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    June 07, 2019

    Spokespersons available to take media interviews

    Police in Addis Ababa this morning prevented journalist and former Amnesty International Prisoner of Conscience, Eskinder Nega, from holding a press conference to announce plans for his new TV station, Senai. Police officers blocked the entrance to the Hilton hotel turning journalists and other attendees away. 

    This follows a similar move on 3 June when the police barred a previous press conference organized by Eskinder to announce his plans for his TV channel at the Ethiopia Hotel, also in Addis Ababa.

    “This harassment is solely aimed at frustrating the outspoken Eskinder Nega and curtailing his right to freedom of expression. It is unacceptable and must be stopped because Ethiopia’s laws do not require press conferences to be approved or licensed. The police have no right to stop press conferences,” said Joan Nyanyuki, Amnesty International’s Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    June 07, 2019

    Climate change activist Greta Thunberg and the Fridays for Future movement of school-children have been honoured with Amnesty International’s Ambassador of Conscience Award for 2019, the human rights organization announced today.

    “The Ambassador of Conscience Award is Amnesty International’s highest honour, celebrating people who have shown unique leadership and courage in standing up for human rights. I can think of no better recipients this year than Greta Thunberg and the Fridays for Future climate strike movement,” said Kumi Naidoo, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

    “We are humbled and inspired by the determination with which youth activists across the world are challenging us all to confront the realities of the climate crisis. Every young person taking part in Fridays for Future embodies what it means to act on your conscience. They remind us that we are more powerful than we know and that we all have a role to play in protecting human rights against climate catastrophe.”

    June 06, 2019

    Marking the second anniversary of the start of the US-led Coalition’s military offensive in Raqqa, Syria, Amnesty International today launched “The Ruins of Liberation,” a multimedia storytelling site giving a behind-the-scenes look at its investigations in the bombed-out city.

    Panos photographer Andrea DiCenzo accompanied Amnesty International’s Senior Crisis Response Advisor Donatella Rovera on a visit to Raqqa in February 2019, documenting her investigation. Images by DiCenzo and Rovera are combined with audio commentary with Rovera giving an intimate description of the people she met and the reality she exposed. 

    June 06, 2019

    Today, Baskut Tuncak, the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and toxics, said the government has “failed” to answer why it has not remediated massive levels of mercury contamination in a river near Grassy Narrows First Nation. Tuncak made his preliminary observations – which will be followed by a report about the government’s steps to protect human rights implicated by the management of hazardous wastes – following an eight-stop trip across Canada that included a visit with those who have been impacted by mercury poisoning in Grassy Narrows First Nation.  

    In response, Craig Benjamin, Amnesty International Canada’s Indigenous Rights Campaigner, said:

    June 05, 2019

    Sudanese opposition activists today reported that dozens of bodies have been recovered from the river Nile in Khartoum, following a bloody crackdown on protests by security forces, and a surge in attacks by members of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), a special military force allied to Sudan’s former government. 

    Netsanet Belay, Africa Director at Amnesty International, said:

    “This should be a week of celebration in Khartoum, as residents mark the first Eid-al-Fitr since the end of Omar al-Bashir’s 30-year reign of terror. |nstead, as security forces roam the streets killing and attacking people, the holiday has become a time of fear, shock and grief.

    “Doctors in Khartoum have reported that as many as 100 people have been killed since Monday, when forces including RSF members swept into protest sites and opened fire on unarmed people. The death toll is now soaring as the RSF, the special military force which killed, raped and tortured thousands in Darfur, brings its murderous rampage to the capital. Reports that bodies have been dumped in the river demonstrate the utter depravity of these so-called security forces.

    June 05, 2019

    Ahead of the court hearing in the case of Nguyen Ngoc Anh tomorrow, Nicholas Bequelin, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East and Southeast Asia, said:

    “The sham charges levelled against Nguyen Ngoc Anh show that no one is safe on Facebook in Vietnam anymore. Anh is only the last case in a growing list of netizens prosecuted, arrested or detained solely for peacefully discussing public affairs or criticizing the government.

    “The authorities in Hanoi are now extending, online, the chokehold they have put on civic and political rights in the country for decades, using Facebook as a tool to further their repression of dissenting voices.

    “The court should drop these politically-motivated charges and release him immediately and unconditionally.”

    Background

    Nguyen Ngoc Anh is an aquatic engineer from Ben Tre province. He is active in political debates on social media and especially used Facebook to express his opinions and share content from other Facebook users.

    June 03, 2019

    OTTAWA, June 3, 2019 – Responding to “Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls,” Amnesty International urges all governments in Canada to move beyond the piecemeal approach to ending the violence that has tragically failed First Nations, Inuit, and Métis women, girls, two-spirit people, families, and communities.

    The National Inquiry’s final report states, “Colonial violence, as well as racism, sexism, homophobia, and transphobia against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people, has become embedded in everyday life – whether this is through interpersonal forms of violence, through institutions like the health care system and the justice system, or in the laws, policies and structures of Canadian society. The result has been that many Indigenous people have grown up normalized to violence, while Canadian society shows an appalling apathy to addressing the issue.”

    June 03, 2019

    Amnesty International today called on the international community to consider all forms of peaceful pressure, including targeted sanctions, on those members of the Sudanese transitional authorities responsible for this morning’s violent attack on sleeping protestors.

    The organization also called for an immediate end to the violent attacks by the Rapid Support Forces and other security forces against protestors and for those responsible for the brutal attacks, which left at least 13 people dead, to be held accountable.

