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    June 29, 2017

     

    New case could put an end to decades of impunity for Shell Esther Kiobel has fought for justice for her husband for more than twenty years

    Oil giant Shell stands accused of complicity in the unlawful arrest, detention and execution of nine men who were hanged by Nigeria’s military government in the 1990s, Amnesty International can reveal today, following the launch of an explosive new case against the company in the Netherlands over four of the executions.

    The civil case has been brought by Esther Kiobel, the widow of Dr Barinem Kiobel, and three other women. Esther Kiobel has pursued Shell for 20 years over the death of her husband. He was hanged in 1995 along with the writer and human rights activist Ken Saro-Wiwa, and seven other men, collectively known as the Ogoni Nine. At the time the executions sparked a global outcry. 

    June 28, 2017
    Responding to the news that Nobel Peace Prize Winner Liu Xiaobo has developed late-stage liver cancer while in prison and is currently in hospital receiving treatment, Amnesty International’s China Researcher Patrick Poon said:     “It adds insult to injury that Liu Xiaobo, who should never have been put in prison in the first place, has been diagnosed with a grave illness. “The Chinese authorities should immediately ensure that Liu Xiaobo receives adequate medical care, effective access to his family and that he and all others imprisoned solely for exercising their human rights are immediately and unconditionally released. “The authorities must also stop their shameful and illegal house arrest of Liu Xiaobo’s wife, Liu Xia, and ensure that she is able to receive visitors, travel freely and reunite with Liu Xiaobo.”   Background
    June 20, 2017

    Media Advisory

    Strong new evidence uncovered in the past few days that could help in the case of Canadian citizen Hassan Diab, who has been held in pre-trial custody in France for 2½ years without charge or trial, will be the subject of a national press conference tomorrow.

    Mr. Diab, a Lebanese-Canadian dual national, was extradited from Canada to France in November 2014 to face criminal charges in connection with a 1980 bombing outside a synagogue in Paris. Mr Diab has consistently professed his innocence.

    French investigating judges have delivered 6 judicial orders that Mr. Diab be released on bail, all of which have been summarily overturned on appeal. The most recent release order, on April 24, cited evidence that indicated Mr. Diab was in Beirut during the Paris bombing. That order was quashed on appeal May 2.

    Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada, and Chantal Vallerand, of the Canadian Association of University Teachers, will speak at the press conference, as will Mr. Diab’s Canadian lawyer and his spouse.

    June 20, 2017

    Tens of thousands of civilians in South Sudan’s Upper Nile region were forcibly displaced as government forces burnt, shelled and systematically looted their homes between January and May 2017, Amnesty International said today, after interviewing dozens of victims and eyewitnesses.

    Civilians belonging to the Shilluk minority told Amnesty International how government troops and allied militias stole anything they could get their hands on in the aftermath of attacks, from stored food supplies to furniture and even the front doors of houses. One village chief described the destruction as though the area had been “swept by a flood.”

    “Even considering South Sudan’s history of ethnic hostility, the mass displacement of the Shilluk ethnic minority, almost in its entirety, is truly shocking,” said Joanne Mariner, Senior Crisis Response Adviser at Amnesty International.

    “Whole areas of the Shilluk heartland have been ravaged, with civilians’ homes burnt and their belongings and food stores looted. This leaves them with little prospect of returning home, given the region’s growing humanitarian crisis and their fears of renewed violence.”

    June 20, 2017

    Extensive national security reforms announced by the federal government today, in tabling Bill C-59, the National Security Act, 2017, represent a mix of welcome progress, disappointing tinkering, and lost opportunities.

    Amnesty International had urged that the government use this lengthy and comprehensive review of Canada’s national security framework, including widespread public consultations, to explicitly confirm that Canada approach to national security is grounded in full respect for the Charter of Rights and binding international human rights standards. The organization had recommended that national security laws be amended to explicitly affirm and require that legislation would be interpreted and applied consistent with those obligations. Beyond a preambular reference to according with the rule of law and respecting the Charter, Bill C-59 contains no such provisions.

    June 19, 2017

    Responding to a NYT’s article that disclosed the use of software to spy on Mexican journalists and human rights defenders, Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International, said:

    “This new chilling evidence confirms that Mexican journalists and human rights defenders are a target of illegal practices designed to interfere and hinder their work. These findings are consistent with Amnesty International's previous research and show a clear pattern of illegal use of technology in an attempt to control any criticism against those in power.”

    “Journalists and human rights defenders constantly put their lives at risk in order to defend everybody’s rights and to inform the public. This is not a crime and surveillance into these activities is illegal and cannot be justified. These actions should be promptly and adequately investigated.”

    Background

    June 19, 2017

    1,000 musicians to play at Amnesty International and Sofar Sounds events globally in September

    Laura Mvula, Mumford and Sons and The National will be among a thousand musicians performing in people’s homes in more than 200 cities globally for a first-of-its-kind day of concerts to unite people in welcoming refugees, Amnesty International and Sofar Sounds announced today, marking World Refugee Day.

    June 19, 2017

    Rich countries are failing in their obligation to help Uganda support thousands of refugees fleeing death, rape and other human rights violations in South Sudan, said Amnesty International in a damning report launched ahead of a high level donor summit in the Ugandan capital Kampala.

    More than 900,000 refugees have fled the brutal conflict in South Sudan and sought safety in Uganda, but funding shortfalls mean that many of them are not receiving basic services such as food, water and shelter. At least 86% of them are women and children.

