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Refugees and Migrants

    June 20, 2018
    New briefing published today

    Following the passing in Hungary of a package of punitive laws, including one criminalizing lawful migration-related work by activists and NGOs, Amnesty International’s Europe Director, Gauri van Gulik said:

    “It is a bitter irony that as the world marks World Refugee Day, the Hungarian Parliament voted today to introduce a law that targets organizations and individuals who support asylum-seekers, refugees and migrants.

    "Criminalizing essential and legitimate human rights work is a brazen attack on people seeking safe haven from persecution and those who carry out admirable work to help them. It is a new low point in an intensifying crackdown on civil society and it is something we will resist every step of the way.

    “We will push back against the rising tide of institutional intolerance towards refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants and the attempts to stigmatize, intimidate and frighten Hungarian civil society organisations.   

    June 19, 2018

    In a bid to break down barriers, smash stereotypes and encourage people to take action, an innovative educational online course focusing on the rights of refugees will be rolled out globally to mark World Refugee Day (20 June), said Amnesty International. 

    The course, which is open to all, covers a spectrum of issues in a straightforward way. Human Rights: The Rights of Refugees includes modules on how to defend the rights of refugees, the role of governments in protecting refugees and preventing human rights violations against them and how to challenge discrimination.

    “Every day, all over the world, people make one of the most difficult decisions of their lives: to leave their country in search of a better, safer life. Yet, there is a still a lack of knowledge about the rights of the people who have been forced to flee. Our course provides a unique opportunity to learn about the rights of refugees in a simple accessible way, while encouraging and empowering the public to take action,” said Barbara Weber, Amnesty International’s Human Rights Education Director.

    June 18, 2018

    The sickening images of children cruelly separated from their parents and held in cages as a result of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ policy of ‘zero-tolerance’ will leave an indelible stain on the reputation of the USA, said Amnesty International today.

    “This is a spectacularly cruel policy, where frightened children are being ripped from their parent’s arms and taken to overflowing detention centres, which are effectively cages. This is nothing short of torture. The severe mental suffering that officials have intentionally inflicted on these families for coercive purposes, means that these acts meet the definitions of torture under both US and international law,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Amnesty International’s Americas Director.

    June 15, 2018

    Responding to the tragic news that a 26-year-old Iranian man reportedly died on Nauru this morning, Kate Schuetze, Refugee Researcher at Amnesty International said:

    “This is extremely sad and heartbreaking news. Amnesty International is extending our sincere condolences to the man’s family and friends.

    “This tragic death is the second death to occur in Australia’s offshore system in a matter of weeks, following the death of a Rohingya refugee on Manus Island on 22 May, and the 12th since this system was established.

    “How many more people need to die before the Government acts? Australia’s reckless and cruel refugee policies continue to endanger lives and must end immediately.

    “The fact that this man and his family have spent the last five years living in a tent in an Australian-run detention centre on Nauru is in itself disgraceful. He came to Australia seeking protection, a request that was denied, and was instead detained in appalling and inhumane conditions on the remote island.

    June 12, 2018

    As the SOS Mediterranee rescue ship, MV Aquarius, heads to the Spanish port of Valencia, Elisa De Pieri, Amnesty International’s Italy Researcher said:

    “By closing their ports the Italian and Maltese governments are trampling the principle of rescue at sea and undermining the entire search and rescue system. If allowed to go unchallenged, it will discourage and compromise the lifesaving work of NGO’s leaving thousands of migrants and refugees adrift in the Mediterranean.

    “Whilst the offer by the Spanish government to welcome the Aquarius is a moving example of solidarity, it also highlights the calculated callousness of the Italian and Maltese authorities. This sets a precedent that will inevitably cost lives.”

    For more information, please contact Elizabeth Berton-Hunter, Media Relations 416-363-9933 ext 332 bberton-hunter@amnesty.ca

    Background

    May 29, 2018

    Responding to a package of punitive laws tabled in Parliament today that will criminalize migration-related work by activists and NGOs, Amnesty International’s Europe Director, Gauri van Gulik said:

    “In their desperate drive to make Hungary the most hostile territory for asylum seekers and refugees in Europe, the Hungarian government has taken their attempt to enshrine intolerance, xenophobia and racism in law to a new level.

    “This cruel plan to hermetically seal their borders would criminalize legitimate activities such as offering information and providing legal advice to asylum-seekers. This could result in paralysis for organizations and leave already vulnerable people in an ever more precarious situation.

    “MPs should to do the right thing and vote down this brazen attack on activists, on NGOs, and on those seeking safe haven from persecution.”

     

    For more information please contact: Elizabeth Berton-Hunter, Media Relations 416-363-9933 ext 332 bberton-hunter@amnesty.ca

     

    May 25, 2018
    Campaign and Local Organizing Committee of the 2018 Canadian Council for Refugees National Youth Action Gathering

    Brought together by shared passion and commitment for inclusivity, youth empowerment and human rights, the Local Organizing Committee for the 2018 Canadian Council for Refugees’ Youth Action Gathering (YAG) is working to bring together immigrant and refugee youth from across Canada to share, learn and network on strategies to address common challenges. The Local Organizing Committee consists of a partnership between York University’s  Centre for Refugee Studies (CRS) and Syria Response and Refugee Initiative, Amnesty International at York and the World University Service of Canada’s (WUSC)  Keele Campus Committee. All of them have been active long term participants in the York U Refugees Welcome Here! Campaign.

    May 22, 2018

    Responding to the news that a Rohingya refugee has reportedly died on Manus Island, Kate Schuetze, Refugee Researcher at Amnesty International said:

    “This is extremely sad and heartbreaking news. Amnesty International is extending our sincere condolences to the man’s family and friends.”

