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    December 20, 2017

    Responding to reports made by the Associated Press that between 9000 to 11000 civilians have been killed in the battle for Mosul, Lynn Maalouf, Head of Research for Amnesty International in the Middle East said:

    “We are horrified, but not surprised, by these new figures. These numbers are directly in line with our previous findings that thousands of civilians were killed during the battle for Mosul - and that these deaths were caused not only by the so-called Islamic State group, but also by Iraqi and coalition forces. The AP’s estimate is more than ten times the figures reported by coalition forces, who have claimed responsibility for only 326 deaths. 

    “The failure of Iraqi and coalition forces to acknowledge and investigate civilian deaths in Mosul is a blatant abdication of responsibility. We are demanding transparency and an honest public account of the true cost to civilians from this war, as well as an immediate investigation by US-led coalition and Iraqi forces into the violations and unlawful attacks documented by Amnesty International and other independent groups during the battle for Mosul.

    December 20, 2017

    Reacting to the news that the Myanmar authorities have denied access to UN Special Rapporteur Yanghee Lee, James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said:

    “The Myanmar government’s decision to bar the Special Rapporteur from accessing the country is outrageous. It is a further indication that authorities will do anything they can to avoid international scrutiny of their human rights record.

    “At a time when the security forces stand accused of crimes against humanity during their vicious campaign against the Rohingya, accountability for human rights violations are crucially important. The international community must urge the authorities to allow Yanghee Lee access. It is the ordinary people and victims of human rights abuses who continue to suffer.

    “The Myanmar military claim they have done nothing wrong during the past months. If so, the authorities should have nothing to hide – why are they denying access for independent and impartial investigators?”

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    December 19, 2017

    The secretive judicial execution of two men on Tuesday reflects the Japanese government’s unrepentant contempt for the right to life, Amnesty International said.

    Teruhiko Seki, 44, who was convicted of murder and robbery, and Kiyoshi Matsui, 69, who was convicted of murder, were executed early on Tuesday morning at Tokyo Detention Centre. Seki was 19 years old when the crime was committed. Both were seeking retrials at the time of execution.

    "Today’s executions are an abhorrent and bloody stain on Japan's human rights record. Once again, the Japanese government has shown contempt for the right to life," said Roseann Rife, East Asia Research Director at Amnesty International.

    This month marks ten years since the UN General Assembly adopted its first resolution on a moratorium on the use of the death penalty. As the global momentum towards abolition continues unabated, Japan continues to ignore the trend.

    December 18, 2017

    Amnesty International’s Secretary General, Salil Shetty, today directed an open letter to Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto, calling on the leader to veto the Law on Interior Security that passed Mexico´s Congress on Friday.

    Speaking on behalf of an organization that represents a movement of more than 7 million people around the world, Shetty noted that “behind the vague and overly broad concept of ‘interior security’, the law conceals dangerous and concerted efforts to maintain the role of the armed forces in public security functions.”

    Amnesty International is seriously concerned that this law will, without a doubt, perpetuate the long list of grave human rights violations in Mexico, including extrajudicial executions, torture and enforced disappearances.

    This is despite clear evidence that this strategy has failed to improve public security during the decade since the army was deployed on the streets of Mexico.

    December 18, 2017

    Amnesty International Canada is pleased to announce that the winners of its 23rd annual Media Awards are Nathan VanderKlippe of the Globe and Mail, Margaret Evans, Stephanie Jenzer and Richard Devey of the CBC, Sally Armstrong and Peter Bregg of the United Church Observer and Denise Ryan of the Vancouver Sun. These exceptional journalists are recognized for their powerful, front-line reporting on grave human rights crises in Myanmar, South Sudan, Vancouver’s East Side and Iraq.

    Nathan VanderKlippe receives the award in the National Print Category for his article “Myanmar’s Front Lines of Horror,” published in the Globe and Mail on September 23rd. As tens of thousands of Rohingya refugees fled into Bangladesh from Myanmar, fleeing the early days of a brutal, scorched-earth campaign of ethnic cleansing, burning of villages and indiscriminate killing, VanderKlippe was amongst the first Canadian journalists to visit the border points and share the tragic stories of people running for their lives.

    December 18, 2017
    International Migrants Day   New research by Amnesty International has exposed how the Nepali government’s failure to crack down on recruitment agencies which charge illegal fees for jobs abroad is leaving migrant workers trapped in a vicious cycle of debt and exploitation.   The organization found that almost two-thirds of Nepali migrant workers who responded to a survey, carried out in Nepal and Malaysia and published today, had paid excessive, illegal recruitment fees.   “Nepali migrant workers are being systematically and mercilessly set up. Forced to take out loans to pay the huge fees recruitment agencies charge them to work abroad, they are left so indebted that they have no choice but to stay in jobs which often turn out to be low-paid or dangerous,” said James Lynch, Deputy Director of Amnesty International's Global Issues Programme.  
    December 15, 2017

    In an Open Letter to Ontario Minister of Health and Long-Term Care Dr. Eric Hoskins and President and CEO of the Trillium Gift of Life Network Ronnie Gavsie, Amnesty International has called for Inuk activist Delilah Saunders to be deemed eligible for the liver transplant urgently needed to save her life.  Amnesty International has also urged that no one else be denied access to organ transplants in Ontario for reasons that would be considered discriminatory under international human rights standards. The Letter notes that “denying access to treatment based on unjustified restrictions or misconceptions about the use of alcohol would contravene Canada’s obligations under international human rights law.”