    “Uganda has remained welcoming and generous at a time when many countries are closing their borders on refugees, but it is under incredible strain as funds dry up and thousands continue to cross from South Sudan every day,” said Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s Director for East Africa, Horn and Great Lakes.

    “Donors, including the US, EU countries, Canada, China and Japan, must step up support for Uganda by ensuring timely funding for refugees’ immediate and long-term needs. These refugees must not become the latest victims of a collective and shameful failure of international cooperation.”

    June 16, 2017

    Marking the fifth anniversary of the arrest of Saudi Arabian blogger and prisoner of conscience Raif Badawi, Samah Hadid, Middle-East Director of Campaigns for Amnesty International said:

    “Raif Badawi has already served half of his prison term, but he shouldn’t be locked up in the first place. Saudi Arabian authorities must ensure his immediate and unconditional release, as well as the release of all prisoners of conscience detained solely for exercising their right to freedom of expression.

    “Blogging is not a crime. The harsh punishment of Raif Badawi shows the Saudi Arabian authorities’ blatant contempt for freedom of expression and the extent to which they are willing to go to crush all forms of dissent.”

    Background:

    June 16, 2017

    Canada’s Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland is participating in a high level Central American prosperity and security conference in Miami today.

    Amnesty International Canada urges that extreme dangers facing defenders of land, territory and the environment must not be overlooked in discussions she has with her counterparts from the US and Mexico, as well as government official and business leaders from Central America, the United States, Canada and Mexico.

    On June 8, Parliament’s Subcommittee on International Human Rights heard disturbing testimony from community leaders from Honduras and Guatemala regarding threats, attacks and assassinations in response to their peaceful efforts to oppose the negative impacts of resource extraction projects proceeding without due diligence.

    June 15, 2017

    Ahead of the appeal against a 10-year sentence handed down to a Syrian man for committing an “act of terror” during clashes with Hungarian border guards at a Serbia-Hungary border, an Amnesty International team is in court and available for interviews.

    The man, a permanent resident of Cyprus who can only be identified as Ahmed H., was convicted in November. Ahmed admitted to throwing three objects at the Hungarian police during the clashes.

    “The conviction of Ahmed H was a blatant misuse of terrorism provisions against a man who was helping his family flee Syria,” said Todor Gardos, Amnesty International’s Hungary researcher.

    “This absurd verdict reflects the febrile atmosphere in Hungary where anti-terror powers have been ramped up amid a crackdown on the rights of migrants. Ahmed’s actions cannot credibly constitute an act of terrorism and his conviction should bequashed.”

    Follow Amnesty International’s researchers@todorgardos and @demeteraaronfor updates.

    June 15, 2017

    An already dangerous journey for tens of thousands of refugees has become deadlier thanks to President Trump’s Executive Order on border control and immigration as well as entrenched reckless practices in Mexico, Amnesty International said in a new report based on intensive investigations on both sides of the border.

    Facing Walls: USA and Mexico’s violation of the rights of asylum seekers explores the catastrophic impact of a catalogue of new policies and ongoing practices that result in unlawful push-backs of asylum seekers at the USA-Mexico border, and threaten to unlawfully lock up thousands more families, including babies and children, in immigration detention centres in the USA.

    June 14, 2017

    The Sudanese authorities must immediately release prominent human rights defender Dr Mudawi Ibrahim Adam and his colleague Hafiz Idris Eldoma, and halt its misguided assault on dissenting voices in the country, said Amnesty International as their trial begins in the capital Khartoum today.

    Dr Mudawi and Hafiz are facing six trumped-up charges, including 'undermining the constitutional system and waging war against the state', both of which carry either the death penalty or life imprisonment.

    “Dr Mudawi has continuously been harassed by the Sudanese government for his human rights work in Darfur and across Sudan for more than a decade. Unfortunately, this latest round sees the harassment take a more sinister turn as both he and his colleague Hafiz potentially face the death penalty,” said Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    “Human rights work is not a crime, so Dr Mudawi and Hafiz must be immediately and unconditionally released. Their arrest and continued incarceration is a miscarriage of justice, plain and simple.”

    June 14, 2017

    Lesotho’s newly elected government must act swiftly to ensure accountability for past human rights violations and end the spike in abuses recorded in recent years, Amnesty International said today.

    The organization is releasing a human rights agenda today for the new government ahead of the inauguration of the incoming Prime Minister, Thomas Thabane, on 16 June.

    “For the past few years, Lesotho has been characterized by a political and security crisis, resulting in a spike in human rights violations. Since 2014, we have documented a pattern of arbitrary arrests and detentions of opposition party members, journalists, human rights defenders and members of the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF),” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southern Africa.

    June 14, 2017

    Released  05:30GMT/12:00 noon MMT on 14 June 2017

    Civilians from minority ethnic groups suffer appalling violations and abuses, including war crimes, at the hands of Myanmar’s military and ethnic armed groups in the country’s Kachin and northern Shan states, Amnesty International said today in a new report based on three recent trips to the conflict area.

    ‘All the Civilians Suffer’: Conflict, Displacement and Abuse in Northern Myanmar details how soldiers from the Tatmadaw, as Myanmar’s Armed Forces are known, mete out torture and extrajudicial executions, shell civilian villages indiscriminately and place punitive restrictions on movement and humanitarian access.

    Meanwhile, some ethnic armed groups at times abduct civilians seen to support an opposing party, forcibly recruit men, women and children into their fighting forces and impose “taxes” on impoverished villagers trapped in the conflict.

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