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Human Rights

    October 28, 2020

    Amnesty International has informed the Belarusian authorities that the organization has collected about 191,000 signatures from supporters calling for an end to the crackdown on peaceful protests and accountability for police abuses. The petition was launched ahead of Belarus’s 9 August presidential election amid mounting violations against protesters. As the crackdown against peaceful protesters has intensified, it has been signed by hundreds of thousands of people from 184 countries. 

    “When we started this campaign back in July, we could not have foreseen just how widespread and brutal the assault on peaceful protesters would be. The Belarusian authorities have descended to new lows in their pursuit of critics and political opponents, arresting thousands of people and carrying out a campaign of intimidation, torture and other ill-treatment that is ongoing. Only a couple of weeks ago, the Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs condoned the use of lethal weapons against protesters,” said Aisha Jung, Amnesty International’s Senior Campaigner on Belarus. 

    October 23, 2020
    Canadian companies must take responsibility for human rights abuses abroad, says human rights organization  

    Amnesty International is welcoming news that a group of Eritrean plaintiffs have reached an out-of-court settlement in a lawsuit against Canadian mining company, Nevsun Resources.

    The case, filed in British Columbia in November 2014 by former mine workers Gize Yebeyo Araya, Kesete Tekle Fshazion and Mihretab Yemane Tekle, alleged that Nevsun was responsible for benefitting from gross human rights abuses such as slavery and forced labour, torture, and crimes against humanity during the construction of its copper and gold mine in Eritrea.

    The terms of the settlement – which concludes years of legal wrangling across three continents – are confidential.

    October 23, 2020

    Law enforcement agencies across the USA are failing to facilitate people’s fundamental right to freedom of peaceful assembly, and to protect protests and counter-protests from violent disruption by armed groups among others, Amnesty International said today in a new report, Losing the Peace: US Police Failures to Protect Protesters from Violence. 

    Since the police killing of George Floyd in May 2020, there have been thousands of peaceful anti-racism and political protests and counter-protests across the USA. Yet in nearly 200 incidents where violence occurred between participants in conflicting protests, Amnesty International found that US police forces frequently failed to take preventive measures to avoid the disruption of peaceful assemblies and failed to protect protesters from violent attacks when they did occur.

    October 23, 2020

    With women’s empowerment topping the agenda at next week’s B20 Summit, hosted by Saudi Arabia, Amnesty International is reminding business leaders that many of the country’s bravest women’s rights activists are languishing in prison for daring to demand reforms. 

    Loujain al Hathloul, Nassima al-Sada, Samar Badawi, Maya’a al-Zahrani, and Nouf Abdulaziz spearheaded women’s rights campaigns, including calling for the right to drive and an end to the repressive male guardianship system. But while Saudi Arabia talks up recent reforms such as the relaxation of social restrictions and the loosening of the guardianship system to court approval from the rich and powerful around the B20, women’s rights activists remain in detention.

    “Since assuming the G20 Presidency Saudi Arabia has invested heavily in rebranding its image, throwing out slogans about women’s equality and insisting it is ready for change. But Saudi Arabia’s real changemakers are behind bars,” said Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International's Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

    October 22, 2020

    Given the lack of publicity around this morning’s pre-trial hearing against David Castillo, the only person accused of masterminding the murder of the Lenca leader and environmental defender Berta Cáceres, Amnesty International reminds the Honduran authorities of their obligation to comply with due process.

    Prior to the beginning of the oral and public debate, a hearing was scheduled on 22 October to examine the proceedings against David Castillo, the former manager of the company Desarrollos Energéticos (DESA), who was in charge of the Agua Zarca hydroelectric project.

    According to the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), the organization that Berta Cáceres was general coordinator of, the broadcast of the hearing could not be accessed remotely due to the absence of a technician, thus limiting publicity and the transparency of the judicial process.

    October 22, 2020

    Responding to reports that the United States Department of State, under Secretary Pompeo’s initiative, may categorize several non-governmental organizations as antisemitic and call on governments worldwide to stop funding them, Bob Goodfellow, the Interim Executive Director of Amnesty International USA, issued the below statement:

    “Secretary Pompeo’s baseless accusations are yet another attempt to silence and intimidate international human rights organizations. The administration is spreading misinformation and working to undermine those who are working to protect human rights. Amnesty International USA is deeply committed to fighting antisemitism and all forms of hate worldwide, and will continue to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth, and dignity are denied. We vigorously contest any allegation of antisemitism.

    October 21, 2020
    At least 12 people killed at Alausa and Lekki Toll Gate Lagos  Hundreds severely injured  CCTV dismantled to cover murder 

    An on-the-ground investigation by Amnesty International has confirmed that the Nigerian army and police killed at least 12 peaceful protesters yesterday at two locations in Lagos. The killings took place in Lekki and Alausa, where thousands were protesting police brutality as part of the #EndSars movement. 

    Evidence gathered from eyewitnesses, video footage and hospital reports confirm that between 6:45pm and 9:00pm on Tuesday 20 October, the Nigerian military opened fire on thousands of people who were peacefully calling for good governance and an end to police brutality. 

    October 20, 2020

    OTTAWA – Amnesty International stands firmly in solidarity with the family and loved ones of Abdirahman Abdi, as well as Black communities in Ottawa and across Canada, after a court found Ottawa police Const. Daniel Montsion not guilty of manslaughter and assault charges connected to his death.

