targeting schools and kindergartens being used for civilian purposes is a war crime.

    “Nine years into the crisis, the Syrian government continues to show utter disregard for the laws of war and the lives of civilians. These attacks form part of a well-established pattern of systematically attacking the civilian population and constitute crimes against humanity, as well as war crimes.

    “We call on the Syrian and Russian forces to stop all direct attacks on civilians, indiscriminate attacks and other serious violations. All those who order or commit war crimes must be brought to justice in fair trials.”

    February 25, 2020

    The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau
    Prime Minister of Canada
    80 Wellington Street
    Ottawa, Ontario
    K1A 0A2

    February 24, 2020

    Dear Prime Minister,

    The past several weeks have brought the deeply disappointing state of reconciliation and regard for the rights of Indigenous peoples in Canada to the fore with a degree of urgency rarely witnessed. Right across the country, protests of resistance and of solidarity by Indigenous peoples and non-Indigenous communities, sparked by deep concern about the construction of the Coastal GasLink Pipeline through Wet’suwet’en Territory in British Columbia, have led to a national conversation about rights, reconciliation, the economy and the environment, that has been both troubling and encouraging.

    February 24, 2020

    Amnesty International has received confirmation that the Egyptian authorities executed eight men in the early hours of this morning in Borg el-Arab prison in Alexandria. The men were among 17 defendants who were sentenced to death by a military court in October 2018, in relation to deadly attacks on three churches and a police checkpoint that killed 88 individuals.

    “The attacks on Coptic Christian churches and a police checkpoint in 2017 were appalling, and the perpetrators should be held to account for their crimes. But a mass execution is no way to deliver justice. These men were executed following an unfair military trial and amid allegations that they were subjected to enforced disappearances and torture. Everyone is entitled to a fair trial, regardless of the charges that they are facing,” said Phil Luther, Amnesty International’s MENA Research Director.

    February 21, 2020
    Expert will be live tweeting from Woolwich Crown Court from 10am, 24 February

    Amnesty International's expert on human rights in Europe will be attending the extradition hearing of Julian Assange on Monday.

    She will be live tweeting from the hearing and will be available for interview. Amnesty International is calling on authorities in the US to drop all espionage and other related charges that Julian Assange is facing as part of the US extradition request to allow for his prompt release.  

    If these charges are not dropped, Amnesty International is calling on the UK authorities to ensure that he is not extradited to the USA where he would face a real risk of serious human rights violations.

    For more information or to arrange an interview contact  Lucy Scholey, Media Relations, Amnesty International Canada, 613-853-2142,  

    February 21, 2020

    Washington, DC – More than 60 national and international groups urged the administration, Congressional leadership, and the American public today to reject once and for all the worldwide production and use of anti-personnel landmines and join the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty.

    Their letter, excerpted below, is in response to the administration’s new landmine policy and can also be viewed in full here.

    “In response to the January 31 announcement by the White House of the Department of Defense’s new landmine policy, we, the undersigned organizations, strongly condemn the Trump Administration’s decision to lift existing American prohibitions against the use of landmines. We urge the White House and Department of Defense (DOD) to reconsider and take steps to join the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty. We urge Congress to take immediate measures to block the deployment of landmines and prohibit the development, production, or other acquisition of new antipersonnel landmines.

    February 20, 2020
    Amnesty International launches new campaign ahead of extradition hearing Espionage charges are chilling blow to publishers and journalists

    Authorities in the US must drop all espionage and other related charges that Julian Assange is facing as part of the US extradition request to allow for his prompt release, said Amnesty International ahead of his 24 February extradition hearing.

    If these charges are not dropped, the UK authorities must ensure that Julian Assange is not extradited to the USA where he would face a real risk of serious human rights violations.

    "The US government’s unrelenting pursuit of Julian Assange for having published disclosed documents that included possible war crimes committed by the US military is nothing short of a full-scale assault on the right to freedom of expression,” said Massimo Moratti, Amnesty International’s Deputy Europe Director.

    February 20, 2020

    Spokespeople available for interview

    China is systematically harassing Uyghurs and other Muslim ethnic groups even after they have left the country, according to new testimonies gathered by Amnesty International.

    The case studies, published online today, reveal how China targets members of the Uyghur and other diaspora communities across the globe through pressure from its embassies abroad, as well as through messaging apps and threatening phone calls.

    “These chilling accounts from Uyghurs living abroad illustrate how the far-reaching shadow of repression against Muslims from China extends far beyond its borders,” said Patrick Poon, Amnesty International’s China Researcher.

    “Even when Uyghurs and members of other minorities flee persecution in Xinjiang, they are not safe. The Chinese government will find ways to reach them, to intimidate them and, ultimately, attempt to bring them back to face a grim fate – including by pressuring other governments to return them.”

    February 19, 2020

    Amnesty International sent an open letter to President Andrés Manuel López Obrador today requesting a meeting and expressing its concern over the government’s response to the grave human rights crisis that Mexico is facing.

    “Although the government has taken some action on human rights issues, this action is still not enough to seriously address the crisis that the country has been facing for many years now. It is worrying to hear disparaging speeches from President López Obrador about the role of human rights defenders, or to see how the National Guard is used to thwart the passage of migrants and refugees, or that, faced with a wave of homicides and femicides, the government would maintain failed strategies of militarization of public security tasks of previous administrations,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International.


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