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    February 26, 2021
    Amnesty International interviewed 41 survivors and witnesses to mass killings in November Troops carried out extrajudicial executions, indiscriminate shelling and widespread looting Satellite imagery analysis shows evidence consistent with new burial sites

    Eritrean troops fighting in Ethiopia’s Tigray state systematically killed hundreds of unarmed civilians in the northern city of Axum on 28-29 November 2020, opening fire in the streets and conducting house-to-house raids in a massacre that may amount to a crime against humanity, Amnesty International said today in a new report.

    February 24, 2021

    Algerian authorities have targeted dozens of protesters, journalists and activists with arbitrary arrests and prosecutions, for engaging in peaceful protests and expressing political opinions on social media, said Amnesty International, in a new statement published today to mark the second anniversary of the Hirak protests.

    In an investigation of the cases of 73 Hirak activists, protesters or journalists Amnesty International documented how they were arbitrarily arrested, prosecuted and in some cases given lengthy prison terms based on vaguely-worded penal law provisions in the past two years. In some cases, activists were subjected to intrusive phone searches or were dismissed by their employer because of their prosecution. Some reported torture or other ill-treatment while being held.

    February 23, 2021

    February 23rd, 2021 – Montréal, QC – A youth-led environmental group is appearing before the Quebec Court of Appeal today seeking to proceed with their class action lawsuit against the Canadian government for failing to act on the climate crisis. Amnesty International is intervening in the appeal. It will argue that the Court must consider Canada’s international human rights law obligation to provide effective remedies for human rights violations, such as those caused by the failure to take appropriate actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

    February 22, 2021

    On 23 and 24 February, the Federal Court of Appeal will hear the Canadian government’s appeal of a decision finding that the Canada-US Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA) is unconstitutional. Amnesty International (AI), the Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR), and The Canadian Council of Churches (CCC) will once again join individual refugee claimants as their lawyers reiterate to the court that the STCA violates the right to life, liberty, and security of the person, as well as equality rights guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

    February 19, 2021

    Ahead of the virtual meeting of G7 leaders hosted by the UK government on Friday 19 February, Amnesty International has warned that failure to ensure global access to vaccines represents an abject moral failure that will ultimately harm rich countries.   

    “The leaders of G7 nations are shooting themselves in the foot by failing to ensure the equal distribution of coronavirus vaccines globally,” said Netsanet Belay, Research and Advocacy Director at Amnesty International.

    “Giving money to COVAX, though welcome, is not enough. And suggestions like sharing a paltry five percent of their vaccine supplies with poor countries are just insultingly small.

    “The promise of “building back better” rings hollow when G7 nations are the major culprits in blocking a proposal at the World Trade Organisation to suspend intellectual property rights during the pandemic, which would make it easier for other countries and companies to manufacture vaccines.

    February 18, 2021

    A Russian court today found human rights defender and prisoner of conscience Anastasia Shevchenko guilty of “organizing activity of an undesirable organization” and handed down a four-year suspended prison sentence. Responding to the conviction Amnesty International’s Moscow Office Director, Natalya Zviagina, said: 

    “This decision is a travesty of justice. Anastasia Shevchenko has committed no crime. She should have never been deprived of liberty in the first place, as she was criminally persecuted solely for peacefully exercising her human rights. Her conviction must be quashed.” 

    “Anastasia Shevchenko has already suffered unimaginably at the hands of Russia’s deeply flawed justice system.  She has been under house arrest for over two years, and been subjected to humiliation and intrusive surveillance in her own home. Tragically, Anastasia’s teenage daughter died during the early days of her house arrest and Anastasia was not permitted to be with her in her final days.  

    February 18, 2021

    The Sri Lankan Government has launched a renewed crackdown on dissent that is severely curtailing civil society freedom and obstructing efforts to deliver justice for conflict-era crimes under international law, said Amnesty International, in a new report published today.  

    The report, Old ghosts in new garb: Sri Lanka’s return to fear, exposes how the Sri Lankan government has targeted human rights organisations, media, lawyers, political opponents, and law enforcement officers in a concerted bid to suppress opposing voices and hamper the transitional justice process for crimes committed during the country’s 30-year armed conflict.  

    “Over the past year, the Sri Lankan government has radically transformed the country’s civic space, which is now defined by an increasing hostility and intolerance towards dissenting voices,” said David Griffiths, Director of the Office of the Secretary General at Amnesty International.   

    February 17, 2021

    In a new open-source investigation, Venezuela: Impunity in the face of lethal policy of social control, that collected evidence verified by its Crisis Evidence Lab, Amnesty International considers the deaths of at least 14 men in the La Vega area of ​​Caracas, between 6 and 9 January 2021, as probable extrajudicial executions and calls for the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to include these facts in its preliminary examination of the crimes against humanity that have and are being committed by state agents in Venezuela.

    Although neighbours denounced police presence since 6 January, two days later, as many as 650 agents of Venezuelan security forces were deployed in La Vega parish, southwestern Caracas, due to alleged clashes between gangs and police. Officers deployed included the Special Action Forces (FAES) and other members of the Bolivarian National Police, who have been criticized in the past for the systematic extrajudicial executions of young men living in poverty.

