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Human Rights

    November 29, 2019

    Spokespersons are available for interviews

    World leaders must address the Kingdom’s heinous human rights record as Saudi Arabia assumes the presidency of the G20 global economic forum, said Amnesty International today. Saudi Arabia is set to assume the presidency of the G20 on 1 December and next year’s G20 summit will be held in Riyadh.

    The organization urges G20 members, to pressure the Saudi Arabian authorities to commit to end the patterns of egregious human rights violations. Member states of the G20 that continue to profit from the arms trade with Saudi Arabia, including the USA, UK and France, must consider the extent to which they are complicit in human rights violations committed by the Saudi Arabia led coalition in the conflict in Yemen, and cease such transfers until these violations have been remedied.  

    November 28, 2019

    A coalition of Canadian civil society organizations is deeply dismayed that Global Affairs Canada claims it has found “no credible evidence” linking Canadian exports of military equipment to human rights violations committed by Saudi Arabia.

    On 17 September 2019, the day Canada formally acceded to the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), the Deputy Ministers of International Trade and Foreign Affairs signed off on a redacted memorandum which indicates that, while Saudi Arabia’s overall human rights record remains “problematic,” federal officials “did not identify any existing permits or pending applications that would be of concern under the standard robust risk assessment framework.”

    November 28, 2019

    Nearly one year after Andrés Manuel López Obrador took office as president, his government has failed to make substantial progress on resolving the human rights crisis in Mexico, said Amnesty International today, when presenting an assessment of some of the most important issues on the national agenda, in the report “When words are not enough”.

    “President López Obrador's government has shown it is willing to take some measures on some issues, especially on disappearances in the country. However, after one year in government, there has been no substantial change in the lives of the millions of people facing an extremely serious human rights crisis that has now lasted for more than a decade. The extremely high levels of violence that threaten the right to life, the widespread use of torture, the alarming levels of violence against women and a militarized public security strategy that is as present as ever are all signs of the tragic situation in Mexico,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International.

    November 27, 2019

    Following a request by the State Prosecutor for the conviction of Amnesty Turkey’s honorary chair, Taner Kılıç, former director İdil Eser and four other human rights defenders on terrorism-related charges, Marie Struthers Europe, Director for Amnesty International, said: 

    “Today’s vindictive request by the State Prosecutor for jail terms of up to 15 years ignores the evidence and defies all logic.

    “The terrorist allegations made against Taner, İdil and four others have been repeatedly disproven over the course of nine previous hearings and it is clear today, as it has been from the start, that the Istanbul 10 and Taner are on trial for nothing more than their human rights work. They must be acquitted.”

    If convicted, they risk up to 15 years imprisonment. The next, and presumably final trial hearing, is set to take place on 19 February 2020.

    November 25, 2019

    Responding to another leak of official Chinese government documents (labelled “The China Cables”) detailing the framework for facilities that led to abuses of hundreds of thousands of predominantly Muslim ethnic groups in detention camps in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (Xinjiang), Amnesty International’s Campaigns Director for East Asia, Lisa Tassi, said:

    “China’s continued denial of the existence of detention centres in Xinjiang grows ever more futile in the face of ever-mounting evidence. This latest leak is yet further proof of its systematic persecution of ethnic and religious minorities in China on a sickeningly vast scale.

    “The abuses described in these leaked documents match the harrowing testimony Amnesty International has received from former detainees of mass internment camps in Xinjiang, as well as from relatives of those still missing.

    November 25, 2019

    University student Sonia Ng is the only protester who has accused the Hong Kong police of sexual assault using her real name. Others have spoken out on condition of anonymity, alleging that they were inappropriately groped or strip-searched during arrest or detention. Ng told a press conference that a police officer hit her breasts while she was in detention after being arrested at a protest. She later told a packed university hall, “I am not the only one,” alleging that many other protesters had been subjected to different forms of sexual violence. She then removed her face mask to reveal her identity. Amnesty International is calling for an independent investigation into the use of force by Hong Kong police.

    Here is Sonia’s story in her own words:

    Before this movement, I hated Hong Kong. I used to feel like I didn’t have much in common with people here and the lack of progress in the fight for democracy made me feel like we were weak.

    November 25, 2019

    The international community must denounce the intentional lethal use of force by Iranian security forces that has resulted in the killings of at least 143 protesters since demonstrations broke out on 15 November, Amnesty International said today.

    According to credible reports received by the organization, those killed include at least 143 people. The deaths have resulted almost entirely from the use of firearms. One man was reported to have died after inhaling tear gas, another after being beaten. Amnesty International believes that the death toll is significantly higher and is continuing to investigate.

    “The rising death toll is an alarming indication of just how ruthless the treatment of unarmed protesters has been by the Iranian authorities and reveals their appalling assault on human life,” said Philip Luther, Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

    November 22, 2019

    Amnesty International representatives are attending the March and are available for interview

    The Ukrainian authorities must ensure the safety and security of all participants in the Trans March taking place in Kyiv tomorrow, Amnesty International said, warning that participants are at serious risk of violent attacks. In 2018 the police failed to protect participants in a similar peaceful rally from violent groups who hurled abuse and threw smoke grenades.

