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    June 07, 2016

    A surge in killings of people with albinism, whose body parts are used in ritual practices, has exposed a systematic failure of policing in Malawi and left this vulnerable group living in fear, Amnesty International reveals in a new report published today.

    The report, “We are not animals to be hunted or sold”: Violence and discrimination against people with albinism in Malawi”, exposes how the wave of violent attacks against people with albinism have increased sharply over the last two years, with four people, including a baby, murdered in April 2016 alone.

    “The unprecedented wave of brutal attacks against people with albinism has created a climate of terror for this vulnerable group and their families who are living in a state of constant fear for their lives,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Director for Southern Africa.

    May 05, 2016

    Amnesty International welcomes the Swaziland Government’s preparedness to amend the Suppression of Terrorism Act of 2008 (STA) as it had committed to do in March 2012 at the Universal Periodic Review of the United Nations Human Rights Council.

    Amnesty International has consistently called for the STA to be repealed or immediately amended, because it is an inherently flawed piece of legislation which is inconsistent with Swaziland’s obligations under international and regional human rights law as well as the Swaziland Constitution.

    In 2009, Amnesty International in association with the International Bar Association found several provisions of the STA to be incompatible with Swaziland’s human rights obligations. 

    While states have a duty to protect all those under its jurisdiction, including by taking measures to prevent and protect against attacks on civilians, there is also an absolute necessity to ensure that all anti-terrorism measures are implemented in accordance with international human rights law.  

    May 05, 2016

    Responding to Uganda’s Minister of Information and National Guidance, Maj-Gen Jim Muhwezi’s ban on live broadcast media coverage of the opposition Forum for Democratic Change’s activities, Amnesty International issued the following quote.

    “The Ugandan government’s decision to ban live broadcast coverage of the opposition Forum for Democratic Change’s activities, although manifestly unlawful, fits the now depressingly familiar pattern of restricting freedom of expression in a bid to muzzle opposition voices,” said Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    “The ban announced by Minister Muhwezi aims to restrict completely lawful activities and this is unacceptable. It has no basis in Ugandan law, and is in blatant violation of the myriad regional and international human rights standards to which Uganda is bound.”

    For further information contact 

    Aden Seaton or Sarah French 613-744-7667 ext 263

    December 10, 2015
     
        READ REPORT

    The change in government following the October 2015 federal election must now become the catalyst for a new approach and strengthened commitment to improving Canada’s domestic and international human rights record, Amnesty International said with the release of its 2016 Human Rights Agenda for Canada: Defending Rights for All today, International Human Rights Day.

    December 08, 2015

    The effort to escape from gang violence in El Salvador, the harrowing process of forced deportation to Somalia, the struggle for fresh water in Gaza and the battle against addition to sugar in Central America are all explored in four excellent pieces of journalism. They were recognized today as winners of Amnesty International Canada’s twenty first annual Media Awards for outstanding reporting about human rights issues in the Canadian media.  

    In the national print category the winner this year is Stephanie Nolen for her feature article “If I send him, he may die. But if I keep him here, he will die.” about the attempt to escape from gang violence in El Salvador, published in The Globe and Mail on 29 August 2015. 

    October 02, 2015

    The Right Honourable Stephen Harper;
    Leader of the Opposition, Thomas Mulcair;
    Justin Trudeau;
    Elizabeth May; and
    Gilles Duceppe

    Dear Prime Minister Harper, Mr. Mulclair, Mr. Trudeau, Ms. May, and Mr. Duceppe:

    We are writing to you regarding Canada’s human rights record in light of the July 2015 release of the United Nations Human Rights Committee’s Concluding Observations on the country’s implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. This was the first time the Committee has examined Canada’s record in a decade. As in other reviews of Canada by UN bodies, including the Human Rights Council, these Concluding Observations raise numerous serious concerns about critical violations of human rights in this country.

    July 02, 2015

    A shocking U-turn on a Brazilian Parliamentary decision that rejected lowering the age at which young people can be tried as adults and sent to appalling conditions in adult prisons risks endangering the safety and lives of millions of young people across the country, said Amnesty International.

    Last night, the President of the Brazilian House of Representatives, Eduardo Cunha, called for a new vote on a proposal to lower the age of criminal responsibility from 18 to 16 years old. The proposal had already been rejected by the lower chamber of Parliament earlier in the day.

    "The Brazilian Parliament is treading on dangerous ground. Eduardo Cunha threw parliamentary procedures on their head by reintroducing nearly the same proposal less than 24 hours after it was voted down. This sets a very dangerous precedent,” said Atila Roque, Executive Director at Amnesty International Brazil.

    June 18, 2015

    •        Amnesty International is partnering with edX, a global leader in online education founded by Harvard University and MIT, to deliver a new series of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)
    •        The free online courses will be designed by human rights and education experts from across Amnesty International
    •        They will provide a high quality, cutting-edge learning experience, capitalizing on the latest technology revolution in education, MOOCs
    •        This will be the first MOOC ever provided by Amnesty International

    Amnesty International and edX are partnering together to offer a brand new series of Massive Open Online Courses – or MOOCs – the first of which will be made available to learners later this year, the organizations announced today.

    A MOOC is a massive open online course:

    It is massive in that it is not limited by the four walls of a school building; hundreds of thousands of people can take a MOOC at one time.

    January 09, 2015

    Sri Lanka’s new government must urgently address a legacy of pressing human rights issues left by the previous administration, Amnesty International said.

