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Public statements

    July 12, 2019

    Responding to the announcement of thousands of raids planned for Sunday by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Charanya Krishnaswami, the Advocacy Director for the Americas at Amnesty International USA said:

    "This announcement is an extension of President Trump’s relentless hostility to immigrants. It serves to encourage hate and discrimination toward immigrants and communities of color, creating a climate of fear for many people including those fearing racial profiling.

    "While it’s also concerning that we don’t know anything about what these plans will look like, it’s not unreasonable to be concerned that people facing deportation will not have adequate time or legal resources to protect themselves. Thousands of mixed-status families could be impacted, with U.S. citizen children at risk of being separated from their parents or guardians. A lack of due process in initial hearings could lead to the deportation of families and children who never had a meaningful chance to apply for relief, including asylum."

    July 12, 2019

    This week, a group of 22 countries issued a joint statement at the UN Human Rights Council expressing concern over the arbitrary detention, surveillance and other violations against Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

    The statement calls on China to provide “meaningful access to Xinjiang for independent international observers, including for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights”.

    The record number of states standing up to China at the Council on their human rights record shows the mounting international concern over the mass detention of Uyghurs and members of other minority groups in Xinjiang.

    The countries that signed the statement include: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

    July 11, 2019

    Responding to the UN Human Rights Council voting in favour of a resolution to monitor and report on the critical human rights situation in the Philippines – including unlawful killings in the context of the “war on drugs” – Nicholas Bequelin, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East and Southeast Asia said:

    “This vote provides hope for thousands of bereaved families in the Philippines, and countless more Filipinos bravely challenging the Duterte administration’s murderous ‘war on drugs’. It’s a crucial step towards justice and accountability.

    “The Philippines has failed to hold those responsible to account at home. The Human Rights Council resolution sends a clear message that the international community will not look the other way as extrajudicial executions and other serious violations continue to be committed with impunity.

    July 10, 2019

    In response to the arbitrary arrest on allegations of fraud of two of the key figures involved in organizing post-election demonstrations in Malawi, Muleya Mwananyanda, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Southern Africa said: 

    “These charges are a ploy to harass and intimidate the two activists and force them to end the ongoing post-election demonstrations.

    “Malawian authorities must immediately and unconditionally release them and stop clamping down on the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association.

    “Organizing and participating in peaceful protests is not a crime. Authorities must stop targeting dissenting voices and using politically motivated charges to suppress differing views. The rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association must be fully respected, protected, promoted and fulfilled in Malawi.”

    Background

    July 09, 2019

    Responding to the decision by the Supreme Court of Indonesia to clear a teenager sentenced to prison for terminating a pregnancy resulting from a sexual assault, Amnesty International Indonesia’s Executive Director Usman Hamid said:

    “This is a landmark ruling for women in Indonesia. This teenager is not a criminal. She is the one who suffered a sexual assault –  and did nothing other than claim her rights over her body. It beggars belief that the courts tried to impose this reckless, vicious and absurd sentence on a teenage victim of sexual violence. She should not have spent a single day in detention.

    “We welcome the Supreme Court’s ruling. It must send a message to law enforcement agencies and public prosecutors across the country that their role is to protect victims of rape, not aggravate their suffering.

    July 09, 2019

    Spokespersons available to take media interviews

    Following today’s International Criminal Court (ICC) conviction of Bosco Ntaganda, former leader of a rebel group in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for war crimes and crimes against humanity, Joan Nyanyuki, Amnesty International’s Director for East Africa welcomed the conviction, saying:

    “We can only hope that today’s verdict provides some consolation to those affected by the grotesque crimes perpetrated by Ntaganda and paves the way for his victims and their families to finally obtain a measure of justice and reparations.”

    “Every day of the seven years that Ntaganda freely roamed the streets of Goma after the International Criminal Court issued his arrest warrant increased the torment that the victims and their families had to endure - to the shame of DRC authorities and the international community.

    “But today, the 2,123 victims in the case can at last begin the process of reparations for all the harm inflicted upon them by Ntaganda.”

    Background

    July 02, 2019

     “The Panel is convinced that the Tsilhqot’in cultural attachment to Fish Lake (Teztan Biny) and the Nabas areas is so profound that they cannot reasonably be expected to accept the conversion of that area into the proposed New Prosperity mine.” – from the 2013 federal environmental assessment of the last project proposed by Taseko Mines and ultimately rejected by the federal government 

    Amnesty International is urging the Province of British Columbia to suspend permits that could allow destructive mineral exploration to begin as early as this week on lands that the Tsilhqot’in National Government has long sought to protect.

    The Tsilhqot’in people describe Teẑtan Biny (Fish Lake) and Yanah Biny (Little Fish Lake) and the surrounding area as “a place of profound cultural and spiritual significance.” The destructive impacts of mining exploration cannot be justified, especially in light of the fact that exploration will almost certainly never lead to the actual opening of a mine. 

    July 02, 2019

    Responding to news that the police have charged a woman with blasphemy for entering a mosque with her dog in Sentul, Bogor, West Java, Amnesty International Indonesia’s Executive Director Usman Hamid said:

    “The footage shows clearly that the woman is in distress. To bring criminal charges against her is inappropriate. The state’s priority should be her wellbeing. Her actions may have felt insensitive, but these issues can be resolved peacefully. It is not a matter for the courts.

