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    May 02, 2014

    At least six media workers have been detained since the turn of the year as Myanmar authorities are stepping up a disturbing crackdown on freedom of expression and jailing new prisoners of conscience, Amnesty International said ahead of World Press Freedom Day on 3 May.

    “The crackdown on free media in Myanmar is a deeply worrying attempt to silence dissenting views. It casts doubt on the government’s promises to improve respect for human rights,” said Rupert Abbott, Amnesty International’s Deputy Asia-Pacific Director.

    “We are seeing a continuation of the practice of arresting and detaining human rights defenders and peaceful political activists – a hallmark of the country’s previous military government.”

    “Myanmar must immediately and unconditionally release all prisoners of conscience including the six media workers who have been detained this year. The authorities should scrap or amend draconian legislation that restricts the freedoms of expression, association and peaceful assembly.”

    April 28, 2014

    (Ottawa, ON) – Two weeks before the Canadian government must submit its 2014 report on the human rights effects of the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement, Amnesty International and the Assembly of First Nations will hold a press conference to speak out about the worsening human rights emergency that threatens the very survival of scores of Indigenous peoples in Colombia, many living in areas earmarked for resource extraction.

    The press conference in Ottawa comes a day after Indigenous, labour and environmental organizations in Bogota, Colombia make public a report expressing concern about the impact of Canadian mining projects and underscoring the responsibilities of Canada to ensure Canadian-based companies uphold human rights.

    April 26, 2014

    Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi and Libya’s former intelligence chief, Abdallah al-Senussi, are among 37 former government officials who are standing trial in Libya on charges relating to the 2011 uprising and subsequent armed conflict. Their court proceedings – via video link for some of the defendants – resumes on Sunday, 27 April.

    Libya has repeatedly insisted it is able to ensure a fair trial for all defendants. However, Amnesty International has serious doubts about the capacity of Libya’s judiciary to guarantee a fair trial for former members of the al-Gaddafi regime.

    The International Criminal Court (ICC) has also charged Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi and Abdallah al-Senussi with crimes against humanity.

    On 14 April a court ordered that Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi, who remains in militia custody, and six other defendants held in Misratah may be tried via video link, a move that will seriously undermine their rights to a fair trial. For further information see: Libya: Trial of former al-Gaddafi officials by video link.

    March 06, 2014

    Presidential candidates must champion, not sideline, human rights, Amnesty International said today in an agenda for change aimed at candidates campaigning ahead of the 5 April vote.

    “There have been undeniable human rights improvements in Afghanistan over the past decade, but the situation is still bleak for millions across the country. Conflict-related violations and appalling levels of violence against women and girls are just two of the issues that must top the agenda for the next administration,” said Horia Mosadiq, Amnesty International’s Afghanistan Researcher.

    “Candidates cannot afford to treat human rights as a second-string issue. Any more trading away of rights in Afghanistan for short-term gain will move the country backwards rather than forwards after 2014,”

    Almost complete impunity for past human rights abuses and war crimes persists in Afghanistan. Many of those now running for president or vice-president are facing serious allegations of complicity in such crimes.

    February 11, 2014

    Following an initial review into the Qatar 2022 workers’ welfare standards published today, Amnesty International has issued the following response.

    "The standards represent a positive - if partial - effort to prevent some of the worst abuses from taking place on World Cup projects," said James Lynch, Amnesty International’s researcher on migrants’ rights in the Gulf. 

    “While this may be a good starting point, the charter will only address the concerns of a relatively small proportion of migrant workers in Qatar; those involved in the construction of stadiums and training grounds.”

    The standards will not apply to thousands of other migrant workers in Qatar including those who will build the wider infrastructure to support the hosting of the World Cup including roads, hotels and railways.

    February 11, 2014

    Amnesty International is launching a global campaign against police impunity in Ukraine.

    Hundreds of people have been wounded by police, some very seriously, during the EuroMaydan anti-government protests in Kyiv as well as in other cities in Ukraine since 21 November 2013. There have been at least four fatalities. Some protestors have been abducted by unknown assailants and tortured – one was found dead.  

    Amnesty International members and their supporters will bring pressure to bear on the Ukrainian government through letter writing, petitions, public actions and lobbying.

    The campaign is calling for the Ukrainian authorities to take decisive action to demonstrate that arbitrary and abusive use of force and other human rights violations will not be tolerated, and will be dealt with by disciplinary and criminal measures as appropriate.

    January 10, 2014

    The resignation of the Central African Republic’s interim President, Michel Djotodia, risks exacerbating the risk to civilian lives, and indicates the urgent need for increased peacekeeping forces in the country, Amnesty International said today.

    The African Union’s failure to fulfil its promise to deploy a full contingent of peacekeeping forces to the country means the size of the peacekeeping force is insufficient to protect a highly vulnerable population.

    “More than a month after the UN vote there are still fewer than 4,000 African Union troops, in addition to the 1,200 French troops. In the meantime more than a thousand lives have been lost and hundreds of thousands are still trapped in camps for displaced people, too afraid to go home.”

    “Tensions are going to be particularly high in the Central African Republic in the wake of the interim President’s resignation, highlighting the desperate need for increased protection for the civilian population,” said Joanne Mariner, Amnesty International’s Senior Crisis Response Advisor. 

    December 11, 2013

    Amnesty International has issued a statement along with 16 other human rights organizations calling for the immediate and unconditional release of the Syrian human rights activist Razan Zaitouneh and three other activists.

    Razan Zaitouneh, was abducted on 9 December 2013 along with her husband, Wa’el Hammada, and two colleagues, Nazem Hamdi and Samira Khalil in the Damascus suburb of Douma.

