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    June 05, 2013

    Human rights violations in China and Colombia are on the agenda at two public events on Saturday June 8th as activists from across Canada meet at Saint Paul University for the Annual General Meeting of Amnesty International Canada’s English branch from June 7 - 9.

    The struggle to bring democracy and human rights protection in China will be the topic for a keynote address by Michel Cormier at the Annual General Meeting of Amnesty International Canada at Saint Paul University in Ottawa. Michel Cormier will give a talk in the auditorium of the university on Saturday morning at 10 a.m.

    June 05, 2013

    On 1 June, Tunisia’s National Constituent Assembly (NCA) received the latest draft of the country’s Constitution and is expected to vote on it soon.

    Amnesty International has reviewed the latest version amended following discussions among political parties and found that – while there are some improvements over the drafts circulated in August and December 2012 and April 2013 – the text still undermines tenets of international human rights law. It includes restrictions of some basic rights such as the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association and to freedom of movement, as well as providing insufficient guarantees for the independence of the judiciary and to protect against torture and other forms of ill-treatment.

    If the entire draft Constitution is not approved by two thirds of the NCA, it will eventually be put to a national referendum.

    Amnesty International has published an analysis of the latest draft and has experts available for comment.

    May 21, 2013

    This week, Prime Minister Stephen Harper visits Colombia for talks hosted by Colombia’s President about a new trade bloc, the Pacific Alliance. The Prime Minister is reportedly “sounding out” what the trade bloc has to offer.

    In Canada, Members of Parliament are hearing concerns from Amnesty International and the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia about Canada’s human rights obligations under its existing free trade agreement with Colombia.

    What:             Press conference of Amnesty International and the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC) with interventions by

                          Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International  and

                          Maria Patricia Tobón Yagarí, lawyer with ONIC’s Territory and Natural Resources Council

    May 10, 2013

    The verdict in the genocide trial against former Guatemalan military ruler Efraín Ríos Montt is expected later today on Friday, 10 May.

    He faces up to 75 years of imprisonment on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity for a series of massacres committed by the Guatemalan military in March 1982 till August 1983 in the area known as Ixil triangle. It was one of the bloodiest chapters in the country’s internal armed conflict, which lasted 36 years and resulted in the killings or disappearances of more than 200,000 people – many of them indigenous.

    Sebastian Elgueta, Amnesty International’s researcher on Guatemala will be available over the weekend to comment on the verdict of this historic trial, the first to hold a Central American  former head of state to account for gross human rights violations.

    For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact: Elizabeth Berton-Hunter, Media Relations, 416-363-9933 ext 332
     

    Background Information:

    March 12, 2013

    All United Nations Member States will gather in New York from 18-28 March 2013 for final negotiations on a historic treaty to regulate the international trade in conventional arms.

    Amnesty International will have a delegation at the UN throughout the conference and will have spokespeople available for comment in multiple languages, both at the UN and in many capitals around the world. The organization’s Secretary General will attend several days of the conference.

    As a global human rights movement, Amnesty International has been campaigning for two decades for a global treaty to control the transfer of conventional arms with strong rules for human rights protection, and has been pressing all states to agree robust mechanisms with a wide scope to establish common standards that will close the many loopholes in national control systems.

    Such a treaty would save countless lives by ensuring that an international arms transfer is blocked when there is a substantial risk the arms would be used to facilitate or commit serious violations of human rights or war crimes.

     

    February 19, 2013

    An Amnesty International expert will be observing the hearing in the case against Haitian former President Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier on Thursday 21 February.

    The hearing is to assess an appeal brought by victims of human rights violations against the decision of an investigative judge in January 2011 not to try Duvalier for crimes against humanity.

    The court will hear evidence of Duvalier’s alleged responsibility for the widespread human rights violations that took place during his time in office, between 1971 and 1986 – including torture, disappearances and extrajudicial executions.

    Duvalier returned to Haiti in January 2011 after 25 years in exile in France.

    Béatrice Vaugrante is the director Amnesty International’s office in Canada (francophone branch) and has been closely following the proceedings surrounding Duvalier’s prosecution.

    Vaugrante is available for interviews in French and English on: +1 514 814-2800.

     

    January 31, 2013

    Violent clashes between protesters and security forces have claimed at least 38 lives in Port Said.

    Amnesty International researcher Diana Eltahawy is in Egypt and has collected testimony that points to the use of excessive force by the security forces as unrest continues.

    She said: “It’s quite clear from the testimony I’ve gathered that security forces have been guilty of excessive force including the use of firearms when lives have not been directly in danger.

    “The culture of impunity that has built up in Egypt over decades remains and we are calling for full, independent and thorough investigations to bring those who committed crimes to justice.”

    Now back in Cairo, Diana Eltahawy is available for interview.

    Timeline of testimony gathered in Port Said by Amnesty International

    26 January

    January 30, 2013

     

    Violent clashes between protesters and security forces have claimed at least 38 lives in Port Said.

    Amnesty International researcher Diana Eltahawy is in Egypt and has collected testimony that points to the use of excessive force by the security forces as unrest continues.

    She said: “It’s quite clear from the testimony I’ve gathered that security forces have been guilty of excessive force including the use of firearms when lives have not been directly in danger.

    “The culture of impunity that has built up in Egypt over decades remains and we are calling for full, independent and thorough investigations to bring those who committed crimes to justice.”

    Now back in Cairo, Diana Eltahawy is available for interview.

