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    March 01, 2019

    A resolution on prisoner transfers adopted today by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) must be followed by concrete steps to ensure that human rights of prisoners are respected while they are in transit, Amnesty International said today. The organization has previously documented the appalling conditions in which prisoners in Russia are transferred, and called on the Russian authorities to implement the PACE recommendations immediately.

    “Prisoner transfers are often deliberately hidden from the public gaze, meaning people are subjected to appalling abuses without scrutiny. In Russia, where prisoners are often sent to remote locations to serve their sentences, people spend weeks or even months in cramped, windowless trains with no access to the outside world. While their families wonder where they are, prisoners suffer the miseries of infrequent toilet access, scant drinking water and severe overcrowding,” said Heather McGill, Researcher in the Eastern Europe and Central Asia Regional Office of Amnesty International.  

    March 01, 2019

    Algerian security forces must refrain from using excessive or unnecessary force to disperse peaceful demonstrations against President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s bid for a fifth term in office, said Amnesty International, ahead of a fresh wave of protests planned tomorrow all over the country.

    Since 22 February, a series of largely peaceful demonstrations have taken place across the country including protests by lawyers, students and journalists opposing a fifth mandate for President Bouteflika, who has been in power for nearly 20 years, in the upcoming presidential elections on 18 April.

    “As tensions rise amid growing protests, we are appealing to the Algerian authorities to exercise restraint, respect the rights of demonstrators and not to use excessive or unnecessary force to quell peaceful protests,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director at Amnesty International. 

    “The world’s eyes are on Algeria right now and how the government chooses to respond to these demonstrations will be a crucial test of its commitment to upholding the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.

    March 01, 2019

    A new cybercrimes law that would impose heavy prison sentences and hefty fines against peaceful critics who express themselves online would be a devastating setback for freedom of expression in Iraq, Amnesty International said today.

    The organization has highlighted its serious concern over the draft “Law on Information Technology Crimes” in an open letter signed by nine other NGOs. The letter was submitted to the Iraqi authorities this morning and warns that the proposed law would “establish a climate of self-censorship in the country.”

    “If passed, this draconian cybercrime law will be a devastating blow for freedom of expression in Iraq. The vague and overly broad wording of the law means it could easily become a tool for repression in a country where the space for critical voices is already severely restricted,” said Razaw Salihy, Iraq researcher at Amnesty International.

    March 01, 2019

    WASHINGTON, DC – Reports indicate that the Remain in Mexico plan, also known as Migrant Protection Protocols, will soon be implemented in parts of California, New Mexico, and Texas. This plan forces asylum-seekers to stay in Mexico while their claims are reviewed. It is being implemented alongside ongoing large-scale illegal pushbacks at the border.

    Charanya Krishnaswami, advocacy director for the Americas at Amnesty International USA, issued this statement:

    “The Trump administration is not only abandoning people in their most desperate hour, it is actively putting them in harm’s way. Forcing people seeking protection in the United States to stay in Mexico while their claims are processed is irresponsible, cruel, and a stark violation of international law.

    February 28, 2019

    After learning that Canadian citizen Yasser Albaz has been detained in Cairo’s Tora prison, Amnesty International Canada Secretary General Alex Neve issued the following statement:

    "Amnesty International is deeply concerned about the detention of Canadian citizen Yasser Albaz in Egypt and is calling on the Egyptian authorities to release him. We consider his detention to be arbitrary based on the information that we have received from his family and lawyer, which indicates that the charges against him are unfounded. Yasser Albaz’s detention and brief forced disappearance followed by pre-trial detention without charge and without any lawful, substantiated or well-founded allegations, follows an established pattern that Amnesty International has documented in Egypt. Since December 2017, at least 126 individuals have been detained in similar circumstances. Amnesty International calls on the Egyptian authorities to immediately release Mr. Albaz and reiterates the organization’s earlier calls to release the many Egyptians who have been subjected to arbitrary detention.

    February 28, 2019

    The Tunisian government’s attempts to dissolve Shams, a local association that defends the rights of LGBTI people, are a despicable assault on human rights, said Amnesty International, ahead of a court hearing over the organization’s fate tomorrow.

    Tunisian authorities have launched an appeal to overturn a 2016 court ruling which concluded Shams was not in breach of the law, following previous attempts to shut the organization down. The authorities appealed the decision on the grounds that Shams’ stated goals contradict Tunisia’s religious principles and culture.

    February 28, 2019

    The Hong Kong authorities must not return two sisters to Saudi Arabia where their lives would be in grave danger, Amnesty International said.

    The women, who are aged 18 and 20 and are known as Reem and Rawan, fled Saudi Arabia after suffering repeated beatings by male family members and being treated “like slaves”. They arrived in Hong Kong last September when trying to reach Australia. They were blocked from continuing their journey by Saudi consular agents at Hong Kong International Airport. The sisters subsequently learned that their passports had been revoked, making it impossible for them to extend their visas to remain in Hong Kong.

    The sisters have been allowed to stay in Hong Kong as “tolerated” overstayers. That period of toleration is set to expire on 28 February. Hong Kong authorities could extend the period of toleration, which would allow the women to explore third country resettlement options.

    February 27, 2019

     Leading NGOs in Turkey have come together to call for the dropping of absurd allegations levelled against Osman Kavala and 15 other prominent figures and an end to the escalating crackdown and criminalization of civil society.

