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    July 28, 2016

    Amid a fresh outbreak of fighting in South Sudan, a new report by Amnesty International reveals the true horror suffered by civilians at the hands of government forces after the August 2015 peace agreement was signed.

    “We are still running”: War crimes in Leer, South Sudan, details how South Sudanese government forces and allied militia hunted down and killed civilians, raped and abducted women, stole cattle and torched villages in opposition strongholds in Leer County, Unity State, between August and December 2015.

    “These war crimes and other abuses committed across the country are the result of ongoing impunity that continues to fuel conflict in South Sudan, as seen in recent weeks of renewed fighting,” said Lama Fakih, Senior Crisis Advisor at Amnesty International.

    July 27, 2016

    Forty body bags, representing the number of people killed by the police in May 2016 in Rio de Janeiro were displayed in front of the Local Organizing Committee for the Rio 2016 Olympics by Amnesty International’s activists in a peaceful protest.

    The activists also delivered a petition signed by 120,000 people from more than 15 countries demanding public security policies that respect human rights during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

    July 27, 2016

    The release yesterday of six youth activists in the Democratic Republic of Congo by way of presidential pardons will be seen as little more than an exercise in window dressing unless all prisoners of conscience and others detained solely for the peaceful exercise of their human rights are freed, said Amnesty International.

    Rebecca Kavugho, Serge Sivyavugha, Justin Kambale Mutsongo, Melka Kamundu, John Anipenda and Ghislain Muhiwa were released from Munzenze Prison with less than a month left to serve on their six-month sentence imposed for charges of “attempting to incite disobedience.”

    “While it is good news that the six are finally free to reunite with their families, their release at the tail-end of an unjust prison term resulting from trumped up charges is nothing to celebrate. They should never have been jailed in the first place,” said Christian Rumu, Amnesty International’s Great Lakes Campaigner.

    July 26, 2016

    Amnesty International’s Prisoner of Conscience Irom Sharmila Chanu has taken an individual decision to end her 16-year-old fast against the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act on August 9. Amnesty International India calls on the Manipur government to immediately and unconditionally release the 44-year-old activist and to drop all charges against her.

    At a district court hearing in Imphal, Sharmila expressed the desire to come out of her fast and contest state elections. Speaking to local media, Sharmila said, “The only way to bring change is electoral process. I will stand as an independent candidate from Malom constituency. My single issue would be to remove AFSPA from the state. In my next hearing in the court on August 9 I will end my fast.”

    July 26, 2016

    Responding to the news on 26 July 2016 that three leading human rights defenders in Thailand -- including a current and former chair of Amnesty International Thailand --  have been formally charged with “computer crimes” and “criminal defamation” for publishing a report on torture committed by the country’s security forces, Amnesty International said:

    “The Thai authorities must immediately drop all charges against Somchai Homla-or, Anchana Heemmina, and Porpen Khongkaconkiet. It is not a crime to investigate human rights violations. The true injustice is that these three brave human rights activists are being punished for reporting on torture, while the soldiers who perpetrated these horrendous acts are being shielded from accountability,” said Champa Patel, Amnesty International’s Senior Research Adviser for South East Asia and the Pacific.

    ***************************

    For media inquiries, please contact Jacob Kuehn in media relations

    613-744-7667, ext 236

    July 26, 2016

    Indonesian President Joko Widodo, popularly known as ‘Jokowi’ will be putting his government on the wrong side of history if he proceeds with a fresh round of executions, Amnesty International said today.

    Amnesty International received credible reports that at least 14 people could be executed this week, who consist of four Indonesian and ten foreign nationals, including a Pakistani, an Indian, a Zimbabwean, a Senegalese, a South African, and five Nigerians.

    “President Widodo’s era was supposed to represent a new start for human rights in Indonesia. Sadly, he could preside over the highest number of executions in the country’s democratic era at a time when most of the world has turned its back on this cruel practice,” said Josef Benedict, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for South East Asia and the Pacific.

    July 26, 2016

    Restrictions on the delivery of vital humanitarian aid to civilians in Yemen are exacerbating the country’s humanitarian crisis and endangering lives, said Amnesty International calling on all parties to the conflict to allow full and unfettered access to organizations providing crucial supplies.

    A delegation from the organization visited Huthi-controlled parts of Yemen in May 2016 and spoke to 11 local and international humanitarian aid organizations who described unlawful restrictions on aid by both Huthi and Saudi Arabia-led coalition forces. The organization is urging that the removal of impediments to aid delivery is given top priority at the peace talks currently underway in Kuwait before they conclude this week. 

    “Unlawful impediments to aid in Yemen are causing dreadful suffering, and depriving people of their basic needs in the midst of an active conflict. It is absolutely imperative that negotiators prioritize this issue and take steps to guarantee aid is getting to those who need it most and that aid workers and their operations are not targeted or harassed,” said Lama Fakih, Senior Crisis Advisor at Amnesty International.

    July 25, 2016

    The Thai authorities must immediately drop the criminal investigation against three of the country’s most prominent human rights activists, including the chair of Amnesty International Thailand, who could be charged tomorrow for documenting and publishing a report about torture by Thai security forces, the organization warned.

