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    August 14, 2018

    Amnesty International and ESCR-Net welcome a ground-breaking decision of the UN Human Rights Committee, which, in upholding a complaint against Canada for breaching the right to life and non-discrimination, ruled that protecting the right to life requires states to ensure that people who lack a regular immigration status – also known as irregular migrants – have access to essential health care services.

    “This is the first time a human rights body has affirmed that irregular migrants’ rights to life and equality include access to essential health care,” said Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada’s English Branch. “In recognizing our common humanity this case sends a strong signal that the right to life can never be compromised by one’s immigration status and that essential health care must be available to everyone who lives in a country – regardless of immigration status.”

    Life-saving treatment wrongly denied  

    August 14, 2018

    Responding to news that the authorities in Italy and Malta have closed their ports to Aquarius MV, a rescue ship run by SOS Mediterranee, with 141 people aboard, including 73 children, xxx Amnesty International’s xxx, said: 

    “European governments must stop playing with human lives. Italy and Malta’s disgraceful refusal to allow refugees and migrants to disembark in their ports is pure cruelty. These individuals have braved dangerous journeys and inhumane conditions in Libya only to be stranded at sea as governments shamelessly abdicate their responsibility to protect.

    “What’s equally alarming is that the Gibraltar, under whose flag Aqurius has been sailing, has threatened to terminate the registration of the ship in a bureaucratic manoeuvre designed to frustrate life-saving search and rescue operations at sea. The relentless efforts of NGOs to rescue lives at sea should be celebrated, not hindered or punished.

    August 09, 2018

    Today’s referral to trial of Amal Fathy, an Egyptian activist arrested for posting a video online sharing her experiences of sexual harassment, is a shocking case of injustice, Amnesty International said.

    “Amal Fathy was brave in speaking up about her experience of sexual harassment in Egypt and should be applauded for her courage – not put on trial,” said Najia Bounaim, Amnesty International’s North Africa Campaigns Director.

    “Instead of prosecuting perpetrators of violence against women, the Egyptian authorities are persecuting Amal Fathy for speaking out against sexual harassment. It is a shocking case of injustice. She is a human rights defender who told her truth to the world and wanted to highlight the vital issue of women’s safety in Egypt. She is not a criminal.

    August 09, 2018

    In a letter to Prime Minister Trudeau (attached), organizations from across Canada have laid out concerns and questions regarding the appointment of a new and unprecedented Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction.

    The key concerns outlined in the letter include:

    August 08, 2018

    The number of people drowning in the Central Mediterranean or being taken back to squalid detention centres in Libya has surged as a result of European policies aimed at closing the central Mediterranean route, Amnesty International said in a new briefing published today.

    The briefing, 'Between the devil and the deep blue sea. Europe fails refugees and migrants in the Central Mediterranean', reveals the devastating impact of policies which have resulted in more than 721 deaths at sea over June and July 2018 alone. It highlights new Italian policies which have left people stranded at sea for days and analyzes how European Union (EU) countries are conspiring to contain refugees and migrants in Libya, where they are exposed to torture and abuse.

    August 07, 2018

    Should Not Include War Crimes, Crimes Against Humanity

    There should be no amnesty for war crimes, crimes against humanity and other serious human rights violations committed in Côte d’Ivoire’s 2010-11 post-election crisis, 11 national and international human rights groups said today.

    Contrary to all commitments for justice since 2011, President Alassane Ouattara announced on August 6, 2018 that he would grant an amnesty to 800 people accused of or convicted of crimes related to the 2010-11 crisis or subsequent acts of anti-state violence, which could include people implicated in serious human rights crimes.

    Ouattara said that the amnesty would not apply to 60 military members and members of armed groups who committed “blood crimes” during the post-election violence. Ivorian judges, however, have indicted far more than 60 people for crimes against humanity and war crimes related to the 2010-11 crisis, including high-level military and political leaders from both sides of the conflict. It is now unclear who among these indictees will ultimately face justice. 

    August 07, 2018

    After Amnesty International research prompted the US-led military Coalition to admit to killing dozens of civilians in its Raqqa offensive, the Coalition must urgently launch thorough, independent investigations to uncover the full scale of civilian deaths and compensate the victims and survivors.

    On 26 July the Coalition acknowledged that its aerial bombardments between June and October 2017 killed 77 civilians, including 24 children and 25 women – specific cases documented by Amnesty International’s field investigations in Raqqa. The Coalition had previously brushed off these cases as “non-credible” and senior officials had derided Amnesty International’s research as “naïve” and “reckless” in the media and other public forums. 

    August 06, 2018

    Responding to Saudi Arabia’s announcement, on August 5th, of diplomatic and trade measures against Canada, in retaliation for recent Canadian government calls for prisoners of conscience to be freed in the country, Amnesty International Canada said the aggressive action points to an urgent need for greater international pressure for genuine and lasting human rights reform in Saudi Arabia.

