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    January 03, 2018
    Responding to an announcement by Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn that all political prisoners will be released and a notorious detention centre closed, Fisseha Tekle, Ethiopia Researcher at Amnesty International, said:

    “Today’s announcement could signal the end of an era of bloody repression in Ethiopia. For prisoners who have spent years incarcerated on politically motivated and trumped-up charges, this is long overdue.   “Most have been detained solely for peacefully exercising their human rights, and should never have been in jail in the first place. We are calling on the Ethiopian authorities to implement today’s decision as quickly as possible by immediately and unconditionally releasing them. The authorities should also repeal or substantially amend the repressive laws under which they were imprisoned, including the draconian Anti-Terrorism Proclamation.  
    January 03, 2018

    Responding to the news that Huthi authorities sentenced 52-year-old Yemeni prisoner of conscience Hamid Haydara to death for allegedly collaborating with Israel and forging official documents, Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Research and Advocacy Director said:

    “The Huthi authorities must immediately quash the death sentence against Hamid Haydara. He is a prisoner of conscience who has been tried on account of his conscientiously held beliefs and peaceful activities as a member of the Baha’i community.

    “This sentence is the result of a fundamentally flawed process, including trumped up charges, an unfair trial and credible allegations that Hamid Haydara was tortured and ill-treated in custody. It is also part of a wider crackdown on critics, journalists, human rights defenders and members of the Baha’i community that is causing entire families to live in fear for their safety and the safety of their loved ones.

    December 26, 2017
    Reacting to the news that human rights activist Wu Gan received his verdict and was sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment on 26 December in Tianjin, while human rights lawyer Xie Yang had his trial reconvened and was found guilty but exempt from punishment in Changsha on the same day, Amnesty International’s China Researcher Patrick Poon said:   “It is disgraceful that the Chinese authorities have chosen the day after Christmas to deal with two of the remaining people left in legal limbo from the unprecedented July 2015 crackdown on human rights lawyers and activists. Carrying out unfair trials and politicized sentencing of human rights defenders at the very time when diplomats, journalists, international observers and the general public are less likely to be able to respond reeks of a cynical political calculation”.   “By trying to avoid scrutiny from the press and the international community, the Chinese government betrays the fact it knows well these sham trials cannot withstand scrutiny”.  
    December 22, 2017

    Discrimination, homophobia and Russia’s crusade against non-traditional sexual relationships have helped fuel a worrying rise in hostility towards LGBTI human rights groups in parts of the former Soviet Union said Amnesty International, in a new report today.

    ‘Less equal: LGBTI human rights defenders in Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan’ explores the increasingly discriminatory environment that LGBTI rights groups in four former Soviet states have faced in recent years, including within the human rights community itself. In all four countries attitudes have hardened against LGBTI people, in part as a consequence of the repressive rhetoric and practices emanating from Moscow.

    December 22, 2017

    Ahead of planned protests in the Occupied Palestinian Territories tomorrow, and in the wake of the deaths of four Palestinian protesters and the injuring of hundreds of others in the last two weeks, Amnesty International is calling on the Israeli authorities to put an end to the excessive force that has been part of its response to demonstrations and clashes resulting from the decision by the US administration to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

    “Israeli authorities must stop using excessive force against protesters once and for all. The fact that live ammunition has been used during protests in Gaza and the West Bank is particularly shocking. Under international human rights law lethal force can only be used when lives are at imminent risk, which clearly was not the case in the examples we have documented,” said Philip Luther, Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

    December 22, 2017

    Following the approval of a United Nations resolution condemning President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Sherine Tadros, head of Amnesty International’s UN Office in New York, made the following statement:

    “The global community has sent a strong message that it will not be swayed by bullying threats into supporting President Trump’s reckless disregard for international cooperation.

    “This is a much larger question than where the United States chooses to place its embassy. The international community has repeatedly condemned the U.S. recognition of the illegal annexation of Jerusalem. By rejecting this consensus, the United States is completely disregarding the rights of the Palestinian people and damaging efforts to maintain peace in the region.

    “The United States should consider why this policy is so widely opposed by the global community. Rather than acting as a partner in the peace process, the U.S. is fanning the flames of tension.”

    Background

    December 21, 2017

    Amnesty International has appointed Kumi Naidoo as the next Secretary General of the global human rights movement. From August 2018 Kumi will succeed Salil Shetty, who served two terms as Secretary General from 2010.

    “We are delighted to be welcoming Kumi as our new Secretary General. His vision and passion for a just and peaceful world make him an outstanding leader for our global movement, as we strengthen our resolve for a world where human rights are enjoyed by all,” said Mwikali Muthiani, Chair of the Board of Amnesty International.

    The Secretary General is the leader and main spokesperson for Amnesty International and the Chief Executive of its International Secretariat. Amnesty International is the largest human rights movement globally, with a global presence including offices in more than 70 countries, 2,600 staff and seven million members, volunteers and supporters worldwide.

    December 21, 2017

    In response to reports that President Trump has threatened to withhold aid to countries if they vote for a resolution condemning the U.S. decision recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Raed Jarrar, advocacy and government relations director for the Middle East at Amnesty International USA, made the following statement:

    “President Trump is doubling down on his reckless policies by coercing other countries into accepting his decision to recognize the unlawful annexation of East Jerusalem by Israel .

    “The Trump administration’s bullying tactics will only serve to further isolate the United States on the global stage. Rather than threatening those who depend on US aid, the Trump Administration should abide by its legal obligations not to recognize an illegal situation and reverse its course on Jerusalem.”