    Somchai Homla-or, Anchana Heemmina, and Porpen Khongkaconkiet, who was appointed Chair of the Amnesty International Thailand board last month, face the prospect of five years behind bars and a fine of US $4,800 if found guilty on charges of “criminal defamation” and “computer crimes”. The three are due to report to Pattani police station on 26 July.

    “At a time when the Thai government has promised to introduce anti-torture legislation, it is a cruel paradox that they are harassing activists for exposing the abhorrent practice,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

    July 25, 2016

    Responding to news that Turkish authorities have issued arrest warrants for 42 journalists, Amnesty International issued the following quote:

    “This is the latest alarming development in what is increasingly becoming a brazen purge based on political affiliation,” said Gauri van Gulik, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Europe.

    “By rounding up journalists the government is failing to make a distinction between criminal acts and legitimate criticism. Rather than stifling press freedom and intimidating journalists into silence it is vital that Turkish authorities allow the media to do their work and end this draconian clampdown on freedom of expression.”

    Background

    On 24 July, Amnesty International revealed that it has gathered credible evidence that detainees in Turkey are being subjected to beatings and torture, including rape, in official and unofficial detention centres.

    July 24, 2016

    Released : 00:01 GMT/UTC on Monday 25 July 2016

    With just under a week to go, a group of unlikely bedfellows including Australia, China, Egypt, India, Russia, Pakistan and the UK, among others, risk bulldozing through the only worldwide effort under way to provide concrete action to deal with the global refugee crisis affecting 20 million people, warned Amnesty International today.

    By the end of July, United Nations (UN) member states meeting in New York plan to finalize the text of an agreement towards a Global Compact on Refugees to tackle the current crisis and deal with similar emergencies in future. In the coming days, states have a final chance to change their positions before an outcome document is locked in for adoption at a UN Summit in September.

    July 24, 2016

    Amnesty International has gathered credible evidence that detainees in Turkey are being subjected to beatings and torture, including rape, in official and unofficial detention centres in the country.

    The organization is calling for independent monitors to be given immediate access to detainees in all facilities in the wake of the coup attempt, which include police headquarters, sports centres and courthouses. More than 10,000 people have been detained since the failed coup. 

    Amnesty International has credible reports that Turkish police in Ankara and Istanbul are holding detainees in stress positions for up to 48 hours, denying them food, water and medical treatment, and verbally abusing and threatening them. In the worst cases some have been subjected to severe beatings and torture, including rape.

    July 21, 2016

    CLEVELAND, OH – Amnesty International USA (AIUSA) has deployed human rights observers to monitor protests at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, OH, this week and will do the same at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, PA, next week. The following is a statement from Eric Ferrero, AIUSA’s Deputy Executive Director for Strategic Communications and Digital Initiatives, on the protests in Cleveland on July 21:

    “Amnesty International USA's delegation of human rights observers were at protests and marches throughout the day and night Thursday. As they have all week, the observers saw mostly peaceful protests with police largely protecting the rights of people to take to the streets to express their opinions. The observers continue to gather and analyze information about several situations this week, including two dispersal orders and a number of arrests. The team is also compiling its records on some of the entrance or exit routes to protests. As they have throughout the week, the observers noted a heavy law enforcement presence, with police sometimes outnumbering protesters. 

    July 21, 2016

    Amnesty International has deployed human rights observers to monitor protests at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, OH, this week and will do the same at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, PA, next week. The following is a statement from Eric Ferrero, Amnesty International USA’s Deputy Executive Director for Strategic Communications and Digital Initiatives, on the protests in Cleveland on July 20:

    “Amnesty International's human rights observers were at several protests or marches today, including one where police ordered the crowd to disperse and arrested multiple people.” 

    “Our observers saw protests that appeared largely peaceful, with police for the most part fulfilling their duty to protect people's right to protest. Our observers gathered follow-up information and corroboration about several events they monitored, in order to better understand the context.” 

    July 21, 2016

    President Erdogan’s announcement of the imposition of a state of emergency must not pave the way for a roll-back in human rights or be used as a pretext to further clamp down on freedom of expression and protections against arbitrary detention and torture, said Amnesty International today.

    Following a meeting of the National Security Council and the Turkish cabinet late Wednesday night, President Erdogan announced that the government will impose a state of emergency for at least three months.

    “In the wake of the violence surrounding the attempted coup, taking measures prioritising public security is understandable. But emergency measures must respect Turkey’s obligations under international law, should not discard hard won freedoms and human rights safeguards, and must not become permanent,” said Andrew Gardner, Amnesty International’s Turkey researcher.

    July 21, 2016

    Both the Ukrainian government authorities and Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine are holding civilians in prolonged arbitrary, and sometimes secret detention and torturing  them, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said in a joint report released today.

    The report “‘You Don’t Exist.’ Arbitrary Detentions, Enforced Disappearances, and Torture in Eastern Ukraine,” is based on interviews with 40 victims of abuses, their family members, witnesses, victims’ lawyers, and other sources. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch documented nine cases of arbitrary, prolonged detention of civilians by the Ukrainian authorities, including some cases of enforced disappearances, in informal detention sites and nine cases of arbitrary, prolonged detention of civilians by Russia-backed separatists. Most of the cases detailed in the report took place in 2015 and the first half of 2016. 

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