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    June 18, 2018

    The new government of president elect Iván Duque, who is due to take up office on 7 August, has an obligation to guarantee the rights of the more than eight million victims of the armed conflict in Colombia and to adopt an agenda of full respect for human rights, including for human rights defenders and historically excluded communities, stated Amnesty International today.

    “Violence continues to be a reality for thousands of people and communities. We are worried that armed actors, such as paramilitary groups, are still committing crimes under international law, including collective forced displacement, sexual violence against women and girls, and targeted killings of human rights activists. This has to change and we hope that the new administration under president elect Iván Duque will be committed to that change”, said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    June 17, 2018

    Iranian authorities must urgently stop the imminent execution of Mohammad Salas, a 51-year-old man from one of Iran’s largest Sufi orders, the Nemattolah Gonabadi order, and to immediately quash his death sentence, Amnesty International said today.

    “Amnesty International has received information that indicates a huge miscarriage of justice may be carried out if the Iranian authorities go through with this execution. We call on the authorities to immediately quash the death sentence of Mohammad Salas and to order a retrial that meets international fair trial standards without recourse to the death penalty,” said Philip Luther, Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at ‎Amnesty International.

    Prison authorities phoned Mohammad Salas’ family on the evening of 16 June and told them to go to Raja’i Shahr prison where he is imprisoned in Karaj, near Tehran, to visit him for the final time at 3.30pm local time on 17 June. This indicates that his execution is imminent, and could happen within days if not hours.

    June 15, 2018

    The Kyrgyzstani authorities must ramp up their efforts to put an immediate end to the appalling practice of “bride kidnapping”, Amnesty International said today as details emerged that an 18-year-old woman has been abducted and raped in an effort to force her to marry her attacker.

    The latest incident, which occurred on 10 June according to a local human rights organization, follows the kidnapping and murder of 20-year-old medical student Burulay Turdaliyeva in late May which triggered a public outrage.

    “These two horrific crimes have taken place within just 14 days of each other, suggesting that though laws exist to end this appalling practice they are completely ineffectual. The Kyrgyzstani authorities must step up their efforts to protect women and girls,” said Denis Krivosheev, Deputy Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia at Amnesty International.

    “There is no place for abduction, sexual violence and forced marriage in any society; not in the name of tradition or anything else.”

    June 14, 2018
    In the face of the serious situation of confinement of communities of people who live in the Naya river basin in the departments of Cauca and Valle de Cauca by multiple armed actors, and the lack of presence of the Colombian state, Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International, said:   “The Colombian authorities must take immediate, effective and decisive action to guarantee the protection, safety and physical integrity of the Afro-descendant communities and Indigenous Peoples in the Naya area in the face of the alarming seizure of land by several armed groups. This action must be taken in consultation with the threatened communities.”   “In addition, the authorities must provide the precautionary measures granted by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights since 2002. The state cannot allow the people who live in this region to continue to have to live with the constant threat of extreme violence.”  
    June 14, 2018

    Responding to reports that Abdulrasheed al-Faqih, the Executive Director of Mwatana Organization for Human Rights, was arrested this morning while on his way to Sey’oun airport in the southern Yemeni city of Mukalla, Samah Hadid, Middle East Campaigns Director at Amnesty International, said:

    “Abdulrasheed al- Faqih is one of Yemen’s most prominent human rights defenders and has worked tirelessly to expose the myriad human rights abuses committed by all parties in Yemen’s brutal conflict. He was arrested this morning by security forces affiliated to the internationally recognized Yemeni government while travelling to seek medical treatment, and we are now extremely concerned for his safety.

    “Unfortunately, Abdulrasheed al-Faqih’s courage and dedication have made him the target of repeated harassment, and prior to his arrest today he was detained by Huthi forces on several occasions. We fear he has been arrested - yet again - solely for his human rights work; and if this is the case he must be released immediately and unconditionally, and allowed to travel and seek the medical treatment that he needs.

