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    November 19, 2020

    Amnesty International today launches the world’s biggest human rights campaign, Write for Rights, calling on governments to put right injustices against individuals who are detained or persecuted in countries across the globe, and to lead by example in building a fairer post-COVID-19 world. 

    “Devastating though it has been, the COVID-19 pandemic has also brought out the best in people. We have witnessed countless acts of compassion and solidarity as people come together in their communities to help those most in need. Sadly, many governments have pursued the opposite course, detaining and persecuting people who stand up for human rights,” said Julie Verhaar, Acting Secretary General of Amnesty International. 

    November 19, 2020

    Tell King Salman to free Nassima al-Sada

    G20 leaders attending this weekend’s virtual summit hosted by Saudi Arabia must take the Saudi authorities to task for their shameless hypocrisy on women’s rights, Amnesty International said today. Women’s empowerment features prominently on Saudi Arabia’s G20 Agenda, despite the fact the activists who spearheaded campaigns for women’s rights are languishing in jail or facing trial. 

    Amnesty International is urging G20 leaders to join the call for the immediate and unconditional release of Loujain al-Hathloul, Nassima al-Sada, Samar Badawi, Nouf Abdulaziz and Maya’a al-Zahrani, who were arrested in 2018 for their human rights work.

    November 18, 2020

    As the U.S. tops 250,000 deaths from COVID-19 today and President Trump continues to reject cooperation with President-Elect Biden’s team on the pandemic, Amnesty International USA Interim Executive Director Bob Goodfellow issued the below statement: 

    “The COVID-19 pandemic is a human rights crisis on an unprecedented scale. The U.S. government’s response to the pandemic has laid bare systemic disparities that have long undermined our human rights, including those to life and health, to and at work, to social security, and to be free from discrimination. From the very beginning, this crisis has affected everyone, but some have been hit much harder than others. Communities of color, frontline and low-wage workers, people with disabilities, older people, people who are undocumented, and those of us facing economic hardship are yet again dying and suffering in far greater numbers. 

    November 16, 2020

    The Iranian authorities deliberately shut down the internet during nationwide protests in November 2019, hiding the true scale of unlawful killings by security forces, Amnesty International said today (16 November).

    On the anniversary of the deadliest day of the protests, Amnesty International is launching a new microsite, A web of impunity: The killings Iran’s internet shutdown hid, documenting how the lethal crackdown that left at least 304 people dead was hidden from the world.

    “When news of the deadly crackdown began to emerge from Iran last November, the world was shocked by the brutal violence of the security forces. The authorities deliberately blocked internet access inside Iran, hiding the true extent of the horrendous human rights violations that they were carrying out across the country,” said Diana Eltahawy, Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

    November 13, 2020

    The Pakistani authorities must immediately disclose the whereabouts of Idris Khattak and lift the veil of secrecy surrounding his case, said Amnesty International, on the first anniversary of the prominent human rights defender’s enforced disappearance. 

    Idris Khattak, who has worked extensively to tackle enforced disappearance, including with Amnesty International, has not been seen or heard from since being abducted while on his way home from Islamabad to Peshawar on 13 November 2019. On 16 June 2020, more than six months after his disappearance and following a public campaign by his family, the Pakistani Ministry of Defence confirmed that Idris Khattak was in their custody and had been charged with treason under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) – a charge punishable by death. They also stated he would be tried in a military court. 

    November 12, 2020

    Following the conclusion of a meeting of Federal, Provincial and Territorial Ministers responsible for human rights, 26 of the civil society groups that took part in a discussion session with ministers during the meeting condemned the obstructive attitude of some governments and expressed disappointment that, overall, governments continue to fall far short of advancing the collaborative agenda that is so sorely needed to ensure consistent and effective implementation of the country’s international human rights obligations.

    The meeting, two consecutive half-days over the course of November 9 and 10, marks only the third time in the past 32 years that ministers from across the country have come together to discuss human rights protection in Canada. Previous meetings were held in 1988 and 2017. This sporadic political attention to an intergovernmental human rights agenda in Canada is disgraceful and has long been a source of serious concern among civil society groups, Indigenous organizations, United Nations human rights bodies and parliamentary committees.

    November 12, 2020

    Nearly eight months into the COVID-19 pandemic, the Syrian government is failing to adequately protect its health workers, still lacks a robust response to the spread of the disease, and is refusing to provide transparent and consistent information about the country’s COVID-19 outbreak, Amnesty International said today.

    Relatives of COVID-19 patients, medical professionals and humanitarian workers have told Amnesty International that public hospitals have been forced to turn patients away due to a lack of beds, oxygen tanks and ventilators. In desperation, some residents have been forced to rent oxygen tanks and ventilators at exorbitant fees. Thousands of lives, including those of health workers, continue to be at risk with no transparent and effective information, or testing.

    November 12, 2020

    Spokespersons available to take media interviews

    Amnesty International can today confirm the that scores, and likely hundreds, of people were stabbed or hacked to death in Mai-Kadra (May Cadera) town in the South West Zone of Ethiopia’s Tigray Region on the night of 9 November.

    The organization’s Crisis Evidence Lab has examined and digitally verified gruesome photographs and videos of bodies strewn across the town or being carried away on stretchers. It confirmed the images were recent and using satellite imagery, geolocated them to Mai-Kadra in western Tigray state (14.071008, 36.564681).