    “Last year the Ukrainian police showed inexcusable inaction in the face of homophobic and transphobic attacks. Groups advocating hatred and discrimination took full advantage of the police’s failure and subjected peaceful marchers to severe abuse,” said Oksana Pokalchuk, Amnesty International Ukraine’s Director.

    November 21, 2019
    Air quality in Lahore measured at nearly twice “hazardous” level Amnesty International issues first “Urgent Action” for entire population of a major city Pakistan government accused of downplaying crisis

    In an unprecedented step, Amnesty International has issued an Urgent Action for the people of Lahore in a bid to mobilize its supporters around the world to campaign on behalf of the entire population due to the hazardous smog engulfing Pakistan’s second largest city.

    The “Urgent Action” raises concerns about how the poor air quality poses a risk to the health of every person in the Pakistani city of more than 10 million people.

    “The government’s inadequate response to the smog in Lahore raises significant human rights concerns. The hazardous air is putting everyone’s right to health at risk,” said Rimmel Mohydin, South Asia Campaigner at Amnesty International.

    November 21, 2019

    The death of prominent Somali-Canadian human rights activist Almaas Elman, who was shot in Mogadishu yesterday, shows the risk faced by activists in the country and underlines the need for the authorities to ensure the safety of civilians, said Amnesty International.

    Almaas was hit by a bullet on 20 November while she was travelling in a car inside the Halane compound in the capital Mogadishu. She died later in hospital as the result of the injuries she sustained. The circumstances of her killing remain unclear.

    “We send our deepest condolences to Almaas’ family and the entire human rights community in Somalia who continue to fight injustice and push for respect for human rights despite the risks,” said Seif Magango, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    November 21, 2019

    Ottawa, ON – In a few days, the Federal Government of Canada will take First Nations children back to court in an effort to dismiss a compensation order by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT). On his first day as Canada’s Minister of Justice and Attorney General, the Honourable David Lametti should drop its application for judicial review and stay of the ruling and work with the Assembly of First Nations and the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society to develop a plan for children, youth, and families to access compensation.

    As organizations committed to the well-being of all children and to the respect of children’s rights, we have been witnesses to the CHRT case of First Nations child welfare and Jordan's Principle.

    We witnessed as Canada’s conduct was found to be wilful and reckless in discriminating against First Nations children in care.

    We witnessed when Canada was ordered to pay compensation for those who were wrongly removed from their families or denied essential services.

    And we witnessed Canada file for judicial review, opting to continue to fight First Nations children in court.

    November 20, 2019

    OTTAWA, November 20, 2019 / Human rights advocates are denouncing the Canadian government’s financial support for a disastrous hydroelectric project in Colombia, as a leader from one of the affected communities arrives in Ottawa to meet today with officials at Export Development Canada (EDC) and Global Affairs Canada.

    Amnesty International Canada and Above Ground are accompanying Isabel Zuleta, a spokesperson for the coalition Movimiento Ríos Vivos, in her meetings with officials.

    EDC’s president and CEO recently acknowledged that the Hidroituango project, which was financed in part by EDC, led to “an environmental, economic and human catastrophe” after the dam nearly collapsed in 2018, forcing the evacuation of 25,000 people. Another financier, the Inter-American Development Bank, announced last month an investigation into its support for the dam.

    November 19, 2019

    The Bolivian authorities must immediately repeal Decree 4078 of 14 November 2019 and ensure that the security forces act in accordance with international rules and standards on the use of force and protect the human rights of all protesters irrespective of their political opinions, Amnesty International said today.

    “The grave human rights crisis that Bolivia has experienced since the elections of 20 October has been aggravated by the intervention and action of the security forces. Any message giving carte blanche for impunity is extremely serious. The disastrous historical precedents of intervention by the Armed Forces in the region require maximum observance and commitment to respect and protect human rights”, said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International Americas.

    November 19, 2019

    Verified video footage, eyewitness testimony from people on the ground and information gathered from human rights activists outside Iran reveal a harrowing pattern of unlawful killings by Iranian security forces, which have used excessive and lethal force to crush largely peaceful protests in more than 100 cities across Iran sparked by a hike in fuel prices on 15 November, said Amnesty International today.

    At least 106 protesters in 21 cities have been killed, according to credible reports received by Amnesty International. The organization believes that the real death toll may be much higher, with some reports suggesting as many as 200 have been killed. State media have reported only a handful of protester deaths, as well as the deaths of at least four members of the security forces.

    Video footage shows security forces using firearms, water cannons and tear gas to disperse protests and beating demonstrators with batons. Images of bullet casings left on the ground afterwards, as well as the resulting high death toll, indicate that they used live ammunition.

    November 19, 2019

    Facebook and Google’s omnipresent surveillance of billions of people poses a systemic threat to human rights, Amnesty International warned in a new report as it called for a radical transformation of the tech giants’ core business model.

    Surveillance Giants lays out how the surveillance-based business model of Facebook and Google is inherently incompatible with the right to privacy and poses a systemic threat to a range of other rights including freedom of opinion and expression, freedom of thought, and the right to equality and non-discrimination.

    “Google and Facebook dominate our modern lives – amassing unparalleled power over the digital world by harvesting and monetizing the personal data of billions of people. Their insidious control of our digital lives undermines the very essence of privacy and is one of the defining human rights challenges of our era,” said Kumi Naidoo, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

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