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    June 24, 2019

    Leaders in the Americas must move beyond stale political debate and strengthen their focus and commitment to human rights protections, said Amnesty International in an open letter to the heads of state attending the 49th General Assembly of the Organization of American States in Medellin, Colombia.

    “The leaders of the Americas must step up and overcome the grave challenges facing the region. This is the most dangerous place in the world for human rights defenders, particularly those standing for climate justice and the environment, and it is also the scene of two major global human rights crises in Nicaragua and Venezuela,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International.

    June 24, 2019

    The Bahraini authorities must immediately end ongoing harassment, intimidation and attacks against former member of parliament Osama Muhana al-Tamimi, who is known for his criticism of the government, Amnesty International said today.

    Over the course of the past two months, government agencies have repeatedly arbitrarily summoned al-Tamimi for questioning. Since 2012, the authorities have subjected al-Tamimi to a smear campaign by way of government-linked press publishing fabricated accusations against him. During this period, the authorities have refused to investigate a number of serious incidents targeting al-Tamimi’s businesses and personal safety.

    “Osama Muhana al-Tamimi is one of the few openly critical Sunni voices in Bahrain. His harassment comes as no surprise, and serves as a stark reminder of the ongoing, multi-faceted means the authorities have been resorting to, to silence any independent thinking in the Kingdom,” said Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Middle East Director of Research.

    June 24, 2019

    We Canadian civil society organizations, namely, Amnesty International Canada, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East, Oxfam Canada, Oxfam- Quebec, Project Ploughshares and the Rideau Institute, long active in the effort to strengthen Canadian controls on the export of military equipment, today applaud the Government of Canada’s formal announcement of this country’s accession to the global Arms Trade Treaty.

    As Minister Freeland herself stated, the ATT opened for signature in 2013 so this step by Canada is long overdue and most welcome. In particular we commend the Government of Canada for the legislative and regulatory changes to Canada’s export control regime to more effectively regulate Canada’s arms exports in accordance with the high global standards set out in the ATT.

    June 21, 2019
    Amnesty International examined incidents of unnecessary and excessive use of force during 12 June protest Restraint urged in policing of upcoming protests Police must be held to account for unlawful use of force

    Hong Kong police must end the unlawful use of force against peaceful protesters who have once again taken to the streets on Friday, Amnesty International said, as it published details of verified instances of unnecessary and excessive use of force by police on 12 June.

    Experts in policing and digital verification examined in detail footage of 14 incidents of apparent police violence. All verified incidents were filmed during the 12 June protest, which saw tens of thousands of people take part in a largely peaceful demonstration against the Hong Kong government’s proposed extradition bill.

    June 20, 2019

    Millions across the Americas are fleeing human rights violations in their countries, seeking protection. Refugees are people who find themselves with no choice other than to leave their lives behind hoping for safety. Many arrive in hostile environments but stepping back home could put their lives at risk. American states must protect those in need and promote a coherent regional response.

    June 17, 2019

    Tens of thousands of older women and men from ethnic minorities across Myanmar who faced military atrocities and were forced to flee their homes are being let down by a humanitarian system that often fails to adequately address their rights and needs, Amnesty International said in a report published today.

    “Fleeing my whole life”: Older people’s experience of conflict and displacement in Myanmar is the organization’s first comprehensive investigation into the specific ways older people’s rights and dignity are not respected amid armed conflict and crisis, as well in the provision of humanitarian assistance.
     
    “For decades, Myanmar’s ethnic minorities have suffered recurrent abuse at the hands of the military. Many older people racked by atrocities amid recent military operations lived through similar crimes as children or younger adults. Their experience lays bare the military’s longstanding brutality, and the need for justice,” said Matthew Wells, Senior Crisis Advisor at Amnesty International.

    June 17, 2019
    16-year-old and two siblings in transit to “the world’s most dangerous country”

    The Norwegian government must immediately halt the deportation of a 16-year-old boy and his two siblings back to Afghanistan where they will be at grave risk of serious human rights violations, Amnesty International said today.

    Eshan Abbasi (16) and his sister Taibeh (20) and brother Yasin (22), were deported from Norway to Istanbul on Saturday together with their mother. Due to her health condition, their mother is expected to be returned to Norway, but the children are in danger of being flown to Kabul imminently.

    “Uprooting these three young siblings from the communities where they have lived for more than seven years and deporting them alone to a warzone is an unconscionable abuse of power,” said Massimo Moratti, Amnesty International’s Deputy Europe Director.

    “Afghanistan is not a safe country for returns, and if this heartless and unnecessary deportation is completed it will split the family, endanger these three young people’s live and rob them of their futures.”

    June 14, 2019

    Spokespersons available to take media interviews

    Following an admission by Sudan’s Transitional Military Council (TMC) that they all met the country’s security chiefs on 2 June, and after receiving undisclosed advice from the Attorney General and the Head of the Judiciary, ordered the dispersal of peaceful protestors on 3 June, which “by mistake” killed more than 100 people and injured hundreds more, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes Sarah Jackson said:

    “It is completely outrageous and unacceptable that what has now been confirmed to have been a carefully planned attack on sleeping protestors has in the same breath been reduced to a ‘mistake’.

    “The senseless killing of protestors must be stopped immediately, and those responsible for the bloodbath, including at command level, must be held fully accountable for their actions.