    The open letter, signed by the organisations including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and eight other NGOs, calls for an end to the orchestrated campaign of intimidation and judicial harassment of civil society activists in Turkey.

    For more information or to arrange an interview contact Elizabeth Berton-Hunter, Media Relations 416-363-9933 ext 332


    We stand united against efforts to destroy civil society

    February 26, 2019

    Sri Lanka’s President, Maithripala Sirisena, should halt his plans to resume executions after more than four decades to execute at least 13 people for drug-related crimes, Amnesty International said today.

    In an open letter published today, Amnesty International’s Secretary General, Kumi Naidoo, urges President Sirisena to fulfil Sri Lanka’s international commitments, respect the right to life, and shun executions that have been proven to have a unique  deterrent effect on crime.

    “Executions, Mr. President, are not a show of strength but an admission of weakness,” Kumi Naidoo writes in the open letter. “They represent the failure to create a society where the protection of the right to life triumphs over the temptations of vengeance.”

    “For those of us who believe that human life must hold the highest value, taking it away is the lowliest act. We understand this clearly when a person commits murder, but we choose to forget it when the state puts someone to death, inflicting the same pain and loss on others who bear no responsibility for the crime.”

    February 26, 2019

    As efforts to initiate discussion on peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan begins, the latest UNAMA`s 2018 report on “Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict” declares a record high number of civilian casualty in Afghanistan with a staggering number of 10,993 civilian casualties reported in 2018. 

    Responding to the UNAMA`s report, Amnesty International’s South Asia Campaigner Samira Hamidi said:

    “The UNAMA report on civilian casualties in Afghanistan is deeply alarming. It reports 10,993 civilian casualties, including 3,804 civilian deaths and 7,189 injuries. The shocking number of dead and injured civilians in Afghanistan once again demonstrates the need for victims to access justice and reparations, and the need to create an environment of accountability.”

    February 26, 2019

    Report reviews human rights in 19 MENA states during 2018

    International arms trade and lucrative business deals fuel cycle of abuse

    Lack of accountability drives widespread repression and civilian suffering

    Small advances on women’s rights and efforts to tackle past abuses due to civil society campaigns

    The international community’s chilling complacency towards wide-scale human rights violations in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) has emboldened governments to commit appalling violations during 2018 by giving them the sense that they need never fear facing justice, said Amnesty International as it published a review of human rights in the region last year.

    February 25, 2019

    WASHINGTON – As US President Donald Trump is scheduled to meet with his North Korean counterpart Kim Jong-un at a two-day summit on February 27 - 28 to be held in Hanoi, Vietnam, Francisco Bencosme, advocacy manager for Asia Pacific at Amnesty International USA, issued the following statement:

    “Over a year ago, President Trump stood in front of Congress and pledged to challenge North Korea’s human rights record. Since then, President Trump has repeatedly disregarded the human rights of the North Korean people to gain favor with Kim Jung-un. His silence in the face of relentless and grave human rights violations has been deafening.

    “The people of North Korea have endured enforced disappearances, arbitrary detention, forced labor in prison camps, a total absence of press freedom, severe restrictions on freedom of expression and movement, and decades of separation of families. But President Trump has turned his back on them for the sake of a photo-op.

    February 25, 2019


    The Sudanese authorities must end measures taken under the state of emergency to violently crush dissent amid ongoing nationwide protests in the country, Amnesty International said.

    Following the declaration of a state of emergency on Friday, the government has deployed large numbers of security forces – including the army – to target protesters.

    Thousands of Sudanese people are again protesting today in various parts of the country. Security officers today invaded the Ahfad University for Women in Omdurman dispersing students with teargas and beatings.

    “The state of emergency is being used by the Sudanese authorities as a justification to flagrantly increase the use of live ammunition and tear gas against protesters, and to torture detainees without any restraint,” said Joan Nyanyuki Amnesty International’s Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    February 25, 2019

    An investigative journalist who published a report revealing corruption within the ministry of health in Gaza is facing up to six months in jail, said Amnesty International, ahead of her appeal hearing tomorrow. 

    Hajar Harb, a Palestinian journalist from Gaza, released an investigative report on al-Araby TV  on 25 June 2016 highlighting that the ministry, which is run by the Hamas de-facto administration, was profiting by arranging illegal medical transfers out of the Gaza Strip for people who did not need treatment. She has been charged with a series of offences including defamation and the publication of false news.

    “The prosecution of Hajar Harb is an outrageous assault on media freedom. The authorities in Gaza are blatantly seeking to punish her for exposing corruption within the Hamas administration. The authorities must drop all the charges against her immediately,” said Saleh Higazi, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International.

    February 21, 2019

    Responding to the release of a draft law which will act as a legal basis for recognizing same-sex marriage in Taiwan, Annie Huang, Amnesty International Taiwan’s Director, said:

    “This is a huge step forward for marriage equality in Taiwan. The draft law is the first of its kind in Asia to allow same-sex marriage. It sends a strong message to the Taiwanese people and the world that Taiwan chooses love over hate, and equality over discrimination.

    “We welcome the bill proposed by Taiwan’s Executive Yuan. It pursues the equal protection of the freedom of marriage for two persons of the same sex, upholding the principles and spirit as laid out in the Constitutional Court’s ruling on 24 May 2017.

    “There are some areas where this separate law falls short of genuine marriage equality. This will require future reforms to fully align opposite-sex and same-sex marriage in law.”



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