    June 14, 2018

    The bill to decriminalize abortion in Argentina, approved today by the Chamber of Deputies, is a fundamental step for the rights of women and people capable of conceiving, and a way of combating structural violence, said Amnesty International.

    “We’re celebrating this first step taken by the Chamber of Deputies in its decision to move towards decriminalizing abortion. New legislation could end a vicious circle where women have no option but to risk their lives, their health, and their freedom if they are sent to prison. Classifying the legal termination of a pregnancy as a crime has no basis in international law,” said Mariela Belski, Executive Director of Amnesty International Argentina.

    Under the current legal framework, Argentina adheres to the model of decriminalization on certain grounds, whereby an abortion is deemed illegal unless there is a risk to the life or health of the woman, or in cases of rape. The bill, which has just been passed by the Chamber of Deputies, completely decriminalizes abortion up to 14 weeks of pregnancy. ​

    June 14, 2018

    The Pakistani authorities must end the current crackdown on human rights defenders, activists, journalists and other members of the civil society and ensure that human rights are fully respected and protected in the lead up to next month’s general elections, Amnesty International said today.

    On 25 July 2018, in general elections held across the country, Pakistanis will elect their next civilian government. Amnesty International is alarmed by the ongoing wave of arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances, attacks on the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.

    “Key freedoms are under relentless attack in Pakistan, with the authorities cracking down on dissent, whether it takes place on the streets, on television news channels, in newspaper columns, or on social media,” said Dinushika Dissanayake, Deputy Director for South Asia at Amnesty International.

    Detentions of protestors, journalists and human rights defenders

    June 13, 2018

    The arrest of Nasrin Sotoudeh, a prominent Iranian human rights lawyer, is an outrageous attack on a brave and prolific human rights defender, Amnesty International said today.

    Nasrin Sotoudeh was arrested at her home in Tehran this morning and transferred to the prosecutor’s office of Evin prison, according to her husband, Reza Khandan.

    In an interview earlier today with Manoto News, a Persian language news channel broadcast from outside Iran, Reza Khandan also revealed that Nasrin Sotoudeh was told she was being arrested to serve a five-year prison sentence. However, neither he nor Nasrin Sotoudeh knew anything about this sentence.

    “Nasrin Sotoudeh has dedicated her life to fighting for human rights in Iran. She has won international awards but has also paid a high price for her courage, spending three years in jail. Her arrest today is the latest example of the Iranian authorities’ vindictive attempts to stop her from carrying out her important work as a lawyer,” said Philip Luther, Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at ‎Amnesty International.

    June 13, 2018

    Responding to the news that Yemeni forces backed by a Saudi Arabia-led coalition have launched an offensive on the Yemeni port city of Hodeidah, Amnesty International’s Middle East Research Director Lynn Malouf said:

    “The assault on Hodeidah could have a devastating impact for hundreds of thousands of civilians – not just in the city but throughout Yemen.

    “With an estimated 600,000 people living in and around Hodeidah, all sides to the conflict must take all feasible precautions to ensure that the civilian population is protected. 

    “Equally vital is that the Saudi Arabia-led coalition and Huthi forces ensure the flow of aid and essential goods isn’t impeded in any way, as millions of people remain at risk of famine across the country.

    “Hodeidah’s port is crucial to a country that is 80% dependent on imports to meet basic necessities. Cutting off this crucial supply line would further exacerbate what is already the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

    June 13, 2018

    Honduran authorities have continued to violate the human rights of people arrested during last year’s post-election protests by denying their right to due process and holding them in inhumane conditions, said Amnesty International in a report released today.

    Protest prohibited: Use of force and arbitrary detentions to suppress dissent in Honduras documents how the authorities used excessive force and arbitrary or prolonged pre-trial detention, among other measures, to suppress the wave of demonstrations that followed the elections on 26 November 2017 and to discourage further dissent.

