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    October 17, 2019

    MEDIA RELEASE
    UP FOR DEBATE 2019

    October 17, 2019

    OTTAWA – A broad alliance of women’s rights and equality-seeking organizations has officially called off plans to host a national leaders’ debate on women’s rights and gender equality, citing a lack of commitment from most federal party leaders.

    In March, the alliance wrote to all party leaders, inviting them to participate in a national televised debate on women’s rights and gender equality – the first debate of its kind since 1984.

    Months later, and only days away from Election Day, the only two leaders committed to debating women’s rights and gender equality issues are the NDP’s Jagmeet Singh and the Green Party’s Elizabeth May. While the Bloc Quebecois expressed interest, Up for Debate could not secure a firm commitment from the party’s leader, Yves-François Blanchet. The alliance did not receive an RSVP from Conservative leader Andrew Scheer or Liberal leader Justin Trudeau.

    August 28, 2019
    Amnesty International urges Canada to lead on providing education for Rohingya youth, following new report

    Two years after a brutal ethnic cleansing campaign forced around 700,000 Rohingya to flee Myanmar for Bangladesh, refugees are still trapped in unbearable conditions in overcrowded camps, Amnesty International said in a new briefing.

    “I don’t know what my future will be”: Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh warns that a ‘lost generation’ of Rohingya children are being systematically denied an education in Bangladesh, and documents the sense of hopelessness and uncertainty expressed by many teachers, parents and young people in the camps.

    Amnesty International is calling on the Bangladeshi government to lift restrictions that limit the enjoyment of refugees’ rights. The organization also calls on the international community to support Bangladesh in pursuing longer-term solutions to help Rohingya refugees rebuild their lives.

    August 22, 2019
    Spokespeople available for interviews

    With the threat of returns to Myanmar once again looming over Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, Amnesty International warned that Rakhine State remains unsafe while those responsible for atrocities continue to evade justice. Action from the Canadian government is urged as the needs of refugees pivot from shorter-term humanitarian response, to sustained human rights protections.

    This Sunday marks two years since the Myanmar military launched operations in Rakhine State which forced more than 740,000 Rohingya women, men and children to flee their homes and villages. The brutal campaign was marked by widespread atrocities, which a UN investigation team has said amount to crimes against humanity and likely genocide.

    August 16, 2019

    Fears are mounting for the safety of Siham Sergiwa, a Libyan member of parliament, vocal in criticising the current offensive on Tripoli, who was abducted by armed gunmen in a night-time raid on her home in Benghazi one month ago, said Amnesty International.

    Dozens of masked gunmen wearing army attire stormed Siham Sergiwa’s home and seized her in the early hours of 17 July. Her husband, Ali, was shot in the leg and her 16-year-old son, Fadi, was badly beaten during the raid.

    “The horrific abduction of Siham Sergiwa illustrates the acute dangers facing publicly active women in Libya who dare to express criticism of militias. Siham Sergiwa appears to have come under attack as punishment for peacefully expressing her opinions and criticising the Libyan National Army’s offensive on Tripoli. One month since her abduction, the fears for her safety are growing by the day,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director at Amnesty International.

    August 08, 2019

    More than 30 children, including two babies, and nearly 90 men and women stranded at sea in searing temperatures, must be immediately allowed to dock, said Amnesty International, as the stand-off between the Italian, Maltese and Spanish authorities and a NGO rescue ship enters its second week.

    Despite mounting concerns for their well-being, Italian and Maltese authorities are refusing a port where they could safely be disembarked. Spanish authorities have yet to formally request help from European institutions to mediate a solution.

    “After a week stranded at sea in blistering heat, these women, men and children who have risked their lives to escape human rights abuses in Libya should be immediately disembarked either in Malta or Italy,” said Maria Serrano, Amnesty International’s Senior Researcher on Migration.

