Select this search icon to access the search form

Main menu

Facebook Share

Public statements

    March 08, 2012

    Amnesty International is calling on the Mexican government to specify what measures it will take to comply with the recommendations on Mexico of the Working Group of Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances presented to the UN Human Rights Council on Tuesday.

    The Working Group’s report highlights the terrible dimensions of this grave violation of human rights in Mexico and the lack of a government policy designed to prevent and punish this crime.

    Organizations of relatives of disappeared persons and the National Human Rights Commission have reported the disappearance of thousands of people. The majority of these reports have not been adequately investigated, which has prevented determining whether public officials are involved. This is crucial as the involvement of public officials determines whether it is a crime of enforced disappearance, for which the State is responsible.

    February 22, 2012

    The undersigned Organisations call on the Syrian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Mazen Darwish, a prominent Syrian human rights defender and Director of the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM) – an organization that enjoys UN ECOSOC consultative status -, as well as seven of his colleagues and a visitor, who were arrested on 16 February 2012 during a raid on their Damascus offices.

    In total 16 people were arrested during the raid at SCM offices in Damascus, which  was carried out by officers from Air Force Intelligence (AFI) who were assisted by a group of plain-clothed armed men, according to a statement from the SCM. Seven people have been conditionally released and have to report to the detention centre every day for further interrogations.

    February 16, 2012

    There have been a number of recent media articles in Sri Lanka recently suggesting that Amnesty International’s impartiality had been compromised because the Canadian Tamil Congress chose to make Amnesty International Canada a beneficiary of funds raised at their third annual Walk-a-Thon held in Toronto in September 2011.

    The Walk-a-thon is an annual event which offers individuals an opportunity to support organizations in Canada involved in social, health and justice causes and to make a contribution to Canada’s social fabric. Previous recipients in 2009 and 2010 were the Sick Kids Hospital Foundation and the Canadian Cancer Society. Funds raised come from hundreds of individuals taking part in the event and from numerous sponsors, including small businesses within the Tamil Canadian community. The funds raised from the 2011 Walk-a-thon totaled approximately CDN$50,000. 

    These donations in no way impair the independence of Amnesty International – which is nonpartisan and works on human rights issues around the globe. We receive financial support from a broad range of individuals committed to the protection and promotion of human rights. 

    February 01, 2012

    Amnesty International is deeply disappointed to learn about the recent decision made by the Canadian Quebec Court of Appeal to refuse jurisdiction to hear a class action brought on behalf of Congolese citizens against the Canadian company, Anvil Mining Limited (“Anvil Mining”), for serious human rights abuses committed in Kilwa in 2004, otherwise known as “the Kilwa Massacre.”

    On 25 January 2012, the Quebec Court of Appeal reversed the decision of the Superior Court judge Honorable Benoît Emery determining that sufficient links to Quebec existed for establishing Quebec’s jurisdiction and thus allowing the case to proceed so that the substance of the allegations could be heard. (1) 

    In his decision, Judge Emery stated:

    (translation) "In fact, at this stage of the proceedings, everything indicates that if the Tribunal dismissed the action on the basis of article 3135 C.C.Q. [which allows the court to decline jurisdiction if another forum is more appropriate], there would exist no other possibility for the victims to be heard by civil justice.”

    January 23, 2012

    A law issued on Saturday providing immunity from prosecution for President Ali Abdullah Saleh and all those who worked with him during his administration is a bitter blow for those calling for justice for human rights violations over recent years, Amnesty International said today.

    The law, passed by the Yemeni parliament on 21 January 2012, provides “complete immunity from legal and judicial prosecution” for President Saleh. It further provides immunity from criminal prosecution for all those who worked under President Saleh during his rule – whether in civil, military or security positions – in connection with “politically motivated acts” carried out during the course of their official duties; they are, however, not exempt from prosecution for “acts of terrorism”. The law does not clarify what is meant by “politically motivated acts” or “acts of terrorism”.

