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    September 24, 2018

    Responding to news that the Panama Maritime Authority revoked the registration of the search and rescue ship, Aquarius, operated by SOS Mediterranée and Médecins Sans Frontières, reportedly after pressure from the Italian government, Elisa di Pieri Amnesty International’s Europe Researcher said:

    “After closing its ports and seizing NGO ships, it now appears that Italian authorities have resorted to even more underhand tactics to curtail the life-saving work of NGO search and rescue ships in the central Mediterranean.

    “If it is confirmed that Panama’s decision to revoke the registration of the Aquarius was made as a result of pressure brought to bear by the Italian government, this would be a new low in Italy’s crackdown against those saving lives at sea.

    “The Aquarius has reportedly rescued more than 30,000 people over a period of more than two years. Deliberately depleting resources for saving lives in the central Mediterranean will expose thousands of people to the risk of a watery grave.

    September 12, 2018

    Amnesty International today condemned the Ontario government’s tabling of legislation, Bill 31, The Efficient Local Government Act, which invokes the “notwithstanding clause” in section 33 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

    “No government in Canada should take the contemptuous step of disregard for the Charter of Rights that the notwithstanding clause offers them,” said Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada. “To do so in a case involving the fundamental freedom of expression in a context in which core principles around elections and the underpinnings of our democracy are at stake is particularly disgraceful. This invocation of section 33 by Premier Ford’s government should be withdrawn immediately. Questions about the interpretation and application of the Charter should be pursued through appeals and left to judges to determine.”

    August 17, 2018

    In response to reports indicating that some 3,600 Indigenous people from 14 communities find themselves trapped in the middle of clashes between armed groups in the department of Chocó, in northwestern Colombia, which could lead to mass displacement, Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International, said:

    “This is not the first mass forced displacement in Colombia this year which has specifically affected Indigenous Peoples and Afro-descendant communities in Chocó. This is a crime under international law and one of the most serious human rights violations in the context of the armed conflict still taking place in the region”.

    “Food shortages, lack of access to basic services and the escalation of the violence leave the affected communities in a state of vulnerability with an unacceptable lack of protection. The national, departmental and municipal authorities must take immediate and comprehensive action to guarantee their human rights in the face of this situation”.

    August 16, 2018

    Amnesty’s first ever South African Secretary General sets out his vision for the direction of the world’s largest human rights organisation as he starts his tenure visiting Johannesburg

    The human rights movement needs to be bigger, bolder and more inclusive if it is to tackle the challenges that people face today, said seasoned activist Kumi Naidoo as he officially started his role as Secretary General of Amnesty International.

    “Our world is facing complex problems that can only be tackled if we break away from old ideas that human rights are about some forms of injustice that people face, but not others. The patterns of oppression that we’re living through are interconnected,” said Kumi Naidoo.

    “You cannot talk about the climate change crisis without recognising that it is also an inequality and race issue; you can’t address sexual discrimination without recognising that it is bound up in the economic exclusion of women; and you can’t ignore the fact that people’s civil and political rights are often suppressed exactly when they are trying to demand basic economic justice.” 

    August 16, 2018

    Yemen’s Huthi armed group must reveal the fate and whereabouts of an activist abducted by two of its militants in apparent retaliation for his human rights work, Amnesty International said.

    Kamal al-Shawish, a field research assistant with Mwatana Organization for Human Rights in the city of Hodeidah, was seized on the street by two Huthi armed men on Tuesday. He was blindfolded and taken to an unknown location. His whereabouts remain unknown.

    The activist had documented human rights violations against civilians in Hodeidah prior to his arrest.

    “The worrying abduction of Kamal al-Shawish seems to be part of a sinister pattern of harassment and repression of human rights work in Yemen, committed by all sides to the conflict,” said Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Research for the Middle East and North Africa.

    “The Huthi armed group must reveal his fate and whereabouts and ensure he is protected from the kind of torture and ill-treatment that has been inflicted on others in its custody. Kamal al-Shawish should be released immediately.”

    August 15, 2018

    Following the release of Honorary Chair of Amnesty International Turkey, Taner Kilic after more than fourteen months behind bars, Kumi Naidoo, Amnesty International’s new Secretary General said:

    “We are overjoyed at this news. It has taken us more than a year of campaigning and struggle to get here but Taner has finally been freed and is safely back at the arms of his wife and daughters.

    It has taken us more than a year of campaigning and struggle to get here but Taner has finally been freed and is safely back at the arms of his wife and daughters

    "But beneath the smiles of joy and relief there will be sorrow, anger and a steely determination. Sorrow for all the things Taner has missed during his cruel incarceration. Anger that the baseless charges against him and the Istanbul 10 have not been dropped. And determination to continue our fight for human rights in Turkey and for the release of all those who have been unjustly jailed in the vicious crackdown.

    August 07, 2018

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Vancouver, August 7, 2018 – Canadian civil society organizations (CSOs), along with hundreds of LGBTI activists from around the world, came together over the last three days (Aug.

    August 01, 2018

    An Amnesty International staff member has been targeted by a sophisticated surveillance campaign, in what the organization suspects was a deliberate attempt to spy on its staff by a government hostile to its work.

    In early June 2018, an Amnesty International staff member received a suspicious WhatsApp message in Arabic. The text contained details about an alleged protest outside the Saudi embassy in Washington D.C., followed by a link to a website. Investigations by Amnesty International’s technology team revealed that clicking the link would have, according to prior knowledge, installed “Pegasus”, a sophisticated surveillance tool developed by the Israel-based company NSO Group.

    “NSO Group is known to only sell its spyware to governments. We therefore believe that this was a deliberate attempt to infiltrate Amnesty International by a government hostile to our human rights work,” said Joshua Franco, Amnesty International’s Head of Technology and Human Rights.

