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    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 This invocation of section 33 by Premier Ford’s government should be withdrawn immediately.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.”

    June 22, 2018

    In response to a letter sent by the United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley to human rights groups, accusing them of blocking reform at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General, said:

    “Following the USA’s showy departure from the Human Rights Council, Nikki Haley’s letter is another sign that the Trump administration prefers confrontation to compromise.

    “This letter expresses open hostility towards human rights organizations with different opinions to the United States. As civil society, our job is to hold those in power to account, and refusing to engage with anyone who disagrees with it will leave the Trump administration in a very lonely place.

    “Blaming human rights groups for the USA’s regrettable decision ignores the tireless campaigning done by Amnesty International and others to reform the Human Rights Council, including calling for higher membership standards. Glossing over the facts will not help the USA’s standing on the international stage.

    June 19, 2018

    In a bid to break down barriers, smash stereotypes and encourage people to take action, an innovative educational online course focusing on the rights of refugees will be rolled out globally to mark World Refugee Day (20 June), said Amnesty International. 

    The course, which is open to all, covers a spectrum of issues in a straightforward way. Human Rights: The Rights of Refugees includes modules on how to defend the rights of refugees, the role of governments in protecting refugees and preventing human rights violations against them and how to challenge discrimination.

    “Every day, all over the world, people make one of the most difficult decisions of their lives: to leave their country in search of a better, safer life. Yet, there is a still a lack of knowledge about the rights of the people who have been forced to flee. Our course provides a unique opportunity to learn about the rights of refugees in a simple accessible way, while encouraging and empowering the public to take action,” said Barbara Weber, Amnesty International’s Human Rights Education Director.

    January 16, 2018

    Responding to an announcement by the Bangladeshi Foreign Ministry that it will aim to repatriate all Rohingya refugees within two years, James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said:

    “With memories of rape, killing and torture still fresh in the minds of Rohingya refugees, plans for their return to Myanmar are alarmingly premature. The timeframe announced today was made without any consultation with the Rohingya themselves, and offers no assurances that people will be able to return voluntarily.

    “The most recent campaign of violence against the Rohingya was preceded by years of entrenched discrimination and abuse and for most of the 650,000 refugees who fled Myanmar last year, returning so soon will be a terrifying prospect. The obfuscation and denials of the Myanmar authorities give no reason to hope that the rights of returning Rohingya would be protected, or that the reasons for their original flight no longer exist.

    November 29, 2017
    Following the final verdict by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague, John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Europe Director said:   “Today – a week after landmark sentencing of Ratko Mladic - judges at the ICTY have brought down their gavel for the last time ending an historic endeavour in international justice. It is now vital that the national courts take the baton from the ICTY and step up their efforts to bring remaining perpetrators to justice.   “The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia has helped bring a measure of justice to thousands of victims of the armed conflicts in former Yugoslavia and demonstrated what is possible when the international community comes together.   “The court has been a beacon sending out a powerful message around the world that impunity cannot and will not be tolerated.”   For more information please contact Elizabeth Berton-Hunter, Media Relations 416-363-9933 ext 332 bberton-hunter@amnesty.ca
    November 23, 2017
    In response to news that the governments of Myanmar and Bangladesh have signed an agreement to return close to a million Rohingya refugees currently in Bangladesh, Amnesty International’s Director for Refugee and Migrant Rights, Charmain Mohamed, said:   “While precise details of this deal have not yet been revealed, talk of returns is clearly premature at a time when Rohingya refugees continue to trickle into Bangladesh on an almost daily basis as they flee ethnic cleansing in Myanmar.   “There can be no safe or dignified returns of Rohingya to Myanmar while a system of apartheid remains in the country, and thousands are held there in conditions that amount to concentration camps. Returns in the current climate are simply unthinkable.   “Myanmar and Bangladesh have clear obligations under international law not to return individuals to a situation in which they are at risk of persecution or other serious human rights violations.  
    September 05, 2017
      The arrest of a Palestinian human rights defender today who criticized the Palestinian authorities on Facebook is a shameless attack on freedom of expression, said Amnesty International.   Issa Amro, a Hebron-based coordinator for Youth Against Settlements and a former field researcher for the Israeli NGO B’Tselem, was detained at around midday local time today by Palestinian Preventive Security Forces, after he posted comments on his Facebook page criticizing the arrest of a local radio journalist yesterday by the same Palestinian security forces.   “It is outrageous that a prominent human rights defender has been arrested simply for voicing his opinion online. Criticizing the authorities should not be a criminal offence. Issa Amro’s arrest is the latest evidence that the Palestinian authorities are determined to continue with their repressive campaign against free speech,” said Magdalena Mughrabi Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.  
    August 18, 2017

    AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL SPAIN RELEASE

    · The organization condemns the attacks in both Barcelona and Cambrils in which at least 14 people have died.

    · Deliberate attacks against civilians are a crime under international law.

    Madrid / Barcelona: At least 13 people died and more than 100 were injured yesterday, 17 August, when a van deliberately ploughed into crowds of people in Las Ramblas in Barcelona, one of the town's main tourist areas.

