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    September 12, 2018

    Reacting to the decision of the European Parliament to trigger Article 7 proceedings for Hungary, Berber Biala-Hettinga, Amnesty International’s expert on human rights in the EU, said:

    “In today’s historic vote, the European Parliament rightly stood up for the Hungarian people and for the EU. They made it clear that human rights, the rule of law and democratic values are not up for negotiation.

    “A resounding majority of MEPs today rejected and condemned the retrograde policies of the Hungarian government, which are taking Hungary away from the path of shared EU values. Hungary firmly belongs in the EU, but xenophobia and disrespect for fundamental freedoms and rights most certainly do not.”

    “Today, European Parliamentarians stood up for what is right. European Member States must now follow suit and take urgent action before Hungary slides towards arbitrary rule beyond the point of no return.”

    For more information please contact Elizabeth Berton-Hunter, Media Relations 416-363-9933 ext 332 bberton-hunter@amnesty.ca

    September 12, 2018

    The Zimbabwean authorities must urgently take measures to stop and address the cholera epidemic that has so far claimed 20 lives, Amnesty International said after the government today declared the outbreak a national disaster. 

    Initial cases of cholera were reported in Gweru and Harare last month and the capital is now the worst affected area, with more than 15 people confirmed to have died of the infectious disease. The country’s 2008 cholera outbreak, which claimed the lives of more than 4,300 people, was the largest ever recorded in Zimbabwe. Unless urgent action is taken the death toll of this current epidemic is also likely to be significant.

    “The current cholera epidemic is a terrible consequence of Zimbabwe’s failure to invest in and manage both its basic water and sanitation infrastructure and its health care system. It is appalling that in 2018, people are still dying of such a preventable disease,” said Jessica Pwiti, Executive Director of Amnesty International Zimbabwe.

    September 11, 2018

    Amnesty International USA Release

    The U.S. government has allowed gun violence to become a human rights crisis, according to “In the Line of Fire: Human Rights and the U.S. Gun Violence Crisis,” a new report from Amnesty International. The report examines how all aspects of American life have been compromised in some way by the unfettered access to guns, with no attempts at meaningful national regulation.

    While most countries have licensing and regulation systems in place for firearms, the United States lacks measures like a national registration, and 30 states allow handguns to be owned without a license or permit.

    “The U.S. government is prioritizing gun ownership over basic human rights. While many solutions have been offered, there has been a stunning lack of political will to save lives,” said Margaret Huang, executive director of Amnesty International USA. “Despite the huge number of guns in circulation and the sheer numbers of people killed by guns each year, there is a shocking lack of federal regulations that could save thousands.”

    September 10, 2018

    Amnesty International USA Release

    Reacting to news that John Bolton, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, is expected to propose that the Trump administration ban International Criminal Court (ICC) judges and prosecutors from entering the US, impose sanctions on any funds they have in the States, and prosecute them in the US court system, Adotei Akwei, Deputy Director Advocacy and Government Relations at Amnesty International USA stated:

    “The United States’ attack on the International Criminal Court is an attack on millions of victims and survivors who have experienced the most serious crimes under international law and undermines decades of groundbreaking work by the international community to advance justice.

    “Rather than imposing sanctions, the United States should instead once and for all reaffirm its signature of the Rome Statute establishing the ICC, and support – not impede – its investigations.

    September 10, 2018

    Responding to the news that opposition leader Kem Sokha has been released from prison on bail and is now being held under house arrest, Minar Pimple, Amnesty International’s Senior Director of Global Operations said:

    “While this is a welcome development, it offers no consolation for the gross injustice that Kem Sokha continues to endure. The fact remains that after more than a year in pre-trial detention, he still faces a set of baseless, politically motivated charges that carry a heavy prison sentence.

    “Kem Sokha is now a prisoner in his own home. We call on the Cambodian authorities to drop all charges against him and make his release permanent, full and unconditional. Following reports that he requires hospital care, we also urge authorities to grant him immediate access to adequate medical attention.”

