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Human Rights

    August 06, 2019

    Amnesty International will divest from fossil fuel companies in acknowledgement that investment in an industry whose products are the primary source of the climate crisis is at odds with the organization’s mission of protecting and championing human rights.

    The decision was taken at Amnesty’s highest decision-making forum - the Global Assembly – which is formed of delegates from around the world. The assembly also voted to take further steps to reduce the organization’s climate impact including by aiming to be totally carbon neutral by 2035, to slash air travel by a third and move towards holding more international meetings virtually.

    “Fossil fuel companies know that their business model is resulting in human suffering because of its lethal contribution to climate change. As the world’s largest human rights organization, we want to send a clear message that continued investment in coal, oil and natural gas companies is at odds with human rights, because of the direct link between their activities and climate disaster,” said Mwikali Muthiani, Chair of the International Board of Amnesty International.

    August 06, 2019

    A coalition of 12 Canadian civil society organizations (CSO) has written an open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, expressing their concern that Canada has yet to complete its review of exports of Light Armoured Vehicles (LAVs) to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The review was announced over nine months ago, but the outcome has yet to be announced.

    The CSO coalition calls on all states, including Canada, to cease the sale or transfer of weapons to any government where there is risk that those weapons might be used in the conflict in Yemen. This conflict continues deteriorate, including ongoing attacks against the civilian population and grave violations of the rights of children.

    July 23, 2019
    Key to the house of Mohammad Abu Nasser's family in the former village of Tel al-Saba.

    Amnesty International marked the 71st anniversary of the Nakba with “70 + Years of Suffocation”,  an online showcase of Palestinian refugees living in the OPT, Lebanon and Jordan who have shared their reality and experiences of being “stateless”. Award winning photographer, Tanya Habjouqa, has taken pictures that weave a relationship with the interviews, giving the reader visual context. 

    For over 50 years, Israel has been confiscating Palestinian land and bulldozing Palestinian homes with complete impunity. These lands are being used to build illegal settlements to house Israeli citizens, while Palestinians become homeless. 

    As Israel continues to suffocate the existence of Palestinians by controlling most aspects of their daily and private lives while attempting to present a reality void of its inhumane treatment of Palestinians, it’s more crucial than ever that Palestinians, the oldest and largest refugee group in the world, have platforms to be heard. 

    July 12, 2019

    Responding to the announcement of thousands of raids planned for Sunday by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Charanya Krishnaswami, the Advocacy Director for the Americas at Amnesty International USA said:

    "This announcement is an extension of President Trump’s relentless hostility to immigrants. It serves to encourage hate and discrimination toward immigrants and communities of color, creating a climate of fear for many people including those fearing racial profiling.

    "While it’s also concerning that we don’t know anything about what these plans will look like, it’s not unreasonable to be concerned that people facing deportation will not have adequate time or legal resources to protect themselves. Thousands of mixed-status families could be impacted, with U.S. citizen children at risk of being separated from their parents or guardians. A lack of due process in initial hearings could lead to the deportation of families and children who never had a meaningful chance to apply for relief, including asylum."

    July 12, 2019

    Release, Evacuate Detained Refugees and Migrants

    European Union foreign ministers gathering in Brussels on 15 July 2019, should issue a clear call to Libyan authorities to close their migrant detention centres, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE) said today. The EU ministers should make a commitment on behalf of EU states to facilitate the evacuation of detainees to safe places, including outside of Libya and to EU member states.

    “Expressions of outrage over dire conditions and dangers to detainees amid fighting in Tripoli ring hollow without urgent life-saving measures to get people out of harm’s way,” said Judith Sunderland, associate Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “EU governments should offer concrete support to Libyan authorities to close all migrant detention centres and take immediate action to help evacuate those most vulnerable and at risk.”

    July 12, 2019

    This week, a group of 22 countries issued a joint statement at the UN Human Rights Council expressing concern over the arbitrary detention, surveillance and other violations against Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

    The statement calls on China to provide “meaningful access to Xinjiang for independent international observers, including for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights”.

    The record number of states standing up to China at the Council on their human rights record shows the mounting international concern over the mass detention of Uyghurs and members of other minority groups in Xinjiang.

    The countries that signed the statement include: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

    July 11, 2019

    Responding to the UN Human Rights Council voting in favour of a resolution to monitor and report on the critical human rights situation in the Philippines – including unlawful killings in the context of the “war on drugs” – Nicholas Bequelin, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East and Southeast Asia said:

    “This vote provides hope for thousands of bereaved families in the Philippines, and countless more Filipinos bravely challenging the Duterte administration’s murderous ‘war on drugs’. It’s a crucial step towards justice and accountability.

    “The Philippines has failed to hold those responsible to account at home. The Human Rights Council resolution sends a clear message that the international community will not look the other way as extrajudicial executions and other serious violations continue to be committed with impunity.

    July 11, 2019

    Ottawa, July 11, 2019 –Today all fourteen civil society and labour union representatives of the government’s Multi-Stakeholder Advisory Body on Responsible Business Conduct Abroad (Advisory Body) tendered their resignations. The unanimous decision to resign is due to the erosion of civil society and labour unions’ trust and confidence in the government’s commitment to international corporate accountability.

    The resigning Advisory Body members and alternate members represented: Above Ground; Amnesty International Canada; L'Association québécoise des organismes de coopération internationale; Canadian Council for International Cooperation; Canadian Labour Congress; Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability; Development and Peace-Caritas Canada; Inter Pares; Mining Watch Canada; United Steelworkers Union and World Vision Canada.