    According to official sources, several hours later, in the early hours of 18 August, another attack took place in Cambrils (Tarragona) which left at least one person dead. According to reports, the Mossos d'Esquadra (Catalan Regional Police) thwarted the second attack when five people were shot while attempting to carry out a similar attack to the one in Barcelona. According to official sources, the five people, who are confirmed dead, were wearing fake explosive devices.

    August 08, 2017
      In an extraordinary move, three-year old Josué* was freed from Berks County Residential Center in Pennsylvania today after being granted release by an immigration judge. He and his 28-year-old mother Teresa fled kidnapping threats and physical and sexual assault in Honduras before arriving in the US seeking asylum. They have been imprisoned at Berks for over 16 months. Josué has spent over half his life in detention, learning to walk and talk in confinement.   Amnesty International launched a campaign in June to end the detention of children and their parents held at family detention facilities like Berks County Residential Center. Currently, there are dozens of children and parents jailed at Berks, one of three such family detention centers, which are akin to jails, in the United States. At least 3 other families at Berks have been held for more than 600 days.  
    July 19, 2017
      The Bahraini authorities’ decision to bring terrorism charges against Ebtissam al-Saegh, a human rights defender detained since 3 July 2017, is a chilling blow to human rights in the country, said Amnesty International.   Ebtisam al-Saegh was previously tortured, including by being sexually assaulted by members of the Bahrain National Security agency while she was held in custody last May.   “Ebtisam al-Saegh is a prisoner of conscience who must be immediately and unconditionally released. Her only ‘crime’, is her bravery in challenging the government’s appalling human rights record. By charging her with terrorism for her work on human rights, the Bahraini government is itself attempting to  intimidate and silence civil society in Bahrain,” said Samah Hadid, Director of Campaigns for the Middle-East at Amnesty International.  
    November 18, 2016

    Reacting to the executions of Chijioke Stephen Obioha, a Nigerian national, and Devendran Supramaniam, a Malaysian national, by the Singapore authorities, Josef Benedict, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said:

    “The Singapore authorities have brazenly violated international law with these shameful executions. The death penalty is a cruel and irreversible punishment that most of the world has turned its back on. Singapore continues to remain an outlier, executing people for crimes that do not meet the ‘most serious’ threshold to which the death penalty must be restricted under international law.

    October 13, 2016

    Responding to the announcement by Nigerian government that secured the release of 21 Chibok girls abducted by Boko Haram Netsanet Belay, Amnesty International’s Regional Advocacy Director, said:

    “The release of 21 of the kidnapped Chibok schoolgirls by the armed group Boko Haram is a big relief. However, it is vital now that they receive adequate physical and psychosocial counselling and support so that they can fully reintegrate in their communities. The government should also respect their privacy and ensure that the released girls are reunited with their families and not kept in lengthy detention and security screening which can only add to their suffering and plight.

    “Boko Haram members have executed and tortured thousands of civilians and raped and forced into marriage girls and women. They have been indoctrinated and even forced to fight for Boko Haram.

    “The Nigerian authorities must now do more to ensure the safe return of the thousands of women and girls, as well as men and boys abducted by Boko Haram.”

    September 02, 2016

    Reacting to Friday’s attacks on a court in Mardan and on a Christian community just outside Peshawar, both in Pakistan’s northwest Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Amnesty International said:

    “Today’s attacks a horrific reminder that Pakistan’s authorities must do more to ensure vulnerable groups are protected. The authorities have a duty to protect the right to life, prevent human rights abuses, and hold perpetrators to account in fair trials without recourse to the death penalty or other human rights violations. Armed groups are seeking to undermine the rule of law by targeting both the people who defend it in court and the people it should protect,” said Champa Patel, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director.

     

    For further information, please contact Elizabeth Berton-Hunter, Media Relations 416-363-9933 ext 332 bberton-hunter@amnesty.ca

     

    August 31, 2016

    One year after the shocking image of Syrian boy Alan Kurdi’s drowned body caused international outcry, world leaders are still failing to respond to the refugee crisis, said Amnesty International today.

    Marking the 2 September anniversary of Alan’s death, the organisation drew attention to the plight of thousands of other refugee children let down by the dismal failure of world leaders to tackle the refugee crisis. In July, negotiations ahead of the 19 September UN Refugee and Migrant Summit put the “Global Compact on Refugee Responsibility-Sharing” proposed by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on ice until 2018.

    August 25, 2016

    The conviction of Mohammed Fakhrulrazi Mohammed Mokhtar for sedition should be quashed immediately, Amnesty International said today.

    “This is a clear violation of the right to freedom of expression. Malaysia’s sedition law is a crude colonial-era instrument designed to silence dissent. It has no place in a modern rights-respecting society and should be repealed immediately,” said Josef Benedict, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for South East Asia and the Pacific.

     

    Background

    Mohammed Fakhrulrazi Mohammed Mokhtar, the vice-chief of the Parti Amanah Negara Youth, was found guilty of sedition by the Sessions Court in Kuala Lumpur and sentenced to eight months in prison.

    Fakrhulrazi, also known as Ustaz Fakhrulrazi, was charged with sedition for calling for the release of opposition politician and Amnesty International prisoner of conscience Anwar Ibrahim, at a rally in February 2015.

    The charge, under Section 4(1)(b) of the Sedition Act 1948 carries a maximum penalty of three years’ imprisonment and a fine of RM5,000.

     

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