    Background

    September 10, 2018

    Amnesty International’s Senior Director of Global Operations, Minar Pimple, has been refused an entry visa to speak at this week’s World Economic Forum on ASEAN event in Hanoi, further evidence of the Vietnamese government’s ongoing crackdown against freedom of expression.

    Minar Pimple, who is part of Amnesty International’s senior leadership team, was due to speak on diversity and pluralism, yet has been refused permission to attend.

    World Economic Forum (WEF) officials who communicated with the Viet Nam government were told Pimple’s visa had been earmarked for refusal.

    Amnesty International Secretary General Kumi Naidoo said, “We condemn this decision to stifle debate from a regular contributor to the WEF who has spoken at the highest levels on human rights issues around the world. This comes at a time when freedom of expression is under deep threat in Viet Nam. The government’s actions undermine an event that depends on a plurality of views, and they are giving ASEAN a bad name.”

    September 08, 2018

    Cairo Criminal Court today handed down 75 death sentences, 47 life sentences, and heavy prison sentences ranging from 15 to 5 years to 612 people, in a mass trial related to participation in the al-Rabaa sit-in on 14 August 2013. Among those sentenced was photojournalist Mahmoud Abu Zeid, known as “Shawkan”, who was sentenced to five years, which he has already served. Najia Bounaim, North Africa Campaigns Director at Amnesty International, said

    “These sentences were handed down in a disgraceful mass trial of more than 700 people, and we condemn today’s verdict in the strongest terms. The death penalty should never be an option under any circumstances. The fact that not a single police officer has been brought to account for the killing of at least 900 people in the Rabaa and Nahda protests shows what a mockery of justice this trial was. The Egyptian authorities should be ashamed. We demand a retrial in an impartial court and in full respect of the right to a fair trial for all defendants, without recourse to the death penalty.

    September 08, 2018

    In response to the news that three Iranian Kurdish men, Zaniar Moradi, Loghman Moradi, and Ramin Hossein Panahi, were executed this morning in Raja’i Shahr prison, Karaj, Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s  Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said:

    “We are horrified by the news that the Iranian authorities have executed these men, despite widespread condemnation of their death sentences and calls from UN human rights experts and other bodies to halt their executions.

    “The trials of all three men were grossly unfair. All were denied access to their lawyers and families after their arrest, and all said they were tortured into making “confessions”. In sentencing them to death despite these massive failings in due process, the Iranian authorities have once again demonstrated their brazen disregard for the right to life.

    September 07, 2018

    Following the conviction and sentencing of 10 South Sudanese soldiers in connection with the killing of a journalist and rape of aid workers during an attack on the Terrain Hotel in the capital Juba in July 2016, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes, Seif Magango said:

    “After much foot dragging, today’s convictions and sentences represent a first step towards ending chronic impunity in South Sudan, where both government forces and the armed opposition have committed human rights violations and crimes under international law, with complete disregard for human life.

    “These convictions must lead to the crucial next step of ensuring justice for all crimes committed in the ongoing armed conflict, by first and foremost, setting up the much-delayed Hybrid Court for South Sudan agreed in 2015. South Sudanese leaders must keep up the momentum towards ending the climate of impunity in the country.”

    Background

    September 07, 2018

    Following several nights of protests in Basra, Iraq’s second largest city, and the use of excessive force by security forces including live ammunition, which resulted in the deaths of at least seven protesters, Razaw Salihy, Amnesty International’s Iraq Researcher, said:

    “We welcome Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi’s stated commitment to conduct an investigation into the deaths and violence during the protests. Amnesty International urges the Iraqi authorities to ensure that such an investigation be conducted in an independent, impartial and effective manner.

    “Security forces, for the second time since July, opened fire on protesters who were demanding improved public services, including water, electricity, better medical services and an end to corruption. The Iraqi authorities are obligated to respect the right to peaceful protests, and even if protesters are violent, only the minimum force necessary to address it can be used.