    June 12, 2019

    In response to the use of force against largely peaceful protestors by Hong Kong police, who used tear gas, guns firing bean bags and rubber bullets, batons and pepper spray to disperse a demonstration against the extradition bill in central Hong Kong on Wednesday, Man-Kei Tam, Director of Amnesty International Hong Kong, commented:

    “The ugly scenes of police using tear gas and pepper spray against overwhelmingly peaceful protesters is a violation of international law. Police have a duty to maintain public order, but in doing so they may use force only when strictly necessary. Hong Kong’s police have today failed to live up to this standard.

    “The police have taken advantage of the violent acts of a small minority as a pretext to use excessive force against the vast majority of peaceful protesters.

    “Tear gas and projectiles like rubber bullets are notoriously inaccurate and indiscriminate and can result in serious injury and even death. They should only ever be used in a targeted response to specific acts of violence and never to disperse peaceful protesters.

    June 12, 2019

    Responding to the arbitrary arrests of over 400 people in Moscow who were peacefully protesting the treatment of journalist Ivan Golunov, Denis Krivosheev, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Eastern Europe and Central Asia Office, said:

    “Today’s arbitrary and often brutal arrests of over 400 peaceful protestors, including children, are a perfect example of the cruel repression that brought protestors to the streets in the first place. Amnesty International observers witnessed police violence and recorded complaints of detainees being beaten. Yet again, the Russian authorities met peaceful dissent with an assault on rights and freedoms.

    “Those who took to the streets of Moscow today were demanding accountability for the appalling treatment of journalist Ivan Golunov, who was arrested on fabricated drugs charges in a blatant attempt to silence him. Confronted by unprecedented public indignation, the authorities backtracked and released Ivan Golunov.

    June 12, 2019

    An attack which forced hundreds of Syrian refugees to leave Deir al-Ahmar, an informal camp in the Bekaa valley, last week is a clear example of the escalating hostility which is driving many refugees to leave Lebanon and return to Syria despite ongoing violations of international humanitarian law there, Amnesty International said today.

    Since July 2018 the Lebanese authorities have been arranging returns of refugees to Syria, claiming these returns are wholly voluntary. However, Amnesty International’s analysis shows that people are being pushed back to Syria through a combination of restrictive government policies, dire humanitarian conditions and rampant discrimination.

    June 11, 2019

    Today’s judgement by the Gaborone High Court to decriminalize consensual same sex relations is a victory in the battle for equality and freedom to love whoever you choose, Amnesty International said as it called on other African countries to follow Botswana’s inspiring example. 

    “Today’s court judgement sends a strong message that no one should be harassed, discriminated against or criminalized because of their sexual orientation. With this ruling, Botswana has said ‘no’ to intolerance and hate and ‘yes’ to hope and equality for all people,” said Muleya Mwananyanda, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Southern Africa.

    “For far too long, people entering same-sex relationships in Botswana were discriminated against by the very same laws that are supposed to protect them. This court decision marks an exciting new era of acceptance, which should inspire other African countries to follow suit.”

    June 11, 2019
    New evidence that ‘scorched earth’ attacks continue UN and AU set to vote to close UNAMID peacekeeping mission on 27 June Peacekeeper drawdown would expose civilians to brutal tactics of Sudanese security forces UN and AU must pause the drawdown of UNAMID and resist Transitional Military Council demand to hand over bases to Rapid Support Forces

    Amnesty International has disturbing new evidence, including satellite imagery, showing that Sudanese government forces, including the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and allied militias, have continued to commit war crimes and other serious human rights violations in Darfur. In the past year these have included the complete or partial destruction of at least 45 villages, unlawful killings, and sexual violence.

    June 10, 2019
    Chechen prisoner of conscience Oyub Titiev granted parole Parole comes days after detention of journalist, Ivan Golunov

    Responding to news that Shali City Court in Chechnya has granted parole to the imprisoned human rights defender Oyub Titiev after almost one-and-a-half years behind bars, Marie Struthers, Amnesty International’s Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia said:

    “We have been calling for Oyub Titiev’s immediate and unconditional release since his detention. The real agenda behind his criminal prosecution on trumped up charges was to stop a human rights defender from doing his lawful human rights work.

    “In spite of overwhelming evidence that the case against him had been fabricated, the authorities in Chechnya crudely abused the justice system to convict an innocent man. Today the court decided to at least partially amend the gross injustice by releasing Oyub in ten days time.

    June 07, 2019

    Saudi Arabia must not use the death penalty to punish a young man who was arrested at the age of 13 for participating in anti-government protests, said Amnesty International today.

    The organization has confirmed that Saudi Arabia’s Public Prosecution sought the death penalty for Murtaja Qureiris in August 2018 for a series of offences, some of which date back to when he was just 10 years old. CNN this week revealed he was facing the death penalty and published video footage showing him participating in bike protests in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province as a young boy in 2011.

    “There should be no doubt that the Saudi Arabian authorities are ready to go to any length to crack down on dissent against their own citizens, including by resorting to the death penalty for men who were merely boys at the time of their arrest,” said Amnesty International’s Middle East Research Director Lynn Maalouf.

    “It is appalling that Murtaja Qureiris is facing execution for offences that include taking part in protests while he was just 10 years old.”

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