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    November 12, 2020

    Following the conclusion of a meeting of Federal, Provincial and Territorial Ministers responsible for human rights, 26 of the civil society groups that took part in a discussion session with ministers during the meeting condemned the obstructive attitude of some governments and expressed disappointment that, overall, governments continue to fall far short of advancing the collaborative agenda that is so sorely needed to ensure consistent and effective implementation of the country’s international human rights obligations.

    The meeting, two consecutive half-days over the course of November 9 and 10, marks only the third time in the past 32 years that ministers from across the country have come together to discuss human rights protection in Canada. Previous meetings were held in 1988 and 2017. This sporadic political attention to an intergovernmental human rights agenda in Canada is disgraceful and has long been a source of serious concern among civil society groups, Indigenous organizations, United Nations human rights bodies and parliamentary committees.

    November 12, 2020

    Nearly eight months into the COVID-19 pandemic, the Syrian government is failing to adequately protect its health workers, still lacks a robust response to the spread of the disease, and is refusing to provide transparent and consistent information about the country’s COVID-19 outbreak, Amnesty International said today.

    Relatives of COVID-19 patients, medical professionals and humanitarian workers have told Amnesty International that public hospitals have been forced to turn patients away due to a lack of beds, oxygen tanks and ventilators. In desperation, some residents have been forced to rent oxygen tanks and ventilators at exorbitant fees. Thousands of lives, including those of health workers, continue to be at risk with no transparent and effective information, or testing.

    November 12, 2020

    Spokespersons available to take media interviews

    Amnesty International can today confirm the that scores, and likely hundreds, of people were stabbed or hacked to death in Mai-Kadra (May Cadera) town in the South West Zone of Ethiopia’s Tigray Region on the night of 9 November.

    The organization’s Crisis Evidence Lab has examined and digitally verified gruesome photographs and videos of bodies strewn across the town or being carried away on stretchers. It confirmed the images were recent and using satellite imagery, geolocated them to Mai-Kadra in western Tigray state (14.071008, 36.564681).

    “We have confirmed the massacre of a very large number of civilians, who appear to have been day labourers in no way involved in the ongoing military offensive. This is a horrific tragedy whose true extent only time will tell as communication in Tigray remains shut down,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Director for East and Southern Africa.

    November 10, 2020

    In EA’s FIFA 2021 updated game, the best-selling football jersey from Irish club Bohemian FC has gone global, in partnership with Amnesty International.

    The away-game jersey features the iconic image of a family fleeing, with the words ‘Refugees Welcome’. It also features the famous ‘Love Football, Hate Racism’ slogan.

    Amnesty International Ireland launched its partnership with Bohemian FC in early 2020, which captured media headlines and went viral on social media. The jersey also went on to become a best-seller, with people ordering it from over 40 countries around the world, from China to the British Virgin Islands.

    Now Amnesty International branches around the world are joining in to support the jersey’s launch in EA Games’ updated FIFIA 2021. FIFA 2021 is played by more than 45 million people, giving the local club in Dublin Ireland a truly global audience.

    Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland, called on gamers around the world to embrace the message.

    November 09, 2020

    Responding to the arrest of more than 1,000 people in a single day of peaceful protest in Minsk and other Belarusian cities, Marie Struthers, Amnesty International’s Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, said:

    “Over the weekend, the security forces under the command of President Alyaksandr Lukashenka escalated reprisals against peaceful dissent and took the human rights crisis in Belarus to a new level, with gruesome footage of riot police beating unarmed demonstrators and officers shoving elderly people into police vans.

    “These acts add weight to the already heavy dossier of government violations of human rights, including unlawful use of force, arbitrary mass arrests, torture and ill-treatment of people who speak out against Lukashenka’s government. Hundreds of those arrested face up to 15 days of administrative detention, which can be applied multiple times amounting to lengthy imprisonment intended to silence and intimidate.

    November 08, 2020

    The Tunisian authorities must immediately stop exploiting largely outdated, overly broad and repressive laws to prosecute individuals for exercising their right to freedom of expression online, said Amnesty International in a detailed briefing and campaign launched today.

    Amnesty International found that at least 40 bloggers, administrators of widely followed Facebook pages, political activists and human rights defenders have face criminal prosecution between 2018 and 2020 simply for publishing online posts critical of local authorities, the police or other state officials. 

    "It is extremely disturbing to see bloggers and activists being targeted with criminal prosecutions under laws that date back to the time of repression in Tunisia ten years after the revolution, for simply posting their views on Facebook. Instead of trying to muzzle criticism, the Tunisian authorities should uphold the right of each and every person to express themselves freely and safely without fear of reprisals,” said Amna Guellali, Amnesty International's Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

    November 07, 2020

    Following reports that Joe Biden will become the 46th president of the United States of America, Amnesty International USA’s Interim Executive Director, Bob Goodfellow, released the following statement:  

    “As an organization dedicated to defending everyone’s human rights in the U.S. and around the world, Amnesty International USA calls on the new Biden administration to act immediately to end human rights violations perpetrated by the U.S. government, including the detention and separation of children and their families seeking safety.    

    November 03, 2020

    Responding to news that the Belarusian authorities have started mass criminal proceedings against more than 200 peaceful protesters who were detained during a rally on Sunday, and are now at risk of being jailed for up to three years, Denis Krivosheev, Deputy Director of Amnesty International for Eastern Europe and Central Asia said: 

    “The Belarusian authorities clearly fear freedom of peaceful assembly in the country, and are now criminalizing it wholesale, by attempting to prosecute 231 detained protesters in one single case. The protesters called their rally on Sunday a March against Terror, and now they are being intimidated by the authorities even further. 

