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    August 24, 2016

    The establishment of a high-level commission headed by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan is a welcome step towards addressing the human rights situation in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, Amnesty International said today.

    “Today’s announcement is a sign that Myanmar’s authorities are taking the situation in Rakhine state seriously. But it will only have been a worthwhile exercise if it paves the way for the realization of human rights for all people in the state,” said Rafendi Djamin, Amnesty International’s Director for South East Asia and the Pacific.

    Rakhine state on the western coast of Myanmar is home to many minority groups that have faced decades of human rights violations and abuses, in particular, the persecuted Rohingya minority. The situation there has deteriorated markedly since 2012, when clashes between different groups sparked waves of violence, culminating in scores of deaths, destruction of property and mass displacement.

    August 14, 2016

    A 10-year-old Syrian girl seriously wounded by sniper fire from a Syrian government forces checkpoint in Madaya was successfully evacuated last night for urgent surgery following international pressure, Amnesty International can confirm.

    According to the Syrian Red Crescent, Ghina Ahmad Wadi and her mother were escorted from the besieged town to Damascus overnight last night. The move follows appeals by the girl’s UK-based aunt, supported by Amnesty International and others.

    “This is clearly a very welcome move that could prove to be a lifeline for Ghina, a brave young girl who was caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. It is appalling that she was left to suffer for days on end before being granted this vital reprieve,” said Magdalena Mughrabi-Talhami, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Programme Director at Amnesty International.

    “Amnesty International has information about many other civilians in Madaya who are critically ill or injured – in some cases for up to two months – and in need of urgent medical attention immediately.

    August 03, 2016

    Press Conference Comments

    Alex Neve
    Secretary General, Amnesty International Canada (English Branch)

    It is almost twelve years since Amnesty International launched our Stolen Sisters report, documenting the role of long entrenched discrimination in putting shocking numbers of Indigenous women and girls in harm’s way.

    In raising our voice, we joined the Native Women’s Association of Canada; family members of murdered and missing First Nations, Inuit and Métis women and girls; women and girls who had survived violence; and countless frontline organizations and allies; all of whom had been struggling for years to draw attention to the violence and demand real action to bring it to an end.

    Above all else today we honour the steadfast determination of the families who have courageously bared their pain and sorrow to Canada and, in fact, the world in pressing for justice.

    July 27, 2016

    President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s decision to make Gen. Wiranto Indonesia’s most powerful security official a mere day after Indonesia ordered the execution of 14 death row prisoners shows contempt for human rights, Amnesty International said today.

    “This is adding insult to injury. A day after ordering a fresh round of executions, Jokowi has now decided to hand control of the country’s security apparatus to someone was indicted for crimes against humanity by a UN sponsored tribunal,” said Josef Benedict, Deputy Director for South East Asia and the Pacific.

    On 27 July 2016, Gen. Wiranto was appointed to the position of Coordinating Minister for Politics, Law, and Security Affairs.

    Gen. Wiranto was also publicly named as a suspect in the inquiry initiated in 1999 by Indonesia’s National Commission on Human Rights (Komisi Nasional Hak Asasi Manusia, Komnas HAM), but was never charged in Indonesia.

     

    July 19, 2016

    CLEVELAND, OH – Amnesty International USA (AIUSA) has deployed human rights observers to monitor protests at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, OH, this week and will do the same at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, PA, next week. The following is a statement from Eric Ferrero, AIUSA’s Deputy Executive Director for Strategic Communications and Digital Initiatives, on the protests in Cleveland thus far:

    "Amnesty International USA's delegation of human rights observers monitored four protests today in Cleveland. The protests today appeared peaceful, with police fulfilling their duty to protect people's freedom to come together and voice their opinion. Amnesty International's independent, impartial human rights observers will monitor protests the rest of this week in Cleveland and next week in Philadelphia. Our goal is to help protect the human rights that all people have to protest peacefully."

