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    October 01, 2019

    In response to the shooting of a protester by police in Hong Kong during demonstrations marking China’s National Day, leaving him in a critical condition in hospital, the Director of Amnesty International Hong Kong Man-Kei Tam said:

    “The shooting of a protester marks an alarming development in the Hong Kong police’s response to protests. The Hong Kong authorities must launch a prompt and effective investigation into the sequence of events that left a teenager fighting for his life in hospital. Police should only use lethal force in response to an imminent threat of death or serious injury and only as a last resort. 

    “We are urging the Hong Kong authorities to urgently review their approach in policing the protests in order to de-escalate the situation and prevent more lives being put at risk.” 

    Amnesty International analyzed videos of the shooting and pinpointed the location as Hau Tei Square in Hong Kong’s Tsuen Wan area. In a short video statement the Hong Kong Police Force defended the shooting by stating that the officer felt his life was under threat: 

    September 05, 2019

    Responding to the news that Abdul Samad Amiri, the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission’s acting director in Ghor province, was kidnapped and killed by the Taliban, Amnesty International’s South Asia Campaigner, Samira Hamidi, said:

    “This brutal act is a war crime. Even as the Taliban claims to be pursuing peace, it continues to kill people in the most gruesome way. Abdul Samad Amiri devoted his life to standing up for the rights of others, those who have no one else to speak for them. Our thoughts are with Abdul Samad’s family and his brave colleagues at the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission.

    “This tragedy underscores the grave dangers that human rights defenders in Afghanistan face. Threatened by all sides in a conflict that continues to claim civilian lives daily, they are left defenceless. The Afghan government and the international community must provide them with the protection they desperately need and not abandon them.”

    Background

    August 28, 2019

    Responding to news that hundreds of internally displaced Iraqis, mostly women and children, have been forcibly returned today from a northern camp, Hammam al-Alil, to their hometown in Hawija despite serious humanitarian and security concerns, Amnesty International’s Middle East Research Director, Lynn Maalouf said:

    “These reports that hundreds of internally displaced Iraqis are being loaded onto buses and taken to Hawija are extremely disturbing – much of the city is in ruins. Many of these people don’t have homes to go back to, and will struggle to access essential services such as health care and schooling and may not afford access to water and electricity. Until the government has established a framework to ensure their safe, voluntary return, the Iraqi government must refrain from sending anyone back. 

    August 22, 2019

    Responding to the news of the wildfires that have been raging in the Amazon rainforest for several weeks, Kumi Naidoo, Secretary General of Amnesty International said:

    “The responsibility to stop the wildfires that have been raging in the Amazon rainforest for several weeks now lies squarely with President Bolsonaro and his government. They must change their disastrous policy of opening up the rainforest for destruction, which is what has paved the way for this current crisis.

    “Earlier this year Amnesty International documented illegal land invasions and arson attacks near Indigenous territories in the Amazon, including Rondônia state where many of the fires are raging.

    August 22, 2019

    Responding to the decision of the Communications and Information Ministry to shut down mobile internet in Papua and West Papua provinces, Amnesty International Indonesia’s Executive Director Usman Hamid said:

    “This blanket internet blackout is an appalling attack on people’s right to freedom of expression in Papua and West Papua. This is not a time for censorship. These tensions are not an excuse to prevent people from sharing information and peacefully speaking their mind. In addition, the decision would also prevent people from documenting and sharing evidence of abuses committed by security forces, just as authorities are sending more security forces to the region.

    “The immediate priority for the authorities should be to launch a thorough and effective investigation into the root cause of the unrest: allegations of discrimination and unlawful use of force against Papuan students in Surabaya and Malang in East Java over the weekend. Further restricting the exercise of human rights must not be the answer.”

    Background

    August 20, 2019

    Reacting to reports that Planned Parenthood will withdraw from Title X, the federal family planning program, rather than comply with a new Trump administration rule that restricts what health providers can say about abortion, Tarah Demant, director of the Gender, Sexuality and Identity Program at Amnesty International USA said:

    “The Trump administration's restrictions on Title X trample on sexual and reproductive rights, putting the lives of all pregnant people at significant risk, especially low-income women. Over four million people in the United States who depend on health care will be impacted because of these cruel policies aimed at Planned Parenthood.

    “The only people who should be making decisions about their pregnancies are those who are pregnant or can become pregnant. Any and all policies by a government should support and respect a pregnant persons’ reproductive autonomy and basic human rights - any policies that refuse to do that are illegitimate and unlawful.” 

    Background:

    August 19, 2019

    In response to a ruling by a court today in El Salvador under which Evelyn Hernández was acquitted of charges for aggravated homicide, Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International, said:

    “This is a resounding victory for the rights of women in El Salvador. It reaffirms that no woman should be wrongly accused of homicide for the simple fact of suffering an obstetric emergency.

