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    November 06, 2018

    LGBTI communities in Indonesia are facing increasing crackdowns both from the police and the municipal police (Satpol PP) with at least four series of arrests and public humiliations having taken place across the country in the past month, Amnesty International says.

    The latest crackdown took place on November 4 when Satpol PP in Padang, West Sumatra, arrested ten people assumed to be lesbian women after one of them posted a photo of her kissing and hugging her girlfriend on Facebook. The Satpol PP moved to make the arrest after people in Padang complained about the picture. They said that the ten people would be sent to a local social affairs agency to undergo an “education program” without elaborating further.

    Meanwhile, in the neighboring province of Lampung, local Satpol PP also raided a beach and arrested three people whom they suspected of being transgender women in an operation said to “provide safety and maintain public order” in the city. Following the raid, the Satpol PP hosed these people down in public using a fire truck as part of what it called a ‘mandatory bath’, or ghusl.

    November 05, 2018

    The next government of Madagascar must bring an end to the brutal suppression of human rights in the country, Amnesty International said ahead of the island nation’s upcoming election.

    Amid a recent spike in human rights violations, thousands of people have been held in unjustified pre-trial detention, while environmental human rights defenders have been targeted for protecting the country’s natural resources, such as rosewood. The first round of presidential elections are scheduled for 7 November.

    “In Madagascar it has become very dangerous to speak out against the illegal trafficking of rosewood and environmental degradation caused by multinational corporations,” said Muleya Mwananyanda, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for Southern Africa.

    “Thousands of people are languishing in jail without having been found guilty of any crime, owing to the government’s excessive and unjustified use of pre-trial detention.”

    Targeting of activists

    November 05, 2018

    Following the abduction of at least 70 schoolchildren in Cameroon’s Anglophone region, Samira Daoud, Amnesty International Deputy regional director for West and Central Africa said:

    “These appalling abductions show just how general population is paying the highest price as violence escalates in the Anglophone region.

    “The abduction of schoolchildren and teachers can never be justified. Whoever is responsible must release and return the victims immediately.
    “We express solidarity with the families of these children and demand that the Cameroon authorities do everything in their power to ensure all the pupils and school staff are freed unharmed.

    “In a case with a chilling echo of the 2014 kidnappings of the Chibok schoolgirls in Nigeria, it is vital that Cameroon’s government act swiftly and decisively to reunite these children with their loved ones.” 

    For more information please contact Lucy Scholey, Amnesty International Canada (English):  +1 613-744-7667 ext. 236; lscholey@amnesty.ca

    November 05, 2018

    Responding to the Bahraini Appeal Court verdict, overturning the acquittal of opposition leader Sheikh Ali Salman and sentencing him instead to life in prison, Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa Director Heba Morayef said:

    “This verdict is a travesty of justice that demonstrates the Bahraini authorities’ relentless and unlawful efforts to silence any form of dissent. Sheikh Ali Salman is a prisoner of conscience who is being held solely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression.

    “The Bahraini authorities must immediately and unconditionally release Sheikh Ali Salman and quash his politically motivated conviction and sentence”. 

    “The international community’s silence on the continued crackdown on dissent must also come to an end. Instead of ignoring criticism of Bahrain’s human rights record, the country’s political allies must use their influence to push for the release of Sheikh Ali Salman and all prisoners of conscience in Bahrain”.

    Background

    November 02, 2018

    China’s human rights record to come under scrutiny by UN Human Rights Council

    The Chinese government must tell the truth over the mass internment of up to one million predominately Muslim people in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR) when the country’s human rights record comes under review at the UN Human Rights Council next Tuesday, Amnesty International said.

    In the face of mounting evidence that a campaign of mass internment, arbitrary punishment and torture has taken place since early 2017, the Chinese government finally acknowledged the camps’ existence last month, but claimed they are “vocational training centres.”

    November 02, 2018

    Amnesty International USA Media Release

    In response to President Trump’s plans to implement restrictive policies to limit the rights of migrants, refugees, and people seeking asylum from Central America, Amnesty International’s Secretary General Kumi Naidoo issued this statement:

    “Seeking asylum is a fundamental human right. I would like to remind President Trump that US law states very clearly that it does not matter where or how people seeking safe haven enter the country – they are allowed to apply for asylum. His intentions to limit the rights of those seeking asylum are against those laws and the USA’s international obligations.

    “Right now, mothers, fathers, and children are enduring a terrible and arduous journey because they urgently need to find safe haven from violence and persecution. Instead of demonizing them, I urge President Trump to think about why anyone would leave their home and embark on such a journey, if they were not afraid for their lives.

    November 01, 2018

    Sudanese authorities have this year been unrelenting in their quest to silence independent media by arresting and harassing journalists, and censoring both print and broadcast media, Amnesty International said today.

    The organization documented the arrest and detention of at least 15 journalists between January and October 2018 by the government’s National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISS). In addition, the entire print run of 10 newspapers was confiscated on at least 27 occasions. Al Jareeda, one of the last independent newspapers, has been confiscated at least 13 times this year.  

    “Since the beginning of 2018 the Government of Sudan, through its security machinery, has been unrelenting in its crackdown on press freedom by attacking journalists and media organizations,” said Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    “Instead of embracing freedom of expression, the hostility directed towards independent media shows the lengths to which the Sudanese authorities will go to silence dissidence.”

    November 01, 2018

    The Iranian authorities have waged a sweeping crackdown against the Ahwazi Arab ethnic minority, arresting hundreds of people in Khuzestan province, southern Iran, in recent weeks, said Amnesty International.

