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    September 23, 2020

    Responding to the decision in the Breonna Taylor case today, Kristina Roth, the Senior Program Officer for Criminal Justice Programs at Amnesty International USA, said:

    “Breonna Taylor’s death is a tragedy. She was asleep in her bed when the police busted down her door and recklessly opened fire, taking her life. Black people in America have the same right to be safe as all people, though this is hard to conceive when we think of the abhorrent killings of Breonna, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Dijon Kizzee and too many more.  

    “Breonna Taylor's case reminds us of how Kentucky's police use of lethal force statute puts accountability out of reach for unlawful killings by police  — and how police, who are supposed to protect life, so frequently only see one side of that principle. This case must serve as a wake-up call to our elected officials that they must meet this moment with a bold agenda for police reform, one that brings about meaningful accountability, reimagines public safety and provides justice for all.

    September 21, 2020

    Twitter is still not doing enough to protect women from online violence and abuse, despite repeated promises to do so, new analysis by Amnesty International reveals.

    The Twitter Scorecard grades the social media company’s record on implementing a series of recommendations to tackle abuse against women on the platform, since Amnesty first highlighted the scale of the problem in its 2018 Toxic Twitter report.  Despite some welcome progress, Twitter needs to do much more to address the problem. The company has fully implemented just one of ten concrete recommendations, with limited progress in increasing transparency on how it handles reports of abuse.

    “Twitter is still not doing enough to tackle the deluge of abuse women face on the platform. Our analysis shows that despite some progress, Twitter is not doing enough to protect women users, leading many women to silence or censor themselves on the platform,” said Rasha Abdul Rahim, Co-Director of Amnesty Tech.

    September 21, 2020

    Lana Verran, Chair of the Board of Directors of Amnesty International Canada (English Branch) today announced the appointment of Burundian human rights defender and poet Ketty Nivyabandi as the branch’s next Secretary General.  Ketty has resided in Canada since 2015 and holds refugee status in the country.  She succeeds Alex Neve, who is stepping down after more than twenty years in the role.

    “At such a challenging time for human rights across Canada and around the world, but also tremendous openings for advancing real change, we are excited and honoured that Ketty Nivyabandi will be our next Secretary General,” said Lana Verran. “Her dynamism, conviction and experience offer precisely the inspiring leadership we need at this time.”

    September 21, 2020
    New Amnesty investigation highlights why EU export rules for surveillance technology fail.

    European tech companies risk fuelling widespread human rights abuses by selling digital surveillance technology to China’s public security agencies, a new Amnesty International investigation reveals. The findings are published ahead of a crucial meeting in Brussels on 22 September where the European Parliament and EU member states will decide whether to strengthen lax surveillance export rules.

    Amnesty International found that three companies based in France, Sweden and the Netherlands sold digital surveillance systems, such as facial recognition technology and network cameras, to key players of the Chinese mass surveillance apparatus. In some cases, the export was directly for use in China’s indiscriminate mass surveillance programmes, with the risk of being used against Uyghurs and other predominantly Muslim ethnic groups throughout the country.

    September 21, 2020

    Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in March, authorities in Venezuela, El Salvador and Paraguay have held tens of thousands of people in inadequate state-run quarantine centres without sufficient safeguards against human rights violations, in what could amount to ill-treatment and risk the detentions becoming arbitrary, Amnesty International said in a new report published today.

    When protection becomes repression: Mandatory quarantines under COVID-19 in the Americas documents how the authorities in three countries have disproportionately held migrants, refugees, people returning to their countries of origin, and low-income communities in state-run quarantines, often in unsanitary and sometimes inhumane conditions without adequate food, water and medical care, which may amount to ill-treatment. The appalling conditions stand to make them counterproductive spaces where people are at risk of contracting COVID-19.

    September 17, 2020

    Following the one-year anniversary of Canada’s accession to the UN Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), a coalition of civil society organizations are calling on Canada to end weapons exports to Saudi Arabia. This follows a recent report by the UN Group of Eminent International and Regional Experts on Yemen, which specifically names Canada as one of the countries “perpetuating the conflict” in Yemen through ongoing weapons sales to Saudi Arabia.

    “Canada has now been publicly shamed in front of the international community for its ongoing weapons transfers to Saudi Arabia, while the devastating war in Yemen rages on,” said Justin Mohammed, Human Rights Law and Policy Campaigner at Amnesty International Canada. “Legal obligations under the ATT have not deterred this government’s unrelenting support for weapons exports to Saudi Arabia. It has ignored the groundswell of civil society opposition to these exports. Hopefully, the UN’s report will provoke a different response.”

    September 16, 2020

    Responding to reports that there have been hysterectomies performed on immigrant women detained in the Irwin County Detention Center (ICDC) in Georgia, Denise Bell, Researcher on Refugee and Migrant Rights, said:

    “The reports of hysterectomies performed on women detained in Irwin County without their full consent are deeply alarming. According to the report, some women were reportedly unsure why the procedure was performed, or they were not fully informed of what procedures would be performed on them.

    September 14, 2020

    The highest-level authorities in Colombia must send a clear and strong message that the disproportionate use of force by the National Police is unacceptable, and immediately put a stop to the repression of protests over the death of lawyer Javier Ordoñez, Amnesty International said today, following the verification of at least four incidents of human rights violations committed by police officers, including torture and excessive use of force.

    “We’ve verified video evidence of how Colombia’s National Police tortured lawyer Javier Ordoñez with an electric Taser gun, using excessive and unnecessary force against him,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International.