    “By officially calling hundreds of participants of a peaceful demonstration criminals, the Belarusian authorities show their deep disdain for human rights and fundamental freedoms. This criminal case is utterly absurd and sets a dangerous precedent. It must be immediately dropped. 

    November 02, 2020

    Amnesty International can reveal that at least 54 people from the Amhara ethnic group were killed in an attack late on 1 November by suspected members of the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) armed group.

    The attack on Gawa Qanqa village in Guliso District of West Wellega Zone took place just a day after Ethiopian Defense Forces troops withdrew from the area unexpectedly and without explanation. Witnesses said dozens of men, women and children were killed, property looted and what the militants could not carry away, they set on fire.

    “This senseless attack is the latest in a series of killings in the country in which members of ethnic minorities have been deliberately targeted. The fact that this horrendous incident occurred shortly after government troops abruptly withdrew from the area in unexplained circumstances raises questions that must be answered,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East and Southern Africa.

    “The Ethiopian authorities must investigate what happened and prosecute those responsible for the attack through fair trials.”

    October 29, 2020

    The Indian government must immediately halt its intensifying suppression of dissent, said Amnesty International, following a series of raids by counter-terrorism forces on the homes and premises of civil society groups, human rights defenders and journalists in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) region on Wednesday 28 October.  

    The National Investigation Agency (NIA), the country’s premier anti-terror agency, raided the residences and offices of prominent human rights activists Khurram Parvez, the co-ordinator of J&K Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS), three of his associates and Parveena Ahanger, Chairperson of the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP). Both organizations have reported extensively on human rights abuses in Kashmir, including the indefinite administrative detention and extrajudicial execution of human rights defenders, torture of people in detention and the widespread impunity of the security forces in the region. Further raids were carried out on the offices of the NGOs Athrout and GK Trust and on the residence of Agence France-Presse’s Kashmir correspondent Parvez Bukhari.  

    October 28, 2020

    The Nigerian authorities’ must end their attempts to cover up the Lekki Toll Gate massacre, Amnesty International said, as it released a new timeline investigating the atrocity one week later.

    The timeline – available here – collates photographs and video footage to confirm that Nigerian Army vehicles left Bonny Camp, a military base approximately a seven-minute drive from the toll gate, at 6.29pm local time on 20 October. 

    Footage then tracks the vehicles to the toll gate. At approximately 6.45pm, the Nigerian military opened fire on the #EndSars protesters who were peacefully calling for an end to police brutality.

    “What happened at Lekki Toll Gate has all the traits of the Nigerian authorities’ pattern of a cover-up whenever their defence and security forces commit unlawful killings,” said Osai Ojigho, Country Director of Amnesty International.

    October 28, 2020

    Amnesty International has informed the Belarusian authorities that the organization has collected about 191,000 signatures from supporters calling for an end to the crackdown on peaceful protests and accountability for police abuses. The petition was launched ahead of Belarus’s 9 August presidential election amid mounting violations against protesters. As the crackdown against peaceful protesters has intensified, it has been signed by hundreds of thousands of people from 184 countries. 

    “When we started this campaign back in July, we could not have foreseen just how widespread and brutal the assault on peaceful protesters would be. The Belarusian authorities have descended to new lows in their pursuit of critics and political opponents, arresting thousands of people and carrying out a campaign of intimidation, torture and other ill-treatment that is ongoing. Only a couple of weeks ago, the Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs condoned the use of lethal weapons against protesters,” said Aisha Jung, Amnesty International’s Senior Campaigner on Belarus. 

    October 23, 2020

    Law enforcement agencies across the USA are failing to facilitate people’s fundamental right to freedom of peaceful assembly, and to protect protests and counter-protests from violent disruption by armed groups among others, Amnesty International said today in a new report, Losing the Peace: US Police Failures to Protect Protesters from Violence. 

    Since the police killing of George Floyd in May 2020, there have been thousands of peaceful anti-racism and political protests and counter-protests across the USA. Yet in nearly 200 incidents where violence occurred between participants in conflicting protests, Amnesty International found that US police forces frequently failed to take preventive measures to avoid the disruption of peaceful assemblies and failed to protect protesters from violent attacks when they did occur.

    October 23, 2020

    With women’s empowerment topping the agenda at next week’s B20 Summit, hosted by Saudi Arabia, Amnesty International is reminding business leaders that many of the country’s bravest women’s rights activists are languishing in prison for daring to demand reforms. 

    Loujain al Hathloul, Nassima al-Sada, Samar Badawi, Maya’a al-Zahrani, and Nouf Abdulaziz spearheaded women’s rights campaigns, including calling for the right to drive and an end to the repressive male guardianship system. But while Saudi Arabia talks up recent reforms such as the relaxation of social restrictions and the loosening of the guardianship system to court approval from the rich and powerful around the B20, women’s rights activists remain in detention.

    “Since assuming the G20 Presidency Saudi Arabia has invested heavily in rebranding its image, throwing out slogans about women’s equality and insisting it is ready for change. But Saudi Arabia’s real changemakers are behind bars,” said Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International's Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

    October 22, 2020

    Given the lack of publicity around this morning’s pre-trial hearing against David Castillo, the only person accused of masterminding the murder of the Lenca leader and environmental defender Berta Cáceres, Amnesty International reminds the Honduran authorities of their obligation to comply with due process.

    Prior to the beginning of the oral and public debate, a hearing was scheduled on 22 October to examine the proceedings against David Castillo, the former manager of the company Desarrollos Energéticos (DESA), who was in charge of the Agua Zarca hydroelectric project.

    According to the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), the organization that Berta Cáceres was general coordinator of, the broadcast of the hearing could not be accessed remotely due to the absence of a technician, thus limiting publicity and the transparency of the judicial process.

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