    “Despite mounting concerns for the well-being of those on board, politicians are shamelessly breaching their responsibilities under international law by refusing to grant a safe port to people who could face torture if returned to Libya and who are exhausted and in need of protection and care.”

    August 06, 2019

    Amnesty International will divest from fossil fuel companies in acknowledgement that investment in an industry whose products are the primary source of the climate crisis is at odds with the organization’s mission of protecting and championing human rights.

    The decision was taken at Amnesty’s highest decision-making forum - the Global Assembly – which is formed of delegates from around the world. The assembly also voted to take further steps to reduce the organization’s climate impact including by aiming to be totally carbon neutral by 2035, to slash air travel by a third and move towards holding more international meetings virtually.

    “Fossil fuel companies know that their business model is resulting in human suffering because of its lethal contribution to climate change. As the world’s largest human rights organization, we want to send a clear message that continued investment in coal, oil and natural gas companies is at odds with human rights, because of the direct link between their activities and climate disaster,” said Mwikali Muthiani, Chair of the International Board of Amnesty International.

    July 12, 2019

    Release, Evacuate Detained Refugees and Migrants

    European Union foreign ministers gathering in Brussels on 15 July 2019, should issue a clear call to Libyan authorities to close their migrant detention centres, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE) said today. The EU ministers should make a commitment on behalf of EU states to facilitate the evacuation of detainees to safe places, including outside of Libya and to EU member states.

    “Expressions of outrage over dire conditions and dangers to detainees amid fighting in Tripoli ring hollow without urgent life-saving measures to get people out of harm’s way,” said Judith Sunderland, associate Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “EU governments should offer concrete support to Libyan authorities to close all migrant detention centres and take immediate action to help evacuate those most vulnerable and at risk.”

    July 11, 2019

    Ottawa, July 11, 2019 –Today all fourteen civil society and labour union representatives of the government’s Multi-Stakeholder Advisory Body on Responsible Business Conduct Abroad (Advisory Body) tendered their resignations. The unanimous decision to resign is due to the erosion of civil society and labour unions’ trust and confidence in the government’s commitment to international corporate accountability.

    The resigning Advisory Body members and alternate members represented: Above Ground; Amnesty International Canada; L'Association québécoise des organismes de coopération internationale; Canadian Council for International Cooperation; Canadian Labour Congress; Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability; Development and Peace-Caritas Canada; Inter Pares; Mining Watch Canada; United Steelworkers Union and World Vision Canada.

    July 10, 2019

    The Egyptian authorities’ growing trend of re-imprisoning people who have been arbitrarily detained, instead of complying with court orders to release them is an alarming signal of how decayed the country’s justice system has become, said Amnesty International.

    The organization has documented the cases of five individuals, where the Supreme State Security Prosecution (SSSP) bypassed court orders to release them from arbitrary detention by imprisoning them in new cases based on fabricated charges, in a bid to keep them behind bars indefinitely.

    “The Egyptian authorities’ practice of re-ordering the detention of detainees on blatantly fabricated charges just as they are about to be released is an alarming trend that illustrates the extent of Egypt’s decayed justice system,” said Najia Bounaim, North Africa Campaigns Director at Amnesty International.

    “This unlawful practice has seen detainees who were already detained on spurious grounds trapped in the ‘revolving doors’ of Egypt’s arbitrary detention system, as part of deliberate ploy to prolong their detention.” 

    July 09, 2019

    The Taliban’s killing of civilians through a continuous spate of bombings demonstrates the armed group’s chilling disregard for human lives, Amnesty International said today.

    The human rights organization said the 7 July 2019 bombing in a crowded area of Ghazni city that killed at least 14 people, including one child, and injured more than 180, included 60 children, shows a chilling disregard for human life.

    “These bombings demonstrate a chilling disregard for human life. At the same time that the Taliban is engaged in supposed peace talks with other Afghans, the armed group continues to claim the lives of civilians, including children,” said Samira Hamidi, South Asia campaigner at Amnesty International.

