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    May 10, 2019

    Following reports that Vietnamese authorities may have transferred three Thai citizens – Chucheep Chiwasut, Siam Theerawut and Kritsana Tupthai – to Thailand, Amnesty International’s Senior Director for Global Operations, Minar Pimple, said:

    “We call on Thai authorities to acknowledge whether they are in military or police custody and establish their whereabouts. If they are in state custody, we urge authorities to ensure that the three men are held in an official place of detention and have immediate access to independent lawyers, doctors and family members.

    “We also call on authorities to either charge them with a recognizable criminal offence in line with international standards or release them from custody, and not penalise them for their exercise of the right to freedom of expression.”

    Background

    Chucheep Chiwasut is a radio disc-jockey and political activist, who regularly broadcast political commentary to Thailand from exile. Reports do not indicate whether they were transferred to Thai authorities from Viet Nam through a formal deportation or extradition procedure.

    May 10, 2019

    The Sudanese people have been protesting since December 2018 when they took to the streets to express their anger over rising costs of living and the decline of political freedom. Their pressure worked and on 11 April, Sudan’s military overthrew the National Congress Party (NCP) government, arresting President Omar al-Bashir and other senior party leaders.

    But while al-Bashir’s 30-year rule has come to an end, the human rights situation in Sudan, which has deteriorated dramatically since the beginning of the protests, continues to worsen. Many of the protestors calling for peace, justice, rule of law and economic reforms have paid the price of change with their lives and liberty.

    May 09, 2019

    Transgender people in China are performing highly dangerous surgery on themselves and buying unsafe hormone treatments on the black market because it is almost impossible for them to access the health care they urgently need, Amnesty International said in a new report.

    “'I need my parents’ consent to be myself'- Barriers to gender-affirming treatments for transgender people in China” reveals that prevalent discrimination and stigma, restrictive eligibility requirements, and a lack of information, leave transgender people to seek unregulated and unsafe gender-affirming treatments.

    “China is failing transgender people. Discriminatory laws and policies have left many people feeling they have no choice but to risk their lives by performing extremely dangerous surgery on themselves and to seek unsafe hormone drugs on the black market,” said Doriane Lau, China Researcher at Amnesty International.

    May 08, 2019

    The Singaporean authorities must drop plans to enact a ‘fake news’ law that would dramatically curtail freedom of expression in the country and beyond, Amnesty International said today.

    With Singapore’s parliament beginning a new session on Monday 6 May, parliamentarians are currently debating the Protection of Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Bill and it may be passed imminently. The government introduced the text last month, on 1 April, to “protect society from damage by online falsehoods created by ‘malicious actors.’”

    “This bill would give the Singapore authorities unchecked powers to clamp down on online views of which it disapproves,” said Nicholas Bequelin, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East and Southeast Asia.

    May 08, 2019

    Responding to the reports that Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian woman freed from death row in 2018, has left Pakistan and arrived in Canada, Amnesty International’s Deputy South Asia Director Omar Waraich said:

    “If the news is true, it’s a great relief that Asia Bibi and her family are safe. She should never have been imprisoned in the first place, let alone faced the death penalty. That she then had to endure the repeated threats to her life, even after being acquitted, only compounds the injustice. This case illustrates the dangers of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws and the urgent need to repeal them.”

    Background

    May 07, 2019

    Following news that the planned student Pride march at the Middle East Technical University (METU) will not be allowed to take place by the university’s rectorate, Fotis Filippou, Amnesty International’s Campaigns Director for Europe said:

    “For the last eight years students at this university have marched through their campus to celebrate Pride and demand equality and dignity for LGBTI people. It is celebration of love which sends a message of hope to all those struggling to uphold fundamental rights in Turkey and beyond.

    “Rather than banning Pride events, the university should be supporting and protecting such marches and challenging homophobia and transphobia. The Rectorate must reverse its decision and allow students without fear of intimidation or violence.”

    Background

    The march was scheduled to take place on 10 March.

    Turkish authorities must ensure that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) individuals and their allies are able to enjoy their rights to freedom of expression and assembly without fear of intimidation or violence.

    May 07, 2019

    Responding to news of the amnesty and release of Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, Nicholas Bequelin, Amnesty International’s East and Southeast Asia Director said:

    “Today marks an important victory for press freedom in Myanmar. The case against Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo was a travesty of justice from start to finish and they should never have spent a day in prison.

    “While all those who campaigned for their release welcome the government’s decision, the reality is the country retains a range of repressive laws used to detain journalists, activists and any perceived critic of the authorities. Until these laws are repealed, journalists and activists remain under a permanent threat of detention and arrest.

    “In recent weeks, Amnesty International has recorded a surge in politically motivated arrests – most for criticism of the military. The government must follow through its rightful decision to free Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo by releasing all other journalists and prisoners of conscience detained on hollow charges, and by repealing all laws that keep a chokehold on freedom of expression.”

    May 06, 2019

    In response to the news that Dr Eduardo Cardet Concepción was released on probation on 4 May 2019, Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International, said:

    “We welcome the news that Dr Eduardo Cardet has been released on probation and can be reunited with his family. However, as long as his freedom is conditional, Eduardo Cardet is still a prisoner of conscience. He should never have been arrested in the first place.”

