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    December 09, 2018
    Amnesty publishes review of human rights in 2018

    Women activists around the world have been at the forefront of the battle for human rights in 2018, Amnesty International said today as it launched its review on the state of human rights over the past year.

    The human rights group also warns that the actions of “tough guy” world leaders pushing misogynistic, xenophobic and homophobic policies has placed freedoms and rights that were won long ago in fresh jeopardy.

    “In 2018, we witnessed many of these self-proclaimed ‘tough guy’ leaders trying to undermine the very principle of equality – the bedrock of human rights law. They think their policies make them tough, but they amount to little more than bully tactics trying to demonize and persecute already marginalized and vulnerable communities,” said Kumi Naidoo, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

    “But it is women activists who have offered the most powerful vision this year of how to fight back against these repressive leaders.”

    December 07, 2018

    Amnesty International welcomes the release today of the Concluding Observations of the UN Committee Against Torture, following last month’s review of Canada’s record of compliance with the United Nations Convention against Torture, the first such review since 2012.

    December 07, 2018

    Responding to news from MSF and SOS Mediterranée that the Aquarius search and rescue vessel has been forced to end operations, Amnesty International’s Secretary General said:

    “Today, we received some very sad news. Médecins Sans Frontières and its partner SOS Méditerranée have been forced to terminate operations by the search and rescue ship, Aquarius.

    “Over the last two years the Aquarius and her crew have rescued nearly 30,000 people in the Mediterranean. Yet, more than 2,100 people have drowned this year. The vast majority were fleeing violence, torture and arbitrary detention in Libya.

    “During this time, not only have European governments failed to provide search and rescue capacity, they have instead supported the Libyan coastguard to return people to Libya, and actively obstructed life-saving activities like Aquarius was carrying out.

    “In doing this, European leaders have shown where their true priorities lie: the closure of the central Mediterranean route for refugees and migrants, even at the cost of a soaring death toll at sea.

    December 07, 2018

    An escalating crackdown on freedoms across the Gulf states has brought renewed international attention to the human rights situation in the region, Amnesty International said today, ahead of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit which takes place in Riyadh on Sunday.

    “2018 has been a particularly brutal year for peaceful human rights activists, journalists and dissidents in the Gulf states. The abhorrent killing of Jamal Khashoggi in October shone a global spotlight on Saudi Arabia’s human rights record at home and in Yemen. All of the Gulf states gathering on Sunday have continued their suppression of the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly over the past year,” said Heba Morayef, Amnesty International’s Middle East Director of Campaigns.

    “Gulf leaders can no longer operate on the assumption that they have a carte blanche to treat their citizens like criminals whenever they express dissent without fear of any international repercussions.”

    December 07, 2018

    Responding to the guilty verdict and six-month prison sentences handed to three activists today for their role in a peaceful protest in Myitkyina, the capital of Kachin State, Amnesty International’s Director of Crisis Response, Tirana Hassan, said:

    “Today’s appalling verdict against three peaceful activists shows the government’s determination to silence any criticism of their actions in this deadly conflict – and repress any peaceful opposition to the military whatsoever.

    “These jail sentences reflect a pattern of continued attacks, intimidation, threats and prosecutions against human rights defenders, journalists and community leaders who peacefully speak out in defence of civilian victims of military operations. It sends a chilling warning to any humanitarian actor or activist who wants to tell the truth about the Myanmar military’s brutality in Kachin and northern Shan states and beyond.

    December 07, 2018

    (OTTAWA, ON, December 7, 2018) – In a report released today, the United Nations Committee Against Torture officially recognized that sterilizing Indigenous women without consent is a form of torture, and called on Canada to “ensure that all allegations of forced or coerced sterilization are impartially investigated, that the persons responsible are held accountable and that adequate redress is provided to the victims.”

    The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC), Amnesty International Canada, and Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights strongly support the recommendations of the UN Committee Against Torture, and call on Canada to:

    December 06, 2018

    Responding to the news that Crimean lawyer Emil Kurbedinov was detained by the de-facto authorities in Russian-occupied Crimea and is now facing charges for a Facebook post he made five years ago, Marie Struthers, Amnesty International’s Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia said:

    “Following yesterday’s arrest of prominent human rights defender Lev Ponomarev in Moscow, the detention of Emil Kurbedinov is the second time in two days that a human rights defender has been thrown behind bars over a Facebook post.

    “The similarities of these two cases are obvious, even if they are not directly related. Both men are prominent members of the human rights community and both have been deliberately targeted by Russian authorities for this very reason.

    “The authorities’ abuse of social media to target and harass activists is a cause of growing concern in Crimea. These politically-motivated charges must be dropped and he should be immediately and unconditionally released.”

    Background

    December 06, 2018

    Following a statement from the Regional Public Prosecutor for Puebla state, Jaime Huerta, in relation to the arrest of an individual allegedly connected to the killing of the environmental defender Manuel Gaspar Rodríguez, and the claim that the crime could be attributed to personal problems, Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International, said:

    “It is essential that the authorities carry out a comprehensive, independent and impartial investigation, including into those who could have ordered or planned the killing of Manuel Gaspar Rodríguez. If it fails to do so, the Public Prosecutor’s Office would be sending a message of impunity and encouraging further attacks against defenders of the land, territory and environment.”

