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    November 03, 2020

    Responding to news that the Belarusian authorities have started mass criminal proceedings against more than 200 peaceful protesters who were detained during a rally on Sunday, and are now at risk of being jailed for up to three years, Denis Krivosheev, Deputy Director of Amnesty International for Eastern Europe and Central Asia said: 

    “The Belarusian authorities clearly fear freedom of peaceful assembly in the country, and are now criminalizing it wholesale, by attempting to prosecute 231 detained protesters in one single case. The protesters called their rally on Sunday a March against Terror, and now they are being intimidated by the authorities even further. 

    “By officially calling hundreds of participants of a peaceful demonstration criminals, the Belarusian authorities show their deep disdain for human rights and fundamental freedoms. This criminal case is utterly absurd and sets a dangerous precedent. It must be immediately dropped. 

    November 02, 2020

    Amnesty International can reveal that at least 54 people from the Amhara ethnic group were killed in an attack late on 1 November by suspected members of the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) armed group.

    The attack on Gawa Qanqa village in Guliso District of West Wellega Zone took place just a day after Ethiopian Defense Forces troops withdrew from the area unexpectedly and without explanation. Witnesses said dozens of men, women and children were killed, property looted and what the militants could not carry away, they set on fire.

    “This senseless attack is the latest in a series of killings in the country in which members of ethnic minorities have been deliberately targeted. The fact that this horrendous incident occurred shortly after government troops abruptly withdrew from the area in unexplained circumstances raises questions that must be answered,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East and Southern Africa.

    “The Ethiopian authorities must investigate what happened and prosecute those responsible for the attack through fair trials.”

    October 30, 2020
    Reinstate Contract; Amend Labor Law

    (Beirut, October 30, 2020) – Lebanon’s State Shura Council, the country’s top administrative court, delivered a sharp blow to migrant domestic worker rights by suspending the implementation of a new standard unified contract, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said today. The standard unified contract, which the Labor Ministry adopted on September 8, 2020, included new protections for migrant domestic workers, including vital safeguards against forced labor, and would have been an important first step toward abolishing the abusive kafala (sponsorship) system.

    October 29, 2020

    The Indian government must immediately halt its intensifying suppression of dissent, said Amnesty International, following a series of raids by counter-terrorism forces on the homes and premises of civil society groups, human rights defenders and journalists in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) region on Wednesday 28 October.  

    The National Investigation Agency (NIA), the country’s premier anti-terror agency, raided the residences and offices of prominent human rights activists Khurram Parvez, the co-ordinator of J&K Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS), three of his associates and Parveena Ahanger, Chairperson of the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP). Both organizations have reported extensively on human rights abuses in Kashmir, including the indefinite administrative detention and extrajudicial execution of human rights defenders, torture of people in detention and the widespread impunity of the security forces in the region. Further raids were carried out on the offices of the NGOs Athrout and GK Trust and on the residence of Agence France-Presse’s Kashmir correspondent Parvez Bukhari.  

    October 29, 2020

    Amnesty International has verified the use of banned cluster bombs by Armenia for the first time in the current Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, following an attack on the city of Barda in Azerbaijan.

    Yesterday (28 October 2020), at approximately 1.30pm local time, one or several Smerch rockets were fired into Barda, striking a residential neighbourhood close to a hospital. The Azerbaijani Prosecutor General’s Office has stated that at least 21 people were killed, with an estimated 70 more injured.

    Amnesty International’s Crisis Response experts verified pictures (taken by Vice News reporters in the city) of fragments of 9N235 cluster munitions from Russian-made 9M55 Smerch rockets, that appear to have been fired into the city by Armenian forces.

    “The firing of cluster munitions into civilian areas is cruel and reckless, and causes untold death, injury and misery,” said Marie Struthers, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

    October 28, 2020

    The Nigerian authorities’ must end their attempts to cover up the Lekki Toll Gate massacre, Amnesty International said, as it released a new timeline investigating the atrocity one week later.

    The timeline – available here – collates photographs and video footage to confirm that Nigerian Army vehicles left Bonny Camp, a military base approximately a seven-minute drive from the toll gate, at 6.29pm local time on 20 October. 

    Footage then tracks the vehicles to the toll gate. At approximately 6.45pm, the Nigerian military opened fire on the #EndSars protesters who were peacefully calling for an end to police brutality.

    “What happened at Lekki Toll Gate has all the traits of the Nigerian authorities’ pattern of a cover-up whenever their defence and security forces commit unlawful killings,” said Osai Ojigho, Country Director of Amnesty International.

    October 28, 2020

    Amnesty International has informed the Belarusian authorities that the organization has collected about 191,000 signatures from supporters calling for an end to the crackdown on peaceful protests and accountability for police abuses. The petition was launched ahead of Belarus’s 9 August presidential election amid mounting violations against protesters. As the crackdown against peaceful protesters has intensified, it has been signed by hundreds of thousands of people from 184 countries. 

    “When we started this campaign back in July, we could not have foreseen just how widespread and brutal the assault on peaceful protesters would be. The Belarusian authorities have descended to new lows in their pursuit of critics and political opponents, arresting thousands of people and carrying out a campaign of intimidation, torture and other ill-treatment that is ongoing. Only a couple of weeks ago, the Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs condoned the use of lethal weapons against protesters,” said Aisha Jung, Amnesty International’s Senior Campaigner on Belarus. 

    October 23, 2020
    Canadian companies must take responsibility for human rights abuses abroad, says human rights organization  

    Amnesty International is welcoming news that a group of Eritrean plaintiffs have reached an out-of-court settlement in a lawsuit against Canadian mining company, Nevsun Resources.