    December 17, 2011

    A year after a young Tunisian street vendor set himself alight, triggering an uprising which led to the toppling of his country’s government, many Tunisians say their demands for justice have yet to be fulfilled.

    The newly-announced government must ensure that the needs of the victims and their right to truth, justice and reparation are met. It now has the opportunity to show its commitment to human rights and its will to break with the legacy of human rights abuses of the past.
    Mohamed Bouazizi’s desperate act on 17 December 2010 prompted a wave of protests across Tunisia and the Arab world, calling for freedom, an end to corruption and better living conditions, which led to the demise of Tunisia’s long time autocratic and repressive government – followed by the fall of the authorities in Egypt and Libya.

    December 08, 2011

    Indigenous peoples and individuals have the right to enjoy the same standard of living and access to government services that are enjoyed by other people in Canada. They have the right to live and bring up their families on their own lands and territories. Our organizations, Canadian human rights and faith-based groups, are deeply concerned that these basic principles are repeatedly cast in doubt.

    An emergency intervention by the Red Cross has focused political attention on the severe housing crisis in the northern Ontario Cree community of Attawapiskat. Canadians were shocked to see images of children overcrowded into moldy shacks with no water or electricity. However, international human rights bodies have been raising concerns for years about the conditions in many Indigenous communities in Canada. The government has ignored both the criticisms and the corresponding recommendations.

    November 30, 2011

    The transfer of former President Laurent Gbagbo to the International Criminal Court (ICC) marks the first significant step towards addressing impunity for crimes against humanity committed in the country, in particular between 2002 and 2011.

    The transfer of Laurent Gbabgo gives hope to some of the thousands of victims of these crimes committed by all parties over nearly a decade. However, the ICC Prosecutor should not limit the investigation by focusing only on the crimes under international law committed since December 2010.

    On 29 November 2011, Laurent Gbagbo was surrendered to the ICC by the national authorities of Côte d’Ivoire following a warrant of arrest issued under seal by the judges of the Pre-Trial Chamber III on 23 November 2011. The crimes included in the warrant of arrest are murder, rape and other forms of sexual violence, persecution and other inhumane acts.

    November 07, 2011

    Amnesty International is calling on the federal government to move quickly to approve the application made by Omar Khadr in the spring of 2011, under the International Transfer of Offenders Act, for return to Canada.

    Under the terms of a plea agreement reached between Omar Khadr and US officials in October 2010, Omar Khadr pled guilty to the five charges he faced. Further to that agreement, he was convicted and sentenced to an eight year prison term commencing on 31 October 2010.

    The terms of the plea agreement required Omar Khadr to remain in US custody for a further year, at which point he would be eligible for a possible transfer back to Canada. The agreement includes a commitment from US authorities to “positively endorse” any such transfer application. A diplomatic note from the Canadian government to the US government, dated 23 October 2010, indicated that they would be “inclined to favourably consider Mr. Khadr's application to be transferred to Canada to serve the remainder of his sentence.”

    October 26, 2011

     On Friday, October 28, the Human Rights Commission of the Organization of American States (OAS) will hold its first ever hearings into the violation of Indigenous land rights in Canada.

    The case before Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) concerns the 1884 expropriation of over 237,000 hectares of resource-rich land from the traditional territories of the Hul’qumi’num peoples on Vancouver Island. The Hul’qumi’num Treaty Group  alleges that Canada has violated international human rights norms by refusing to negotiate for any form of redress for the expropriated lands, which are now mostly in the hands of large forestry companies, and by failing to protect Hul’qumi’num interests while the dispute remains unresolved.

    More than a dozen Indigenous peoples’ organizations and human rights groups have filed legal briefs in support of the Hul’qumi’num case.

    October 21, 2011

    Amnesty International calls on the authorities to conduct a full review of the legal cases against indigenous prisoners on hunger strike in Chiapas since 29 September 2011. According to available evidence their detention, trial and convictions were marred by irregularities and abuses, including allegations of ill-treatment and torture. Amnesty International believes that they may have been subject to unfair trials and unsafe convictions. They should be retried according to international fair trail standards or released.