    “In Indonesia, blasphemy laws are often used to target individuals who belong to minority religions or whose interpretations of Islam are not sanctioned by the government. Charges have been levelled against others for their peaceful opinions. This latest, unfortunate and absurd case is further proof that blasphemy laws are not fit for purpose. The police must immediately release the woman and drop the charges against her. Further, authorities in Indonesia should repeal the blasphemy law to comply with their human rights obligations.”

    Background

    July 02, 2019

    Reacting to the news that Istanbul Pride march participants who were demonstrating peacefully were attacked with tear gas and plastic bullets by police, Amnesty International's Turkey Campaigner Milena Buyum said:

    “An entirely peaceful Istanbul Pride has yet again been tainted by the shocking unwarranted actions of the police who attacked groups of Pride participants. The wanton use of tear gas and plastic bullets in this context is completely unacceptable and further compounds the unlawful ban LGBTI people and their allies have been subjected to.

    “In a blatant attack on freedom of expression, Amnesty International’s representatives monitoring the Pride event received allegations that police announced that people in ‘inappropriate’ dress would be detained.

    “We are dismayed at the news that people have been arbitrarily detained by police simply because of their participation in Istanbul pride. They must be immediately and unconditionally released and an urgent investigation into the use of excessive force must be launched.”

    Background

    June 26, 2019
    Denmark to become tenth country in Europe to recognize that sex without consent is rape 

    Following the publication of a “Government agreement” committing itself to introduce consent-based rape legislation Amnesty International’s Women’s Rights Researcher, Anna Błuś, said:

    “This commitment by the new government to amend Danish law to recognize the simple truth that sex without consent is rape in law is a welcome if long-overdue, step forward. It is a testament to all the survivors who have spoken out and all the campaigners who have fought long and hard for change.

    “Together with the survivors campaigning for improved access to justice, we look forward to seeing the draft law and hope that the authorities also commit themselves to taking steps to challenge rape myths and gender stereotypes at all levels of society. This will require institutional and social change, as well as comprehensive sexuality and relationships education, including on sexual consent.

    June 26, 2019

    Myanmar authorities should immediately end an internet shutdown imposed in conflict-affected areas of Rakhine and Chin States since 21 June 2019, said Amnesty International today. The shutdown has created an information black hole in an area where the Myanmar military has committed serious violations – including war crimes – raising serious concerns about the safety of civilians. It is essential that the Myanmar authorities ensure the right to information in times of crisis.

    June 24, 2019

    The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled today that Poland’s contested Law on the Supreme Court is in breach of EU law. Under an interim decision from the CJEU from November 2018, Polish authorities had already been ordered to restore the Supreme Court to its composition before April 2018, when the law came into force.

    In response to the news, Eve Geddie, Director of Amnesty International’s European Institutions Office, said:

    “Today the European Union’s top court has confirmed what we have long been saying, that the Polish government acted against EU law when it attempted to force almost a third of Supreme Court judges to retire and attempted to exert control over the judiciary.”

    The amendment of the Law on the Supreme Court is part of a broader “reform” of the judiciary in Poland. Amnesty International considers that these changes effectively politicize the judiciary and undermine its independence.

    June 21, 2019

    Responding to news that five men known as the "Wolf Pack" have been sentenced to 15 years in prison for rape by Spain's Supreme Court, Massimo Moratti, Deputy Director of the European Regional Office said:

    “We are delighted that justice has finally prevailed in this horrific case and that the rights of the survivor have been upheld. But the journey to get here has been long, and caused the woman involved further unnecessary and avoidable suffering.

    “This case shows exactly why it’s so crucial for Spain’s Penal Code to be amended. Sex without consent is rape; it’s that simple. The assumption in law that a victim gives their consent because they have not resisted is deeply problematic and undermines access to justice, especially since “involuntary paralysis” or “freezing” has been recognized by experts as a common response to sexual assault.

    June 19, 2019

    Responding to the release of the UN report on the murder of Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi, which concludes that he was the victim of “an extrajudicial killing for which the state of Saudi Arabia is responsible under human rights law,” and that “there is credible evidence, warranting further investigation of high-level Saudi officials’ individual liability, including the Crown Prince’s,” Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Middle East Director of Research, said:

    “We call on UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to immediately take up the Special Rapporteur’s recommendation to launch an international follow-up criminal investigation. The UN report confirms that the steps taken to date by Saudi Arabia to ensure accountability are not only inadequate, but violate themselves human rights standards, both procedurally and substantively. 

    June 17, 2019

    Responding to the news of former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi’s death in custody today Magdalena Mughrabi, Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said:

    "The news of Mohamed Morsi’s death in court today is deeply shocking and raises serious questions about his treatment in custody. The Egyptian authorities must immediately order an impartial, thorough and transparent investigation into the circumstances of his death, as well as his detention conditions and his ability to access medical care.  

    "Egyptian authorities had the responsibility to ensure that, as a detainee,he had access to proper medical care.

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