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    April 09, 2019
    Global executions fell by 31%, reaching lowest figure in at least a decade But several countries saw a rise in executions, including Belarus, Japan, Singapore, South Sudan and USA Thailand resumed executions, Sri Lanka threatened to follow suit China remained world’s top executioner, followed by Iran, Saudi Arabia, Viet Nam and Iraq

    Global executions fell by almost one-third last year to the lowest figure in at least a decade, Amnesty International said in its 2018 global review of the death penalty published today. The statistics assess known executions worldwide except in China, where figures thought to be in their thousands remain classified as a state secret.

    Following a change to its anti-narcotics laws, executions in Iran – a country where the use of the death penalty is rife – fell by a staggering 50%. Iraq, Pakistan and Somalia also showed a significant reduction in the number they carried out. As a result, execution figures fell globally from at least 993 in 2017, to at least 690 in 2018.

    April 09, 2019

    Nine people have been reportedly killed in Sudan since protesters began a sit-in at the military’s headquarters in Khartoum on 6 April, with police and security forces using excessive force to try and disperse protesters calling for President Omar al-Bashir to step down, Amnesty International has learned.

    “The Sudanese authorities must stop firing at protesters peacefully exercising their freedom of expression. The killing of people who are simply taking a stand for what they believe in is completely unacceptable,” said Joan Nyanyuki, Amnesty International’s Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    Amnesty International has verified that two men were killed early Tuesday morning, one close to his house in Omdurman as he returned from the sit-in. The other was killed after what appeared to be a skirmish between National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) and police on the one hand, and officers of the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) on the other. An army officer was also reportedly shot in the head in the early morning clashes.

    April 09, 2019

    While Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that 16 Saudis would be barred form entering the United States in response to the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Amnesty International reiterated its call for an independent investigation into his death. Philippe Nassif, the Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International USA, stated:

    “If the United States is serious about seeking accountability for the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, then Secretary Pompeo must call for and support an independent investigation, led by the United Nations. Unfortunately, the Trump Administration’s historic willingness to look the other way in the face of human rights violations by the Saudi government means that an impartial U.N. investigation is the only hope to get the full truth about what happened to Khashoggi and to convey to Saudi officials that they will not evade accountability for this crime.”

    For more information or to request an interview, please contact:

    April 09, 2019

    Responding to the guilty verdicts for “public nuisance” against nine leaders of the 2014 pro-democracy Umbrella Movement protests in Hong Kong, Man-kei Tam, Director of Amnesty International Hong Kong said:

    “Today’s guilty verdicts are a crushing blow for freedom of expression and peaceful protest in Hong Kong. The government has used vague charges in their relentless persecution of the Umbrella Nine.

    “The government is increasingly using prosecutions as a political tool to target peaceful activists, abusing the law to silence debate about sensitive issues such as Hong Kong democracy and autonomy. We urge the government to cease this chilling assault against people legitimately exercising their right to freedom of expression.”

    Background

    Among the nine activists convicted at West Kowloon Magistrates’ Courts are the co-founders of the “Occupy Central” campaign – legal scholar Professor Benny Tai Yiu-ting, sociologist Professor Chan Kin-man and retired pastor Reverend Chu Yiu-ming. 

    April 09, 2019

    In response to the “follow-up” meeting between the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Lindiwe Sisulu and the Minister of Police Bheki Cele with Heads of the Diplomatic Missions represented in South Africa “to find a lasting solution” to xenophobic attacks in the country, Shenilla Mohamed, Executive Director of Amnesty International South Africa, said:

    criminal justice failures and populist rhetoric are some of the reasons behind the latest round of xenophobic violence against refugees, migrants and asylum seekers in South Africa.

    “For many years, South African authorities have largely failed to address past outbreaks of xenophobic crimes that have been seen in the country since at least 2008, including bringing those suspected to be responsible to justice.