    “Not only did Honduran security forces use excessive force to repress peaceful protesters in the immediate aftermath of last year’s contested election; the state then held detainees in deplorable conditions for months on end while denying their rights to due process and an adequate defence,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    June 12, 2018

    QUÉBEC and OTTAWA, June 10, 2018 - The Ligue des droits et libertés (LDL) and Amnesty International Canada (English-speaking and Francophone branches) concluded an independent monitoring mission today that focused on the respect of civil liberties in the context of the G7 summit. Although the organizations were relieved to note that there were no serious injuries, an impressive display of police force—both before and during the G7 summit and as much in La Malbaie as in Québec—contributed to creating a truly fearful atmosphere for anyone who wished to express themselves openly and peacefully during the summit.

    “Should a climate of fear and intimidation that hinders freedom of expression be considered a successful public security operation?” asked Geneviève Paul, Director General of Amnistie internationale Canada francophone.

    June 12, 2018

    WASHINGTON, DC — Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a major decision today that will impact people seeking safety. It will have far-ranging implications, devastating the ability of people fleeing persecution inflicted by non-governmental actors to pursue their cases in the United States. This includes people fleeing domestic or gang violence.  

    Denise Bell, researcher for refugee and migrant rights at Amnesty International USA, issued this statement:

    “From the beginning, this administration has made it clear that it intends to close our borders to people fleeing persecution. This heartless decision takes the constant, ongoing attacks on asylum seekers a step further by specifically targeting people seeking safety from domestic or gang violence.

    “In what world does the United States turn its back on people who have suffered persecution, trauma and extreme distress from domestic or gang violence? Families seeking safety deserve our compassion. Instead, Attorney General Sessions is slamming the door on those trying to rebuild their lives.

    June 12, 2018

    As the SOS Mediterranee rescue ship, MV Aquarius, heads to the Spanish port of Valencia, Elisa De Pieri, Amnesty International’s Italy Researcher said:

    “By closing their ports the Italian and Maltese governments are trampling the principle of rescue at sea and undermining the entire search and rescue system. If allowed to go unchallenged, it will discourage and compromise the lifesaving work of NGO’s leaving thousands of migrants and refugees adrift in the Mediterranean.

    “Whilst the offer by the Spanish government to welcome the Aquarius is a moving example of solidarity, it also highlights the calculated callousness of the Italian and Maltese authorities. This sets a precedent that will inevitably cost lives.”

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

    Background

    June 11, 2018

    Guatemalan authorities must take immediate and effective measures to protect human rights defenders and launch thorough, impartial and independent investigations into all attacks against them, Amnesty International said today, following the killing of seven human rights defenders in the space of a month.

    “Guatemala’s brave human rights defenders are being killed with impunity on a terrifyingly regular basis. The authorities must take urgent action to protect them from these savage and calculated attacks before more lives are lost,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    “Instead of stigmatizing and insulting those who dedicate their lives to the defence of their land and the environment, the authorities must publicly recognize the importance of their work and ensure that those responsible for the attacks against them are brought to justice.”

    The seven people killed in the last four weeks were all involved in defending their communities’ land, territory or the environment, and they were all members of the Campesino Development Committee (CODECA) or the Altiplano Campesino Committee (CCDA).

    June 11, 2018

    As the SOS Mediterranee rescue ship, MV Aquarius remains stranded between Malta and Sicily with 629 people aboard including 123 unaccompanied minors, 11 children and seven pregnant women, Elisa De Pieri, Amnesty International’s Italy Researcher said:

    “By closing their ports, Italy and Malta have not only turned their backs on more than 600 desperate and vulnerable people but also on their obligations under international law.

    “The men, women and children aboard the Aquarius have risked their lives on perilous seas to escape horrific abuses in Libya only to find themselves caught in an unconscionable political stand-off between two European states.

    “Keeping NGO boats at sea waiting for a port means that fewer rescue ships are available to assist people who may be in distress right now.

    “While Italy and Malta must open their ports, other EU countries must share the responsibility for offering protection, rescues and asylum-processing.”

    Background

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