    The organization is also concerned that the transfer on 20 October of one of the leading strikers, Alberto Patishtán Gómez, to a federal prison 2000 km away in Guasave, Sinaloa state, is in direct reprisal for his leading role in the hunger strike and human rights demands made by the prisoners.

    October 11, 2011

    The report of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, released yesterday, documenting widespread torture in Afghan detention facilities, and the earlier NATO decision, announced on September 6th, to suspend transfers of prisoners into Afghan custody, both make it clear that Canada’s policy of handing prisoners over to Afghan officials over the course of more than five years violated international law and should have been reversed years ago.  Among many disturbing conclusions, the UNAMA report finds “a compelling pattern and practice of systematic torture and ill-treatment” in facilities where Canada handed over prisoners. In some cases, children in custody were also tortured and abused.  

    Prime Minister Harper has repeatedly stated that Canada’s involvement in Afghanistan was aimed at protecting fundamental Canadian values of “freedom, respect for human rights and the primacy of the rule of law.” It is critically important therefore that the Canadian public get a full and candid accounting of what the government has done and that the government ensure that ongoing responsibilities are met.

    October 04, 2011

    Each year on October 4th communities across Canada come together to honour the lives of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls. As we do so, we remember the lives of sisters, daughters, mothers and grandmothers tragically taken from us.
    Today, we offer our support and sympathy to their families and we join with them in demanding justice.
    Statistics consistently show that Aboriginal women face much higher levels of violence than all other women in Canada. The Native Women's Association of Canada has documented more than 600 cases of Aboriginal women and girls who have been murdered or who remain missing.
    This violence has touched the lives of almost every First Nations, Inuit and Métis family and community. And it has moved Canadians from all walks of life to demand action. Violence against Aboriginal women is a national issue, one that must concern us all.
    There can be no piecemeal solution to a tragedy of this scale. We are calling for all levels of government to work with Aboriginal women and representative organizations to establish a comprehensive, national plan of action to stop violence against women. Such a plan of action must:

    September 22, 2011

    Sierra Leone: Amnesty International welcomes the acceptance in principle of a moratorium on the death penalty and the commitment to improve healthcare in connection with birth delivery and to address other causes of maternal mortality

    Human Rights Council adopts Universal Periodic Review outcome on Sierra Leone:
    Thirteen states raised the issue of the death penalty during the review of Sierra Leone, calling for a moratorium on executions, abolition of the death penalty, and ratification of the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.A/HRC/18/10, recommendations 82.1 (Ecuador), 82.2 (Portugal), 82.3 (France), 82.4 (Belgium), 82.14 (France), 82.15 (Ireland), 82.16 (Spain), 82.17 (Austria), 82.18 (Germany), 82.19 (Argentina), 82.20 (Brazil), 82.21 (Chile), 82.22 (Switzerland), 82.23 (Portugal), 82.24 (United Kingdom), 82.25 (Ecuador).  Amnesty International congratulates Sierra Leone on accepting these recommendations in principle and urges it to immediately take all necessary steps to abolish the death penalty in national legislation and to commute existing death sentences to terms of imprisonment.

    September 08, 2011

    Amnesty International has called on the UK authorities to bring to justice all those responsible for the death Baha Mousa, after an inquiry into the death of the Iraqi hotel receptionist found that UK soldiers violently assaulted him while in custody in Basra in 2003.

    Baha Mousa suffered 93 separate injuries before he died, said the inquiry’s report, which was released today. Nine other Iraqis held with Mousa were also subjected to human rights violations that constituted war crimes during their detention.

    Nicola Duckworth, Europe and Central Asia Programme Director at Amnesty International said:

    “What happened to Baha Mousa and the other men detained with him at the hands of British soldiers must never be allowed to happen again. Whatever the pressures the soldiers may have faced in Iraq during that time, torture can never be justified in any circumstances.”

    “Those responsible must be held accountable for their actions and brought swiftly to justice, including in criminal proceedings – nothing less will do”.


    Subscribe to Public statements