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Public statements

    March 21, 2019

    Amnesty International welcomes the Federal Court decision on 20 March 2019 striking down the 36-month Pre-Removal Risk Assessment (PRRA) bar for refugee claimants from Designated Countries of Origin (DCO) on constitutional grounds. The court found that the bar violated Section 15 of the Charter, the right to equality and non-discrimination.

    DCO claimants are those whose country of origin is designated by the Minister as a country that is less likely to produce refugees. There are currently 42 countries designated as a DCO, including Mexico, which continues to face an unrelenting human rights crisis in such areas as violence against women, disappearances and torture, and Hungary, where there are well-documented cases, including by Amnesty, of persecution of Roma people.

    March 15, 2019

    The horrific attacks on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, in which shooters killed 49 people and injured at least 48 more, is a devastating reminder of the consequences of letting hatred and demonization go unchecked, Amnesty International said today. The organization’s Secretary General Kumi Naidoo said:

    “This is one of the darkest days in New Zealand’s history. The attackers who unleashed their deadly hatred and racism upon women, men, and children as they took part in Friday prayers has thrown us all into shock and grief.

    “This is also a moment of reckoning for leaders across the world who have encouraged or turned a blind eye to the scourge of Islamophobia. The politics of demonization has today cost 49 people their lives. Reports that the attackers followed a white supremacist manifesto must galvanize world leaders to start standing against this hate-filled ideology.

    February 12, 2019

    In advance of Saskatchewan Court of Appeal hearings on February 13 and 14, in a case brought by the provincial government of Saskatchewan challenging the constitutionality of the federal government’s carbon pricing system, Amnesty International underscores that regardless of constitutional disagreements, federal, provincial and territorial governments equally share binding international human rights obligations to take urgent and effective measures to address climate change. Constitutional arrangements are no excuse for inadequate or delayed action.

    February 07, 2019

    Across Canada, Amnesty International supporters remember and honour Paul Dewar today as a passionate and fiercely committed human rights champion with whom we worked closely on many cases and campaigns. In political life and since, Paul was always unswerving in his advocacy efforts, be it with respect to concerns about the rights of Indigenous peoples, national security laws and gender equality in Canada, or global determination to help free prisoners of conscience, push for effective measures to tackle major human rights challenges like the trade in conflict minerals, and respond to pressing human rights crises in all corners of our world.  And always, what was most important to Paul was to lift up and learn from individuals and communities at the frontlines of human rights struggle, in Canada and around the world. Paul is already deeply missed, but his legacy will live on in the many thousands of people whose lives he touched and whose activism he inspires. As he urged us in his farewell message, we will “keep building a more peaceful and better world for all.”

    February 07, 2019

    A report on staff well-being at the International Secretariat of Amnesty International was released on January 31, 2019.  The report had been commissioned by the movement’s previous international Secretary General in the wake of the tragic suicides of Amnesty International colleagues Gaëtan Mootoo and Rosalind McGregor in May and July of 2018.

    In the words of our current global Secretary General, Kumi Naidoo, the findings in the report are deeply troubling, particularly to hear employees “speak of a culture of secrecy and mistrust where discrimination, bullying and abuse of power have been condoned.”

    In responding to the report Kumi Naidoo has committed to moving Amnesty International’s organizational culture “towards more compassion and respect” as a priority. Under his leadership, and in consultation with staff at the International Secretariat, an implementation plan is being developed as a matter of urgency, to be presented by the end of March 2019.

    December 20, 2018

    Amnesty International has taken the decision to pull the magazine Glamoria and the organization apologizes unreservedly for its publication.

    The magazine, produced by Amnesty International Netherlands, was in extremely poor taste and entirely at odds with our values and objectives as a global human rights movement.

    It is clear that the magazine trivialized the suffering and trauma refugees have experienced fleeing their homes, particularly women. We realize the images also compounded sexualized gender stereotypes that harm and objectify women, specifically women of colour. We are conscious that the use of life jackets as a prop was particularly hurtful to people who have depended on these for their survival. We are profoundly sorry for this.

    Amnesty International Netherlands never intended to offend anyone and deeply regret the choices that were made in relation to this magazine. They realise this has been a mistake and has distracted from the urgent need for action to end the dire situation for many trapped on the Greek islands.

    November 13, 2018

    Amnesty International will intervene to argue for the right to challenge the legality of immigration detention

    Amnesty International, alongside other human rights organizations, will intervene at the Supreme Court of Canada on November 14, 2018, in a landmark case on immigration detention, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness v Chhina.

    This Supreme Court case is about the basic right of immigration detainees to challenge the lawfulness of their detention by way of habeas corpus – a constitutionally protected right derived from the common law to impose a check on the power of the State to deprive individuals of their liberty. Amnesty International will argue that Canada is under international legal obligations to guarantee immigration detainees this right.

