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    April 24, 2018

    At least 2,000 Afghans who fled to Turkey to escape conflict and the worst excesses of the Taliban are in detention and at imminent risk of being forced back to danger, Amnesty International said today. The Turkish authorities appear to be ramping up a deportation spree that has seen 7,100 Afghans rounded up and returned to Afghanistan since early April.

    The Turkish authorities told Amnesty International that all these returns are voluntary, and that the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR has periodic access to places of detention. However, in telephone interviews with detainees in the Düziçi container camp in southern Turkey, where at least 2,000 Afghans are believed to be held, Amnesty International heard how detainees have been pressured to sign documents written in Turkish, which they are unable to understand.

    April 24, 2018

    Malagasy authorities must ensure a prompt, thorough and impartial investigation into the killing of two demonstrators in Antananarivo and perpetrators must be brought to book, Amnesty International said today. The investigation’s report should be made public. Members of the security forces present at the scene and suspected to be responsible should be suspended pending the investigation and if there is relevant admissible evidence, brought to justice in proceedings that meet international standards of fairness. Victims and relatives must be provided with access to effective remedies and adequate reparations, including compensation.

    Malagasy security forces opened fire on protesters on 21 April 2018, causing the deaths of two people. The protesters were demonstrating against the new electoral laws which were voted early April, ahead of the elections planed for the end of the year, as they believe they favour the party in power and could block out their candidates from running in the upcoming presidential elections.

    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 20 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.

    April 23, 2018

     

    As the UN’s expert on violence against women prepares to deliver preliminary conclusions from a 12-day official visit to Canada, a coalition of legal experts, Indigenous peoples’ organizations and women's human rights organizations are warning that continued government failure to address the systemic bias in Canada’s justice system, and the profound social and economic disadvantage of Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit people, is fuelling the crisis of murders and disappearances.

    April 23, 2018

    El Salvador’s Legislative Assembly must seize the historic opportunity to decriminalize abortion before the current legislative cycle closes at the end of April, said Amnesty International today.

    “Having wasted several opportunities to decriminalize abortion in recent weeks, El Salvador’s lawmakers must act now to pass this landmark reform, which would save the lives of countless women and girls,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International.

    “The horrendous total ban on abortion violates the right to life, health and to be free from torture and other ill-treatment, impacting half of the country’s population. Failure to end this injustice would be a devastating step backwards for human rights in El Salvador.”

    El Salvador is one of the few countries in the world where abortion is currently banned under all circumstances. At least 23 women remain in prison for pregnancy-related complications in the context of the total abortion ban.

    April 23, 2018

    Responding to the passing of an asylum and immigration bill that will tighten asylum rules, Cécile Coudriou, President of Amnesty International France, declares:

    “This bill, and the discussions around its text, fails to address the difficulties faced by migrants and asylum seekers in France and the need to fully respect their rights. Those drafting this bill missed numerous opportunities including putting an end to the detention of children and providing dignified protection for those fleeing war or persecution.

    “The majority of parliamentarians were aware that the ‘offence of solidarity’ could be wrongfully used to prosecute people providing voluntary assistance to asylum seekers. Yet the final draft of the bill remains unaligned with international law.

    “The new list of immunities and the conditions for not being prosecuted leaves the sword of Damocles dangling over the heads of activists, citizens and organizations that act to protect human rights.

    April 21, 2018

    (AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS) - Athlete and inspiring activist Colin Kaepernick has been honoured with Amnesty International’s Ambassador of Conscience Award for 2018, the human rights organization announced today.

    The award was officially presented at a ceremony in Amsterdam, Netherlands, on 21 April 2018, to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the opening of Amnesty International’s national section in the country.

    “The Ambassador of Conscience award celebrates the spirit of activism and exceptional courage, as embodied by Colin Kaepernick. He is an athlete who is now widely recognised for his activism because of his refusal to ignore or accept racial discrimination,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

    April 21, 2018

    Amnesty International welcomes the return home today of Canadian Citizen Bashir Makhtal following his release from prison in Ethiopia on April 18, where he had been unjustly imprisoned for more than 11 years.

    “Bashir’s long-overdue release is a triumph of human rights following an 11-year saga of grave injustice,” said Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada. “On behalf of the thousands of Amnesty International supporters who have campaigned for justice on his behalf, we wish Bashir a warm welcome home to Canada. Our thoughts are with him and his family as they reunite after such a long and indescribably difficult ordeal.”