    CONTACT: media@aiusa.org

    December 21, 2017

    In response to today’s Appeal Chamber of the Military Court ruling quashing the 10 year sentence of Radio France International journalist Ahmed Abba, Ilaria Allegrozzi, Amnesty International’s Lake Chad researcher said:

    “This ruling is a victory for Ahmed Abba, who has been detained for more than two years simply for doing his job as a journalist. His release is a huge relief for him and his family, as well as all those who mobilized themselves tirelessly on his behalf since 2015.

    “It is days like this that offer a glimmer of hope to other people detained without legitimate reason as part of the ongoing conflict with Boko Haram in Cameroon that they may too receive justice.

    “The Cameroonian authorities now have the opportunity to change their approach. They must stop arbitrarily arresting civilians and halt their brutal crackdown on people’s human rights.’’

     

    December 21, 2017

    Thousands of Somali refugees who were pressured into leaving the Dadaab camp in Kenya are now facing drought, starvation and renewed displacement in Somalia, Amnesty International said today.

    Returns to Somalia from Dadaab have massively accelerated since the Kenyan government announced plans to close the camp in May 2016. In a new briefing, Not Time to Go Home, Amnesty International researchers interviewed returnees living in dire conditions in overcrowded cities or displacement camps in Somalia. Many returnees said they had left Dadaab because of dwindling food rations and services, or because of fears, stoked by Kenyan government officials, that they would be forced back with no assistance.

    “In its zeal to return refugees the Kenyan government has made much of small security improvements in Somalia, but the grim reality is that many parts of the country are still plagued by violence and poverty,” said Charmain Mohamed, Head of Refugee and Migrants Rights at Amnesty International.

    December 20, 2017

    Responding to reports made by the Associated Press that between 9000 to 11000 civilians have been killed in the battle for Mosul, Lynn Maalouf, Head of Research for Amnesty International in the Middle East said:

    “We are horrified, but not surprised, by these new figures. These numbers are directly in line with our previous findings that thousands of civilians were killed during the battle for Mosul - and that these deaths were caused not only by the so-called Islamic State group, but also by Iraqi and coalition forces. The AP’s estimate is more than ten times the figures reported by coalition forces, who have claimed responsibility for only 326 deaths. 

    “The failure of Iraqi and coalition forces to acknowledge and investigate civilian deaths in Mosul is a blatant abdication of responsibility. We are demanding transparency and an honest public account of the true cost to civilians from this war, as well as an immediate investigation by US-led coalition and Iraqi forces into the violations and unlawful attacks documented by Amnesty International and other independent groups during the battle for Mosul.

    December 20, 2017

    Reacting to the news that the Myanmar authorities have denied access to UN Special Rapporteur Yanghee Lee, James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said:

    “The Myanmar government’s decision to bar the Special Rapporteur from accessing the country is outrageous. It is a further indication that authorities will do anything they can to avoid international scrutiny of their human rights record.

    “At a time when the security forces stand accused of crimes against humanity during their vicious campaign against the Rohingya, accountability for human rights violations are crucially important. The international community must urge the authorities to allow Yanghee Lee access. It is the ordinary people and victims of human rights abuses who continue to suffer.

    “The Myanmar military claim they have done nothing wrong during the past months. If so, the authorities should have nothing to hide – why are they denying access for independent and impartial investigators?”

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    December 19, 2017

    The secretive judicial execution of two men on Tuesday reflects the Japanese government’s unrepentant contempt for the right to life, Amnesty International said.

    Teruhiko Seki, 44, who was convicted of murder and robbery, and Kiyoshi Matsui, 69, who was convicted of murder, were executed early on Tuesday morning at Tokyo Detention Centre. Seki was 19 years old when the crime was committed. Both were seeking retrials at the time of execution.

    "Today’s executions are an abhorrent and bloody stain on Japan's human rights record. Once again, the Japanese government has shown contempt for the right to life," said Roseann Rife, East Asia Research Director at Amnesty International.

    This month marks ten years since the UN General Assembly adopted its first resolution on a moratorium on the use of the death penalty. As the global momentum towards abolition continues unabated, Japan continues to ignore the trend.

    December 18, 2017

    Amnesty International’s Secretary General, Salil Shetty, today directed an open letter to Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto, calling on the leader to veto the Law on Interior Security that passed Mexico´s Congress on Friday.

    Speaking on behalf of an organization that represents a movement of more than 7 million people around the world, Shetty noted that “behind the vague and overly broad concept of ‘interior security’, the law conceals dangerous and concerted efforts to maintain the role of the armed forces in public security functions.”

    Amnesty International is seriously concerned that this law will, without a doubt, perpetuate the long list of grave human rights violations in Mexico, including extrajudicial executions, torture and enforced disappearances.

    This is despite clear evidence that this strategy has failed to improve public security during the decade since the army was deployed on the streets of Mexico.

    December 18, 2017

    Amnesty International Canada is pleased to announce that the winners of its 23rd annual Media Awards are Nathan VanderKlippe of the Globe and Mail, Margaret Evans, Stephanie Jenzer and Richard Devey of the CBC, Sally Armstrong and Peter Bregg of the United Church Observer and Denise Ryan of the Vancouver Sun. These exceptional journalists are recognized for their powerful, front-line reporting on grave human rights crises in Myanmar, South Sudan, Vancouver’s East Side and Iraq.

    Nathan VanderKlippe receives the award in the National Print Category for his article “Myanmar’s Front Lines of Horror,” published in the Globe and Mail on September 23rd. As tens of thousands of Rohingya refugees fled into Bangladesh from Myanmar, fleeing the early days of a brutal, scorched-earth campaign of ethnic cleansing, burning of villages and indiscriminate killing, VanderKlippe was amongst the first Canadian journalists to visit the border points and share the tragic stories of people running for their lives.

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