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    October 13, 2020

    Amnesty International and Angelina Jolie announced today that they are collaborating on a book for teenagers, informed by children and young people, highlighting the rights contained in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

    The project has been prompted by a shared concern that children and adults are often unaware of children’s human rights, meaning that children are left vulnerable and without redress when these rights are not upheld. The book was written in consultation with child rights lawyer Geraldine Van Bueren QC, one of the drafters of the landmark convention that gave children their own unique set of rights for the first time.

    Know Your Rights (And Claim Them) is being published in September 2021 by Andersen Press in the UK and other publishers internationally. It comes at a time when unprecedented numbers of children are protesting around the world, in the streets and online, against the climate emergency, racism and gender inequality, among other issues. The book’s vision is for all teenagers to know and be able to claim their rights, no matter who they are or where they live.

    October 13, 2020

    Responding the Bangladeshi government's decision to introduce the death penalty as a punishment for rape, Amnesty International’s South Asia Researcher, Sultan Mohammed Zakaria, said:  

    “This regressive step is a fig leaf that deflects attention from the lack of real action to address the appalling brutality faced by so many Bangladeshi women. Executions perpetuate violence, they don’t prevent it. Instead of seeking vengeance, the authorities must focus on ensuring justice for the victims of sexual violence including through delivering the long-term changes that would stop this epidemic of violence and prevent it from recurring. That means, for example, ensuring that Bangladeshi women and girls are protected and that they feel safe coming forward and reporting crimes. Perpetrators must be prosecuted and held accountable and the impunity for these horrific crimes must come to an end - but through fair proceedings and without resort to the death penalty.” 

    Background

    October 13, 2020

    The Bangladeshi authorities must ensure the protection of Rohingya refugees following violent clashes between armed criminal gangs that have killed at least eight people and injured hundreds of others in camps in Cox’s Bazaar since 4 October, said Amnesty International. 

    At least two thousand Rohingya refugees have been forced to flee their shelters to other camps since violence broke out between two rival factions seeking to control the illicit trade of contraband drugs inside the camps. On 7 October, around a dozen shelters in Kutupalong refugee camp were burned to the ground. 

    “The situation inside the camps is highly precarious and, unless the authorities take the necessary action to quell the violence and protect refugees, there’s a serious risk of further bloodshed,” said Saad Hammadi, Amnesty International’s South Asia Campaigner.  

    October 12, 2020

    Amnesty International has gathered new evidence of indiscriminate attacks on civilians in Rakhine State, amid serious escalations in the ongoing armed conflict between the Myanmar military and the Arakan Army (AA). 

    This evidence is based on firsthand testimony, photographs and video obtained from inside Rakhine State, and analysis of satellite imagery as well as media reports and civil society sources. Witnesses’ names have been changed. 

    “There are no signs of the conflict between the Arakan Army and the Myanmar military abating – and civilians continue to bear the brunt,” said Ming Yu Hah, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for Campaigns. 

    “The Myanmar military’s utter disregard for civilian suffering grows more shocking and brazen by the day. The UN Security Council must urgently refer the situation in Myanmar to the International Criminal Court.” 

    October 09, 2020

    Following the acceptance of a new indictment by the Istanbul Heavy Penal Court No.36 against civil society leader Osman Kavala, Amnesty International’s Europe Director Nils Muiznieks said:

    “Having been in prison for almost three years, Osman Kavala is now facing a new trial under an absurd new charge of ‘espionage’. With this new indictment, Osman Kavala faces a life sentence without the possibility of parole as well as up to an additional 20 years for ‘espionage’. Kafkaesque is an overused cliché but in the case of Osman Kavala, it is chillingly apt.”

    “The European Court of Human Rights ruled last December that Osman Kavala’s prolonged pre-trial detention was unlawful and served an ‘ulterior purpose’. Yet, Turkey refuses to implement the binding judgment and to release him.

    “Once again, we call on Turkey to end the shameful injustice that Osman Kavala has been subjected to, by freeing him from prison and dropping these manifestly vindictive proceedings against him.”

    October 08, 2020

    The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed and exacerbated the longstanding neglect of mental health services for refugees and migrants, Amnesty International said today. The organization said the international community had broken the promise, enshrined in international law, to ensure the highest attainable standard of mental health for everyone.

    “A tiny fraction of the international health aid budget is devoted to mental health, and refugees and migrants are often cut off from even the scarce services available. It’s clear that the mental health of people seeking safety has never been a priority for the international community – this needs to change,” said Charlotte Phillips, Head of the Refugee and Migrant Rights Team at Amnesty International.

    “Asylum seekers, refugees and migrants, many of whom already face barriers to housing, employment and healthcare, have been hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 crisis. The longstanding failure of most governments to provide adequate mental health services for refugees and migrants means they are facing the uncertainty and isolation of the pandemic without support.”

    October 08, 2020

    The frequent threats, attacks and killings of people defending land, territory and the environment in Colombia have highlighted the government’s failure to address the serious crisis facing the country’s human rights defenders, Amnesty International said in a new report published today.

