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    June 28, 2019

    Spokespersons available to take media interviews

    Ahead of the nationwide protests planned for 30 June to mark 30 years since former President Omar al-Bashir’s seized power through a military coup, Amnesty International’s Secretary General Kumi Naidoo said:

    “The horrific unprovoked use of lethal and unnecessary force against peaceful protestors as witnessed on 3 June must not be repeated this Sunday, or ever again. The transitional authorities must fully respect and uphold the Sudanese peoples’ rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association; and protect their lives.

    “Since the bloody crackdown earlier this month, there has been an alarming regression on human rights. This includes an ongoing internet shutdown, attacks on the media and the refusal to allow opposition groups to organize public forums, as well as the continued dispersal of peaceful protestors using unnecessary and excessive force. This clampdown clearly points to the return of the repressive days associated with al-Bashir.

    June 28, 2019
    50 years after the Stonewall riots, thousands expected to brave tear gas and plastic bullets to defy discriminatory ban Spokespeople will attend the event and are available for interview

    The Istanbul Pride march will take place on Sunday 30 June in spite of a decision by the Governorate of Istanbul to ban the celebrations. 

    "Fifty years ago today, LGBTI+ people took to the streets outside the Stonewall Inn in New York City to fight against bigotry and prejudice - and they won. On Sunday, thousands will take to the streets of Istanbul, defying an unlawful ban and possibly braving plastic bullets, teargas and police batons, to celebrate Pride,” said Sara Hall, Amnesty International’s Deputy Europe Director.

    June 27, 2019

    Spiked batons, stun belts and leg irons are among the gruesome tools of torture which should be banned outright, Amnesty International said today, ahead of a crucial vote on a torture trade resolution at the UN General Assembly (UNGA) on June 28th.

    “Every year governments attend and host international trade fairs where they can browse stalls selling horrifying torture devices - this secretive trade has gone unregulated for far too long. Torturers around the world have benefited from loose regulations which allow them to access all the latest technologies in inflicting pain and fear,” said Ara Marcen Naval, Deputy Director for Arms Control and Human Rights at Amnesty International.

    Adopting the resolution would be a first step towards creating international laws to ban the trade in equipment which has no other purpose than torture. It would also be a chance to tighten regulations on equipment like batons and tear gas, which are regularly misused to crush peaceful protests. 

    June 27, 2019

    Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena must immediately halt his plans to execute four prisoners, Amnesty International said today.

    Amnesty International is shocked by President Sirisena’s announcement that he has signed the execution warrants of four death row prisoners convicted of drug-related crimes, and that they will be hanged in “the near future.”

    While the President has confirmed signing the death warrants, no names have been revealed and no details have been shared about any scheduled executions or information on the cases. The lack of transparency makes it impossible to ascertain whether these prisoners have exhausted clemency appeals or if all safeguards were followed in their conviction or sentencing. There is also no confirmation that the four prisoners, or their families, have been alerted to their imminent execution.

    The executions would be the first time Sri Lanka has implemented the death penalty since 1976.

    June 25, 2019

    Amnesty International has joined a legal case brought by two non-governmental organizations, Equality Now and WAVES, to challenge the Sierra Leonean government’s ban on pregnant girls attending mainstream schools and sitting exams, the organization said today.

    The announcement was made ahead of a hearing at the regional Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Community Court of Justice on 27 June 2019, where the case was initially filed in May 2018.

    “We at Amnesty International believe this ban clearly conflicts with the right to education without discrimination, according to international and regional standards,” said Lucy Claridge, Director of Strategic Litigation at Amnesty International.

    “Courts from South Africa, Zimbabwe to Colombia have already found that such bans violate the rights of women and girls to be treated equally and to receive education. This case represents the first time that a regional court in Africa has considered the issue. It therefore has the potential to impact the situation of pregnant girls outside of Sierra Leone and even beyond the ECOWAS community.”

    June 25, 2019

    Sri Lanka’s President, Maithripala Sirisena, must immediately halt his plans to resume executions for at least 13 prisoners convicted of drug-related crimes, Amnesty International said today.

    Amnesty International is alarmed to learn from media reports that preparations are underway to execute death row prisoners as part of the so-called National Drug Eradication Week, from June 21 – July 1, 2019. The executions would be the first time Sri Lanka has implemented the death penalty since 1976.

    “We are dismayed by these reports that will see Sri Lanka surrender its positive record on the death penalty. Executions will not rid Sri Lanka of drug-related crime. They represent the failure to build a humane society where the protection of life is valued. The last thing that Sri Lanka needs right now is more death in the name of vengeance,” said Biraj Patnaik, South Asia Director at Amnesty International.

    June 25, 2019

    El Salvador’s new government must promote and implement transformative human rights changes that fulfill the nation’s international commitments, said Amnesty International today in a meeting with President Nayib Bukele, who repeatedly vowed to respect human rights.

    “We met with President Nayib Bukele to express to him our concerns about the grave human rights situation in El Salvador. We hope that his government will address these great challenges with determination and adopt without delay the changes the country needs to make human rights a reality,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International.

    June 24, 2019

    Leaders in the Americas must move beyond stale political debate and strengthen their focus and commitment to human rights protections, said Amnesty International in an open letter to the heads of state attending the 49th General Assembly of the Organization of American States in Medellin, Colombia.