    Measures announced include the recall of Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador from Canada, a demand that Canada’s Ambassador leave Saudi Arabia within 24 hours and a suspension of new trade and investment.  Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Ministry accused Canada of “overt and blatant interference in the internal affairs” of the country.  The move came following a tweet three days earlier from Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, indicating that Canada was, “Very alarmed to learn that Samar Badawi, Raif Badawi’s sister, has been imprisoned in Saudi Arabia. Canada stands together with the Badawi family in this difficult time, and we continue to strongly call for the release of both Raif and Samar Badawi.”

    August 03, 2018

    In response to prominent Chinese activist Sun Wenguang, 84, being taken away by police as he gave a live TV interview at his home, Patrick Poon, China Researcher at Amnesty International said:

    “It's shocking and outrageous to see Sun Wenguang taken away in this way. If he is being detained solely for exercising his right to freedom of expression, he must be immediately and unconditionally released. 

    "This disgraceful police action against a prominent intellectual is a vivid example of the Chinese authorities’ ruthless clampdown on freedom of expression. It is disturbing that police can harass dissidents anytime and anywhere they like in this way.”

    Background

    Professor Sun Wenguang was in the middle of an interview with US broadcaster Voice of America when police broke into his home in Ji’nan and forced him off air on Wednesday. The 84-year-old has been openly critical of the Chinese government in the past. He was last heard to say "I have my freedom of speech”, before being stopped from speaking further.

     

     

    August 02, 2018

    The world will be watching as Vancouver hosts international conference next week

    August 01, 2018

    Authorities must launch a prompt and effective investigation into the army’s killing of three protesters and injury of scores others following post elections violence, Amnesty International said today.

    “It is unfortunate that this election has descended into bloodshed, which could have been avoided if security forces had exercised restraint against protesters. The army’s conduct should be promptly investigated, with those responsible brought to justice,” said Colm Ó Cuanacháin, Amnesty International’s Acting Secretary General.

    “By using live ammunition against unarmed protesters, the army has broken the very same rule of law that they should protect. The militarization of the prevailing post-election environment is muzzling freedom of expression, association and assembly. People must be guaranteed their right to protest.”

    Police have confirmed that three people have been killed after soldiers fired live ammunition on fleeing people following post-election protests in Harare, with some of the injured and dead being shot from the back.

    August 01, 2018

    One year on from the disappearance and subsequent death of Santiago Maldonado, it is imperative that the Argentine authorities solve the case and comply with their obligation to guarantee the rights of his family to truth, justice and reparation, said Amnesty International.

    “The judicial authorities must make progress in an impartial, independent and comprehensive investigation to determine the causes of the death of Santiago Maldonado and, should any state agent be found responsible for this death, they must be brought to justice without delay or interference of any sort”, said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    Santiago Maldonado was a 28-year-old activist who disappeared on 1 August 2017 following a violent raid by the Argentine National Gendarmerie of the Mapuche community Pu Lof, in the department of Cushamen in Chubut province.

    Santiago Maldonado had arrived in the territory of the Mapuche community the day before to assist in its suit to reclaim tribal lands. His body was found on 17 October by the river Chubut, 400 metres upstream from where he had last been seen alive.

    August 01, 2018

    The arrest of two more prominent women human rights activists in Saudi Arabia is further proof of a crackdown that shows no sign of relenting, Amnesty International said today.

    Samar Badawi and Nassima al-Sada were detained earlier this week, Amnesty International has learned. They have both been repeatedly targeted, harassed, and placed under travel bans for their human rights activism.

    “This unprecedented level of persecution of human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia is a disturbing sign that the crackdown is far from over,” said Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Middle East research director.

    “These brave women represented the last vestiges of the human rights community in the country, and now they too have been detained. Saudi Arabia’s new leadership under Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman has crushed any space for the existence of human rights defenders in the country.

    August 01, 2018

    As a new law banning the wearing of face coverings in public comes into force in Denmark, Amnesty International’s Deputy Europe Director Fotis Filippou said:

    “All women should be free to dress as they please and to wear clothing that expresses their identity or beliefs. This ban will have a particularly negative impact on Muslim women who choose to wear the niqab or burqa. 

    “Whilst some specific restrictions on the wearing of full face veils for the purposes of public safety may be legitimate, this blanket ban is neither necessary nor proportionate and violates women's rights to freedom of expression and religion.

    “If the intention of this law was to protect women’s rights it fails abjectly. Instead, the law criminalizes women for their choice of clothing - making a mockery of the freedoms Denmark purports to uphold.”

    Background

    The Danish ban follows similar recent bans on full face veils in Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Bulgaria and parts of Switzerland.

    August 01, 2018

    Responding to a report in The Intercept that Google is allegedly developing a search engine app that complies with strict Chinese censorship rules in order to re-enter the search market in the country, Patrick Poon, China Researcher at Amnesty International, commented:

    “It will be a dark day for internet freedom if Google has acquiesced to China’s extreme censorship rules to gain market access. It is impossible to see how such a move is compatible with Google’s ‘Do the right thing’ motto, and we are calling on the company to change course.

    “For the world’s biggest search engine to adopt such extreme measures would be a gross attack on freedom of information and internet freedom. In putting profits before human rights, Google would be setting a chilling precedent and handing the Chinese government a victory.

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