    For further information contact John Tackaberry, Media Relations                  (613)744-7667#236jtackaberry@amnesty.ca

     

    The Joint Public Statement:  Abducted human rights lawyer Razan Zaitouneh and her three colleagues must be released unharmed

    December 10, 2013

    Amnesty International is calling for the mass riot charges to be dropped against all Bolotnaya defendants. The organization considers Moscow’s ongoing Bolotnaya Square trial as a purely political attempt to paint the protesters as intent on mass violence and discourage future protest.

    Amnesty International has recognized a further seven of those currently standing trial as prisoners of conscience, and considers all of those accused of “participation in mass riots” in connection with the Bolotnaya square protest on May 6 2012 to be victims of gross injustice.

    “What really happened on Bolotnaya Square was not the quelling of a riot, but the crushing of a protest. What has happened in the Bolotnaya trial has not been the exposing of orchestrated violence, but rather the exposing of a criminal justice system that is entirely malleable to dictates of its political masters,” said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Europe and Central Asia Director.  

     

    November 20, 2013

    World leaders must reject requests by the African Union to weaken the principle that no-one, regardless of their status, has immunity from prosecution for crimes under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, said Amnesty International. 

    The session is expected to be dominated by the African Union’s calls to suspend the ICC’s trials of Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto in view of their official status as President and Deputy President of Kenya respectively. 

    Both men are accused of committing crimes against humanity during the post-election violence of 2007-8 that left over 1,000 dead and 600,000 displaced.

    Representatives of 122 countries which have joined the International Criminal Court will be asked to endorse changes to the Court’s rule that accused persons must attend trial and could discuss possible retrograde amendments to the Rome Statute at the 12 th Assembly of State Parties at The Hague on 20-28 November.

    November 06, 2013

    WHEN:  Friday November 8 10:00 am - 12:00 pm noon

    WHERE: Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health, 299 Montreal Rd,  Ottawa

    Introduction: Leadership from the Tsilhqot'in National Government

    Keynote presentations:

    Grand Chief  Ed John, UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
    Louise Mandell, Mandell Pinder. LLP

    Panelists:

    Will David, Paul Joffe, Robert Morales, Maria Morellato, and Jay Nelson

    For the first time in almost a decade, the Supreme Court of Canada is considering the vital question of Indigenous peoples' right to own and control their traditional lands and resources. The outcome of the Tsilhqot'in title case could have far reaching implications in Canada, and possibly around the world. This forum will examine the way Canadian constitutional and international human rights law are converging  in this landmark case. Speakers include prominent lawyers from the case.

    October 24, 2013

    The President of the Republic of Belarus must introduce an immediate moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the use of the death penalty. Amnesty International reiterated its call while welcoming the fact that earlier this week the country’s Supreme Court overturned a death sentence.

    “A step in the right direction has been made. It has to be followed by the introduction of a moratorium on the death penalty until this ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment is abolished,” said Heather McGill, Amnesty International’s researcher on Belarus.

    “Amnesty understands that part of the court’s reasoning was based on fair trial concerns. If this is the case, the Supreme Court of the Republic Belarus has demonstrated the important role that the judiciary can play in ensuring strict adherence to fair trial standards. This is particulary important in a country that continues to  impose death sentences.”

    October 08, 2013

    Harassment, intimidation, ill-treatment, arbitrary arrests, fabricated charges and unfair trials are all part of the arsenal the Azerbaijani authorities are employing in a downward spiral of oppression in the run up to the 9 October 2013 presidential elections, said Amnesty International.

    “With new arrests of civil society activists reported almost daily, it’s hard to keep up with the sheer number and the speed at which dissenters are being persecuted at the moment,” said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Europe and Central Asia Director. “The persecution is so widespread and frequent it’s difficult to assess just how bad the current situation really is.”

    “We have already adopted no fewer than 14 people as prisoners of conscience. These people are currently behind bars solely for expressing their views or taking peaceful action.”

    September 27, 2013

    Amnesty International is disappointed by the failure of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to see the detrimental effect that Russia’s discriminatory legislation will have on the Games in Sochi.  

    "Russia’s law banning propaganda of ‘non-traditional sexual relations’ among minors is clearly discriminatory and in this it violates international law and runs counter to the Olympic Charter. Moreover, the introduction of the law creates an atmosphere in Russia that has already encouraged brutal crimes against people only because of their real or perceived sexual orientation,” Sergei Nikitin, Amnesty International’s Moscow Office Director.

    “The fact that the IOC has satisfied itself with Russian officials’ assurances of non-discrimination is not enough. It disregards the fact that Russian law effectively prohibits people from public expression of ‘non-traditional’ sexual orientation. This is an affront to gay and lesbian athletes and spectators. It is also a disappointment to sports fans across the world who care about the Olympic ideal.”

    September 19, 2013

    An Amnesty International poster purporting to show the Iranian human rights activist, Narges Mohammadi, incorrectly depicts an Iranian actress of the same name.

    The incorrect image was intended to be used at an exhibition about female human rights activists in Iran held near Munich, Germany in November 2012.

    As soon as Amnesty International became aware of the mistake, the image was withdrawn and labelled a ‘misprint’.

    This month the incorrect image has been circulated on social media.

    Amnesty International apologizes for the mistake and any offence caused.

    The organization has campaigned on her behalf of Narges Mohammadi, the Executive chairperson of Iran’s Centre for Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) who was convicted in 2011 for “propaganda against the system”, and membership of a group “whose object is to disturb the security of the country.”

    She was granted temporary medical leave from prison in July 2012.

     

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