· Press conference and analysis of absurd charges - 1pm London
The remanding of six human rights defenders in pre-trial custody is an appalling affront to justice and a new low in Turkey’s post-coup crackdown, said Amnesty International.
Amnesty International Turkey’s Director, Idil Eser who was among those remanded in custody, was detained alongside nine other human rights defenders on 5 July whilst attending a routine workshop. Four of them were released on bail in the early hours of this morning but are still under investigation. All ten are suspected of ‘committing crime in the name of a terrorist organization without being a member'. The six who were remanded in custody join Amnesty International Turkey’s Chair, Taner Kiliç, behind bars.
“Turkish prosecutors have had 12 days to establish the obvious: that these ten activists are innocent. The decision to proceed shows that truth and justice have become total strangers in Turkey,” said Amnesty International’s Secretary General, Salil Shetty.
Amnesty International USA Release
Today President Donald Trump issued several executive orders related to immigration, including constructing a wall on the border with Mexico, building more detention centers, and stripping sanctuary cities of federal funding.
“We will fight this dangerous move with everything we’ve got,” said Margaret Huang, executive director of Amnesty International USA. “This wall would say that those from outside the United States, especially from Latin America, are to be feared and shunned – and that is just wrong.”
“Our members and supporters will demand that Congress protect people seeking asylum, including those fleeing violence in Latin America. We won’t let President Donald Trump create refugee camps along the U.S./Mexico border like the ones we’ve seen in Greece, Australia, and other countries.”
Amnesty International USA Release
Today, President Trump signed an executive action advancing the completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline. In response to the news, Amnesty International USA's Managing Director of the Individuals at Risk Program, Zeke Johnson, issued the following statement:
“President Trump’s decision to disregard the serious concerns of Indigenous people about the Dakota Access Pipeline is a shameful and unconscionable attack on human rights. The U.S. government is obligated under international law to respect, protect, and fulfill the human rights of Indigenous peoples like the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, including the right to access clean water and the right to peacefully protest."
The use of white phosphorus around the city of Mosul could pose a deadly risk to civilians fleeing the fighting in the coming days and weeks, Amnesty International said today.
The organization received credible witness and photographic evidence of white phosphorus projectiles exploding in the air over an area north of the village of Karemlesh, about 20 kilometres east of Mosul. White phosphorus is an incendiary substance which burns at extremely high temperatures upon exposure to air.
“White phosphorus can cause horrific injuries, burning deep into the muscle and bone. It is possible that some of it will only partially burn and could then reignite weeks after being deployed,” said Donatella Rovera, Senior Crisis Response Adviser at Amnesty International.
“This means that civilians who flee the fighting around Mosul or residents returning to check on their homes in Karemlesh in the coming days or weeks would be at risk of serious harm even though there may be few visible warning signs.”
Released 07:00GMT/ 08:00 London time Monday 19 September 2016
States – including the USA and UK – must immediately stop supplying weapons that could be used in the Yemen conflict, Amnesty International said, as it confirmed that a US-made bomb was used in the air strike on a Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) hospital on 15 August which killed 11 people and injured 19 others.
According to independent weapons experts consulted by the organization who assessed photographs of a bomb fin taken by a journalist at the site, a US-made precision-guided Paveway-series aerial bomb was used in the attack.
“Any attack on a medical facility in a war zone is an affront to humanity, yet this bombing is sadly just the latest in a grim series of attacks on hospitals and clinics by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition,” said Philip Luther, Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.
The Zeinhom Criminal Court’s decision today to freeze the personal and organizational bank accounts of a group of leading and award-winning human rights
lawyers and campaigners over politically motivated accusations that they are using foreign funds for illegal purposes is a reprehensible blow to Egypt’s human rights movement,
Amnesty International said today. These individuals may subsequently face prosecution and prison terms of up to life, equivalent to 25 years in Egypt.
“The Egyptian authorities are using this case as a way to crush the country’s human rights movement. Meanwhile, the government’s brutal crackdown
on dissent shows no sign of stopping, with enforced disappearances and torture becoming a matter of state policy. Egypt needs these critical voices more than ever,”
said Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International.
Released 00:01 GMT 15 September 2016
Video footage and satellite images showing makeshift grave sites and burial mounds offer a rare glimpse inside a desert no man’s land between Jordan and Syria where tens of thousands of refugees who have been virtually cut off from humanitarian aid for two months are stranded, said Amnesty International.
Fresh accounts gathered by the organization from people in the area known as the berm, paint a desperate picture of human suffering and highlight the tragic consequences of the world’s failure to share responsibility for the global refugee crisis. Next week, world leaders will gather in New York for two high-level summits to discuss refugees.