    ++++++++++++++++++++++

    For media inquiries, please contact Jacob Kuehn in media relations

    613-744-7667, ext 236

    July 14, 2016

    South Sudanese security forces are deliberately blocking people from leaving the country in violation of their right to freedom of movement, Amnesty International can reveal.

    The organisation has received reports from two charter companies that National Security Service officers have ordered them not to carry South Sudanese nationals, particularly men. It has also been told by an NGO that one of its South Sudanese staff was prevented from boarding a flight to Entebbe, Uganda.

    “This arbitrary conduct by the South Sudanese security forces is totally unacceptable. South Sudan must respect people’s right to freedom of movement, including the right to leave their own country,” said Elizabeth Deng, Amnesty International’s South Sudan Researcher.

    “It is absolutely critical that both parties to the conflict do not obstruct safe passage of civilians fleeing to places of refuge both inside and outside of the country.”

    Thousands of South Sudanese people have reportedly gathered at the country’s southern border seeking to enter into Uganda, but they are also being prevented from crossing over.

    July 12, 2016

    A new proposal by a group of parliamentarians from opposition party ARENA in El Salvador to increase jail terms for women accused of having an abortion to up to 50 years is scandalous, irresponsible and flies on the face of basic human rights standards, Amnesty International said.

    “Parliamentarians in El Salvador are playing a very dangerous game with the lives of millions of women. Banning life-saving abortions in all circumstances is atrocious but seeking to raise jail terms for women who seek an abortion or those who provide support is simply despicable,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    “Instead of continuing to criminalize women, authorities in El Salvador must repeal the outdated anti-abortion law once and for all.”

    July 08, 2016

    “Last night’s shootings are a devastating reminder that gun violence in the U.S. is a human rights crisis that impacts everyone.
    Our thoughts are with the victims and their families,” said Margaret Huang, Amnesty International USA interim executive director.
    “Killings both by and of police demand justice. The right to life is universal and everyone – both civilians and officers alike – should be able live free from fear and feel safe in their communities."

    “We must remember that the public’s response to the deaths of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile
    and Jerry Williams have been overwhelmingly peaceful. Last night’s tragedy should not affect
    the ability and the safety of those who will continue to exercise their right to protest peacefully.
    We call on law enforcement officers to facilitate that right.”

     

    For further information, please contact Elizabeth Berton-Hunter, Media Relations

    416-363-9933 ext 332 Email: bberton-hunter@amnesty.ca

     

     

    June 03, 2016

    The Fijian parliament must overturn the suspension of an opposition MP for merely exercising her right to freedom of expression, Amnesty International said today.

    “Parliaments can only be worthy of their name when all members can speak freely on all issues,” said Rafendi Djamin, Amnesty International’s Director for South East Asia and the Pacific.

    “Unless this suspension is immediately reversed, the Fijian authorities are proving they are intent on silencing critical voices.”

    Tupou Draunidalo, an indigenous Fijian parliamentarian and member of the National Federation Party was suspended following a parliamentary motion on 3 June 2016 for calling a government minister “a fool” while responding to comments deriding opposition members of parliament.

    Draunidalo asked the government minister if he was suggesting herself and other indigenous members of the opposition were “dumb natives”.

    May 28, 2016

    The sentencing of a former Argentinean military leader for his role in hundreds of enforced disappearances in the context of a region-wide intelligence operation must open the door to further investigations to bring all those responsible to justice, said Amnesty International.

    Former de facto President Reynaldo Bignone was sentenced to 20 years in prison by a court in Buenos Aires. Fourteen other military officers were also sentenced to prison terms.

    “This is a day for celebration in South America. This historic ruling sends the important message that justice will always prevail,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    “Today’s ruling must be the first step towards real justice for the many victims of this Machiavellian operation, which left a long trail of suffering and horror throughout Latin America. Governments in countries who had a direct or indirect role in aiding Operation Condor must left no stone unturned to ensure all those responsible face justice so these terrible crimes never happen again.”

