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    January 02, 2013

    Indigenous and human rights organizations stand in solidarity with Chief Theresa Spence in her appeal for full respect for Aboriginal and Treaty rights by the government of Canada. There is an urgent need for Canada to demonstrate genuine respect and long-term commitment, initiated by a meeting between First Nations’ leadership, the Prime Minister and the Governor General.

    Take Action: Tell Prime Minister Harper that the Canadian government must uphold its legal and moral obligations to Indigenous peoples

    Full honour and implementation of Indigenous peoples' Treaties are crucial to the evolution of Canada and the principle of federalism.  Cooperative and harmonious relations cannot be achieved by devaluing Treaties or by unilateral government actions. 

    December 16, 2012

    AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL AND SOCIO-ECONOMIC RIGHTS AND ACCOUNTABLITY PROJECT
     
    Amnesty International and Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) have hailed last Friday’s ECOWAS Court of Justice ground-breaking judgment as a “key moment in holding governments and companies to account for pollution.”
    In the case, SERAP v. Nigeria, the Court unanimously found the Nigerian government responsible for abuses by oil companies and makes it clear that the government must hold the companies and other perpetrators to account.
    The Court also found that Nigeria violated articles 21 (on the right to natural wealth and resources) and 24 (on the right to a general satisfactory environment) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights by failing to protect the Niger Delta and its people from the operations of oil companies that have for many years devastated the region.

    December 10, 2012

    For the reasons described below, Amnesty International believes that the US authorities should release Leonard Peltier, an Anishinabe-Lakota Native American and leading member of the American Indian Movement (AIM), who has been imprisoned for 35 years. Having studied the case extensively over many years, Amnesty International remains seriously concerned about the fairness of proceedings leading to Leonard Peltier’s conviction and believes that political factors may have influenced the way in which the case was prosecuted.  

    Leonard Peltier was convicted of the murders of two Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents, Jack Coler and Ronald Williams, during a confrontation involving AIM members on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota on 26 June 1975. He was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences in 1977. While Leonard Peltier admits having been present during the incident, he has always denied shooting the agents at point blank range as alleged by the prosecution at his trial.  Leonard Peltier is now in his 35th year of imprisonment and has exhausted all legal appeals against his conviction.  

    December 07, 2012

    Reacting to the announcement that the federal government has approved the takeover of the Canadian oil company Nexen Inc. by Chinese state-owned China National Offshore Oil Corporation, members of the Canadian Coalition on Human Rights in China expressed grave disappointment that serious and pressing human rights considerations do not appear to have played any significant role in the government’s decision.

    “The government has concluded that the deal is of ‘net benefit’ to Canada,” said Cheuk Kwan of the Toronto Association for Democracy in China.  “But there is no indication that concerns about CNOOC’s human rights record or, more broadly, the Chinese government’s own continuing and longstanding poor human rights record were taken into account in any meaningful way.”

    December 05, 2012

    ADVOCACY COUNCIL FOR THE RIGHT TO EDUCATION * AMNESTY INERNATIONAL * JUSTICE FOR IRAN * SHIRIN EBADI

    In advance of Iran’s National Student Day on 6 December, Nobel Peace Laureate Shirin Ebadi and three human rights groups, Advocacy Council for the Right to Education (Council to Defend the Right to Education), Amnesty International and Justice for Iran join together to call on the Iranian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release all prisoners of conscience, including students imprisoned for the peaceful expression of their conscientiously held beliefs.

    The organizations urge the authorities to put an end to the campaign of repression against students’ peaceful exercise of their rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly.

    The Iranian authorities are urged to review all policies and practices relating to restrictions on individuals’ access to all forms of higher education to ensure that everyone has equal access to higher education, on the basis of capacity, without any form of discrimination on grounds of sex, religion, political opinion or other grounds.

    December 05, 2012

    Activist and former monk U Gambira was arrested in Yangon on Saturday 1 December 2012. He is reportedly facing charges of trespassing and criminal damage for removing the locks from several monasteries in February 2012, as well as for staying in a monastery without permission. These monasteries had been sealed by the authorities who believed that the resident monks had played an active role in Myanmar’s 2007 Saffron Revolution. This left the former residents, including U Gambira, with nowhere to stay when they were released in prisoner amnesties in late 2011 and early 2012. Other monks released in these amnesties were turned away from their former monasteries.

    Reports indicate that U Gambira appeared before Myanmar’s committee of senior monks in February and the matter was resolved at the time.  It is not clear why the authorities have decided to press charges against U Gambira more than nine months after the alleged offences occurred.  

    November 07, 2012

    ‘President Obama has been given a second chance to keep his promises on human rights. Don’t blow it’ - Suzanne Nossel

    Responding to the re-election of Barack Obama as President of the United States of America, Amnesty International USA executive director Suzanne Nossel said:

    “When President Obama was first elected in 2008, many human rights activists rejoiced. It had been eight long years where the United States tortured, detained hundreds without charge and trial, and tried to justify the horrors of Abu Ghraib.

    “President Obama’s first campaign for the White House offered the promise of an administration that would recapture the United States’ credibility on human rights issues, bringing detention practices in line with international law, repudiating secrecy and ensuring that human rights weren’t traded away in the name of national security.

    “More simply, President Obama promised a new dawn of American leadership, one in which human rights would be given more than lip-service.

    October 23, 2012

    Monday’s conviction of an Egyptian broadcaster for “insulting the President” is a further blow to freedom of expression, Amnesty International said.