    “Political leaders must stop making discriminatory and inflammatory remarks about migrants and foreign nationals especially during their election campaigns ahead of the polls.

    April 09, 2019

    The brutal forced eviction of 61 people, including 33 children, from a farming area in Eswatini one year ago has left in its wake a host of distressed children and poverty-stricken families struggling to survive, Amnesty International said following speaking to the affected families 12 months after they were made homeless.

    On 9 April 2018, Eswatini authorities deployed armed police and bulldozers to demolish four homesteads in the Emphetseni farming area in the Malkerns town. Everyone lost their homes following the demolitions. Many of those evicted have lost their livelihoods as well as access to the graves of their loved ones.

    “The forced evictions in Malkerns have destroyed people’s futures, including children whose education has been interrupted,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southern Africa.

    “The affected families have been thrown into a cycle of poverty that they may never escape. They did not only lose their homes and livelihoods, but deep cultural connections with the land that they have known as their home for over six decades.”

    April 09, 2019

    Responding to the case of Laleh Shahravesh, a British woman who has reportedly been detained in Dubai on defamation charges in relation to a Facebook post in her name which called her ex-husband’s new partner a “horse face”, Devin Kenney, Amnesty International’s Gulf Researcher, said:

    “All charges in this absurd case against Laleh Shahravesh should be dropped.

    “Ms Shahravesh is reportedly being tried under the UAE’s notorious cybercrimes law - one of several laws which unjustifiably smother free speech in the country.

    “The cybercrimes law has been used to silence numerous people in the UAE, including Ahmed Mansoor, the respected Emirati human rights defender jailed for ten years last year for remarks he made online.

    “The Emirati authorities have turned the cybercrimes law into a leading instrument of repression, notably using it against multiple prisoners of conscience during the country’s post-2011 crackdown.”

    April 08, 2019

    A Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability Press Release

    Canadian Network on Corporate AccountabilityThe Government of Canada failed today to appoint an independent Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise (CORE) with real powers to investigate abuses and redress the harm caused by Canadian companies operating abroad.

    Canadian companies operating overseas have been associated with widespread and egregious human rights abuses including forced labour, rape and murder.

    Fifteen months ago, the government announced that it would create an independent office with the power to investigate. Instead, it unveiled a powerless advisory post, little different from what has already existed for years. It is clear that Canada needs an ombudsperson to help prevent Canadian complicity in corporate abuse and help ensure Canadian mining and garment supply chains respect human rights.

    An ombudsperson operates at arms-length from government and has the power to order those under investigation to produce documents and testimony under oath. The advisory position created today does neither.

    April 08, 2019

    Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Rights Watch UK will this week join the appeal against the UK’s continuing arms exports to Saudi Arabia in a fresh legal challenge.

    The organizations will intervene in the case, brought by Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT), at the Court of Appeal in London seeking to challenge the legality of the UK Government’s decision to issue licences for arms exports to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen, despite the risk of the weapons being used for serious violations of international humanitarian law in the conflict.

    “The people of Yemen are being killed and are at serious risk of famine because of the Saudi Arabia-led Coalition’s relentless bombing campaign that has been made possible by British arms and equipment,” said Lucy Claridge, Amnesty International’s Director of Strategic Litigation.

    “How many more people must die before the UK Government admits it is in the wrong? By selling billions of pounds worth of arms to Saudi Arabia, ministers are signing a death warrant for the people of Yemen.

    April 08, 2019

    Egypt’s authorities must end their crackdown against critics who oppose amendments to the Egyptian constitution, proposed by members of parliament, that will strengthen impunity for human rights violations, said Amnesty International. Many of those who have criticized the changes have been arrested or publicly vilified in the media.

    The organization is today publishing an analysis of the constitutional amendments which are currently being discussed by the Egyptian parliament. If passed, these measures will undermine the independence of the judiciary, expand military trials for civilians and could allow President Abdel Fattah to stay in power until 2034.