    Outgoing President Mahinda Rajapaksa today conceded defeat to the joint opposition candidate Maithripala Sirisena, who won the presidential poll with 51.3 per cent of the vote according to the official results.

    “Although the campaign was marked by intimidation and attacks primarily against opposition campaigners, it was heartening to see the election day passed largely without violence. This is to the credit of the thousands of courageous election observers who ensured that all Sri Lankans were able to enjoy their right to political participation without fear,” said David Griffiths, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia Pacific Director.

    “The new government now has an opportunity to usher in a new era of genuine respect for human rights – it is one that must not be missed.”

    In a human rights agenda aimed at the presidential candidates, Amnesty International highlighted seven key issues the new administration must make a priority.

    September 05, 2014

    A landmark order by India’s Supreme Court directing the release of all undertrial prisoners who have spent more than half of the maximum punishment for the crime they are charged with in pre-trial detention should lead to long-term changes to the criminal justice system, Amnesty International India said today  

    “The Supreme Court’s order is inspiring and welcome,” said Divya Iyer, Research Manager at Amnesty International India. “Two out of three prisoners in India are undertrials. Excessive pre-trial detention violates detainees’ right to a fair and speedy trial, and leads to overcrowding in jails.”

    “Releasing eligible undertrials is however only the first step. Authorities need to also set upvarious mechanisms to prevent excessive pre-trial detention in the future. These include proper prison record management, informing undertrials about their rights, better co-ordination to ensure that undertrials attend their court hearings, and improved legal aid.”

    May 22, 2014

    Legislation restricting internationally recognized human rights is still in place in Zimbabwe, one year after the new Constitution was signed into law promising improved civil liberties for all, Amnesty International said today.

    “A year ago the people of Zimbabwe were celebrating a new Constitution which promised a much improved Declaration of Rights. Unfortunately, the government has since failed to amend or repeal all the laws rendered unconstitutional and continues to use these laws to repress people exercising their rights in Zimbabwe,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Director of Southern Africa.

    Public order, security and criminal laws are being used to deny people their rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly, despite guarantees under the new Constitution.

    Amnesty International has documented numerous cases over the last year where meetings or activities have been barred and human rights defenders have been arrested and charged.

    In April alone nearly a dozen demonstrators and community activists were arrested for organizing and taking part in peaceful protests in Masvingo.

    March 19, 2014

    Mexico must put into action the promises it makes to the United Nations Human Rights Council tomorrow if it is to address the dire human rights situation in the country, Amnesty International said today.

    “Effective long-lasting measures have to be taken to address ongoing patterns of disappearances, torture, arbitrary detentions as well as routine attacks on men and women defending human rights, journalists and migrants. Mexico must not fail again to uphold its commitments to the international community,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.

    Tomorrow Mexico will announce to Human Rights Council members which of their 176 recommendations it will adopt. In 2009, during its last appearance before this human rights body, Mexico said it would implement the majority of recommendations. However, it then failed to take action in many areas to prevent the human rights crisis, which continues to this day.

    February 20, 2014

    Representatives from Amnesty International’s Secretariat this week made their first visit to Viet Nam in decades.

    A four-person delegation spent three days in Viet Nam’s capital Hanoi, building on an individual visit for the organization last year by Amnesty International USA’s Deputy Executive Director.

    They met with a range of stakeholders, including senior government and Communist Party officials, National Assembly members, experts from research institutes, representatives of non-governmental organizations and foreign diplomats.

    “We are pleased that the Vietnamese authorities have allowed representatives from the International Secretariat of Amnesty International to enter the country for the first time in decades. We had frank and open discussions on a number of human rights concerns,” said Isabelle Arradon, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Program, who led the delegation.

    “This is a positive step, and we look forward to further constructive engagement with the Viet Nam government.”

    February 10, 2014

    Hundreds of thousands of people around the world came together to call for justice in Amnesty International’s most successful ever letter-writing campaign, the organization said today.

    In December 2013, more than 2.3 million letters, emails, SMS messages, faxes and tweets were sent in the “Write for Rights” campaign, beating last year’s record of 1.9 million actions.

    Messages pressuring authorities led to the release of two prisoners of conscience: the Cambodian housing rights activist Yorm Bopha and the Russian peaceful protester Vladimir Akimenkov. Click here to learn more about their release and other good news stories.

    “It shows that when ordinary people stand together and send a clear message demanding governments fulfil their duty to protect and uphold people’s human rights we can achieve fantastic results,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.

    “It was a truly global moment as hundreds of thousands of our members and supporters came together with one voice to take action against oppression and injustice.”

    November 08, 2013

    Expert analysis of new satellite imagery Amnesty International has obtained from the Central African Republic (CAR) reveals the shocking aftermath of recent human rights abuses amid spiralling violence by armed groups and security forces.  

    The images – some taken since the beginning of November – include evidence of 485 homes being torched in Bouca as well as internally displaced persons (IDPs) near the massing near the town of Bossangoa as people flee the ongoing violence.
     
    “These new images offer a glimpse of physical scarring to homes and civic life visible from space, but the true scale of the human impact of the crisis cannot be captured by satellite,” said Aster van Kregten, Deputy Africa Programme Director at Amnesty International.

    “The national authorities and international community must act, as a matter of utmost urgency, to rein in the armed groups responsible for the widespread human rights abuses – which may amount to crimes against humanity – that have seized Central African Republic.”

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