    December 15, 2017

    Responding to news that 38 people were executed in Iraq today for “terrorism” offences, Lynn Maalouf, Middle East Research Director at Amnesty International said:

    “By carrying out yet another mass execution, the second in the span of three months, the Iraqi authorities have once again displayed a blatant disregard for human life and dignity.

    “In the wake of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s declaration of victory over the armed group calling itself the Islamic State (IS) on 10 December, it is disheartening to see this week’s celebrations tainted with yet another mass execution. The victims of IS deserve justice, not mass executions carried out after deeply flawed and hasty trials.

    “Individuals who carry out deadly attacks against the civilian population should face justice, but carrying out executions is not the answer. There is no credible evidence that the death penalty deters crime more than a term of imprisonment.

    “The death penalty should not be used in any circumstances and especially in Iraq, where the government has a shameful record of putting people to death after deeply unfair trials and in many cases after being tortured to ‘confess’.”

    December 15, 2017

    Today the Federal Communications Commission voted to remove the current regulations on network neutrality. Internet service providers (ISPs) can now restrict, block or give preferential access to different internet traffic, allow users access to only some online services for free, and give preferential treatment to certain traffic in return for payment.

    Margaret Huang, executive director of Amnesty International USA, issued this statement:

    “This decision has serious implications for human rights and freedom of expression in the United States. By rolling back on net neutrality regulations, the FCC is creating significant barriers to access to information for the poorest and most marginalized members of society. This decision also stifles non-governmental organizations unable to match the spending power of large media companies from using the internet to organize and communicate globally. Everyone should be able to access an open and equal internet without discriminating against different content, applications, services and devices.”

    December 14, 2017

    Contrast VR and Amnesty International immerse viewers in Rohingya crisis with Forced to Flee

    DOHA, SAN FRANCISCO, LONDON (December 12, 2017) – A man forced to bury his son after watching Myanmar’s military kill him, a woman who was gang-raped by soldiers, and another woman who had her family murdered and house burnt down – these are only three of the Rohingya refugees who share their harrowing stories in a hard-hitting new virtual reality documentary released today.

    Forced to Flee, launched jointly by Contrast VR, Al Jazeera Media Network’s new immersive studio and Amnesty International was directed and produced by Contrast VR Editorial Lead Zahra Rasool, co-produced by Viktorija Mickute and edited by Maria Fernanda Lauret. It was shot in late October in Kutupalong camp, Bangladesh, which is now home to more than 620,000 Rohingya refugees who fled ethnic cleansing in neighbouring Myanmar’s Rakhine State since late August.

    In the immersive film, Rohingya women and men recount the horrors of fleeing systematic and widespread violations and urge the world to secure their basic rights.

    December 14, 2017

    A court’s decision not to release a woman forced to spend a decade behind bars after having a miscarriage in El Salvador is an outrageous step backward for justice, Amnesty International said.

    Teodora suffered a stillbirth in 2007, after the rapid onset of serious pain while she was at work. Police arrested her as she lay in a pool of blood. She was later sentenced to 30 years for ‘aggravated homicide’ under El Salvador’s total ban on abortions.

    The trial was marred by irregularities. 

    “Teodora’s tragic story is a sad illustration of everything that is wrong with the justice system in El Salvador, where human rights seem to be a foreign concept,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    “Instead of punishing Teodora for being a woman, authorities in El Salvador must urgently take a hard look at their outrageous anti-abortion law and take immediate steps to repeal it.”

    December 14, 2017

    Commenting after the Kenyan Supreme Court declared mandatory death sentencing unconstitutional, Oluwatosin Popoola, Amnesty International’s Adviser on the Death Penalty, said:

    December 13, 2017

    Responding to the Philippine Congress’ approval of President Rodrigo Duterte's request to extend martial law in the southern region of Mindanao until the end of 2018 in order to “eradicate” Islamist militants, Amnesty International’s Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, James Gomez, said:

    “Civilians in Mindanao have faced unlawful killings, destruction of their homes, ill-treatment and numerous other human rights abuses at the hands of Philippine armed forces and Islamist militants since the imposition of martial law. The length of this latest extension, until the end of 2018, is an ominous move that almost certainly signals further abuses in the months ahead.

    “Violations in the battle of Marawi, in northern Mindanao, have been carried out with impunity, while there has been a disturbing rise in killings of human rights defenders and political activists across the region in recent months.

    “President Duterte, who is already responsible for thousands of unlawful killings in his so-called ‘war on drugs’, must not use martial law as a pretext to commit further violations in Mindanao without any accountability.

    December 12, 2017

    In a joint statement released today, a group of 26 Indigenous peoples’ organizations and civil society groups are calling on Ministers from the federal, provincial and territorial governments to initiate a process of reform to address long-standing shortcomings in Canada’s implementation of international human rights obligations.  For the first time in 29 years, Ministers have met to discuss cross-jurisdictional weaknesses and challenges in implementing Canada’s commitments under an array of binding international human rights instruments.

    December 12, 2017

    The Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR), Amnesty International (AI) and the Canadian Council of Churches (CCC) welcomed the order made yesterday by the Federal Court granting the organizations public interest standing, in the legal challenge of the designation of the United States as a safe third country for refugees.

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