The abject failure of a United Nations summit to tackle the deepening global refugee crisis is a missed opportunity that will affect millions of the world’s most vulnerable people unless leaders find alternative solutions to help them reach safety, Amnesty International said ahead of two high-profile refugee summits next week.
UN member states are set to adopt an ineffective refugee deal on 19 September. On 20 September, US President Barack Obama will appeal to leaders to make specific commitments that will help end the suffering of refugees across the world – a call that has so far been wilfully ignored.
“Faced with the worst refugee crisis in 70 years, world leaders have shown a shocking disregard for the human rights of people who have been forced to leave their homes due to conflict or persecution,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International.
“We already know the UN summit is doomed to abject failure, while the Obama summit looks unlikely to pick up the pieces.”
Armed groups operating in Aleppo, Idleb and surrounding areas in the north of Syria have carried out a chilling wave of abductions, torture and summary killings, said Amnesty International in a new briefing published today.
The briefing ‘Torture was my punishment’: Abductions, torture and summary killings under armed group rule in Aleppo and Idleb, Syria offers a rare glimpse of what life is really like in areas under the control of armed opposition groups. Some of them are believed to have the support of governments such as Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the USA despite evidence that they are committing violations of international humanitarian law (the laws of war). It also sheds light on the administrative and quasi-judicial institutions set up by armed groups to govern in these areas.
Authorities must immediately and unconditionally release the owner of The Post newspaper, Fred M’membe, his wife Mutinta M’membe and the newspaper’s Deputy Managing Editor, Joseph Mwenda, Amnesty International said today.
The three of them were arrested in the early hours of 28 June and are currently being held at the Lusaka Central Police Station without any charges.
“The continued persecution of Fred M’membe, his newspaper and staff is a disturbing attack on independent media and contrary to the rights to freedom of expression and association,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International's Director for Southern Africa.
“Fred M’membe and his newspaper are victims of an attempt by the state to silence critical media and those who speak truth to power. It is unacceptable and must be brought to an end.”
The arrests followed their return to the newspaper’s premises after a court ruled against the Zambia Revenue Authority to allow the newspaper to continue publishing. The newspaper was shut down last week by the authorities, alleging it owed taxes.
The Eritrean foreign minister’s confirmation that all politicians and journalists arbitrarily arrested in 2001 are alive is welcome news but they must now be immediately and unconditionally released, said Amnesty International.
In a Radio France Internationale (RFI) interview broadcast on 20 June, Foreign Minister Osman Saleh referred to the detainees as political prisoners and said “all of them are alive” and will be tried “when the government decides”. The detainees, who were arrested in September 2001, included 11 politicians and 10 journalists. Until now the Eritrean authorities have refused to disclose their whereabouts or their health status to their families.
“Amnesty International considers all 21 prisoners of conscience and has campaigned for their release since they were arrested 15 years ago. It is a travesty of justice that they have been held incommunicado for so long without charge or trial,” said Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.
Released 00:01 GMT 3 June 2016
The European Union (EU) must immediately halt plans to return asylum-seekers to Turkey on the false pretence that it is a “safe country” for refugees, said Amnesty International in a briefing published today.
The briefing, No safe refuge: Asylum-seekers and refugees denied effective protection in Turkey, (attached) details the short-comings in Turkey’s asylum system and the hardships refugees face there that would render their return under the EU-Turkey Agreement of 18 March illegal – and unconscionable.
The briefing shows that Turkey’s asylum system is struggling to cope with more than three million asylum-seekers and refugees. As a result, asylum-seekers face years waiting for their cases to be dealt with, during which time they receive little or no support to find shelter and sustenance for themselves and their families, with children as young as nine working to support families.
The life of a wrongfully imprisoned Iranian Kurdish human rights defender and journalist rests in the Iranian authorities’ hands, said Amnesty International. He is gravely ill in hospital nearly a month into an ongoing hunger strike.
The 54-year old prisoner of conscience Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand, who is approaching the end of a decade-long prison sentence on fabricated charges, has been on hunger strike since 8 May. He is protesting against the authorities’ efforts to condemn him to a further prison sentence on a spurious charge of ‘spreading propaganda against the system’ from inside the prison.
“Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand has already spent close to a decade in prison simply for doing his legitimate human rights work and journalism. The fact that the authorities are building a fresh case against him so close to his release date suggests they are plumbing new depths in their efforts to keep this resolute defender of human rights behind bars,” said James Lynch, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director.