    A court in the governorate of Luxor sentenced Tawfiq Okasha to four months in prison. Okasha was not present for the verdict, but was reportedly ordered to pay bail pending an appeal.

    The trial reportedly followed a complaint from an ex-member of Parliament about comments the broadcaster had made about President Morsi on his talk show, Egypt Today. Tawfiq Okasha is a vocal critic of the Morsi administration and has reportedly been the subject of a number of similar defamation cases. He is also currently being tried in a separate case for allegedly inciting violence against President Morsi. In August, his television channel, Al-Faraeen, was suspended – apparently in response to his statements about the authorities. At the time of writing, it remains off air.

    October 16, 2012

     Amnesty International has urged Ukrainian parliamentarians ahead of parliamentary elections on 28 October to commit publicly to addressing police abuse in the country.

    One year since Amnesty International launched its report “No Evidence of a Crime: Paying the Price for Police Impunity in Ukraine”, a review of the manifestos of all major parties contesting the elections shows that none of the parties have put forward a concrete proposal for investigating and punishing endemic police criminality in Ukraine.

    In a number of recent surveys, between 63.9 and 84 percent of Ukrainians have said that they don’t trust their police force. Amnesty International is therefore concerned by politicians’ failure to put concrete proposals on how to address police abuse to the electorate.

    September 25, 2012

    Amnesty International has called today on the Bahraini authorities to ensure the safety of civil society members who participated at the 21st session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva after they received threats of reprisals for their participation in the meeting.

    Mohammed al-Maskati, the president of the Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights, has said he was subjected to intimidation before and after delivering a statement to the Human Rights Council in Geneva on 13 September, when he participated in a panel discussion on intimidation and reprisals against persons and organizations who co-operate with the UN. He told Amnesty International that from the date of his arrival in Geneva until after he delivered the speech he received more than a dozen anonymous phone calls in which the callers branded him a “traitor to his country” and an “agent of Iran” and allegedly threatened to kill him upon his return to Bahrain.

    September 19, 2012

    Amnesty International is dismayed that today the Federal Court of Canada denied the motion to stop the removal of Kimberly Rivera, pending the outcome of her Humanitarian and Compassionate application to remain in Canada. Kimberly has been ordered leave Canada for the United States on Thursday 20 September. It is expected that Ms. Rivera will be detained upon arrival in the USA, transferred to military control, court-martialed and imprisoned for refusing to serve in the U.S. military on grounds of conscience.

     Amnesty International considers Kimberly Rivera to be a conscientious objector, and as such would consider her to be a prisoner of conscience should she be detained for military evasion, upon arrival in the United States.

    September 11, 2012

    Following the Canadian government’s decision to end diplomatic relations with  Iran, announced on September 7, 2012, Amnesty International strongly recommends that efforts be intensified to safeguard the rights of  Canadian-Iranian citizens, Hamid Ghassemi-Shall and Hossein Derakhshan as well as Canadian permanent resident, Saeed Malekpour.  Ghassemi-Shall and Malekpour are on death row in Tehran’s Evin Prison and Derakhshan has been sentenced to 19 years for blogging.  Canadian diplomatic efforts on these cases must continue and, given the strained context of relations between the two countries, must become an even greater priority.

    Amnesty International has been working to uphold the rights of these three men since 2008. We have raised concerns that they did not receive fair trials and have also very likely been subjected to torture. We have unequivocally opposed the imposition of the death penalty against Ghassemi-Shall and Malekpour.

    August 28, 2012

    Amnesty International condemns the brutal killing of some 17 people who took part in a music party in Musa Qala district of Helmand province on Sunday night 26 August. According to reports there were two or three women among the dead; some of the victims were shot dead and others were beheaded.

    The Afghan government accused the Taleban of the act and stated that the area where the incident happened was under the control of the Taleban. However, the Taleban has not claimed responsibility for the attack.

    Amnesty International has so far been unable to verify independently the government’s claim or the circumstances surrounding the incident. However, it appears from the reports that none of the victims were actively engaged in fighting, which makes their killing a war crime - if carried out by a party to the armed conflict in Afghanistan.

    August 08, 2012

    “They never consulted with us, they never told us… that this was going to have… so much negative impact, …that it was going to cause so much conflict.” -- Carmen Mejía, an Indigenous woman from San Miguel Ixtahuacán, describing Goldcorp Inc’s Marlin mine in Guatemala.

    In a short report to mark the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples (9 August),  Amnesty International is calling on all governments of the Americas to respect the right of Indigenous peoples to make their own decisions about economic development activities on their lands.

    The brief cites examples from throughout the Americas where governments have failed to carry out  robust consultations to determine how plans for mining, oil and gas development and other development activities would affect the rights of Indigenous peoples. The brief also cites examples of such projects being carried out despite the clear objections of the affected peoples.

    July 26, 2012

    Following the release on18 July of a second Draft Constitution Of Zimbabwe document, Amnesty International has reiterated its call for total abolition of the death penalty in the proposed new Constitution.

    Section 4.5 in the new draft constitution allows for the imposition of the death penalty on a person convicted of murder “committed in aggravating circumstances,” but exempts from the application of the death penalty all women, men under 21 years at the time of the commission of the crime, and those over 70 years of age. It also prohibits the imposition of the death penalty as a mandatory punishment.

    The proposed provisions on the death penalty are disappointing in that Amnesty International has consistently called on Zimbabwe to remove the death penalty entirely from the new Constitution and join the global trend towards abolition of this ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading form of punishment. The death penalty should be abolished fully in the new Constitution regardless of gender and the circumstances in which a crime was committed.

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