    “We demand an immediate end to the excessive use of security forces against protestors seeking justice for the death of lawyer Javier Ordoñez. In addition, we urge the authorities to send a strong message of condemnation and carry out prompt, exhaustive, independent and impartial investigations into the human rights violations committed by the Colombian police.”

    July 13, 2020

    OTTAWA – Today, on the anniversary of the death of Liu Xiaobo, human rights groups commemorated the incredible life of the Nobel Laureate, writer, philosopher, and lifelong advocate for human rights in China.

    Amnesty International, the Toronto Association for Democracy in China, and the Alliance Canada Hong Kong laid a commemorative wreath on the Liu Xiaobo Empty Chair Memorial, which sits in Ottawa on the front lawn of the Canadian offices of Amnesty International.

    “We must honour Liu Xiaobo’s legacy and remember that his fight for a free, democratic China is far from over,” said Cheuk Kwan, of the Toronto Association for Democracy in China (TADC). “This small gesture of remembrance serves to remind us that his spirit will never fade, even as we witness the horrifying deterioration of human-rights in Hong Kong.”

    On June 30, almost two weeks before the anniversary of Liu Xiaobo’s death, Chinese authorities approved the passage of the national security law, banning all individuals, institutions, and organizations in Hong Kong from “engaging in activities that endanger national security”.

    June 17, 2020

    Earlier today, Canada lost its bid to be elected to a two-year term on the United Nations Security Council. Despite this loss, Canada can and must still advance its global goals through its Feminist Foreign Policy.

    Canada must play a constructive global role through continuing to support efforts to advance gender equality and the rights of women, girls and gender-diverse people across all areas of its foreign policy. 

    June 17, 2020

    Earlier today, Canada lost its bid to be elected to a two-year term on the United Nations Security Council. Despite this loss, Canada can and must still advance its global goals through its Feminist Foreign Policy.

    Canada must play a constructive global role through continuing to support efforts to advance gender equality and the rights of women, girls and gender-diverse people across all areas of its foreign policy. 

    Canada must work to implement its Security Council campaign pledge to ‘make gender inequality history.’ This will involve significant new investments in supporting women peacebuilders and human rights defenders, strengthening women’s participation in peace negotiations and addressing sexual violence in conflict. “The security of women and girls is a key indicator of state security,” said Beth Woroniuk of the Equality Fund. “In its campaign, Canada made promises to advance the rights of women and girls. Carrying through on these promises will involve investments and courage to challenge international voices opposed to women’s rights.”

    May 20, 2020

    Despite opposition from First Nations in northern Manitoba who are concerned about the spread of COVID-19 to their communities, this week Manitoba Hydro is replacing 700 people currently at the industry worker camp at the Keeyask dam project with up to 1,200 workers from across Canada and possibly the United States.

    The provincial government has said that Northern Manitoba remains closed to non-essential travel to halt the spread of COVID-19. However, the province deemed construction of the Keeyask dam as an essential service. The four First Nations—Tataskweyak Cree Nation, Fox Lake Cree Nation, War Lake First Nation, and York Factory Cree Nation—have partnered with Manitoba Hydro to build and operate the dam but, despite legal obligations, Manitoba Hydro has not worked collaboratively to obtain consent to this most recent decision to expand operations and is ignoring requests by the four partner First Nations to limit work at the dam site because of public health concerns.

    April 15, 2020

    OTTAWA – A total of 301 organizations, academics and former politicians from across the country are calling on all levels of government in Canada to take urgent steps to strengthen human rights oversight amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

    A total of 157 organizations and 144 individuals – including Indigenous organizations, civil society groups, unions, academics and former politicians– are urging federal, provincial, territorial and municipal governments to adopt robust oversight measures to strengthen human rights protection and guard against potential human rights violations during the current public health crisis.

    February 28, 2020
    Amnesty International says Nevsun ruling ‘sends clear message’ that Canadian companies must be held accountable for alleged human rights abuses abroad 

    In a landmark ruling, the Supreme Court of Canada has decided that a human rights lawsuit against a Vancouver-based mining company can be heard in British Columbia, and not Eritrea where the human rights abuses allegedly occurred.   

    The Eritrean plaintiffs say they were forced to work in a gold, copper and zinc mine largely owned by Nevsun Resources. The employees allege they suffered gross human rights abuses while working for the Canadian mining company, including forced labour and torture. Nevsun argued that the case should be heard in Eritrea, not Canada. 

    December 11, 2019

    TORONTO – There is not much to laugh at in the world these days, but Comics Without Borders is partnering with Amnesty International to shine a light in the darkness many of us are feeling.

    Eight talented comedians will provide a night of levity on Saturday, Dec. 14 at the Isabel Bader Theatre, 93 Charles St. West, starting at 7:30 p.m.

    Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada, will also be attending the event to give a short talk at the VIP reception and the onset of the show.

    These comedians are available for interviews in advance (either in-studio or by phone):

    Nour Hadidi, a Jordanian-born, Toronto-based comedian who has been featured on CBC, FLARE Magazine, and Just for Laughs. The Toronto Star named her one of the four comedians to watch in 2016.

    Frank Spadone, a Toronto-based comedian who has frequented the top comedy clubs in the city and across Canada.

    Leonard Chan, who won the Absolute Comedy Prove You're a Comic contest in 2016 and the Comedy Brawl in 2018, beating over 400 comics.

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