    The case, filed in British Columbia in November 2014 by former mine workers Gize Yebeyo Araya, Kesete Tekle Fshazion and Mihretab Yemane Tekle, alleged that Nevsun was responsible for benefitting from gross human rights abuses such as slavery and forced labour, torture, and crimes against humanity during the construction of its copper and gold mine in Eritrea.

    The terms of the settlement – which concludes years of legal wrangling across three continents – are confidential.

    October 23, 2020

    Law enforcement agencies across the USA are failing to facilitate people’s fundamental right to freedom of peaceful assembly, and to protect protests and counter-protests from violent disruption by armed groups among others, Amnesty International said today in a new report, Losing the Peace: US Police Failures to Protect Protesters from Violence. 

    Since the police killing of George Floyd in May 2020, there have been thousands of peaceful anti-racism and political protests and counter-protests across the USA. Yet in nearly 200 incidents where violence occurred between participants in conflicting protests, Amnesty International found that US police forces frequently failed to take preventive measures to avoid the disruption of peaceful assemblies and failed to protect protesters from violent attacks when they did occur.

    October 23, 2020

    With women’s empowerment topping the agenda at next week’s B20 Summit, hosted by Saudi Arabia, Amnesty International is reminding business leaders that many of the country’s bravest women’s rights activists are languishing in prison for daring to demand reforms. 

    Loujain al Hathloul, Nassima al-Sada, Samar Badawi, Maya’a al-Zahrani, and Nouf Abdulaziz spearheaded women’s rights campaigns, including calling for the right to drive and an end to the repressive male guardianship system. But while Saudi Arabia talks up recent reforms such as the relaxation of social restrictions and the loosening of the guardianship system to court approval from the rich and powerful around the B20, women’s rights activists remain in detention.

    “Since assuming the G20 Presidency Saudi Arabia has invested heavily in rebranding its image, throwing out slogans about women’s equality and insisting it is ready for change. But Saudi Arabia’s real changemakers are behind bars,” said Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International's Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

    October 22, 2020

    Given the lack of publicity around this morning’s pre-trial hearing against David Castillo, the only person accused of masterminding the murder of the Lenca leader and environmental defender Berta Cáceres, Amnesty International reminds the Honduran authorities of their obligation to comply with due process.

    Prior to the beginning of the oral and public debate, a hearing was scheduled on 22 October to examine the proceedings against David Castillo, the former manager of the company Desarrollos Energéticos (DESA), who was in charge of the Agua Zarca hydroelectric project.

    According to the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), the organization that Berta Cáceres was general coordinator of, the broadcast of the hearing could not be accessed remotely due to the absence of a technician, thus limiting publicity and the transparency of the judicial process.

    October 22, 2020

    Responding to reports that the United States Department of State, under Secretary Pompeo’s initiative, may categorize several non-governmental organizations as antisemitic and call on governments worldwide to stop funding them, Bob Goodfellow, the Interim Executive Director of Amnesty International USA, issued the below statement:

    “Secretary Pompeo’s baseless accusations are yet another attempt to silence and intimidate international human rights organizations. The administration is spreading misinformation and working to undermine those who are working to protect human rights. Amnesty International USA is deeply committed to fighting antisemitism and all forms of hate worldwide, and will continue to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth, and dignity are denied. We vigorously contest any allegation of antisemitism.

    October 21, 2020
    At least 12 people killed at Alausa and Lekki Toll Gate Lagos  Hundreds severely injured  CCTV dismantled to cover murder 

    An on-the-ground investigation by Amnesty International has confirmed that the Nigerian army and police killed at least 12 peaceful protesters yesterday at two locations in Lagos. The killings took place in Lekki and Alausa, where thousands were protesting police brutality as part of the #EndSars movement. 

    Evidence gathered from eyewitnesses, video footage and hospital reports confirm that between 6:45pm and 9:00pm on Tuesday 20 October, the Nigerian military opened fire on thousands of people who were peacefully calling for good governance and an end to police brutality. 

    October 20, 2020

    OTTAWA – Amnesty International stands firmly in solidarity with the family and loved ones of Abdirahman Abdi, as well as Black communities in Ottawa and across Canada, after a court found Ottawa police Const. Daniel Montsion not guilty of manslaughter and assault charges connected to his death.

    Abdi was a 37-year-old Somali-Canadian man who died on July 24, 2016 following a violent arrest and altercation with Ottawa police, captured on a witness video. Abdi’s family indicated that he suffered from mental health issues. He had no criminal history.

    “Today’s verdict does not serve justice to Abdirahman – nor to the Black, Indigenous and racialized people who have died at the hands of police before him” said Ketty Nivyabandi, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada. “Instead, today’s verdict is yet another painful reminder of the systemic racism that is pervasive in our police institutions and carceral systems. This must end.”

    October 20, 2020

    On Friday 23 October 2020, the Federal Court of Appeal will hear arguments on the Canadian government’s request to stay the decision finding that Canada is violating the rights of refugee claimants it returns to the US under the Safe Third Country Agreement. The July Federal Court decision is otherwise due to take effect in January 2021.

    The Canadian Council for Refugees, Amnesty International and The Canadian Council of Churches, alongside the individual litigants, are arguing that the stay application must be rejected.

    “Every day that the rules remain in effect, more people risk being returned to imprisonment in the US and possible return to persecution,” said Dorota Blumczynska, CCR President. “After seeing overwhelming evidence, including the testimonies of the appalling experiences of people in the US immigration detention system, the Federal Court concluded that the conditions in US detention ‘shock the conscience’. We must stop sending people to face these intolerable abuses.”

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