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    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.

    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

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