    The wave of detentions follows a deadly armed attack on a military parade in the city of Ahvaz last month, during which at least 24 people, including spectators, were killed and more than 60 injured.

    “The scale of arrests in recent weeks is deeply alarming. The timing suggests that the Iranian authorities are using the attack in Ahvaz as an excuse to lash out against members of the Ahwazi Arab ethnic minority, including civil society and political activists, in order to crush dissent in Khuzestan province,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

    “All those suspected of criminal responsibility for the horrific attack in Ahvaz must be brought to justice in fair trials, but carrying out arbitrary arrests is not the way to secure justice for victims.”

    November 01, 2018

    The Egyptian authorities have stepped up their onslaught against the human rights community by arresting at least 19 human rights lawyers and activists in a series of raids carried out today, said Amnesty International. So far at least eight women and 11 men were arrested in raids which began in the early hours of this morning.

    The arrests prompted the Egyptian Coordination for Rights and Freedoms (ECRF), a prominent human rights organization that provides legal aid and carries out documentation, to suspend its activities, citing the hostile environment towards civil society in Egypt today.

    Among those arrested is the 60-year-old prominent human rights lawyer Hoda Abdelmoniem, a former member of the National Council for Human Rights. Security forces broke into her apartment and ransacked it before taking her to an undisclosed location. 

    November 01, 2018

    Responding to the granting of a presidential pardon to former South Sudanese opposition spokesman James Gatdet Dak and South African national William Endley, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes Joan Nyanyuki said:

    “The pardoning of James Gatdet and William Endley comes as a relief to all who cherish human rights and abhor the death penalty, but more needs to be done. The South Sudanese authorities must commute all death sentences and get on the right side of history by abolishing this ultimate cruel form of punishment.

    “It, however, remains extremely disturbing that Gatdet, a duly registered refugee, was irregularly repatriated to South Sudan by Kenyan authorities, putting his life at grave risk. This repatriation must be fully and independently investigated, and action taken against those responsible.”

    James Gatdet Dak was the spokesman for the Sudan People’s Liberation Army – In Opposition (SPLA-IO) led by former Vice-President Riek Machar when he was taken from his Nairobi home and deported to South Sudan in November 2016.

    November 01, 2018

    Following the announcement of plans to form a government taskforce which will begin hunting down and arresting people who are, or are perceived to be lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender and inter-sex (LGBTI) next week, Joan Nyanyuki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes said:

    “It is extremely regrettable that Tanzania has chosen to take such a dangerous path in its handling of an already marginalized group of people. The idea of this taskforce must be immediately abandoned as it only serves to incite hatred among members of the public. LGBTI people in Tanzania already face discrimination, threats and attacks without hateful statements of this kind. 

    “The Tanzanian government must also ensure that no one, especially those in positions of power like Paul Makonda, makes statements or takes actions to sow hatred that endangers the lives of people just because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

    November 01, 2018

    Responding to the Australian government’s announcement that it will remove all children from its offshore detention centre on Nauru within two months, Charmain Mohammed, Head of Refugee and Migrant Rights at Amnesty International, said:

    “This announcement represents a long overdue acknowledgment by the Australian government that its brutal offshore detention policy has failed. It will take a long time to repair the damage that has been done to these children, some of whom were born in detention and have spent their formative years surrounded by guards, steel fences and catastrophic suffering.

    “We are encouraged that politicians are finally starting to listen to the Australian people, many of whom have expressed disgust at the situation on Nauru. However, many questions remain about the future of these children and their families. It is imperative that moving them off Nauru does not lead to further detention in Australia, and we are calling on the Australian government to commit to their full integration into society, including by providing the mental health care they so desperately need. 

    October 31, 2018
    Strong evidence that soldiers used automatic firearms on Shi’a Muslims holding religious procession and protest At least 39 protesters killed, and 122 injured, in a single day Victims include men, women and children

    An investigation by Amnesty International shows that the horrific use of excessive force by soldiers and police led to the killing of at least 45 supporters of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) over two days, as the Shi’a Muslim group held a peaceful religious procession around Abuja.

    Amnesty researchers visited five different locations in Abuja and Nasarawa state where wounded IMN supporters were receiving treatment, including two locations where bodies were deposited. Researchers spoke with victims, eyewitnesses and medical practitioners, and analyzed videos and photographs of those injured and killed during the protests, which took place on Saturday and Monday.

    October 31, 2018

    Human rights defenders from across all corners of the world gathered this week in Paris for the Human Rights Defenders World Summit, to develop a plan of action for how to protect and promote the work of activists fighting for rights, 20 years on from the first UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders.

    After three days of discussions and strategy development spanning regional and global issues, environmental rights and women human rights defenders and the increasing attacks on human rights defenders everywhere, the momentum culminated in the presentation of a landmark action plan which will be presented to the UN in December.

    UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, who spoke at the opening ceremony said: "What human rights defenders teach us is that all of us can stand up for our rights and for the rights of others, in our neighbourhoods, in our countries and all over the world. We can change the world.”

    October 31, 2018

    Responding to news that the Emir of Qatar has issued a new law establishing a support and insurance fund for migrant workers, Steve Cockburn, Deputy Director of Global Issues at Amnesty International, said:

    “This fund could bring hope to hundreds of migrant workers who have been ripped off by abusive companies while working in Qatar. Although it remains to be seen how the law will be implemented in practice, this is a welcome step towards meeting Qatar’s promises to improve the labour rights of its migrant workforce. In this respect Qatar needs to ensure that funding is both sufficient and timely to address the abuses suffered by victims.

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