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    May 06, 2016

    An upcoming UN plan for addressing the unprecedented global refugee crisis could be a game-changer if governments back it up with concrete and long-term commitments, said Amnesty International today.

    UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will publish a report on 9 May proposing a “Global Compact on responsibility-sharing” to create a more predictable and equitable way of responding to large movements of refugees. As part of the “Global Compact”, it will also call on governments to resettle at least 10% of the global refugee population (which currently stands at 19.5 million) annually.

    “The UN plan could be a game-changer, if it manages to deliver a clear, coordinated system that will ensure that the world’s wealthiest and most powerful countries pull their weight and collectively protect people fleeing war and persecution. But its success will hinge on governments agreeing a permanent system for sharing the responsibility to host and assist refugees ahead of the UN Refugee Summit in September. The ball is in their court,” said Sherif Elsayed-Ali, ‎Deputy Director of Global Issues at Amnesty International.

    May 04, 2016

    A woman who was tortured for 15 hours to confess to a crime and has been languishing in prison for nearly four years must be released without delay, said Amnesty International ahead of a key decision on the case.

    Yecenia Armenta Graciano was arrested in July 2012 by local police officers in the northern state of Sinaloa. She was raped, asphyxiated and hung from her feet upside down until she was forced to confess to murdering her husband. The only direct evidence presented against her was the statement obtained under torture. She has been in prison since then.

    The Sinaloa Attorney General has a deadline of 5 May to inform the judge in charge of the case whether he thinks Yecenia should be convicted or acquitted. This is the same authority responsible for the torture of Yecenia.

    “Yecenia is one of thousands of victims of Mexico’s wicked judicial system, one that all too often relies on confessions extracted under torture and other ill-treatment to sentence people,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International. 

    May 02, 2016

    The arrest of four suspects in the murder of human rights defender Berta Cáceres in Honduras raise a number of questions on how the investigation is being handled, said Amnesty International today after Berta’s relatives claimed authorities have kept them in the dark regarding any developments in the case.

    “The blatant lack of transparency in the investigation into Berta Cáceres’ tragic murder, including the fact that her family has been systematically kept in the dark regarding any developments and the refusal to question high ranking officials is putting the whole investigation in jeopardy,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    “Authorities must urgently inform Berta’s relatives of the steps they are taking to find those responsible and ensure no stone is left unturned in this quest for justice. Anything less will send the message that human rights defenders can be killed and nothing will be done about it.”

    Read more:

    Honduras: Deep failures in investigation into activist’s killing put many at risk (Press release, 8 March 2016)

    April 21, 2016

    Turkish authorities must immediately and unconditionally release four academics detained for signing a petition critical of the government’s security operations in southeast Turkey and for speaking out at a press conference, said Amnesty International on the eve of their trial hearing.

    “These four academics have been held in pre-trial detention for almost a month on baseless charges of making propaganda for a terrorist organization, when in actual fact all they did was express their concern for human rights abuses in their country, as it is their right to do so,” said Andrew Gardner, Amnesty International’s researcher on Turkey.

    “They must be released from prison immediately and unconditionally and all charges against them dropped. Nothing they have said or done in their appeals for peace can justify arbitrary detention. Amnesty International will campaign for their release as long as this sham trial continues.”

    April 20, 2016

    As Saudi Arabia receives Barack Obama today, Amnesty International is urging the US President not to turn his back on victims of repression and human rights violations across the Gulf states.

    In an open letter published ahead of Obama’s meeting with King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud on 20 April and with leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in the Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh on 21 April, the organization has called on President Obama to ensure human rights abuses are not swept beneath the carpet.

    “President Obama’s trip offers a crucial opportunity for him to demonstrate a principled commitment to human rights and prove to the world that the US government will not sacrifice human rights in favour of US geopolitical and business interests,” said James Lynch, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Program.

    April 02, 2016

    Amnesty International will send a delegation to Lesvos and Chios in the coming days to monitor the situation as the EU-Turkey refugee deal is set to be implemented, including the expected mass returns of those who attempt to cross the Aegean Sea.

    Amnesty International has called the deal “a historic blow to human rights” and has researched and campaigned extensively on its broad human rights implications in both Greece and Turkey. The returns in particular are a flagrant violation of EU and international law, making a mockery of the global Refugee Convention.

    The delegation will visit Lesvos on 4-5 April and Chios on 6-7 April, and will include the organization’s Deputy Director for Europe Gauri van Gulik and Amnesty International Greece Director Giorgos Kosmopoulos. They will be available for media interviews on the ground.

     

    For futher information contact John Tackaberry, Media Relations
    (613)744-7667 3236 jtackaberry@amnesty.ca

    March 31, 2016

    Canadian Council for Refugees / Conseil canadien pour les réfugiés (CCR)
    Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers / Association canadienne des avocats et avocates en droit des réfugiés (CARL / ACAADR)
    BC Civil Liberties Association / Association des libertés civiles de la Colombie-Britannique (BCCLA / ALCCB)
    International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group (ICLMG) / Coalition pour la surveillance internationale des libertés civiles
    Amnesty International Canada

    March 22, 2016

    The trial and continuing detention of a blogger and his assistant who have already spent almost two years in jail is farcical and a blight on the country’s human rights record, said Amnesty International ahead of the opening hearing in Ha Noi tomorrow.

