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Public statements

    January 19, 2011

    For the last five years, we have stood alongside the Native Women's Association of Canada to promote vigils across Canada to honour the lives of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls. In these five years, the Sisters in Spirit vigils have become a genuine national movement, with events in more than 80 cities and communities.

    The vigils in which we participated were part of a larger programme of work by Sisters in Spirit that included vital research, public education, police and government engagement, and support to affected families. We have no doubt that the work of Sisters in Spirit has played a crucial role in building public awareness and advancing the necessary solutions to uphold the rights and safety of Aboriginal women and girls.

    In fact, the federal government has publicly acknowledged the importance of these vigils and the other vital research and advocacy work carried out by Sisters in Spirit.

    Therefore, we are profoundly concerned that there is still no secure funding in place to ensure the continuation of the Native Women's Association of Canada's Sisters in Spirit Initiative.

    January 05, 2011

    Amnesty International strongly condemns the bomb attack perpetrated in the early hours of 1 January 2011 which targeted worshippers at a Coptic Christian church in Alexandria, killing 23 and injuring scores of others during a New Year midnight service. Amnesty International is calling on the Egyptian authorities to take comprehensive measures to protect Coptic Christians ahead of their celebration of Christmas on 7 January 2011. The bombing targeted the al-Qidissin (the Saints) Church in the area of Sidi Basher in the city of Alexandria. While no one has claimed responsibility for the attack, the authorities have said it is the result of a suicide bombing linked to al-Qa’ida and they are holding seven suspects for questioning in connection with the blast.

    Amnesty International’s thoughts and sympathy are first and foremost with those who have become the victims of this attack. The organization condemns all deliberate attacks against civilians, which can never be justified under any circumstances. Such attacks are absolutely prohibited under international law and show a complete disregard for the right to life.

    December 27, 2010

    The second trial of Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev, which began on 31 March 2009, concluded today with their conviction on charges of theft and money laundering while running YUKOS between 1998 and 2003.

    Amnesty International is concerned that this trial has been marred by numerous procedural violations, including repeated breaches of the equality of arms. These violations in themselves suffice to cast serious doubt on the integrity of Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev’s convictions. Moreover, the manner in which the prosecution and trial have been conducted, the timing of the charges, the reported harassment of lawyers and defence witnesses and the unnecessarily harsh conditions of detention, all point strongly to a long-established pattern of political motives and interference having obstructed the independent administration of justice in this case.

    Against this backdrop, it is impossible to conclude that justice has been done.

    December 15, 2010

    Amnesty International is calling on the authorities in Bangladesh to order an immediate inquiry into reports that four people have died during violent clashes between police and garment factory workers in Bangladesh on 12 December. The inquiry must establish the causes of the deaths and find out if the deaths were due to police using excessive force against the demonstrators.

    If police have used excessive force, the government should bring to justice the police officers responsible.

    The workers had been demonstrating for the implementation of their wage increase, which the government had promised would come into force from the beginning of November. In clashes between the demonstrators and the police in the cities of Chittagong, Dhaka and Narayangangj, on 12 December, four people died and more than 200 people were injured.

    December 09, 2010

    Amnesty International is deeply concerned about the situation on Rapa Nui (Easter Island), following the events of 3 December in which over 20 indigenous people were injured during an operation to evict them from buildings and land that they occupied as part of a protest. A number of detentions were made.

    Serious injuries were sustained by both indigenous protestors and police during the operation to evict protestors occupying a number of public and private buildings and land. The long-standing protest by some indigenous clans in demand of ancestral land, and in rejection of the Chilean government’s long-standing failure to adequately address their rights, is ongoing.

    December 08, 2010

    Amnesty International is concerned that the decision to close Libya Press, the only privately owned news agency in Libya, is the latest in a rising series of government attacks on the privately-owned press, and risks further narrowing the Libyan media landscape and the scope of freedom of expression. On 7 December, the Libya Press agency, an outlet of the al-Ghad corporation affiliated with Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi, son of the Libyan leader, announced that it had decided to close its Tripoli office due to “ security harrassment” and its inability to protect its correspondents in Libya. According to the Libya Press agency, the decision was taken after security agencies told the leadership of the al-Ghad corporation that the “presence” of the Libya Press agency inside Libya “was not desirable.”


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