    The Taliban said they had targeted the National Directorate of Security, the Afghan intelligence agency, in Ghazni, which is located near public places including schools. Under international humanitarian law, all precautions must be taken to avoid civilian casualties.

    July 09, 2019

    Thirty academics and political figures facing trumped-up charges, including espionage for the Saudi Arabia-led Coalition, were sentenced to death by the Sana’a-based Huthi-run Specialized Criminal Court (SCC) following a fundamentally flawed legal process, said Amnesty International.

    Out of 36 individuals who were on trial, 30 were handed down death sentences. Amongst those is Youssef al-Bawab, a 45-year-old father of five and linguistics professor and political figure, who was arbitrarily arrested in late 2016. He was charged in April 2017, alongside 35 others, with several offences carrying the death penalty. Throughout his detention, proceedings against him and others in the same case were seriously flawed, and included enforced disappearance, excessive pre-trial detention, undue delays in his trial, incommunicado detention, allegations of torture and other ill-treatment and lack of access to legal counsel and medical care. 

    July 09, 2019

    Responding to remarks by Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam on Tuesday that the controversial Extradition Bill is “dead” and that there would be no high-level independent investigation into the recent policing of protests, Man-kei Tam, Director of Amnesty International Hong Kong, said:

    “Carrie Lam’s refusal to acknowledge the consequences of the fatal flaws of the Extradition Bill continues to inflame the situation in Hong Kong. It is long overdue for her to give an unequivocal commitment that the Extradition Bill, which poses a real threat to human rights, will be withdrawn for good.

    “The excessive use of force by police on 12 June was a violation of international law and standards. To be fair to everyone involved, there must be an independent, impartial, effective and prompt investigation into the actions by police on 12 June. Anything else, including an IPCC enquiry that falls short of what is needed, will not help to establish truth and accountability and regain public trust. Police officers responsible, including senior officers in command on 12 June, must face justice.”

    Notes to editors

    July 09, 2019

    Guatemala is on the verge of wiping out more than a decade of efforts to strengthen its criminal justice system and access to justice as a result of recent actions by the country’s highest authorities, Amnesty International warned in a new report released today.

    In Last Chance for Justice, the organization exposes the serious setbacks and imminent risks to human rights in Guatemala as a result of measures taken by the Jimmy Morales administration, the Public Prosecutor's Office led by Consuelo Porras, the judiciary, and the national Congress.

    “Access to justice is receiving heavy blows from which Guatemala will not be able to recover unless measures are taken now. The actions being taken by the nation’s highest authorities must be stopped immediately and they must ensure justice for every case of human rights violations,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International.

    July 08, 2019
    Extrajudicial executions by police remain rampant Scale of abuses reaches the threshold of crimes against humanity

    The wave of police killings triggered by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s murderous anti-drugs campaign continues to rage on, destroying lives and devastating communities, a report by Amnesty International reveals today. The UN must immediately open an investigation into gross human rights violations and possible crimes against humanity committed as part of the “war on drugs.”

    The new report, ‘They just kill’: Ongoing extrajudicial executions and other violations in the Philippines’ ‘war on drugs,’ shows police operating with total impunity as they murder people from poor neighbourhoods whose names appear on manufactured “drug watch lists” established outside of any legal process.

    July 05, 2019

    The government of President Juan Orlando Hernández has embarked on a policy of repression against those who protest in the streets to demand his resignation and accountability for the actions of authorities. The use of military forces to control demonstrations across the country has had a deeply concerning toll on human rights, said Amnesty International upon presenting the findings of a field investigation. 

    “President Juan Orlando Hernández’s (JOH) message is very clear: shouting ‘JOH out’ and demanding change can be very costly. At least six people have died in the context of protests and dozens have been injured, many of them by firearms fired by security forces since the beginning of this wave of demonstrations,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International. 

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