    February 17, 2021

    OTTAWA – The Safe Third Country Agreement will be back in court on Feb. 23 and 24, as the Canadian government seeks to overturn a decision that the US-Canada refugee pact is unconstitutional.

    Amnesty International, the Canadian Council for Refugees, and the Canadian Council of Churches, will once again join individual litigants in arguing the agreement is harmful to those seeking protection north of the US-Canada border.

    In July 2020, the Federal Court ruled that the Safe Third Country Agreement is unconstitutional, as it violates the s. 7 Charter right to life, liberty and security of the person. Civil society groups and refugees have long maintained that the agreement violates human rights, because many refugee claimants returned to the US are arbitrarily held in appalling conditions in immigration detention centres or county jails, and are not eligible for the same legal protections that are available in Canada.

    February 17, 2021

    Wednesday, February 17, 2021 - Amnesty International welcomes the Canadian government’s initiative endorsed by 57 countries to condemn the arbitrary detention of foreign nationals —including those with dual citizenship— for political purposes. We hope the implementation of this new declaration, announced by Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau on Monday, will be followed by a binding implementation plan.  

    February 16, 2021

    A decade after the overthrow of Muammar al-Gaddafi, justice has yet to be delivered to victims of war crimes and serious human rights violations including unlawful killings, enforced disappearances, torture, forced displacement and abductions committed by militias and armed groups, Amnesty International said today. Libyan authorities have promoted and legitimized leaders of militias that have been responsible for heinous acts of abuse, instead of ensuring accountability and redress for violations committed both since al-Gaddafi’s fall and under his rule.

    The protests that began in February 2011 were met with violence and quickly escalated into a full-fledged armed conflict, which following an air campaign by NATO, led to al-Gaddafi’s demise. Since then, Libya has been engulfed by lawlessness and impunity for war crimes committed by rival militias and armed groups. Successive Libyan governments have promised to uphold the rule of law and respect human rights, but each has failed to rein in perpetrators.

    February 16, 2021

    Today, the Belarusian authorities visibly stepped up their crackdown against civil society organizations and independent media with mass raids and interrogations of leading human rights defenders, journalists and trade union leaders. Responding to the escalating reprisals against dissenters, Aisha Jung, Amnesty International’s Senior Campaigner on Belarus said: 

    “Having imprisoned or forcibly exiled practically anyone associated with the political opposition in the country, the Belarusian authorities have now set their sights on human rights defenders and journalists whose only crime has been to document the wave of gross human rights violations committed by security forces following last August’s contested presidential election. 

    February 12, 2021

    The UK Supreme Court has today ruled in favour of two Niger Delta communities who are seeking justice for environmental damage caused by Shell (Okpabi et al vs Royal Dutch Shell et al).

    The Court found that the Ogale and Bille communities can bring their legal claims for clean-up and compensation against Royal Dutch Shell plc (RDS) and its Nigerian subsidiary, the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC). 

    The ruling sets an important precedent for holding other multinationals to account. Mark Dummett, Director of Amnesty International's Global Issues Programme, said:

    “This landmark ruling could spell the end of a long chapter of impunity for Shell, and for other multinationals who commit human rights abuses overseas. Shell’s own records show the extent of the oil spills which continue to ravage the land of the Ogale and Bille communities, poisoning their water and destroying livelihoods.

    February 11, 2021

    Ahead of tomorrow’s deadline for the US to submit their appeal against the UK decision not to extradite Julian Assange, Amnesty International USA have added their voice to a letter sent to the US Department of Justice calling on President Biden to drop charges against the Wikileaks founder. The letter states:

    “We, the undersigned press freedom, civil liberties, and international human rights advocacy organizations, write today to share our profound concern about the ongoing criminal and extradition proceedings relating to Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, under the Espionage Act and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

    While our organizations have different perspectives on Mr Assange and his organization, we share the view that the government’s indictment of him poses a grave threat to press freedom both in the United States and abroad. We urge you to drop the appeal of the decision by Judge Vanessa Baraitser of the Westminster Magistrates’ Court to reject the Trump administration’s extradition request.

    February 11, 2021

    The Saudi Arabian Specialized Criminal Court has commuted the death sentences of Ali al-Nimr, Abdullah al-Zaher and Dawood al-Marhoon, who were arrested as teenagers and convicted after unfair trials, and re-sentenced them to 10-year prison terms inclusive of time served, meaning that they could be released in 2022. Responding to the news, Amnesty International’s Deputy

    Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, Lynn Maalouf said:

    “The news that these young men will not face execution no doubt comes as an immense relief for them and their families after several agonizing years on death row.

    “All three young men were convicted following grossly unfair trials based on so-called ‘confessions’ extracted through torture. They spent prime years of their lives suffering the dire consequences of an unfair trial, and what must have been a painful ordeal separated from their loved ones for nearly 10 years.

    “Use of the death penalty for offences committed by people under 18 years of age at the time of the offence is a flagrant violation of international human rights law.

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