    “Amnesty International urges the Mexican authorities to include within the line of investigation the possibility that the attack could be related to Manuel Gaspar’s work to defend the environment, before hastily speaking out about possible motives for his killing.”

    December 06, 2018

    Following the judgment by the High Court in Kigali to discharge and acquit Diane Rwigara and her mother Adeline Rwigara on all charges that had been brought against them, Amnesty International’s Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes, Joan Nyanyuki said:

    “Diane and Adeline Rwigara should never have faced charges for expressing their views. While we welcome their discharge and acquittal, we are concerned that the right to freedom of expression remains under attack in Rwanda.

    “We call on the Rwandan authorities to build on this judgment and work towards developing greater tolerance and acceptance of alternative and critical views. The judgment must be a first step in reversing the ongoing trend of repression in Rwanda.”

    For more information, or to arrange an interview, please contact:

    Lucy Scholey, Amnesty International Canada (English), 613-744-7667 ext. 236, lscholey@amnesty.ca

    December 05, 2018
    Grassy Narrows First Nations youth are renowned for their activism, art, and leadership in spite of mercury burden

    Today Grassy Narrows released a ground-breaking new report by renowned mercury expert Dr. Donna Mergler. The authoritative report is the first study to link higher rates of health and wellbeing challenges in Grassy Narrows’ children with exposure to mercury, a potent neurotoxin, from local fish. Grassy Narrows has long asserted that the mercury poisoning of the English and Wabigoon rivers in Northwestern Ontario continues to impact new generations of their children, and are in Ottawa to call upon Prime Minister Trudeau to take action.

    The report finds that the “health and well-being of children and youth have been affected directly by prenatal exposure to mercury and indirectly by the intergenerational consequences of mercury contamination of the fish resources in their community.”

    December 05, 2018
    Official figures reveal that at least 52 workers have died on site as mass trial gets underway

    Turkish authorities must immediately and unconditionally release 31 construction workers who have already spent two months in jail simply for protesting unsafe working conditions on the site of Istanbul’s third airport, said Amnesty International as a mass trial gets underway.

    Just days after the official figures revealed that there have been 52 fatal work accidents on the site between 2013 and 2018, 61 workers and trade unionists are in court today. They are facing numerous charges in the context of a protest on 14 September 2018. 31 of these workers have been remanded in prison pending trial.

    “By detaining and prosecuting these workers who were simply calling for dignified and safe working conditions, the Turkish authorities are sending out a message that anyone who attempts to stand up for their rights will be punished,” said Amnesty International’s Turkey Strategy and Research Manager, Andrew Gardner.

    December 05, 2018

    A new study released today documents the very cost of ignoring the mercury crisis at Grassy Narrows.

    Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada, said, “The latest community health study on the Grassy Narrows First Nation is an indictment of the appalling history of government inaction and indifference. The young people in this study were born and grew up after the federal and provincial governments had already washed their hands of the mercury crisis at Grassy Narrows. Imagine the difference it could have made if, instead of denying that mercury was even a threat, these governments had shouldered their responsibilities and worked with the community from the outset to ensure that young people could practice their rights and traditions in a safe and healthy environment.”

    December 04, 2018

    Responding to the release on bail of volunteers and staff who provided life-saving assistance to refugees, Kondylia Gougou, Amnesty International’s Greece Researcher said:

    “Whilst we welcome the news that these dedicated humanitarians will be back with their families tonight after more than 100 days behind bars, the fact that they still face absurd charges and potentially long prison sentences is an outrage.

    “This case is just the latest example of how authorities are mis-using anti-smuggling laws to target activists and criminalize rescue. To detain dedicated volunteer humanitarians who helped people in need defies logic. People who selfless act in these ways should be lauded not imprisoned. These baseless charges should be dropped.”

    Background

    Four humanitarian workers were released on bail today.

    December 04, 2018

    AMNESTY INDIA PRESS RELEASE

    BENGALURU/NEW DELHI

    A police officer in Uttar Pradesh has become the latest victim of mob lynching and attacks by cow vigilantes. This attack is a consequence of the growing impunity that perpetrators of cow-related violence have in Uttar Pradesh, Amnesty India said today.

    On 3 December, police inspector Subodh Kumar Singh was shot dead after he reportedly tried to control mob violence in Bulandshahr, Uttar Pradesh after carcasses of 25 cows were found close to a police post. A post-mortem report confirmed that he died of bullet injuries. The mob also injured more than five policemen and burned down a police station. A local man was also killed during the violence.

    December 04, 2018
    Thousands forcibly disappeared and extrajudicially executed in prison in 1988 Ongoing campaign to deny, distort truth and abuse victims’ families UN must establish independent investigation into crimes against humanity High-profile figures accused of involvement in 1988 prison massacres named

    By concealing the fate and whereabouts of thousands of political dissidents who were forcibly disappeared and secretly executed in prison 30 years ago, Iranian authorities are continuing to commit crimes against humanity, said Amnesty International in a damning report published today.

    The report Blood-soaked secrets: Why Iran’s 1988 prison massacres are ongoing crimes against humanity calls on the UN to set up an independent investigation into the mass enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings which have gone unpunished for three decades.

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