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    November 14, 2018

    Bangladesh and Myanmar authorities must immediately halt plans to send Rohingya refugees back to Rakhine State, Amnesty International said today.

    A first wave of organized returns could begin as soon as 15 November, following the announcement of a bilateral agreement between Bangladesh and Myanmar last month which falls short of international obligations.

    “This is a reckless move which puts lives at risk,” said Nicholas Bequelin, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East and Southeast Asia.

    “These women, men and children would be sent back into the Myanmar military’s grasp with no protection guarantees, to live alongside those who torched their homes and whose bullets they fled.”

    High risk of forced returns

    On 30 October, representatives of the Bangladesh and Myanmar governments announced they had agreed to start repatriation of some of the more than 720,000 Rohingya refugees who have fled to Bangladesh from Myanmar since August 2017.

    November 13, 2018

    Responding to the Lebanese parliamentary vote approving a bill to address the issue of the missing and disappeared in Lebanon, Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International's Middle East research director, said:

    “Today’s vote brings long overdue national acknowledgment of the plight of the thousands of relatives of people who went missing or were forcibly disappeared during the 1975-1990 armed conflict in Lebanon.

    “Since the mid-1980s, relatives have relentlessly raised their voice despite the fear of repercussions from armed groups and foreign military forces involved in these violations. They have faced physical harassment, and perhaps most painfully, societal isolation, but continued with one, unique demand: ‘We want to know’.

    “This law, which was initially presented by civil society organizations following two years of consultations, is a major step towards the creation of a national commission. With a mandate to investigate individual cases, locate and exhume mass graves and enable a tracing process which will finally provide closure to the families.

    November 13, 2018

    Iranian authorities must immediately disclose the fate and whereabouts of hundreds of members of the Ahwazi Arab ethnic minority being held without access to their families or lawyers, Amnesty International said following reports that some have been executed in secret.

    In the last few days, Ahwazi Arab activists outside Iran have told Amnesty International that 22 men, including civil society activist Mohammad Momeni Timas, have been killed in secret.

    Since 24 September, up to 600 Ahwazi Arabs have been detained incommunicado in a wave of arrests following a deadly armed attack that took place in Ahvaz, Khuzestan province, two days earlier.

    “If confirmed, the secret executions of these men would be not only a crime under international law but also an abhorrent violation of their right to life and a complete mockery of justice, even by the shocking standards of Iran’s judicial system,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

    November 12, 2018

    Following the announcement today of the arrest of at least 36 key security officials suspected to be responsible for gross human rights violations in Ethiopia, Amnesty International’s Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes, Joan Nyanyuki said:

    “These arrests are an important first step towards ensuring full accountability for the abuses that have dogged the country for several decades. Many of these officials were at the helm of government agencies infamous for perpetrating gross human rights violations such as torture and the arbitrary detention of people including in secret facilities.

    “We urge the government of Prime Minister Abiy to take further steps to ensure justice and accountability for all past human rights violations and abuses while at the same time ensuring all the individuals arrested receive fair trials. The authorities must also ensure victims’ access to justice and effective remedies, including adequate reparation.

    November 12, 2018
    Area around main public hospital al-Thawra comes under sustained attack Medical worker describes hundreds of staff and patients fleeing in terror

    Hundreds of medical workers and patients, including a malnourished woman carrying her daughter in a surgical robe and a man still hooked up to a catheter, fled in terror as a series of large explosions rocked a hospital in central Hodeidah yesterday, according to an eyewitness who spoke to Amnesty International.

    Just before noon on 11 November, an attack reportedly carried out by the Saudi Arabia and UAE-led coalition hit very close to al-Thawra hospital – Hodeidah’s largest public medical facility.

    November 12, 2018

    Amnesty International announced today that it has withdrawn its highest honour, the Ambassador of Conscience Award, from Aung San Suu Kyi, in light of the Myanmar leader’s shameful betrayal of the values she once stood for.

    On 11 November, Amnesty International’s Secretary General Kumi Naidoo wrote to Aung San Suu Kyi to inform her the organization is revoking the 2009 award. Half way through her term in office, and eight years after her release from house arrest, Naidoo expressed the organization’s disappointment that she had not used her political and moral authority to safeguard human rights, justice or equality in Myanmar, citing her apparent indifference to atrocities committed by the Myanmar military and increasing intolerance of freedom of expression.

    “As an Amnesty International Ambassador of Conscience, our expectation was that you would continue to use your moral authority to speak out against injustice wherever you saw it, not least within Myanmar itself,” wrote Kumi Naidoo.

    November 09, 2018

    In response to President Trump’s Proclamation to limit the rights of people seeking asylum along the Southern border, Amnesty International´s Secretary General Kumi Naidoo said:

    “President Trump’s Proclamation is yet another attempt to destroy the United States´ long tradition to guarantee the fundamental human right to seek protection from life-threatening fear and persecution. Asylum is not a loophole, it is a lifeline. This policy needlessly places the lives of thousands of people in danger. U.S law states that any individual can seek asylum, whether or not they are at an official point of entry.

    “Beyond Trump’s dehumanizing rhetoric are mothers, fathers, and children fleeing extremely dangerous situations enduring a perilous journey because they’ve had no choice but to leave their home.”

    Amnesty International USA´s executive director Margaret Huang added:

    November 08, 2018

    In the wake of the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Amnesty International staged a public stunt outside the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Ottawa on November 8, highlighting the Saudi government’s brutal crackdown on critics and activists.

    Amnesty posted signs outside the embassy that read “Journalists: Proceed with Caution,” after Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on October 2.