    “Although his release on parole is a positive step, we reiterate that the arrest and subsequent conviction of Dr Eduardo Cardet in 2016 was politically motivated. Therefore, we will keep demanding his absolute freedom, without any conditions. We will continue to closely monitor his situation and to conduct global campaigning actions in defence of his rights.”

    Dr Eduardo Cardet, leader of the Christian Liberation Movement (MCL), was arrested on 30 November 2016, five days after the death of Fidel Castro. He was later found guilty of assaulting a state official and sentenced to three years’ imprisonment in March 2017.

    May 03, 2019

    In response to the attacks against human rights defenders who were monitoring protests in Honduras in recent days, Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International, said:

    “In recent days, Amnesty International has recorded several attacks against human rights defenders who have intervened in the detention of demonstrators and others not involved in the protests in Honduras, as well as the use of tear gas by security forces outside the headquarters of the Committee of Relatives of Detained and Disappeared Persons in Honduras (COFADEH), where demonstrators tried to take shelter. We also observed with alarm the detention of a human rights defender, followed by public statements questioning and stigmatizing the work these people do.”

    May 02, 2019

    Ahead of World Press Freedom Day and more than a year since the Nicaraguan government launched its strategy of repression against the protests that began on 18 April 2018, Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International, said:

    “It is deplorable that the Nicaraguan authorities continue to repress the press and violate its right to inform. In recent years, courageous journalists and media workers have faced attacks while covering protests and have been harassed and persecuted for doing their job and exercising their right to freedom of expression. Some, such as Lucía Pineda and Miguel Mora of the independent 100% Noticias channel, have been detained and are still in prison. More than 70 journalists and media workers have been forced to leave the country.”

    May 01, 2019

    Professor Füsun Üstel, renowned for her academic work on citizenship and nationalism, is expected to start her 15 month prison sentence within the next few days. Professor Üstel is the first academic to go to prison simply for signing the peace petition headlined “We will not be party to this crime”. Hundreds of other “Academics for Peace” are on trial accused of ‘making propaganda for a terrorist organization’ and risk imprisonment. In 124 cases, prosecutors or courts have requested the permission of the Minister of Justice for the signatories to be tried also under Article 301 of the penal code that criminalizes ‘denigrating the Turkish nation’.

    May 01, 2019

    Following the announcement of Julian Assange’s arrest, and request for extradition to the United States, Massimo Moratti, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Research in Europe, said:

    “Amnesty International calls on the UK to refuse to extradite or send in any other manner Julian Assange to the USA where there is a very real risk that he could face human rights violations, including detention conditions that would violate the absolute prohibition of torture and other ill-treatment and an unfair trial due to his work with Wikileaks.

    “We are aware of allegations of rape and other sexual violence against Julian Assange, which should be properly investigated in a way that respects the rights of both the complainants and the accused and be brought to justice if there is sufficient evidence against him. If the Swedish government decides to pursue an extradition of Mr. Assange from the UK, they must also uphold the principle of non-refoulement and  not extradite or otherwise send him on to the USA.

    May 01, 2019
    UN Experts Report Says ‘Highly Probable’ Security Service Killed Dong, Aggrey

    South Sudanese authorities should promptly undertake an independent and effective investigation into the apparent extrajudicial execution of two outspoken critics of the government, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said today. Previously unidentified assailants snatched Dong Samuel Luak, a prominent South Sudanese lawyer and human rights activist, and Aggrey Ezbon Idri, a member of the political opposition, from the streets of Nairobi, Kenya in January 2017.

    May 01, 2019

    The District Court of The Hague today issued an interim ruling in the case brought by Esther Kiobel and three other women with regard to Shell’s involvement in the unlawful arrest, detention and execution of their husbands by the Nigerian military. It ruled in favour of the plaintiffs, that the court does have jurisdiction of the case and that this should not be time barred.

    The court also ruled that Shell should hand over some confidential internal documents to the plaintiffs’ lawyers, and that they would have the opportunity to examine witnesses.

    Mark Dummett, Amnesty International’s Head of Business and Human Rights, said:

    “This decision marks a vital step towards justice for Esther and the other plaintiffs. It also sets an important precedent for other victims around the world who are seeking to hold powerful corporations to account, and who struggle to access justice.

    “We salute Esther Kiobel, Victoria Bera, Blessing Eawo and Charity Levula. It’s only because of their courage and persistence that we’ve got this far.

    April 29, 2019

    The Ecuadorian authorities’ capacity and will to adequately and effectively provide protection and conduct criminal investigations into the attacks and threats against Amazonian Women’s environmental defenders is placing their lives at risk, as well as those of others who are protecting the Amazon from political and economic interests linked to large-scale extractive projects on Indigenous territories, said Amnesty International in a new report published today.

    ‘They will not stop us’ Ecuador: Justice and protection for Amazonian Women, defenders of the land, territory and environment exposes the failings of the Ecuadorian Attorney General’s Office when responding to a series of attacks and death threats recorded in 2018 against Patricia Gualinga, Nema Grefa, Salomé Aranda and Margoth Escobar. The four women are members of Amazonian Women, a collective comprising dozens of Ecuadorian women defending the Amazonian environment and Indigenous Peoples’ rights.

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