    Abdi was a 37-year-old Somali-Canadian man who died on July 24, 2016 following a violent arrest and altercation with Ottawa police, captured on a witness video. Abdi’s family indicated that he suffered from mental health issues. He had no criminal history.

    “Today’s verdict does not serve justice to Abdirahman – nor to the Black, Indigenous and racialized people who have died at the hands of police before him” said Ketty Nivyabandi, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada. “Instead, today’s verdict is yet another painful reminder of the systemic racism that is pervasive in our police institutions and carceral systems. This must end.”

    October 20, 2020

    On Friday 23 October 2020, the Federal Court of Appeal will hear arguments on the Canadian government’s request to stay the decision finding that Canada is violating the rights of refugee claimants it returns to the US under the Safe Third Country Agreement. The July Federal Court decision is otherwise due to take effect in January 2021.

    The Canadian Council for Refugees, Amnesty International and The Canadian Council of Churches, alongside the individual litigants, are arguing that the stay application must be rejected.

    “Every day that the rules remain in effect, more people risk being returned to imprisonment in the US and possible return to persecution,” said Dorota Blumczynska, CCR President. “After seeing overwhelming evidence, including the testimonies of the appalling experiences of people in the US immigration detention system, the Federal Court concluded that the conditions in US detention ‘shock the conscience’. We must stop sending people to face these intolerable abuses.”

    October 15, 2020

    On 20-22 October, Saudi Arabia will host the Women20 (W20) Summit which according to the W20’s official website “will bring together experts, representatives, and leaders from a variety of disciplines to share, innovate, accelerate and inspire dynamic solutions to advancing women towards a more equitable future.” Ahead of the W20 Summit, Amnesty International addresses this open letter to all the individuals and organizations attending the Summit.

    We are writing this open letter to raise Amnesty International’s serious concerns relating to the ongoing detention of women human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia, and to urge all W20 participants to take action in support of these brave women ahead of and during the Summit.

    October 14, 2020

    States in the Americas must prioritize a human rights-based approach to combating the COVID-19 pandemic, which has exposed widespread inequality and discrimination in the region, Amnesty International said in an open letter to the heads of state attending the General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS).

    “The strategy to combat the COVID-19 pandemic has, in many countries of the Americas, been characterized by repressive measures and the unnecessary use of force. Added to the structural challenges and massive social and economic divides present prior to the pandemic, these measures only combine to perpetuate inequality and discrimination across the continent,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International.

    October 14, 2020
    Spokespersons are available for interviews

    Countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), specifically Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), have used the COVID-19 pandemic as a pretext to continue pre-existing patterns of suppressing the right to freedom of expression in 2020, said Amnesty International today in a detailed statement.

    Across these states, flawed laws are being used to criminalize “false news” to summon, arrest, investigate and prosecute individuals who post content on social media about the pandemic or the government’s response to it.

    Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International's Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said:

    “The GCC states have failed to justify how these measures are necessary and proportionate for the protection of public health. Individuals are being subjected to harassment and intimidation simply for discussing the pandemic online, in a clear breach of their right to freedom of expression.

    October 14, 2020
    At least 10 people killed during protests  Hundreds of protesters injured and arrested  Sponsored thugs unleashing violence on peaceful protesters 

    Nigerian security forces must immediately end the intimidation, harassment and attacks on peaceful protesters, Amnesty International Nigeria said today, after at least 10 people were killed and hundreds injured during ongoing nationwide protests demanding an end to police brutality and corruption. 

    Since 8 October Nigerians have been occupying the streets of major towns and cities across 21 states of the country, demanding an end to police brutality, extrajudicial executions and extortion by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), a unit of the Nigerian police tasked with fighting violent crimes. 

    October 14, 2020

    The National Public Prosecutor's Office must ensure that a number of individuals in command of Chile’s National Police, the Carabineros de Chile, including the Director General, Deputy Director General and Director of Public Order and Security, as well as certain operational commanders within the Metropolitan Zone, are investigated for their possible responsibility for human rights violations committed during last year’s social demonstrations, Amnesty International today said in a new report issued on the first anniversary of the mass protests.

    In All Eyes on Chile: Police violence and command responsibility during the social protests, the organization analyzes the actions of national police officers between 18 October and 30 November 2019 and concludes that serious human rights violations, including that of the demonstrators’ right to physical integrity, were committed on a widespread basis because those in strategic command did not take all the necessary measures to prevent them.

    October 13, 2020

    Amnesty International and Angelina Jolie announced today that they are collaborating on a book for teenagers, informed by children and young people, highlighting the rights contained in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

    The project has been prompted by a shared concern that children and adults are often unaware of children’s human rights, meaning that children are left vulnerable and without redress when these rights are not upheld. The book was written in consultation with child rights lawyer Geraldine Van Bueren QC, one of the drafters of the landmark convention that gave children their own unique set of rights for the first time.

    Know Your Rights (And Claim Them) is being published in September 2021 by Andersen Press in the UK and other publishers internationally. It comes at a time when unprecedented numbers of children are protesting around the world, in the streets and online, against the climate emergency, racism and gender inequality, among other issues. The book’s vision is for all teenagers to know and be able to claim their rights, no matter who they are or where they live.


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