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    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. 

    July 03, 2019

    The International Criminal Court must order an urgent investigation into an abhorrent attack on the Tajoura immigration detention centre in eastern Tripoli, Libya, in which at least 40 refugees and migrants were killed and more than 80 injured, said Amnesty International.

    “This deadly attack which struck a detention centre where at least 600 refugees and migrants were trapped in detention with no means of escape, and whose location was known to all warring parties, must be independently investigated as a war crime. The International Criminal Court should immediately investigate the possibility that this was a direct attack on civilians,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International.

    July 02, 2019

    The Egyptian authorities are attempting to normalize human rights violations by passing a series of laws to “legalize” their escalating crackdown on freedom of expression, association and assembly, said Amnesty International, six years since recently deceased former President Mohamed Morsi was ousted from power on 3 July 2013.

    The organization has today published a damning overview of human rights in Egypt since President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s ascent to power, which has been submitted to the UN Human Rights Council ahead of Egypt’s upcoming periodic review of its human rights record in November.

    July 02, 2019

    Since 2018, the US government has conducted an unlawful and discriminatory campaign of intimidation, threats, harassment, and criminal investigations against people who defend the human rights of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers on the US–Mexico border, Amnesty International said in a new report released today.

    ‘Saving lives is not a crime’: Politically motivated legal harassment of migrant human rights defenders by the USA reveals how the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) have increasingly misused the criminal justice system to deter activists, lawyers, journalists, and humanitarian volunteers from challenging – or simply documenting – the systematic human rights violations that US authorities have committed against migrants and asylum seekers.

    June 27, 2019

    Spiked batons, stun belts and leg irons are among the gruesome tools of torture which should be banned outright, Amnesty International said today, ahead of a crucial vote on a torture trade resolution at the UN General Assembly (UNGA) on June 28th.

    “Every year governments attend and host international trade fairs where they can browse stalls selling horrifying torture devices - this secretive trade has gone unregulated for far too long. Torturers around the world have benefited from loose regulations which allow them to access all the latest technologies in inflicting pain and fear,” said Ara Marcen Naval, Deputy Director for Arms Control and Human Rights at Amnesty International.

    Adopting the resolution would be a first step towards creating international laws to ban the trade in equipment which has no other purpose than torture. It would also be a chance to tighten regulations on equipment like batons and tear gas, which are regularly misused to crush peaceful protests. 

    June 27, 2019

    Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena must immediately halt his plans to execute four prisoners, Amnesty International said today.

    Amnesty International is shocked by President Sirisena’s announcement that he has signed the execution warrants of four death row prisoners convicted of drug-related crimes, and that they will be hanged in “the near future.”

    While the President has confirmed signing the death warrants, no names have been revealed and no details have been shared about any scheduled executions or information on the cases. The lack of transparency makes it impossible to ascertain whether these prisoners have exhausted clemency appeals or if all safeguards were followed in their conviction or sentencing. There is also no confirmation that the four prisoners, or their families, have been alerted to their imminent execution.

    The executions would be the first time Sri Lanka has implemented the death penalty since 1976.

    June 25, 2019

    Amnesty International has joined a legal case brought by two non-governmental organizations, Equality Now and WAVES, to challenge the Sierra Leonean government’s ban on pregnant girls attending mainstream schools and sitting exams, the organization said today.

    The announcement was made ahead of a hearing at the regional Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Community Court of Justice on 27 June 2019, where the case was initially filed in May 2018.

    “We at Amnesty International believe this ban clearly conflicts with the right to education without discrimination, according to international and regional standards,” said Lucy Claridge, Director of Strategic Litigation at Amnesty International.

    “Courts from South Africa, Zimbabwe to Colombia have already found that such bans violate the rights of women and girls to be treated equally and to receive education. This case represents the first time that a regional court in Africa has considered the issue. It therefore has the potential to impact the situation of pregnant girls outside of Sierra Leone and even beyond the ECOWAS community.”

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