    July 10, 2019

    In response to the arbitrary arrest on allegations of fraud of two of the key figures involved in organizing post-election demonstrations in Malawi, Muleya Mwananyanda, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Southern Africa said: 

    “These charges are a ploy to harass and intimidate the two activists and force them to end the ongoing post-election demonstrations.

    “Malawian authorities must immediately and unconditionally release them and stop clamping down on the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association.

    “Organizing and participating in peaceful protests is not a crime. Authorities must stop targeting dissenting voices and using politically motivated charges to suppress differing views. The rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association must be fully respected, protected, promoted and fulfilled in Malawi.”

    Background

    July 10, 2019

    The Egyptian authorities’ growing trend of re-imprisoning people who have been arbitrarily detained, instead of complying with court orders to release them is an alarming signal of how decayed the country’s justice system has become, said Amnesty International.

    The organization has documented the cases of five individuals, where the Supreme State Security Prosecution (SSSP) bypassed court orders to release them from arbitrary detention by imprisoning them in new cases based on fabricated charges, in a bid to keep them behind bars indefinitely.

    “The Egyptian authorities’ practice of re-ordering the detention of detainees on blatantly fabricated charges just as they are about to be released is an alarming trend that illustrates the extent of Egypt’s decayed justice system,” said Najia Bounaim, North Africa Campaigns Director at Amnesty International.

    “This unlawful practice has seen detainees who were already detained on spurious grounds trapped in the ‘revolving doors’ of Egypt’s arbitrary detention system, as part of deliberate ploy to prolong their detention.” 

    July 09, 2019

    The Taliban’s killing of civilians through a continuous spate of bombings demonstrates the armed group’s chilling disregard for human lives, Amnesty International said today.

    The human rights organization said the 7 July 2019 bombing in a crowded area of Ghazni city that killed at least 14 people, including one child, and injured more than 180, included 60 children, shows a chilling disregard for human life.

    “These bombings demonstrate a chilling disregard for human life. At the same time that the Taliban is engaged in supposed peace talks with other Afghans, the armed group continues to claim the lives of civilians, including children,” said Samira Hamidi, South Asia campaigner at Amnesty International.

    The Taliban said they had targeted the National Directorate of Security, the Afghan intelligence agency, in Ghazni, which is located near public places including schools. Under international humanitarian law, all precautions must be taken to avoid civilian casualties.

    July 09, 2019

    Thirty academics and political figures facing trumped-up charges, including espionage for the Saudi Arabia-led Coalition, were sentenced to death by the Sana’a-based Huthi-run Specialized Criminal Court (SCC) following a fundamentally flawed legal process, said Amnesty International.

    Out of 36 individuals who were on trial, 30 were handed down death sentences. Amongst those is Youssef al-Bawab, a 45-year-old father of five and linguistics professor and political figure, who was arbitrarily arrested in late 2016. He was charged in April 2017, alongside 35 others, with several offences carrying the death penalty. Throughout his detention, proceedings against him and others in the same case were seriously flawed, and included enforced disappearance, excessive pre-trial detention, undue delays in his trial, incommunicado detention, allegations of torture and other ill-treatment and lack of access to legal counsel and medical care. 

    July 09, 2019

    Responding to the decision by the Supreme Court of Indonesia to clear a teenager sentenced to prison for terminating a pregnancy resulting from a sexual assault, Amnesty International Indonesia’s Executive Director Usman Hamid said:

    “This is a landmark ruling for women in Indonesia. This teenager is not a criminal. She is the one who suffered a sexual assault –  and did nothing other than claim her rights over her body. It beggars belief that the courts tried to impose this reckless, vicious and absurd sentence on a teenage victim of sexual violence. She should not have spent a single day in detention.

    “We welcome the Supreme Court’s ruling. It must send a message to law enforcement agencies and public prosecutors across the country that their role is to protect victims of rape, not aggravate their suffering.

    July 09, 2019

    Responding to remarks by Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam on Tuesday that the controversial Extradition Bill is “dead” and that there would be no high-level independent investigation into the recent policing of protests, Man-kei Tam, Director of Amnesty International Hong Kong, said:

    “Carrie Lam’s refusal to acknowledge the consequences of the fatal flaws of the Extradition Bill continues to inflame the situation in Hong Kong. It is long overdue for her to give an unequivocal commitment that the Extradition Bill, which poses a real threat to human rights, will be withdrawn for good.

    “The excessive use of force by police on 12 June was a violation of international law and standards. To be fair to everyone involved, there must be an independent, impartial, effective and prompt investigation into the actions by police on 12 June. Anything else, including an IPCC enquiry that falls short of what is needed, will not help to establish truth and accountability and regain public trust. Police officers responsible, including senior officers in command on 12 June, must face justice.”

    Notes to editors

    July 09, 2019

    Guatemala is on the verge of wiping out more than a decade of efforts to strengthen its criminal justice system and access to justice as a result of recent actions by the country’s highest authorities, Amnesty International warned in a new report released today.

    In Last Chance for Justice, the organization exposes the serious setbacks and imminent risks to human rights in Guatemala as a result of measures taken by the Jimmy Morales administration, the Public Prosecutor's Office led by Consuelo Porras, the judiciary, and the national Congress.

    “Access to justice is receiving heavy blows from which Guatemala will not be able to recover unless measures are taken now. The actions being taken by the nation’s highest authorities must be stopped immediately and they must ensure justice for every case of human rights violations,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International.

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