    October 05, 2018

    Amnesty International condemns the conviction on 3 October of activist and artist Seelan Palay, who was sentenced to two weeks’ imprisonment after refusing to pay a fine of SGD 2,500 (USD 1,800), for holding a piece of art outside Parliament in 2017. The organisation considers the conviction a violation of the right to freedom of expression and calls for the quashing of the conviction and sentence.

    September 21, 2018

    Human Rights Council adopts Universal Periodic Review outcome on Canada

    Amnesty International is disappointed that Canada’s response to its UPR, while containing welcome commitments, does not commit to substantial advances and primarily confirms initiatives already underway.

    Canada reiterates that a protocol and stakeholder engagement strategy are being developed to coordinate implementation of international human rights obligations across federal, provincial and territorial jurisdictions, but offers no concrete plans or timeline to ensure these urgent reforms advance.[1]

    Treaty ratification commitments appear to have weakened from previous announcements about moving to accede to the Optional Protocols to the Convention against Torture and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This response states there is no decision yet regarding accession.[2]

    August 09, 2018

    Responding to the nomination of Michelle Bachelet as the new United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Isha Dyfan, Director of International Advocacy at Amnesty International, said:

    “Michelle Bachelet’s nomination comes at a tumultuous time for the human rights community. As we approach the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the freedoms enshrined within it are under sustained threat around the world. 

    “Brutal and protracted conflicts are raging in many countries, while a rising tide of authoritarianism is undermining the human rights standards many have long taken for granted. It will take a strong and principled leader, willing to speak truth to power and ready to mobilize resources and political will, to defend our rights in this challenging climate.

    “We look forward to cooperating with Michelle Bachelet to advance the broad human rights agenda of her office, including strengthening the OHCHR itself upon the General Assembly confirmation.

    May 22, 2018

    I am here today, a free man, after a nightmare of imprisonment in Ethiopia that stole from me, my wife and my family, more than 11 years of my life.

    April 14, 2018

    Responding to the commemoration of the fourth anniversary of the abduction of 276 school girls in Chibok, Osai Ojigho Director Amnesty International Nigeria said:

    “What happened in Chibok should have served as a wake-up call to the Nigerian government. Yet four years on, thousands more women and girls have been taken from their homes and forced to live in captivity, in events largely unnoticed and unreported by media.

    “The time is long overdue for the government to deliver meaningful action on behalf of all the victims of Boko Haram’s crimes. This starts by doing more to secure the release of the hundreds still being held, including the remaining Chibok girls and Leah Sharibu, the only Dapchi girl still in captivity.

    “Far more support must also be provided for past victims. For the families of those still missing, the government should open a register for abducted people, ensuring that the tens of thousands of people living in displacement camps get the opportunity to register their loved ones.”

     

     

    March 20, 2018

    Amnesty International condemns the murder of Javier Bernardo Cuero Ortíz, son of Bernardo Cuero Bravo, on 19 March 2018 in the city of Tumaco, southern Colombia. His brother Silvio Dubán Ortíz was also killed during the events.

    Javier Bernardo and his family were sitting outside of a relative's store, when two unidentified individuals approached them on a motorcycle and fired directly at them, killing them both and wounding one more person. Amnesty International has received reports that the murderers aimed directly at Cuero's relatives, a sign that it was a planned event and that the rest of the family could still be at risk.

    The murder of Javier Bernardo took place just nine months after the murder of his father Bernardo Cuero, human rights defender and victims’ leader of the National Association of Displaced Afro-Colombians (AFRODES) in June 2017. The murders occurred just weeks after the trial hearing set to press charges against the perpetrators of the crime, and there is evidence regarding the intellectual perpetrators of this crime.

    January 19, 2018

    Ahead of massive popular mobilization and protests announced to take place as of 20 January, Amnesty International calls on the Honduran authorities to respect and protect the right to peaceful assembly life and physical integrity of protestors. The opposition has called for a week of protests at national level to reject the investiture ceremony scheduled to take place on 27 January.

    “The excessive use of force that led to fatal victims and serious injuries since 29 November, is unacceptable and should not be repeated. Honduran authorities have the responsibility to protect people’s lives and rights; security forces must refrain from using firearms to control or disperse crowds. People must be allowed to exercise their right to freedom of peaceful assembly and expression” said Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    The use of force is an exception only for cases where non-violent measures are ineffective in preventing violence or other lawbreaking, and authorities must ensure it is strictly proportionate to the harm it seeks to prevent.

    January 17, 2018

    Ronal David Barillas Díaz, a community leader and human rights defender was killed on the morning of 9 January in Taxisco, Santa Rosa, Guatemala. His attackers got out of a vehicle, walked to the newspaper and food stall where he worked and shot him at least six times, before fleeing the scene.

    Amnesty International utterly condemns this attack and urges the Guatemalan authorities to initiate a thorough, independent and impartial investigation into the death of the human rights defender and to put in place, without delay, a comprehensive public policy for the protection of human rights defenders in the country.

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