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    October 15, 2020

    On 20-22 October, Saudi Arabia will host the Women20 (W20) Summit which according to the W20’s official website “will bring together experts, representatives, and leaders from a variety of disciplines to share, innovate, accelerate and inspire dynamic solutions to advancing women towards a more equitable future.” Ahead of the W20 Summit, Amnesty International addresses this open letter to all the individuals and organizations attending the Summit.

    We are writing this open letter to raise Amnesty International’s serious concerns relating to the ongoing detention of women human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia, and to urge all W20 participants to take action in support of these brave women ahead of and during the Summit.

    October 14, 2020

    States in the Americas must prioritize a human rights-based approach to combating the COVID-19 pandemic, which has exposed widespread inequality and discrimination in the region, Amnesty International said in an open letter to the heads of state attending the General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS).

    “The strategy to combat the COVID-19 pandemic has, in many countries of the Americas, been characterized by repressive measures and the unnecessary use of force. Added to the structural challenges and massive social and economic divides present prior to the pandemic, these measures only combine to perpetuate inequality and discrimination across the continent,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International.

    October 14, 2020
    Spokespersons are available for interviews

    Countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), specifically Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), have used the COVID-19 pandemic as a pretext to continue pre-existing patterns of suppressing the right to freedom of expression in 2020, said Amnesty International today in a detailed statement.

    Across these states, flawed laws are being used to criminalize “false news” to summon, arrest, investigate and prosecute individuals who post content on social media about the pandemic or the government’s response to it.

    Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International's Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said:

    “The GCC states have failed to justify how these measures are necessary and proportionate for the protection of public health. Individuals are being subjected to harassment and intimidation simply for discussing the pandemic online, in a clear breach of their right to freedom of expression.

    October 14, 2020
    At least 10 people killed during protests  Hundreds of protesters injured and arrested  Sponsored thugs unleashing violence on peaceful protesters 

    Nigerian security forces must immediately end the intimidation, harassment and attacks on peaceful protesters, Amnesty International Nigeria said today, after at least 10 people were killed and hundreds injured during ongoing nationwide protests demanding an end to police brutality and corruption. 

    Since 8 October Nigerians have been occupying the streets of major towns and cities across 21 states of the country, demanding an end to police brutality, extrajudicial executions and extortion by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), a unit of the Nigerian police tasked with fighting violent crimes. 

    October 14, 2020

    The National Public Prosecutor's Office must ensure that a number of individuals in command of Chile’s National Police, the Carabineros de Chile, including the Director General, Deputy Director General and Director of Public Order and Security, as well as certain operational commanders within the Metropolitan Zone, are investigated for their possible responsibility for human rights violations committed during last year’s social demonstrations, Amnesty International today said in a new report issued on the first anniversary of the mass protests.

    In All Eyes on Chile: Police violence and command responsibility during the social protests, the organization analyzes the actions of national police officers between 18 October and 30 November 2019 and concludes that serious human rights violations, including that of the demonstrators’ right to physical integrity, were committed on a widespread basis because those in strategic command did not take all the necessary measures to prevent them.

    October 13, 2020

    Amnesty International and Angelina Jolie announced today that they are collaborating on a book for teenagers, informed by children and young people, highlighting the rights contained in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

    The project has been prompted by a shared concern that children and adults are often unaware of children’s human rights, meaning that children are left vulnerable and without redress when these rights are not upheld. The book was written in consultation with child rights lawyer Geraldine Van Bueren QC, one of the drafters of the landmark convention that gave children their own unique set of rights for the first time.

    Know Your Rights (And Claim Them) is being published in September 2021 by Andersen Press in the UK and other publishers internationally. It comes at a time when unprecedented numbers of children are protesting around the world, in the streets and online, against the climate emergency, racism and gender inequality, among other issues. The book’s vision is for all teenagers to know and be able to claim their rights, no matter who they are or where they live.

    October 13, 2020

    Responding the Bangladeshi government's decision to introduce the death penalty as a punishment for rape, Amnesty International’s South Asia Researcher, Sultan Mohammed Zakaria, said:  

    “This regressive step is a fig leaf that deflects attention from the lack of real action to address the appalling brutality faced by so many Bangladeshi women. Executions perpetuate violence, they don’t prevent it. Instead of seeking vengeance, the authorities must focus on ensuring justice for the victims of sexual violence including through delivering the long-term changes that would stop this epidemic of violence and prevent it from recurring. That means, for example, ensuring that Bangladeshi women and girls are protected and that they feel safe coming forward and reporting crimes. Perpetrators must be prosecuted and held accountable and the impunity for these horrific crimes must come to an end - but through fair proceedings and without resort to the death penalty.” 

    Background

    October 13, 2020

    The Bangladeshi authorities must ensure the protection of Rohingya refugees following violent clashes between armed criminal gangs that have killed at least eight people and injured hundreds of others in camps in Cox’s Bazaar since 4 October, said Amnesty International. 

    At least two thousand Rohingya refugees have been forced to flee their shelters to other camps since violence broke out between two rival factions seeking to control the illicit trade of contraband drugs inside the camps. On 7 October, around a dozen shelters in Kutupalong refugee camp were burned to the ground. 

