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    September 03, 2013

    The number of Syrian refugees has now surpassed 2 million according to the United Nations. This figure has doubled in the last six months alone. The rising flow of refugees into neighbouring countries has sparked a desperate humanitarian crisis.

    “"The rising flow of refugees into neighbouring countries has sparked a desperate humanitarian crisis. In the context of the most severe forcible displacement crisis in recent history, it is paramount that the international community acts decisively to share the responsibility for Syria’s refugees,” said Sherif El-Sayed-Ali, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director of Global Thematic Issues.

    “Humanitarian assistance to neighbouring countries must be significantly stepped up. Neighbouring countries must also keep their borders fully open to all persons fleeing the conflict."

    Amnesty International’s researchers have been monitoring the situation of Syrian refugees in Jordan, including at the Za’atari refugee camp, and elsewhere. They are available for interview on the human rights concerns of this crisis.

    Researchers available for interview:

    August 22, 2013

    The Armenian authorities must respect the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and non-discrimination for all, Amnesty International said in a report published today.

    “The ability to exercise the right to freedom of expression, even when the views expressed may be deemed controversial, and the ability to gather and demonstrate peacefully are essential for the defence of human rights and for a functioning civil society,” said Natalia Nozadze, Amnesty International’s researcher on Armenia.

    Armenia: No space for difference exposes the harassment and intimidation suffered by civil society activists and journalists who question the mainstream view of the country’s conflict with Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh as well as expose abuses in the army, whose reputation as a backbone of nation remains current due to unresolved conflict.

    Through national and international obligations the Armenian authorities have committed to ensure that activists can carry out their work without interference, obstacles, discrimination or fear of retaliation.

    August 19, 2013

    Capital Pride and Amnesty International are holding a Human Rights Vigil on Thursday August 22nd from 8:00–9:00pm at the Human Rights Monument, located on Elgin Street at Lisgar Street. The vigil will honour the many LGBTI people globally who have faced persecution, violence, and in many cases death because of their sexuality or gender identity.

    Leading LGBTI activists will speak about how difficult it is to “Be Loud, Be Proud” in many parts of the world, and a sneak peek at a new documentary film on homophobia in Jamaica will be screened. The names of those whose lives have been lost to homophobia in the past year will be read out, followed by a moment of silence.

    A contrast to the fun-filled parade and some of the other events during Capital Pride, the Human Rights Vigil serves as a reminder that for people in many parts of the world it is not possible to “Be Loud, Be Proud,” and there is much work left to be done to ensure that the human rights of LGBTI individuals the world over are protected.

    August 07, 2013

    Amnesty International absolutely refutes a statement by Nabil Fahmy, the Egyptian Foreign Minister, alleging that the organization has evidence that “heavy weapons” are present inside a sit-in by supporters of deposed President Mohamed Morsi near Rabaa al-Adawiya Mosque in Cairo.

    During an interview on BBC HARDTalk broadcast on Tuesday 6 August 2013, Nabil Fahmy said that Amnesty International had issued a statement saying there were “heavy weapons inside Rabaa”. Amnesty International has not issued such a statement.

    Last Friday Amnesty International announced that the organization had gathered evidence indicating that a number of Morsi supporters had tortured individuals from a rival political camp since the outbreak of the political crisis in June. Some of these incidents occurred in areas near where pro-Morsi sit-ins were being held.  

    At no stage did Amnesty International refer to the use of “heavy weapons” inside the sit-in.

     

    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:

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