    September 07, 2018

    Following the International Criminal Court (ICC)’s ruling on Thursday that it has jurisdiction over Myanmar’s deportation of the Rohingya population to Bangladesh, a crime against humanity, Biraj Patnaik, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director, said:

    “During the Myanmar military’s horrifying campaign of ethnic cleansing more than 725,000 Rohingya women, men and children were deported to Bangladesh. This decision is a significant step in the right direction which opens up a clear avenue of justice for the Rohingya who were driven out of their homes, often as soldiers opened fire on them and burned down their villages. The Court has sent a clear signal to the Myanmar military that they will be held accountable.

    “Forced deportation is just one of a raft of crimes committed against the Rohingya. Amnesty International has documented extensively how the military’s crackdown also included murder, rape, torture, forced starvation, the targeted burning of Rohingya villages and the use of landmines.

    September 06, 2018

    The landmark ruling by India’s Supreme Court decriminalizing consensual same-sex relations is a historic step, which sends a message of hope not only to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people, but to everyone fighting for justice and equality, Amnesty International India said today.

    “The judgment closes the door on a dark chapter of Indian history. It marks a new era of equality for millions of people in India. The remarkable victory today is a milestone in the three decade old struggle by the LGBTI community and their allies in India”, said Asmita Basu, Programmes Director, Amnesty International India.

    On 6 September, a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court decriminalized consensual same-sex relations between adults. The Court’s unanimous verdict has upheld the right to equality, privacy, dignity and freedom of expression of all people regardless of their sexual orientation. The apex court added that any discrimination on basis of sexual orientation is a violation of fundamental rights guaranteed by the Indian Constitution.

    September 04, 2018

    Responding to the news that a sentence of six strokes of caning has been carried out in a courtroom against two women in Terengganu state – reportedly witnessed by family members and government officials – after they were convicted of attempting to have consensual same-sex sexual relations with each other, Rachel Chhoa-Howard, Amnesty International’s Malaysia Researcher, said:

    “This is a terrible day for LGBTI rights, and indeed human rights, in Malaysia. To inflict this brutal punishment on two people for attempting to engage in consensual, same-sex relations is an atrocious setback in the government’s efforts to improve its human rights record.

    “The caning of the two women is a dreadful reminder of the depth of discrimination and criminalization that LGBTI people face in the country. It’s a sign that the new government condones the use of measures that amount to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment, much like its predecessor.

    September 04, 2018

    South Sudanese authorities have arbitrarily arrested, detained, tortured and ill-treated people to the point of death, despite repeated promises to release detainees, said a new Amnesty International briefing out today. 

    “People in South Sudan have been arrested for their political and ethnic affiliations and are then subjected to unimaginable suffering – sometimes leading to death - at the hands of the government’s security forces,” said Seif Magango, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    Between February and July 2017, four men - Mike Tyson, Alison Mogga Tadeo, Richard Otti and Andria Baambe - died in detention due to harsh conditions and inadequate medical care. The four, who were arrested in 2014, were all held without charge, for alleged links to the opposition. Amnesty International has previously documented the deaths of at least 20 people in detention between February 2014 and December 2016.

    September 04, 2018

    Responding to the arrest in Iran this morning of Reza Khandan, the husband of prominent jailed human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, Amnesty International's Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, Philip Luther, said:

    “First the authorities jail Nasrin Sotoudeh on bogus charges, then harass, intimidate and threaten her family and friends, and now arrest her husband. These callous actions illustrate the lengths to which Iranian authorities will go to silence human rights lawyers, even targeting their families.

    “The Iranian authorities must immediately and unconditionally release both Nasrin Sotoudeh and Reza Khandan. They must drop all charges against them and stop their harassment of this family once and for all.

    “The international community, including the EU given its ongoing dialogue with Iran, must condemn in the strongest terms the arbitrary arrest and detention of both Reza Khandan and Nasrin Sotoudeh, and do everything in their power to expedite the release of these two human rights defenders.”

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