    “The situation inside the camps is highly precarious and, unless the authorities take the necessary action to quell the violence and protect refugees, there’s a serious risk of further bloodshed,” said Saad Hammadi, Amnesty International’s South Asia Campaigner.  

    October 12, 2020

    Amnesty International has gathered new evidence of indiscriminate attacks on civilians in Rakhine State, amid serious escalations in the ongoing armed conflict between the Myanmar military and the Arakan Army (AA). 

    This evidence is based on firsthand testimony, photographs and video obtained from inside Rakhine State, and analysis of satellite imagery as well as media reports and civil society sources. Witnesses’ names have been changed. 

    “There are no signs of the conflict between the Arakan Army and the Myanmar military abating – and civilians continue to bear the brunt,” said Ming Yu Hah, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for Campaigns. 

    “The Myanmar military’s utter disregard for civilian suffering grows more shocking and brazen by the day. The UN Security Council must urgently refer the situation in Myanmar to the International Criminal Court.” 

    October 09, 2020

    Following the acceptance of a new indictment by the Istanbul Heavy Penal Court No.36 against civil society leader Osman Kavala, Amnesty International’s Europe Director Nils Muiznieks said:

    “Having been in prison for almost three years, Osman Kavala is now facing a new trial under an absurd new charge of ‘espionage’. With this new indictment, Osman Kavala faces a life sentence without the possibility of parole as well as up to an additional 20 years for ‘espionage’. Kafkaesque is an overused cliché but in the case of Osman Kavala, it is chillingly apt.”

    “The European Court of Human Rights ruled last December that Osman Kavala’s prolonged pre-trial detention was unlawful and served an ‘ulterior purpose’. Yet, Turkey refuses to implement the binding judgment and to release him.

    “Once again, we call on Turkey to end the shameful injustice that Osman Kavala has been subjected to, by freeing him from prison and dropping these manifestly vindictive proceedings against him.”

    October 08, 2020

    The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed and exacerbated the longstanding neglect of mental health services for refugees and migrants, Amnesty International said today. The organization said the international community had broken the promise, enshrined in international law, to ensure the highest attainable standard of mental health for everyone.

    “A tiny fraction of the international health aid budget is devoted to mental health, and refugees and migrants are often cut off from even the scarce services available. It’s clear that the mental health of people seeking safety has never been a priority for the international community – this needs to change,” said Charlotte Phillips, Head of the Refugee and Migrant Rights Team at Amnesty International.

    “Asylum seekers, refugees and migrants, many of whom already face barriers to housing, employment and healthcare, have been hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 crisis. The longstanding failure of most governments to provide adequate mental health services for refugees and migrants means they are facing the uncertainty and isolation of the pandemic without support.”

    October 08, 2020

    The frequent threats, attacks and killings of people defending land, territory and the environment in Colombia have highlighted the government’s failure to address the serious crisis facing the country’s human rights defenders, Amnesty International said in a new report published today.

    Why do they want to kill us? The lack of a safe space to defend human rights in Colombia examines the reasons behind the violence against community leaders living in geographically strategic and natural resource-rich areas. The report also analyses the ineffectiveness of the protection measures implemented by the government since the Peace Agreement signed with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in 2016.

    October 06, 2020

    Amnesty International has delivered more than one million signatures from around the world to US Attorney General William Barr demanding justice for George Floyd, a Black man killed by police in Minneapolis, Minnesota on 25 May 2020.

    The letter, which can be found here, conveys Amnesty International’s grave concerns about racist policing practices used disproportionately against Black people in the USA, and demands the police officers involved in the killing of George Floyd be held accountable.

    October 05, 2020

    Amnesty International welcomes Canada’s decision to repatriate a Canadian orphan girl who has been stranded in Northeast Syria since March 2019.

    “We are thrilled that Canada has finally repatriated this child and reunited her with her family in Canada,” said Ketty Nivyabandi, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada. “Now, it is incumbent upon Canada to take all necessary measures to repatriate the remaining Canadian children from Northeast Syria in a manner that fully respects the best interests of the child and the principle of family unity,” she added.

    With the child having been repatriated, there are 46 documented cases of Canadian citizens who remain in arbitrary detention in Northeast Syria, 25 of whom are children.

    October 05, 2020
    In aftermath of the IMO killing, organizations demand a national action plan to dismantle Canada's 300 xenophobic alt-right and white supremacist organizations

    Our communities are still reeling from the incident that took place this September 12, 2020. On that day, a member of the Canadian community, Mohamed-Aslim Zafis, was ruthlessly killed in front of the IMO Mosque in Toronto by an individual with apparent links to a disturbing brand of neo-Nazism. This attack did not occur in isolation.

    Today, NCCM is joining leading civil rights, anti-racism, and civil liberties organizations in an open letter to the Prime Minister and to all opposition leaders. The open letter calls for bipartisan action in developing a national action strategy to dismantle and dissolve active and militarized white supremacist groups in Canada:

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