       Timeline of testimony gathered in Port Said by Amnesty International

    January 28, 2013

    An evening of dialogue with Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, Union of BC Indian Chiefs, Chief Doug White, First Nations Summit Political Executive
    Ann Marie Sam, Nak'azdli First Nation, First Nations Women Advocating Responsible Mining Paul Joffe and Jennifer Preston, co-editors “Realizing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: Triumph, Hope and Action”

    Moderator: Craig Benjamin, Campaigner for the Human Rights of Indigenous
    Peoples, Amnesty International.

    An unprecedented push to further intensify resource development in Canada.

    A federal legislative agenda to undermine environmental oversight.

    And an extraordinary grassroots resurgence of demand for the recognition of the rights of Indigenous peoples.

    January 28, 2013

    An evening of dialogue with:

    Robert Morales, lead negotiator Hul’qumi’num Treaty Group

    Paul Joffe and Jennifer Preston, co-editors “Realizing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: Triumph, Hope and Action”

    Moderator: Craig Benjamin, Campaigner for the Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Amnesty International

    An unprecedented push is being made to further intensify resource development in Canada. A federal legislative agenda undermines environmental oversight. And an extradordinary grassroots resurgence demands the recognition of the rights of Indigenous peoples.  This panel brings together experts and activists who have been deeply involved in the advancement of global recognition of the human rights of Indigenous peoples at the United Nations and the Inter-American system. They will lead a discussion of how these vital international standards can make a difference in the defense of Indigenous rights in Canada and the promotion of government accountability for environmental protection.

    DATE:  Tuesday, January 29th, 7-9pm

    WHERE: Cadboro Bay United Church 2625 Arbutus Rd, Victoria BC

    December 17, 2012

    A coalition of more than twenty-five community and advocacy groups has prepared a statement responding to the release of the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry's final report. The statement expresses support for the families, calls for a national inquiry into the hundreds of missing and murdered women and girls, reiterates support for the investigation previously announced by the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, and calls for a systemic analysis of the underlying conditions of sexism, racism, poverty, and colonialism.

    In Vancouver, the majority of the organizations will be releasing their statement at a press conference on Monday, December 17 at 2:30 p.m. at the Morris J Wosk Centre for Dialogue, 580 West Hastings Street (Room 470).

    In Prince George, the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council and the Carrier Sekani Family Services will hold a press
    conference on Monday, December 17 at 2:00 p.m., in the Carrier Sekani Family Services boardroom, 987
    Fourth Avenue.

    For more information contact:

    October 11, 2012

    A court in The Hague is today hearing a civil case filed against the oil company Shell by four farmers from the Niger Delta region of Nigeria and Friends of the Earth Netherlands. The plaintiffs allege that oil spills from Shell pipelines destroyed their livelihoods, and are demanding a proper clean up of the pollution and compensation.

    Amnesty International has researched and reported on the devastating impact of oil pollution on human rights in the Niger Delta, including the rights to food, water, health and livelihood. Amnesty has highlighted how Shell, the main operator on-land, often does not respond to oil spills quickly or effectively, and fails properly to clean up pollution. People in the Niger Delta who are affected by pollution are often denied their right to an effective remedy.

    October 04, 2012

     What: Press conference and opportunity to speak with affected families
     

    When: Morning of Thursday, October 4th, beginning 10:30 am
     

    Where: Offices of Amnesty International Canada, 312 Laurier Avenue East
     

    The Families of Sisters in Spirit National Vigil is Thursday October 4th, 6:15pm, on Parliament Hill (Unceded Algonquin Territory).
     In Canada, Indigenous women are at a greater risk of violence than non-Indigenous women. The annual vigil is an opportunity for everyone to show that the epidemic of violence against Indigenous women is unacceptable and must stop.
    This year, an unprecedented number of family members have travelled from across Canada to attend the vigil.
     

    Bridget Tolley: Daughter of Gladys Tolley killed in Quebec in October 2001
     

    Gladys Radek: Aunt of Tamara Chipman, missing from Terrace, B.C. Highway 16 (Highway of Tears) since September 2005
     

    Beverley Jacobs: cousin of Tashina General, who was pregnant when she went missing in January 2008, and was found murdered in April 2008 in Six Nations, Ontario
     

    September 07, 2012

    On the eve of the 5th anniversary of the landmark United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, leaders of organizations respected for their defense of the rights of Indigenous Peoples in Canada and Colombia will hold a press conference on Parliament Hill to call for urgently needed action.

    WHO:  Luis Evelis Andrade, Chief Counsellor, National Indigenous Organization of Colombia
    Anne Marie Sam, founder of First Nations Women Advocating Responsible Mining, Canada
    Alex Neve, Secretary General, Amnesty International Canada
    WHEN:  Wednesday, September 12th, 10 AM
    WHERE:  Charles Lynch 130S Centre Block

    September 13, 2012 marks five years since the adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.  The Declaration recognizes the right of Indigenous Peoples to manage their own lands, territories and resources as part of the minimum standards necessary to ensure the “survival, dignity and well-being” of Indigenous peoples.

    July 26, 2012

           Amnesty International experts available from the UN in New York to provide analysis

    Negotiations to reach agreement on a potentially historic Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), enter a critical final day on Friday 27 July, after nearly four weeks of talks at the United Nations in New York.

    The irresponsible and poorly regulated international arms trade fuels serious human rights abuses, armed violence, conflict, organized crime and poverty around the world.  If agreement on a comprehensive ATT is reached it will help end the devastation caused to millions of lives by the irresponsible arms trade.

    To request an interview or briefing with an Amnesty International spokesperson at the UN on the outcome, key countries involved and what any potential agreement will actually mean, please contact:
    Tom Mackey
    Amnesty International Press Office
    +1 646 3185 134
    tom.mackey@amnesty.org

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