    Now that Evelyn has been acquitted, Amnesty International calls on El Salvador to end the shameful and discriminatory practice of criminalizing women once and for all by immediately revoking the nation’s draconian anti-abortion laws.”

    Background information

    On 6 April 2016, Evelyn Hernández, 21, suffered an obstetric emergency in her home in El Salvador which resulted in the loss of her pregnancy. Once at hospital, attending staff reported her to the police. She was arrested, tried, and sentenced to 30 years in jail for aggravated homicide. In 2018, a higher court overturned this ruling and ordered a re-trial.

    On 19 August 2019, Evelyn was declared innocent.

    August 18, 2019

    In response to another march this afternoon where hundreds of thousands have taken to the streets, Man-Kei Tam, Director of Amnesty International Hong Kong said:

    “The people of Hong Kong have once again demonstrated their resolve by taking part in a peaceful demonstration against a proposed extradition bill.

    “We saw how failure in political leadership inflamed tensions between protesters and the police in the past few months. The Hong Kong government must immediately withdraw the extradition law amendments, ensure the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and allow an independent investigation into the use of force by Hong Kong police against protesters.”

    Spokespeople are available in English and Cantonese. Please contact Lucy Scholey, Media Relations, Amnesty International Canada (English branch), 613-744-7667 ext. 236 lscholey@amnesty.ca

    August 16, 2019

    Ahead of a closed-door consultation on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir at the UN Security Council today, Kumi Naidoo, Secretary General of Amnesty International said:

    “For the first time in decades the United Nations Security Council is taking up the issue of Jammu and Kashmir. Members of the council need to remember that their mandate is to protect international peace and security – and they should seek to resolve the situation in a way that puts the human rights of the people in this troubled region at its centre.

    “We reiterate our calls to the Indian government to act in accordance with international human rights law and standards towards people living in Jammu and Kashmir, including in relation to arrests and detentions of political opponents, and the rights to liberty and freedom of movement.

    “The actions of the Indian government have thrown ordinary people’s lives into turmoil, subjecting them to unnecessary pain and distress on top of the years of human rights violations they have already endured.

    August 14, 2019

    Amnesty International welcomes the federal government’s decision to cover the legal aid funding cuts to services for refugees and immigrants that were announced by the Government of Ontario in April 2019. A total of $25.7 million will be allocated to Ontario, as well as $1.16 million to British Columbia, and $20,000 to Manitoba. Legal aid allows newcomers and refugees to exercise their legal rights and help navigate extremely complex areas of the law, where they would not otherwise have the financial means to hire legal counsel.

    “This announcement by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Minister of Justice David Lametti and Parliamentary Secretary Arif Virani is most welcome, and comes at a time when the immigration and refugee system – particularly in Ontario – is facing a real access to justice crisis,” said Justin Mohammed, Human Rights Law and Policy Campaigner. “Such legal proceedings often have serious consequences on the lives of those involved, and can even entail questions of life and death. Nobody should face such high-stakes legal proceedings without access to legal counsel.”

    August 08, 2019

    Amnesty International is proudly supporting a new project, Operation #NotForgotten, which will sponsor up to 200 refugees living on the isolated Nauru and Manus Islands. 

    The campaign is an initiative of Canada Caring Society and MOSAIC, which are working with partners in Australia to raise $3.3 million to bring 200 refugees to Canada. Hassan Al Kontar, an advocate and Syrian refugee who lived in the Kuala Lumpur airport for seven months and was detained in a Malaysian detention centre for two months, is also leading this project. Since moving to Vancouver, BC last year, Al Kontar has wished to help other refugees resettle in Canada.

    “For years, refugees and asylum seekers have been detained in desperate and inhumane conditions in Australia’s cruel offshore detention policy,” said Justin Mohammed, Human Rights Law and Policy Campaigner with Amnesty International Canada. “This resettlement project will finally offer hope to those who have essentially been living in open air prisons, with little freedom to move and a lack of appropriate healthcare.”

    August 07, 2019

    After learning that Saeed Malekpour has returned to Canada following close to 11 years of unjust and unlawful imprisonment in Iran, Amnesty International Canada Secretary General Alex Neve said:

    “We are relieved and delighted to learn of Saeed Malekpour’s safe return to Canada after more than a decade in Iran’s notorious Evin Prison. Saeed’s resilient spirit in the face of torture, psychological abuse, forced confessions and unjust imprisonment has been truly remarkable.  His return home is testament as well to the courage and dedication of his sister, Maryam Malekpour, who diligently worked to shed light on his situation and tirelessly led the campaign for his freedom. Amnesty International Canada extends a warm welcome home to Saeed and wishes him and Maryam well in their long-awaited reunion.”

    Alex Neve further said:

    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.

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