    “The leaders of the Americas must step up and overcome the grave challenges facing the region. This is the most dangerous place in the world for human rights defenders, particularly those standing for climate justice and the environment, and it is also the scene of two major global human rights crises in Nicaragua and Venezuela,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International.

    June 24, 2019

    The Bahraini authorities must immediately end ongoing harassment, intimidation and attacks against former member of parliament Osama Muhana al-Tamimi, who is known for his criticism of the government, Amnesty International said today.

    Over the course of the past two months, government agencies have repeatedly arbitrarily summoned al-Tamimi for questioning. Since 2012, the authorities have subjected al-Tamimi to a smear campaign by way of government-linked press publishing fabricated accusations against him. During this period, the authorities have refused to investigate a number of serious incidents targeting al-Tamimi’s businesses and personal safety.

    “Osama Muhana al-Tamimi is one of the few openly critical Sunni voices in Bahrain. His harassment comes as no surprise, and serves as a stark reminder of the ongoing, multi-faceted means the authorities have been resorting to, to silence any independent thinking in the Kingdom,” said Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Middle East Director of Research.

    June 24, 2019

    We Canadian civil society organizations, namely, Amnesty International Canada, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East, Oxfam Canada, Oxfam- Quebec, Project Ploughshares and the Rideau Institute, long active in the effort to strengthen Canadian controls on the export of military equipment, today applaud the Government of Canada’s formal announcement of this country’s accession to the global Arms Trade Treaty.

    As Minister Freeland herself stated, the ATT opened for signature in 2013 so this step by Canada is long overdue and most welcome. In particular we commend the Government of Canada for the legislative and regulatory changes to Canada’s export control regime to more effectively regulate Canada’s arms exports in accordance with the high global standards set out in the ATT.

    June 21, 2019
    Amnesty International examined incidents of unnecessary and excessive use of force during 12 June protest Restraint urged in policing of upcoming protests Police must be held to account for unlawful use of force

    Hong Kong police must end the unlawful use of force against peaceful protesters who have once again taken to the streets on Friday, Amnesty International said, as it published details of verified instances of unnecessary and excessive use of force by police on 12 June.

    Experts in policing and digital verification examined in detail footage of 14 incidents of apparent police violence. All verified incidents were filmed during the 12 June protest, which saw tens of thousands of people take part in a largely peaceful demonstration against the Hong Kong government’s proposed extradition bill.

    June 20, 2019

    Millions across the Americas are fleeing human rights violations in their countries, seeking protection. Refugees are people who find themselves with no choice other than to leave their lives behind hoping for safety. Many arrive in hostile environments but stepping back home could put their lives at risk. American states must protect those in need and promote a coherent regional response.

    June 17, 2019

    Tens of thousands of older women and men from ethnic minorities across Myanmar who faced military atrocities and were forced to flee their homes are being let down by a humanitarian system that often fails to adequately address their rights and needs, Amnesty International said in a report published today.

    “Fleeing my whole life”: Older people’s experience of conflict and displacement in Myanmar is the organization’s first comprehensive investigation into the specific ways older people’s rights and dignity are not respected amid armed conflict and crisis, as well in the provision of humanitarian assistance.
     
    “For decades, Myanmar’s ethnic minorities have suffered recurrent abuse at the hands of the military. Many older people racked by atrocities amid recent military operations lived through similar crimes as children or younger adults. Their experience lays bare the military’s longstanding brutality, and the need for justice,” said Matthew Wells, Senior Crisis Advisor at Amnesty International.

    June 17, 2019
    16-year-old and two siblings in transit to “the world’s most dangerous country”

    The Norwegian government must immediately halt the deportation of a 16-year-old boy and his two siblings back to Afghanistan where they will be at grave risk of serious human rights violations, Amnesty International said today.

    Eshan Abbasi (16) and his sister Taibeh (20) and brother Yasin (22), were deported from Norway to Istanbul on Saturday together with their mother. Due to her health condition, their mother is expected to be returned to Norway, but the children are in danger of being flown to Kabul imminently.

    “Uprooting these three young siblings from the communities where they have lived for more than seven years and deporting them alone to a warzone is an unconscionable abuse of power,” said Massimo Moratti, Amnesty International’s Deputy Europe Director.

    “Afghanistan is not a safe country for returns, and if this heartless and unnecessary deportation is completed it will split the family, endanger these three young people’s live and rob them of their futures.”

    June 14, 2019

    Spokespersons available to take media interviews

    Following an admission by Sudan’s Transitional Military Council (TMC) that they all met the country’s security chiefs on 2 June, and after receiving undisclosed advice from the Attorney General and the Head of the Judiciary, ordered the dispersal of peaceful protestors on 3 June, which “by mistake” killed more than 100 people and injured hundreds more, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes Sarah Jackson said:

    “It is completely outrageous and unacceptable that what has now been confirmed to have been a carefully planned attack on sleeping protestors has in the same breath been reduced to a ‘mistake’.

    “The senseless killing of protestors must be stopped immediately, and those responsible for the bloodbath, including at command level, must be held fully accountable for their actions.

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