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    June 22, 2018

    Amid persistent human rights violations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Amnesty International wants the government to ensure that everyone can exercise their freedom of expression and association as the country prepares for the long-awaited December elections.

    DRC authorities must open up the civic space by lifting the ban on peaceful protests, releasing dissidents and stopping the ongoing crackdown on human rights defenders.

    “All unlawful measures that prevent or limit citizens’ participation and engagement, including the blanket ban on demonstrations, must be removed immediately, and freedom of expression – including press freedom - fully restored ahead of the elections,” said Jean-Mobert Senga, Amnesty International’s Researcher for the DRC.

    The country’s Electoral Commission is expected to announce the elections on 23 June, six months before the polling date, 23 December 2018.

    June 22, 2018

    In response to the government of President Daniel Ortega’s outright rejection of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights’ report on grave human rights violations committed in the context of the recent protests in Nicaragua, Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International, said:

    “It’s shameful that the government of President Ortega is denying the undeniable. There is a wealth of evidence, including thousands of testimonies, to show that the Nicaraguan state has committed terrible human rights violations and continues to do so on a daily basis. This has to stop before more lives are lost.

    “The government’s reaction to today’s findings by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights demonstrates that the rhetoric of denial and division form part of its strategy of repression of the

    Nicaraguan people. We remind the state that it has an obligation under international law to protect the human rights of everyone, without distinction or discrimination.”

    June 22, 2018
    The Saudi Arabia-led coalition has continued to impose restrictions on the entry of essential goods into conflict-ravaged Yemen Huthi de facto authorities have excessively delayed the delivery of humanitarian assistance in famine-threatened areas and are said to have asked for bribes The coalition’s tightened restrictions could constitute a war crime

    Millions of lives are at risk because the entry of essential goods such as food, fuel and medical supplies into war-torn Yemen is being restricted by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition and their distribution then delayed by the country’s Huthi de facto authorities, Amnesty International warned in a new report released today.

    June 21, 2018

    Nicaragua remains mired in an ongoing cycle of violence, despite numerous efforts by Nicaraguan civil society for national dialogue and calls from international organizations to stop the grave violations of human rights committed by state agents and affiliated groups.

    Amnesty International has continued to monitor and document the grave human rights crisis in the country and can confirm that state repression and violence have intensified in recent weeks. According to the Nicaraguan Centre for Human Rights (CENIDH), the number of people killed, most at the hands of the police and pro-government armed groups, has risen to over 190. The harassment of journalists and human rights defenders is continuing, as are restrictions on access to the right to health of injured protesters.

    “The upsurge of violence and attacks against civilians by Nicaraguan government agents and pro-government armed groups acting with their acquiescence in recent days highlights President Ortega’s insincerity and lack of commitment to resolving this crisis peacefully,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    June 21, 2018

    In response to the continued detention of human rights defender, Taner Kılıç, after the latest hearing against him, Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General said:

    “Today’s heart-breaking decision to keep our colleague in jail is yet another travesty of justice.

    “After more than a year away from his family, and without a a shred of credible evidence presented to substantiate the absurd charges made against him, his cruel and protracted incarceration defies all logic.

    “Earlier this month, any fig-leaf of legitimacy for the prosecutor’s case was stripped away with the submission of the long-delayed police report. By failing to find any evidence that Taner ever had the ByLock messaging app on his phone, the report removed the central accusation against him. A second police report submitted to the court this morning, confirmed that there was no trace of Bylock on Taner’s phone.

    June 21, 2018

    Saudi Arabia’s decision to allow women to drive is welcome but must now be followed by more reforms to women’s rights, Amnesty International said today.

    This weekend (Sunday 24 June) women will be allowed to drive in the country as the controversial driving ban is lifted.

    However, leading women’s rights activists and campaigners against the driving ban - including Loujain al-Hathloul, Iman al-Nafjan and Aziza al-Yousef - are among eight activists still being detained in Saudi Arabia for their peaceful human rights work. Some have been detained without charge for more than one month, and may face trial before the counter-terror court and up to 20 years in prison for their activism.