    Why do they want to kill us? The lack of a safe space to defend human rights in Colombia examines the reasons behind the violence against community leaders living in geographically strategic and natural resource-rich areas. The report also analyses the ineffectiveness of the protection measures implemented by the government since the Peace Agreement signed with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in 2016.

    October 06, 2020

    Amnesty International has delivered more than one million signatures from around the world to US Attorney General William Barr demanding justice for George Floyd, a Black man killed by police in Minneapolis, Minnesota on 25 May 2020.

    The letter, which can be found here, conveys Amnesty International’s grave concerns about racist policing practices used disproportionately against Black people in the USA, and demands the police officers involved in the killing of George Floyd be held accountable.

    October 05, 2020

    Amnesty International welcomes Canada’s decision to repatriate a Canadian orphan girl who has been stranded in Northeast Syria since March 2019.

    “We are thrilled that Canada has finally repatriated this child and reunited her with her family in Canada,” said Ketty Nivyabandi, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada. “Now, it is incumbent upon Canada to take all necessary measures to repatriate the remaining Canadian children from Northeast Syria in a manner that fully respects the best interests of the child and the principle of family unity,” she added.

    With the child having been repatriated, there are 46 documented cases of Canadian citizens who remain in arbitrary detention in Northeast Syria, 25 of whom are children.

    October 05, 2020
    In aftermath of the IMO killing, organizations demand a national action plan to dismantle Canada's 300 xenophobic alt-right and white supremacist organizations

    Our communities are still reeling from the incident that took place this September 12, 2020. On that day, a member of the Canadian community, Mohamed-Aslim Zafis, was ruthlessly killed in front of the IMO Mosque in Toronto by an individual with apparent links to a disturbing brand of neo-Nazism. This attack did not occur in isolation.

    Today, NCCM is joining leading civil rights, anti-racism, and civil liberties organizations in an open letter to the Prime Minister and to all opposition leaders. The open letter calls for bipartisan action in developing a national action strategy to dismantle and dissolve active and militarized white supremacist groups in Canada:

    September 30, 2020

    Last night, President Donald Trump failed to condemn white supremacist groups and instead told the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by.” In response, Amnesty International USA’s End Gun Violence Campaign Manager, Ernest Coverson, released the following statement: 

    “Last night, President Trump blew yet another dog whistle to the Proud Boys, a group the FBI has deemed an ‘extremist organization.’ While disappointing and horrifying, this isn’t surprising: President Trump has traded in bigotry since day one, putting ordinary people at greater risk of violence and harassment by white supremacists.

    “The continued failure of President Trump to denounce racial and ethnic hatred has only emboldened those who wish to normalize discrimination. We have seen how white supremacy, racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim, misogyny, and anti-LGBTQ sentiment are being used to further discrimination against already marginalized communities. The failure to hold accountable those who commit, encourage, or turn a blind eye to this hateful rhetoric only worsens the problem.

    September 29, 2020

    The complete freezing of Amnesty International India’s bank accounts by the Government of India which it came to know on 10 September 2020, brings all the work being done by the organization to a grinding halt.  The organization has been compelled to let go of staff in India and pause all its ongoing campaign and research work. This is the latest in the incessant witch-hunt of human rights organizations by the Government of India over unfounded and motivated allegations, Amnesty International India said today.

    September 28, 2020

    Access to safe abortion is an essential component of a fair and equal society, and is integral to realizing the full range of human rights, Amnesty International said today. The organization has published its updated policy on abortion that aligns with evolving human rights law and standards. The policy equips the organization to undertake stronger campaigning and advocacy around abortion and to better support local movements advancing sexual and reproductive rights.

    The updated policy recognizes abortion, provided in a manner that respects human rights, autonomy, and dignity, as the right of anyone who can become pregnant. Amnesty International is also calling for universal access to safe abortion and related care and information, in addition to full decriminalization.

    September 26, 2020

    Today, 26 September, is the deadline for countries to sign the Regional Agreement on Access to Information, Public Participation and Justice in Environmental Matters in Latin America and the Caribbean (Escazú Agreement). For it to come into force, at least eleven countries must ratify it, therefore only one more is needed in addition to the ten countries that have already done so.

    "This agreement emerged from the need to urgently address the climate emergency that we are facing. When the treaty was opened for signatures exactly two years ago, hope also emerged that Latin America and the Caribbean could make history with a groundbreaking norm that could contribute to the protection of the environment and those who defend it. Countries in the region must not miss this important opportunity," said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International.

    September 24, 2020

    World leaders must stop using COVID-19 as an excuse to delay urgent action to tackle the climate crisis or risk failing children and future generations further, Amnesty International said ahead of a global day of school strikes against climate change planned for 25 September by young people.

    Climate change was cited as one of the most important issues of our time in a survey of more than 10,000 young people published by Amnesty International just months before the pandemic turned the world upside down.

    “Amnesty International stands with all children and young people taking part in climate strikes. Children globally have faced unimaginable disruption to their lives, education and health as a result of COVID-19. That they must take more time out of school to demand that adults do the right thing is utterly shameful, but young people know only too well the unthinkable consequences of climate inaction to their lives and human rights.” said Ashfaq Khalfan, Amnesty International’s Law and Policy Director. 

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