    May 25, 2016

    The release of Khadija Ismayilova by Azerbaijan’s Supreme Court is a welcome step but she will not have obtained justice until her conviction is quashed, said Amnesty International.

    Khadija Ismayilova was sentenced to seven and a half years imprisonment at a trial in September 2015 under trumped-up charges of embezzlement, illegal entrepreneurship, tax evasion and abuse of office.
    The Supreme Court today reduced her sentence to a suspended term of three and a half years, after it reversed two of the initial four charges against her.

    “Khadija Ismayilova must be fully acquitted if she is ever to obtain justice for her wrongful imprisonment,” said Denis Krivosheev, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Europe and Central Asia.

    “Numerous other prisoners of conscience are still in jail for exercising their right to freedom of expression in Azerbaijan and must also be freed to break this dangerous pattern of fear and repression.”

    May 20, 2016

    Today’s release of human rights defender, José Marcos Mavungo, after the Angola Supreme Tribunal upheld his appeal against a six year sentence is a long overdue triumph for justice, said Amnesty International.

    He has served over a year in prison following his arrest on 14 March 2015. He was convicted on 14 September for ‘rebellion’ for his involvement in organizing a peaceful demonstration. Amnesty International considered him a prisoner of conscience.

    “José Marcos Mavungo was merely exercising his rights to freedom of assembly and association and his arrest and subsequent trial on rebellion charge was a travesty of justice,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Director for Southern Africa.

    “Whilst his release is cause for celebration, José Marcos Mavungo should never have spent a single minute in jail. The decision by the Angola Supreme Tribunal demonstrates that there are still judges who are guided by the rule of law.”

    Background

    May 20, 2016

    A Syrian national who arrived on the Greek island of Lesvos has won an appeal against a decision that would have led to his forcible return to Turkey, underscoring the fundamental flaws in the migration deal agreed in March between the European Union and Turkey, Amnesty International said today.

    In the first such decision Amnesty International has seen since the deal, an appeals committee in Athens overturned an initial decision considering Turkey a safe third country on the grounds that Turkey does not afford refugees the full protection required under the Refugee Convention. The committee also ruled that Turkey does not guarantee the principle of non-refoulement, which forbids returning someone to a country where he or she is at risk of serious human rights violations.

    “This decision goes to the heart of why the EU-Turkey deal was so deeply flawed to begin with,” said Gauri van Gulik, Deputy Europe Director at Amnesty International.

    May 20, 2016

    Amnesty International condemns the execution of Kho Jabing, a Malaysian national convicted of murder, mere hours after his last chance for a reprieve was dismissed by the Court of Appeal.

    "It is disgraceful that Kho Jabing's was executed, particularly with such indecent haste, after his final appeal was denied this morning," said Josef Benedict, Deputy Director of Amnesty International's South East Asia and Pacific Regional Office.

    “Clemency should have been granted, more so given the uncertainty and divided opinion surrounding Kho Jabing's fate over the past six years. Singapore is at a crossroads. It must decide whether it wants to join most of the world by protecting human rights and ridding itself of the death penalty, or remain among the minority of countries that insist on the implementation of this cruel and inhumane punishment."

     

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

     

    May 19, 2016

    Prominent Egyptian human rights defender, Mina Thabet, Director of the Minority and Religious Groups Department at the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms (ECRF), was arrested today as the government escalates its assault on Egypt’s NGO community.  He was seized during a raid on his home in Cairo in the early hours of this morning by members of the Egyptian National Security Agency, who ill-treated him and his family members and refused to disclose his place of detention.

    “Mina Thabet is a pillar of Egypt’s human rights community. He has tirelessly worked to defend the rights of minority groups, including Coptic Christians whom the government has suppressed for decades. His arrest is a flagrant attack against freedom of expression and association and provides damning proof of the Egyptian authorities’ vindictive resolve to silence anyone who dares to challenge the government’s narrative,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, interim Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.

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