    At around 4:30 am on 3 June, armed forces under the command of the Transitional Military Council (TMC) attacked peaceful protestors in Khartoum State, firing live bullets and tear gas, setting tents on fire and beating protestors.

    June 03, 2019

    Responding to the news that Iranian human rights lawyer Amirsalar Davoudi has been sentenced to 30 years in prison and 111 lashes for his human rights work, including publicizing violations through a channel he set up on the Telegram mobile messaging app and by giving media interviews, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, Philip Luther, said:

    “This shockingly harsh sentence is an outrageous injustice. Amirsalar Davoudi is blatantly being punished for his work defending human rights.

    “Setting up a Telegram channel to expose human rights violations is not a crime. The Iranian authorities must release Armisalar Davoudi immediately and unconditionally.

    “Amirsalar Davoudi is the latest victim of a vicious crackdown waged by the Iranian authorities against human rights lawyers over the past two years, which has seen Iranian courts hand out increasingly harsh sentences to stop them

    from being able to carry out their work.

    May 31, 2019

    AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL USA

    Reacting to news that the New Hampshire legislature has voted to repeal the death penalty, Kristina Roth, Senior Program Officer at Amnesty International USA stated:

    “We welcome this outstanding news. With this vote, New Hampshire will become the 21st state to have abandoned the death penalty. This inhumane practice is the ultimate irrevocable punishment and denial of human rights. It does not deter crime and disproportionately impacts communities of color. This system is fundamentally broken and must end once and for all.”

    Amnesty International opposes the death penalty unconditionally.

    For more information, please contact Elizabeth Berton-Hunter, Media Relations 416-363-9933 ext 332 bberton-hunter@amnesty.ca

    May 31, 2019

    AI USA Release

    The Trump administration is reportedly considering barring anyone who transits through a third country from seeking asylum at the US southern border. Such a policy would effectively block anyone other than Mexicans and Canadians from seeking asylum in the United States. In response, Charanya Krishnaswami, Advocacy Director for the Americas at Amnesty International USA, made the following statement:

    “Seeking asylum is a human right, full stop.  This latest policy is a disgusting example of the lengths the Trump administration will go to deny people protection. Instead of taking sensible steps to fix this crisis of their own making, they choose to further their agenda of hate and fear against mothers, fathers, children, and anyone else who has been forced to flee their homes and who have no other way to seek safety. To effectively close the border to Central Americans and the vast majority of people seeking asylum not only violates human rights obligations, but is also fundamentally cruel.”

    Background:

    May 29, 2019

    OTTAWA – Today, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and Green Party Leader Elizabeth May publicly committed to participating in a federal leaders’ debate on women’s rights and gender equality in the lead-up to the October 2019 federal election.

    The leaders announced their commitments at the launch of Up for Debate, a non-partisan campaign calling for women’s rights and gender equality to be front and centre in the federal election campaign.

    “We are thrilled that two party leaders have committed to a leaders’ debate,” said Paulette Senior, CEO of the Canadian Women’s Foundation, a member of the Up for Debate coalition. “We welcome the commitment made by the Bloc Québécois today to discussing women’s rights and gender equality during the election campaign. We hope they will strengthen their commitment by agreeing to participate in a leaders’ debate on these issues.”

    The Liberal and Conservative parties have not yet committed to participate in the Up for Debate campaign.

    May 28, 2019

    Algeria’s authorities must ensure the investigation into the death of protester Ramzi Yettou, 22, who was brutally beaten by police last month, is thorough, independent, impartial, and effective, said Amnesty International.

    The organization has gathered evidence including testimony from three eyewitnesses, a first-aid volunteer, two family members, two lawyers and a doctor which suggests Ramzi’s death on 19 April resulted from the injuries he sustained after being beaten by the police with baton sticks.

    According to the information available to Amnesty International, Ramzi was beaten on the head by police as he was about to head home after attending anti-government protests in central Algiers that were dispersed by security forces using teargas and water cannons on 12 April 2019.

    May 27, 2019

    Zimbabwean authorities have this afternoon arrested two more human rights defenders at the Harare airport in a mounting onslaught on the rights to freedom of expression and association, Amnesty International said today.

    The two, Stabile Dewah (35) and Rita Nyamupinga (61), bring to seven the number of human rights defenders arrested at Robert Mugabe International Airport in the past seven days as they returned from a capacity-building workshop on non-violent protest tactics in the Maldives.

    “The first five human rights defenders arrested are facing trumped up charges for exercising their human rights. They should be released immediately and unconditionally. The charges against them fit into a much wider pattern of repression we have documented in Zimbabwe,” said Muleya Mwananyanda, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Southern Africa.

    May 24, 2019

    Amnesty International USA Release

    Responding to reports that President Trump will attempt to exploit loopholes to continue sending arms to Saudi Arabia and the UAE without Congressional approval, Philippe Nassif, the advocacy director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International USA said:

    “The Trump administration must stop supplying arms to the Saudi-led coalition, which has repeatedly committed horrific violations in Yemen, some amounting to war crimes, devastating the lives of thousands.

    “This administration has made clear its desire to sell more weapons without concern for human rights. We know arms manufactured in the United States have been used in deadly strikes against civilians. U.S. munitions have been found in the remains of bombed homes, hospitals and hotels throughout Yemen’s devastating war, killing almost 7,000 people.”

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