    June 28, 2018
      US authorities must put an immediate end to both the separation and detention of children and families who come to the US border with Mexico seeking asylum, while also immediately reuniting the thousands of families who remain separated as a result of the Trump administration’s unlawful and damaging policies, said Amnesty International ahead of the Global Day of Action against these practices planned for 30 June.   “Despite the executive order that President Trump signed last week, thousands of frightened children are still being kept apart from their distraught parents, who have no idea when they’ll see them again. By holding kids in cages or flying them to shelters thousands of miles away, the US authorities are deliberately inflicting deep and lasting mental suffering on them in a bid to deter desperate families from seeking asylum,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.  
    June 27, 2018

    Responding to the news that the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has voted to pass the UK’s resolution to create a mechanism to identify the perpetrators of chemical weapons attacks, Anna Neistat, Amnesty International’s Senior Director of Research, said:

    “Amnesty International welcomes the decision allowing the OPCW to attribute responsibility for chemical weapons attacks as a crucial step towards bringing perpetrators of war crimes to account.

    “Today’s decision signals to victims of chemical weapons attacks in Syria and elsewhere that the international community has not abandoned them, and to perpetrators that they will be brought to justice.

    “It is absolutely vital that the OPCW’s findings and evidence can now be used in international, or national, investigations and prosecutions.”

    Background

    The OPCW member states today voted, by an 82 to 24 margin, in favour of a UK-led proposal to grant new powers to an OPCW mechanism to attribute responsibility for attacks with banned toxic munitions.

     

    June 27, 2018

    Responding to the news that the Istanbul Regional Court of Justice has ruled for the release of imprisoned academic and writer Mehmet Altan, Amnesty International’s Europe Director Gauri van Gulik said:

    “The release of Mehmet Altan was long overdue. His imprisonment was a travesty of justice that was emblematic of the deep flaws within the Turkish justice system.

    “The country’s Constitutional Court twice ruled his imprisonment to be in violation of his right to freedom and security, yet unbelievably the trial court defied the ruling of Turkey’s highest court and condemned Mehmet to another six months of incarceration.

    “Today’s welcome regional court ruling confirms the Constitutional Court’s decision as ‘final and binding’. The courts must now turn their attention to the thousands of others who remain unfairly detained in Turkey, including Amnesty international’s own Taner Kılıç.”

    Background

    Mehmet Altan has been held in Silivri prison, Istanbul since 22 September 2016.

    June 27, 2018

    Responding to the resolution by the Plenum of the Russian Supreme Court to provide guidance to lower courts hearing cases related to public assemblies, published today, Amnesty International’s Russia Researcher Anastasia Kovalevskaya said:

    “This long-awaited resolution will hopefully provide some much-needed protections to peaceful protesters in Russia – especially the provisions aimed at reducing their arrests and administrative detentions. Over the past year and a half we have documented numerous cases where people were denied their basic right to gather peacefully.”

    “However, this resolution will mean nothing unless it is effectively implemented. And it’s only a half-measure, as comprehensive and meticulous work is needed to bring Russian legislation on public gatherings into compliance with international human rights law and standards.”

    “We reiterate our call on the Russian authorities to drop all restrictive policies on public gatherings and to stop treating freedom of assembly as a privilege they can either give or deny to the Russian people.”

    Background

    June 27, 2018

    The guilty verdicts and heavy sentences returned in the cases of 53 Hirak protesters in Casablanca must be overturned due to the unfair nature of their trials, Amnesty International said today.

    Protest leaders Nasser Zefzafi and Nabil Ahamjik were last night sentenced to 20 years in prison, along with two other protesters, in connection with protests in the Rif region in 2017. Other protesters were given prison sentences ranging from one year to 15 years.

    “These convictions are unsafe given the extremely unfair nature of the trials,” said Heba Morayef, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Director.

    “Nasser Zefzafi and others who have been convicted and imprisoned for protesting peacefully for social justice or covering demonstrations online should never have been on trial in the first place. He must be released and his conviction overturned.”

    June 26, 2018

    The following can be attributed to Ryan Mace, Grassroots Advocacy & Refugee Specialist at Amnesty International USA:

    “This hateful policy is a catastrophe all around – not only for those who simply want to travel, work, or study here in the States, but for those seeking safety from violence as well. While this decision doesn’t address the separate and equally harmful ban on refugees, it cruelly traps people in conflict-afflicted countries and prevents them from seeking safety in the U.S. or being reunited with family.  Some of the people banned from this policy are fleeing conflicts that the United States has had a direct hand in creating or perpetuating, as is the case in Yemen and Syria. In those cases especially we are essentially lighting a house on fire and locking the escape door shut. This ban, and the anti-Muslim sentiment in which it originated, has no place in a country that claims to value human rights.” 

    For more information please contact Jacob Kuehn Media Relations Officer at jkuehn@amnesty.ca

    June 26, 2018

    Today’s decision by a Sudanese court to quash Noura Hussein’s death sentence and replace it with a five-year prison term for killing her husband in self-defence during an attempted rape must be a catalyst for a legal review in Sudan, said Amnesty International.

    Noura Hussein was sentenced to death on 10 May 2018. Her husband, Abdulrahman Mohamed Hammad, suffered fatal knife wounds during a scuffle at their home after he had attempted to force himself on her with the help of three other men. The revised sentence means she will spend five years in jail from the date of her arrest and will have to make a dia (blood money) payment of 337,500 Sudanese pounds (around US$8,400).

    “While the quashing of this death sentence is hugely welcome news, it must now lead to a legal review to ensure that Noura Hussein is the last person to go through this ordeal,” said Seif Magango, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    “Noura Hussein was the victim of a brutal attack by her husband and five years’ imprisonment for acting in self-defence is a disproportionate punishment.

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