    “This tragic and avoidable death is the seventh death of a refugee on Manus Island and the tenth in connection with offshore processing centres on both Manus and Nauru. Australia’s reckless and cruel refugee policies continue to endanger lives and must end immediately.

    “The Australian Government knowingly sends refugees and asylum seekers to places that are unsafe and unsustainable. Enough is enough, offshore processing must end now before further lives are lost.

    “There must be an independent, impartial, prompt and effective investigation into his death, and the other two untimely deaths which happened in August and October last year. The Australian government must bring all refugees and people seeking asylum to Australia immediately, or to a safe third country, and offer them the protection they need and deserve.”

    May 18, 2018

    The Australian government is attempting to walk away from the human rights crisis it has created for refugees and asylum seekers in Papua New Guinea (PNG) by winding back critical healthcare services, despite the ongoing plight of the people trapped in its offshore detention centres, Amnesty International said today.

    Over the past six months the Australian government has terminated trauma and counselling services for refugees and asylum seekers in PNG, and moved refugees to new detention centres where they have reduced access to healthcare.

    “Nearly five years after Australia began implementing its harmful and illegal offshore detention policy, the situation for refugees and asylum seekers trapped in PNG is as desperate as ever. Rolling back healthcare at this time is making a grave situation even worse,” said Kate Schuetze, Amnesty International’s Pacific Researcher.

    May 15, 2018

    A surge in migrants and refugees intercepted at sea by the Libyan authorities has seen at least 2,600 people transferred, in the past two months alone, to squalid detention centres where they face torture and extortion, Amnesty International said today.

    The global human rights organisation accuses European governments of complicity in these abuses by actively supporting the Libyan authorities in stopping sea crossings and sending people back to detention centres in Libya.

    “The EU is turning a blind eye to the suffering caused by its callous immigration policies that outsource border control to Libya,” said Heba Morayef, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Director.

    “When European leaders spare no effort to ensure the Libyan Coast Guard intercepts as many people as possible, they are sending those migrants and refugees straight back to Libya’s detention centres which are notorious for abuse and torture. No one should be sending anyone back to Libya.”

    May 07, 2018
    Kutupalong Rohingya refugee camp Bangladesh

    By: Naureen Shah

    In March 2018, I visited the Kutupalong Rohingya refugee camp near Cox’s bazaar in south eastern Bangladesh. 

    Violence and persecution in the western Rakhine State of Myanmar have caused more than 500,000 Rohingya people, an ethnic minority, to flee their homes.The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights called the situation a "textbook example of ethnic cleansing," and the crisis has caused a mass exodus of the Rohingya across the border into Bangladesh. I wanted to bring the stories of the Rohingya people living in Cox’s bazaar back to Canada, so they would not be forgotten.

    April 26, 2018

    On Thursday 26 April, Amnesty International raised a billboard at the San Ysidro Port of Entry (POE) on the US–Mexico border in Tijuana, with a message reminding US and Mexican authorities of their obligations to facilitate asylum claims and to respect the universal human right of all people to seek asylum in other countries. 

    The billboard also invites asylum seekers to report to Amnesty International if authorities turn them away or otherwise violate their human right to seek asylum.

    As hundreds of people who have traveled in caravan from Central America prepare to claim asylum over the weekend at the San Ysidro POE, an Amnesty International delegation will be on the ground to monitor the conduct of authorities in the reception and facilitation of their asylum claims. 

    April 24, 2018

    Responding to the Israeli government’s declaration to the High Court that it will stop forcible deportations of Eritrean and Sudanese asylum-seekers to “third countries”, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, Magdalena Mughrabi said:

    “While the Israeli government’s declaration to the High Court that it will stop forcible deportations of Eritrean and Sudanese asylum-seekers to “third countries” is welcome, there is still deep cause for concern.

    “Israel is still conducting what it calls “voluntary” deportations, though in reality there is nothing voluntary about them. Eritrean and Sudanese asylum-seekers agree to them under pressure. Israel remains under the obligation not to transfer anyone to a country where they would be at real risk of serious human rights violations, or where they would not be protected against such transfer.

    “Amnesty International will keep monitoring Israel’s deportations of Eritrean and Sudanese asylum-seekers closely.”

     

    +++++++

    April 24, 2018

    US and Mexican authorities must stop demonizing participants of the caravan from Central America and respect their fundamental right to seek asylum, said Amnesty International today, ahead of their expected arrival at the border between both countries later this week.

    “Seeking asylum is not a crime in the USA or anywhere. The efforts of US officials to tarnish asylum seekers as criminals are cynical fabrications that ring hollow,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International.

    “Threatening to indefinitely detain, prosecute, and deport these asylum seekers is a cruel effort to stigmatize, terrify and push away traumatized people, many of whom have already given up everything to flee desperate circumstances in their home countries.”

    Amnesty International has received reports that in recent days Mexican immigration officials have detained and sought to deport Central American families from the caravan who planned to claim asylum in the USA.

    April 23, 2018

    Trinidad and Tobago must guarantee and protect the rights of all asylum seekers and refugees, said Amnesty International in an open letter to Prime Minister Keith Rowley today, following the deportation of 82 people from Venezuela on 21 April.

    “Millions of Venezuelans are fleeing an unprecedented human crisis in their country. They need a life jacket, not to be sent back to a country where they may face torture or other grave human rights violations,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International.

    The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has said that the group included registered asylum-seekers and individuals who had declared an intention to apply for refugee status.

    Mass deportations are prohibited under international law, as is the violation of the principles of non-penalization, non-refoulement, and confidentiality, and the rights to due process and judicial protection.

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