    “If passed, these constitutional amendments would worsen the devastating human rights crisis Egyptians are already facing. They would grant President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and security forces free rein to further abuse their powers and suppress peaceful dissent for years to come,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International.

    April 08, 2019

    Fears of further civilian bloodshed are growing as clashes on the outskirts of Tripoli, between forces from the self-proclaimed Libyan National Army, under General Khalifa Haftar’s command, and militias aligned with Libya’s internationally recognized Government of National Accord escalate, said Amnesty International today.

    According to the Tripoli-based Health Ministry, at least 25 people have been killed and 80 injured since the offensive by General Haftar to take over the capital, Tripoli, was launched on 4 April. At least four of those killed were civilians, including two medical workers, according to the UN.

    “The escalation of violence on the outskirts of Tripoli is deeply alarming – there are fears that the civilian death toll will rise rapidly as the fighting intensifies and spreads into more densely populated parts of the city,” said Magdalena Mughrabi Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

    April 08, 2019

    Today, Amnesty International released the organization’s 2019 Human Rights Agenda for Canada and called on all governments in the country to take a serious stance against human rights abuses, domestically and abroad. The report, Building Hope, Addressing Injustice, is being released with less than six months to go before the 2019 federal election, against an international backdrop of conflict, strife, and continued rise of political agendas fueling hate and demonization; and amidst a domestic context of growing divisive political rhetoric about refugees, violence against Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit people, systemic discrimination against racialized communities, and failure to uphold the land rights of Indigenous peoples.

    April 07, 2019

    The dangerous global trend towards hate-filled, divisive politics shows that world leaders have collectively ignored the terrible lessons of the 1994 Rwanda genocide, Amnesty International said today as the world marks the 25th anniversary.

    “It is shameful that the conscience of world leaders is all too often pricked only in the aftermath of massive atrocities; then as soon as the news moves on, politicians around the world go straight back to peddling the hateful and dehumanizing rhetoric that fuels these horrific incidents in the first place,” said Kumi Naidoo, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.

    In just 100 days between April and July 1994, more than 800,000 people were killed, the vast majority of them Tutsi who were targeted in a deliberate government attempt to eliminate their ethnic group. Some Hutu opposed to the genocide were also targeted.

    April 05, 2019

    Responding to reports that the Saudi Arabian authorities have arrested at least seven individuals, some of whom are journalists, writers and academics, Amnesty International’s Middle East Director of Research Lynn Maalouf said:

    “Those arrested include Salah al-Haidar, the son of human rights activist Aziza Al-Yousef, who was temporarily released just a few days ago after more than 10 months of a terrible ordeal. Others include Abdullah al-Duhailan, a journalist, novelist and advocate for Palestinian rights and Fahad Abalkhail, who has supported the Women to Drive Campaign.

    “In their continuing crackdown, it is no coincidence that the Saudi Arabian authorities are shamelessly targeting those citizens who are part and parcel of the society’s vibrant intellectual, artistic, activist landscape. By targeting them, they are signaling to their entire people that there will be zero tolerance of any form of criticism, let alone questioning, of the state’s authoritarian practices.

    April 04, 2019

    A police raid on the offices of online news site 263 Chat after one of its journalists filmed the removal of street vendors in Harare is a blatant assault on the right to freedom of expression and media freedom, Amnesty International said today.

    Police fired tear gas into the newsroom after chasing reporter Lovejoy Mtongwiza to the website's offices. The journalist had been taking photos and videos of the police forcing out street vendors in the Zimbabwean capital.

    "Today’s attack on the 263 Chat offices was designed to send a chilling message to journalists and shows the lengths the Zimbabwean police are prepared to go to muzzle media freedom," said Muleya Mwananyanda, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for Southern Africa.

    “The authorities must end the attack on the media and launch a prompt, thorough and effective investigation into this attack and ensure that all suspected perpetrators are identified and brought to justice.”

    263 Chat is an online news site which reports on political, economic and social issues in Zimbabwe.

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