    April 20, 2018

    Responding to the caning of several people – including unmarried couples, punished for showing affection in public, and two women sex workers – in Aceh on Friday, Amnesty International Indonesia Executive Director Usman Hamid said:

    “Caning is an inhuman and degrading form of punishment that may amount to torture which should never be used in any circumstances. The Aceh authorities’ decision to cane unmarried couples, whose only ‘crime’ was showing affection in public, in front of hundreds of spectators, is an act of utmost cruelty.

    “Since January of this year, a total of 47 people have now been caned in public in Aceh, and the list is only getting longer. The provincial administration of Aceh must immediately remove this abhorrent form of punishment from its law books.

    “It is also high time for the international community to press Indonesia to provide a safer environment for everyone in Aceh. The situation risks deteriorating rapidly unless the local administration is pushed to take its obligations to respect human rights seriously.”

    Background

    April 20, 2018

    Responding to the 30-year jail sentence handed to Mohammed Jabateh, a former Liberian war lord known as “Jungle Jabbah” now living in the US, for immigration fraud and perjury due to failure to disclose his involvement in human rights abuses during the Liberian civil war, Amnesty International’s West Africa Researcher Sabrina Mahtani said:

    “While Mohammed Jabateh was not convicted of the crimes he is allegedly responsible for under international law, this is nevertheless the first case to provide some justice for victims of Liberia’s civil war. Such prosecutions send a strong signal that the US does not have to be a safe haven for human rights abusers.

    April 17, 2018

    Responding to a violent crackdown by Nigerian police on members of Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) protesting the detention of their leader in Abuja, Osai Ojigho Director Amnesty International Nigeria said:

    “This was a needless resort to violence by Nigerian police against a group of unarmed protestors. The IMN members gathered in Abuja were perfectly within their rights in demanding the release of their leader from a detention described by a federal court as both unlawful and unconstitutional.

    “Although there were reports that stones were thrown by some protestors, there is no excuse for the use of live bullets, water cannon and tear gas. These were highly reckless tactics that could easily have resulted in fatalities. Nigerian authorities must adhere to the rule of law and respect the right to peaceful protest when policing these events.

    April 17, 2018

    In response to Senator Corker’s proposed authorization for use of military force (AUMF) intended to replace the 2001 and 2002 authorizations, Daphne Eviatar, director of Security with Human Rights for Amnesty International USA, made the following statement:

    “Since 2001, the U.S. has been operating as if the world is a permanent battlefield, at the costs of thousands of lives, including large numbers of civilians. Despite this, President Trump has reportedly expanded authority for air strikes outside of war zones, and expressed shockingly callous disregard for civilian casualties. The last thing President Trump needs is a renewed open-ended authorization that gives him a blank check to perpetuate endless war, which is exactly what this proposed bill represents.

    April 17, 2018
    Report reveals collective punishment of women and children for being related, however distantly, to men linked to IS or fleeing IS strongholds Women and children in camps across Iraq deprived of food, water and other essentials and prevented from returning home Women subjected to rape and sexual exploitation

    Iraqi women and children with perceived ties to the armed group calling itself the Islamic State (IS) are being denied humanitarian aid and prevented from returning to their homes, with an alarming number of women subjected to sexual violence, Amnesty International said in a new report published today.

    April 17, 2018

    In an Open Letter, Amnesty International Canada is calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to take “direct and personal” action to ensure justice is served for Canadian citizen Abousfian Abdelrazik, after the federal government abruptly refused to pursue mediated negotiations toward settlement of his case.

    Negotiations were set to begin last month to provide redress for Canada’s role in the grave human rights violations Abdelrazik endured in Sudan from 2003-2009, including torture, unlawful detention and forced exile, when Abdelrazik’s legal team was suddenly notified of the government’s withdrawal. Amnesty is calling on the Prime Minister to order that decision to be reversed so that long-overdue steps toward an apology and redress can and will go forward without further delay.

    April 16, 2018

    Responding to news that inspectors from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) have still not been granted access by the Syrian authorities to the site in Douma where 75 people were killed last week following a suspected chemical weapons attack by government forces, Sherine Tadros, Head of Amnesty International’s UN Office in New York said:

    “The OPCW team must be granted full and unfettered access to the site in Douma without further delay. Their investigation is crucial in uncovering the exact circumstances behind the appalling images that united the world in horror this month. Every day that passes without access makes it harder for them to collect and analyse vital evidence.

    “The use of chemical weapons against civilians is prohibited by international law and the Chemical Weapons Convention, to which Syria is a party. Deliberately targeting civilians with this illegal weapon is a war crime.

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