    But this is only the latest atrocity in Saudi Arabia’s growing list of human rights violations. A Saudi-led coalition has shown no signs of backing down from its relentless war against Yemen, which has killed thousands of innocent civilians and left more than eight million on the brink of starvation. Canada remains complicit in this war, as the federal government has yet to announce it will halt a $15-billion arms trade deal with Saudi Arabia. Moreover, leading Saudi feminists remain detained without charge, and some continue to be held incommunicado, for speaking up for women’s rights, following a pattern of silencing dissent that is typical of the Saudi regime. 

    November 08, 2018
    Although authorities should have released him in November 2017, Mohamed Mkhaïtir is still being detained in an undisclosed location  His physical and mental health are deteriorating as a result of his prolonged detention 32 human rights organizations are campaigning for his release and protection

    Authorities in Mauritania should promptly and safely release a blogger who remains in detention despite an appeal Court’s decision one year ago tomorrow to commute his death sentence, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Freedom Now, the Forum des organisations nationales des droits de l’Homme en Mauritanie and 28 other human rights groups said today. 

    Mohamed Cheikh Ould Mkhaïtir, 35, remains in custody in an undisclosed location, with limited access to his family and no access to his lawyers, after authorities failed to implement an appeal court ruling for his release granted on 9 November 2017.

    November 07, 2018

    Amnesty International Philippines Release

    Responding to news of human rights lawyer Benjamin Ramos gunned down by still unidentified men on 6 November, Amnesty International Philippines chairperson Ritz Lee Santos III said:

    “The killing of a human rights lawyer is a new low in the worsening culture of impunity in the Philippines, and yet another blow to the government’s already dismal human rights record.

    Ramos’s murder is all the more alarming, in the midst of the bloody ‘war on drugs’ by the government that has already claimed the lives of thousands of people. When human rights defenders are silenced for good, who else will come to the defense of the growing number of victims of human rights abuses?

    November 07, 2018

    Responding to the decision by an Istanbul court to further postpone the trial of Amnesty International Turkey’s Honorary Chair, Taner Kılıç, former Director, İdil Eser, and nine other human rights defenders, Andrew Gardner, Amnesty International’s Turkey Strategy and Research Manager said:

    “The farce continues for these human rights defenders who are facing absurd terrorism charges. The ridiculous allegations that the Istanbul 10 participated in a secret and subversive meeting has been proven to be entirely untrue in previous hearings. It boggles the mind that the authorities are yet to analyse the digital devices seized when they were first arrested almost a year-and-a-half ago.

    “The trial has now been heard in six separate hearings. Dragging out proceedings in politically motivated cases is nothing new. It is a deliberate tactic forcing innocent human rights defenders to suffer a tortuous wait with the threat of conviction under terrorism charges hanging over their heads.

    November 07, 2018
    Huthi gunmen take up positions on a hospital roof Ongoing Saudi Arabia and UAE-led Coalition air strikes kill scores of civilians Both sides risk committing war crimes unless they prioritize civilian protection 

    Civilians in Yemen’s western port city of Hodeidah will pay a terrible price amid the battle engulfing their city unless warring parties act immediately to protect them from the fighting, Amnesty International warned today.  

    In an extremely worrying development, Huthi fighters arrived at a hospital in Hodeidah and recently took up positions atop a hospital roof, placing numerous civilians inside the building in grave danger.  

    November 07, 2018

    Responding to the news that the cases of twelve men from Saudi Arabia’s Shi’a minority who were sentenced to death last year have been transferred to the ‘Presidency of State Security’, a body under the King’s direct authority mandated to address all state security matters, Heba Morayef, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Director, said:

    “The families of the men are terrified by this development and the lack of information provided to them on the status of the cases of their loved ones. Given the secrecy surrounding Saudi Arabia’s judicial proceedings, we fear that this development signals the imminent execution of the twelve men. 

    “The Saudi Arabian authorities sentenced these men to death in 2016 for spying for Iran after a grossly unfair mass trial. Saudi Arabia is one of the world’s most prolific executioners and regularly uses the death penalty as a political tool to crush dissent from the country’s Shi’a minority, demonstrating its total contempt for the value of human life.

    November 07, 2018

    Proposed changes to a national cybercrimes law will deal a devastating blow to freedom of expression in Jordan, Amnesty International has warned, ahead of a review of the country’s human rights record at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva tomorrow.

    The amendments include criminalizing hate speech using an overly broad definition of the offence and introducing tougher penalties, including lengthier prison terms for online crimes. A vote to pass these changes can be scheduled at any time.

    “The proposed changes to Jordan’s already flawed cybercrimes law are extremely worrying. Instead of taking steps to protect people’s rights online the authorities appear to be moving backwards, introducing changes that would further suppress freedom of expression,” said Heba Morayef, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Director.

    “The Jordanian authorities should be working to eliminate all repressive elements from the current cybercrimes law to bring it in line with international law, not expanding them to further restrict people’s online activities.”

    November 06, 2018

    The expression-related charges against a would-be presidential candidate and her mother must be dropped, Amnesty International said ahead of the resumption of their trial on Wednesday.

    She is charged in relation to comments she made that were critical of the ruling party, condemned problems of injustice and the state of the economy.

    Diane Rwigara and her mother Adeline were arrested in September 2017 after Diane tried to stand as a candidate in Rwanda’s August 2017 presidential election.

    “The right to freedom of expression must not be put on trial as Rwanda’s courts hear the Rwigaras’ case,” said Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    “Politicians must be allowed to explain their policies, and, like everyone else, engage with and criticize those of their opponents.”

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