    The organization is calling for the immediate release of Nguyễn Hữu Vinh, founder of the popular blogsite Anh Ba Sàm, and his assistant Nguyễn Thị Minh Thúy who were arrested for “abusing democratic freedoms” in May 2014 in connection with political blogs which were critical of government policies. The pair face a sentence of up to seven years’ imprisonment if convicted.

    “This is a textbook example of the authorities’ stamping out legitimate criticism and perpetuating a climate of fear in which people are forced to think twice before expressing themselves and asking questions of government,” said Champa Patel, Director of South East Asia Regional Office.

    February 28, 2016

    The United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) violation of the rights of detainees will come under increased scrutiny over the next couple of weeks as a series of counter-terror trials reach their end, said Amnesty International. 

    Since 2011 scores of Emiratis and non-Emiratis have been arbitrarily arrested using broad counter-terrorism laws.

    “In recent years the UAE authorities have increasingly resorted to using catch-all ‘terrorism’ or national security allegations to arbitrarily detain suspects. In many cases they are held in secret detention for months on end, in some cases reporting torture or other ill-treatment, before being put through deeply unfair trials,” said James Lynch, Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Program at Amnesty International.

    February 27, 2016

    The worsening humanitarian conditions at the Greece-Macedonia border crossing of Idomeni have reached crisis point as an increasing number of refugees and asylum-seekers are stuck in dire conditions after Macedonia and Serbia closed their borders to Afghanis, said Amnesty International experts on the border.

    The discriminatory measures have exacerbated a humanitarian bottleneck in Idomeni and set a dangerous precedent as refugees and asylum-seekers attempt to cross through the Balkans.

    “With the Greek asylum and reception systems under strain, the humanitarian situation here is only getting worse as entire families are sleeping rough, without access to adequate reception conditions,” said Giorgos Kosmopoulos, Director of Amnesty International Greece.

    “EU member states need to immediately step up and share responsibility in responding to this crisis. The situation in Idomeni is at breaking point and EU leaders hold the lives of thousands of asylum-seekers in the balance.”

    February 26, 2016

    Today Palestinian residents and activists in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron are holding demonstrations marking 22 years since the Israeli authorities first closed al-Shuhada Street, formerly the city’s commercial centre. They are protesting against illegal Israeli settlements and demanding the removal of the restrictions on their movement, which are applied only to Palestinians and not to Israeli settlers.

    Following a surge in violence and civilians in Hebron and elsewhere in the occupied West Bank in October 2015, the Israeli military intensified the long-standing restrictions, declaring parts of Hebron’s Old City a “closed military zone” and barring access to Palestinians living elsewhere in the city, as well as human rights defenders. There has also been an escalation in attacks on human rights defenders – Palestinian, Israeli and international – by Israeli forces and settlers in and around the Old City.

    February 11, 2016

    Organizations from across Canada are urging Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to take immediate action to halt construction of the Site C dam in north-eastern British Columbia

    In an open letter released today, more than 25 organizations, including Amnesty International, the David Suzuki Foundation, and Sierra Club BC, denounced the project for violation of rights protected under Treaty 8, the Canadian Constitution, and international human rights law.

    Although promoted by the government of BC as a “clean” source of renewable energy, the joint federal-provincial environmental impact assessment panel concluded that the Site C dam would severely and permanently undermine Indigenous peoples’ use of the land and destroy important cultural sites and a unique ecosystem.

    February 08, 2016

    Released Tuesday 9 February 2016, 00:01 GMT

    Mexico is facing a human rights crisis of epidemic proportions with disappearances, torture and brutal murders becoming the hallmarks of the country, said Amnesty International ahead of a state visit by Pope Francis.

    “As soon as he sets foot on Mexico City, Pope Francis will come face-to-face with one of the most troubling human rights crises in the whole of the Americas,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    “From the tens of thousands of people who have gone missing, to the widespread use of torture and rising numbers of killings of women, to the utter lack of ability to investigate crimes, human rights abuses have become shorthand for Mexico.”

    February 05, 2016

    The Iraqi authorities’ failure to protect Sunni civilians from a wave of reprisal attacks by Shi’a militia last month is another example of widespread impunity for what are clearly war crimes, said Amnesty International today.

    Abductions, killings and burning of homes and property of the Sunni community in and around the city of Muqdadiya started on 11 January after appalling bomb attacks that killed at least 27 civilians, carried out by the armed group calling itself Islamic State.

    The Iraqi authorities failed to stop reprisal attacks by Shi’a militias and have subsequently failed to effectively investigate or bring a single person to justice. Scores of Sunni men in Muqdadiya and surrounding areas are still unaccounted for and are feared dead.

    “Instead of holding Shi’a militias to account the authorities have turned a blind eye to this shocking rampage. In some cases abductions and killings took place in full view of local authorities, who failed to intervene,” said James Lynch, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Program.

    January 22, 2016

    In an open letter sent this week, five national organizations that have been deeply involved in efforts to expose and address violence against Indigenous women and girls call on the federal government to ensure that the forthcoming national inquiry can:

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