    “We have confirmed the massacre of a very large number of civilians, who appear to have been day labourers in no way involved in the ongoing military offensive. This is a horrific tragedy whose true extent only time will tell as communication in Tigray remains shut down,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Director for East and Southern Africa.

    November 10, 2020

    In EA’s FIFA 2021 updated game, the best-selling football jersey from Irish club Bohemian FC has gone global, in partnership with Amnesty International.

    The away-game jersey features the iconic image of a family fleeing, with the words ‘Refugees Welcome’. It also features the famous ‘Love Football, Hate Racism’ slogan.

    Amnesty International Ireland launched its partnership with Bohemian FC in early 2020, which captured media headlines and went viral on social media. The jersey also went on to become a best-seller, with people ordering it from over 40 countries around the world, from China to the British Virgin Islands.

    Now Amnesty International branches around the world are joining in to support the jersey’s launch in EA Games’ updated FIFIA 2021. FIFA 2021 is played by more than 45 million people, giving the local club in Dublin Ireland a truly global audience.

    Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland, called on gamers around the world to embrace the message.

    November 09, 2020

    Civil society groups are outraged and deeply disappointed that the governments of Quebec and Alberta are not participating in the Federal-Provincial-Territorial ministerial human rights meeting November 9-10.

    The organizations, including Amnesty International Canada’s English- and French-speaking sections, learned late last week that the Alberta and Quebec governments will send observers to the meeting, instead of their ministers responsible for human rights. The Quebec government has made it clear that it opposes plans to reference “systemic racism” in a joint media release that will be issued following the meeting, while the Alberta government refuses to recognize that Canada’s international human rights obligations are binding on the province.

    The Federal, Provincial and Territorial ministers responsible for human rights will be meeting, virtually, to discuss their collective responsibility to ensure that the human rights of all people are protected across the country. This is only the third meeting of its kind in the past 32 years, with the other meetings having taken place in 1988 and 2017.

    November 09, 2020

    Responding to the arrest of more than 1,000 people in a single day of peaceful protest in Minsk and other Belarusian cities, Marie Struthers, Amnesty International’s Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, said:

    “Over the weekend, the security forces under the command of President Alyaksandr Lukashenka escalated reprisals against peaceful dissent and took the human rights crisis in Belarus to a new level, with gruesome footage of riot police beating unarmed demonstrators and officers shoving elderly people into police vans.

    “These acts add weight to the already heavy dossier of government violations of human rights, including unlawful use of force, arbitrary mass arrests, torture and ill-treatment of people who speak out against Lukashenka’s government. Hundreds of those arrested face up to 15 days of administrative detention, which can be applied multiple times amounting to lengthy imprisonment intended to silence and intimidate.

    November 08, 2020

    The Tunisian authorities must immediately stop exploiting largely outdated, overly broad and repressive laws to prosecute individuals for exercising their right to freedom of expression online, said Amnesty International in a detailed briefing and campaign launched today.

    Amnesty International found that at least 40 bloggers, administrators of widely followed Facebook pages, political activists and human rights defenders have face criminal prosecution between 2018 and 2020 simply for publishing online posts critical of local authorities, the police or other state officials. 

    "It is extremely disturbing to see bloggers and activists being targeted with criminal prosecutions under laws that date back to the time of repression in Tunisia ten years after the revolution, for simply posting their views on Facebook. Instead of trying to muzzle criticism, the Tunisian authorities should uphold the right of each and every person to express themselves freely and safely without fear of reprisals,” said Amna Guellali, Amnesty International's Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

    November 07, 2020

    Following reports that Joe Biden will become the 46th president of the United States of America, Amnesty International USA’s Interim Executive Director, Bob Goodfellow, released the following statement:  

    “As an organization dedicated to defending everyone’s human rights in the U.S. and around the world, Amnesty International USA calls on the new Biden administration to act immediately to end human rights violations perpetrated by the U.S. government, including the detention and separation of children and their families seeking safety.    

    November 06, 2020

    OTTAWA – Amnesty International is pleased to announce that its first-ever online human rights conference in Canada will feature an array of high-profile activists, Indigenous rights advocates, and award-winning authors. 

    Sparking Connections is an online, nation-wide gathering of Amnesty International Canada’s English-speaking membership and wider community. Organized by Amnesty International’s members, the conference will take place over two weeks from Nov. 7-21. 

    Everyone is invited to participate in skill-building workshops, attend community events and tune into the incredible keynote speeches. 

    Dr. Pam Palmater, a Mi’kmaw lawyer, scholar and social justice advocate, will launch the conference on Nov. 7 on 1 p.m. EST with a keynote address on what it means to do human rights work on stolen, Indigenous lands. The general public can live stream the keynote here.  

    November 04, 2020

    On 16 October, Samuel Paty, a 47-year-old teacher, was murdered in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine (Paris region). An 18- year old holding refugee status in France beheaded the teacher allegedly because he had shown his students some cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed.

    On 29 October, three people were killed in a church in Nice. The main suspect is a 21-year old Tunisian national. The authorities have arrested another person who is suspected of being an accomplice. Amnesty International condemns the murders in the strongest possible terms. All our thoughts are with the families of the victims.

    French authorities have legal obligations to carry out a prompt, thorough, independent, impartial, transparent and effective investigation into the murders. Anyone suspected of being responsible should be brought to justice and judged following a fair trial. Regrettably, following the murders, the French Minister of Interior Gérald Darmanin, made announcements that raise concerns regarding the authorities’ willingness to comply with the country’s international human rights obligations.

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