    The women’s rights activists detained have campaigned for the right to drive and the end of the repressive male guardianship system in Saudi Arabia for many years.

    June 20, 2018

    WASHINGTON, DC – President Trump signed an executive order today mandating for children to stay with their parents in detention while their asylum claims are processed. This executive order seeks to modify the Flores Agreement, which states that children should not be held in detention for more than 20 days. Denise Bell, refugee and migrant rights researcher at Amnesty International USA, issued this statement:

    “Over the last few weeks, we have seen an outcry from people around the world denouncing the cruel and unnecessary separation of more than 2,000 babies and children from their parents. In response, the Trump administration has now found another way to punish parents and children for seeking protection. Detaining families is not the solution to ending family separation.

    June 20, 2018

    An Amnesty International USA Release

    This World Refugee Day, Amnesty International USA is calling on all people living in the United States to welcome refugees and asylum-seekers into their communities. While some elected leaders would have us believe that those seeking safety do not deserve to be welcomed here in the United States, we know this to be false. Every day, we see the tremendous popular support that exists for welcoming refugees and asylum seekers in towns, cities, and public squares around the country. On this World Refugee Day, Amnesty International USA urges individuals to take action to welcome those in search of safety into their communities.

    June 20, 2018
    Amnesty Secretary General meets Taner Kılıç in jail for first time Trial resumes in Istanbul on 21 June Amnesty Secretary General and directors from four countries to attend hearing

    On the eve of the resumption of his trial, jailed Amnesty International Turkey’s Honorary Chair, Taner Kılıç, has made an impassioned plea for people not to stay silent on the issue of human rights abuses in Turkey and vowed to carry on his work when he is released.

    “When I am released I want to carry on. I know now more than ever how important human rights are,” Taner told Amnesty International’s Secretary General, Salil Shetty, who visited him in Şakran high security prison today.

    “Others in are in a worse situation than me,” Taner continued, stressing the need for solidarity with everyone who has been unjustly jailed in Turkey.

    June 20, 2018

    On World Refugee Day, Amnesty International calls on the international community to urgently step up international assistance for more than 900,000 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar District as they face severe monsoon weather.

    More than 200,000 Rohingya refugees are at risk of landslides and floods during the current monsoon season, according to the United Nations. Over the past five weeks, more than 28,000 people have been affected as 133 landslides have damaged more than 3,000 shelters.

    “The Rohingya refugees languishing in the overcrowded and threadbare camps in Cox’s Bazar are in urgent need of international assistance. A mere fifth of the United Nation’s appeal has been committed so far. The world cannot stand by while Bangladesh is left to shoulder the responsibility alone,” said Biraj Patnaik, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director.

    Camp conditions

    June 20, 2018
    New briefing published today

    Following the passing in Hungary of a package of punitive laws, including one criminalizing lawful migration-related work by activists and NGOs, Amnesty International’s Europe Director, Gauri van Gulik said:

    “It is a bitter irony that as the world marks World Refugee Day, the Hungarian Parliament voted today to introduce a law that targets organizations and individuals who support asylum-seekers, refugees and migrants.

    "Criminalizing essential and legitimate human rights work is a brazen attack on people seeking safe haven from persecution and those who carry out admirable work to help them. It is a new low point in an intensifying crackdown on civil society and it is something we will resist every step of the way.

    “We will push back against the rising tide of institutional intolerance towards refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants and the attempts to stigmatize, intimidate and frighten Hungarian civil society organisations.   

    June 19, 2018

    Following the announcement that the United States will leave the United Nations Human Rights Council, Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General, said:

    “Once again President Trump is showing his complete disregard for the fundamental rights and freedoms the US claims to uphold. While the Human Rights Council is by no means perfect and its membership is frequently under scrutiny, it remains an important force for accountability and justice.

    “The US should urgently reverse this decision, which places it squarely on the wrong side of history. It is wilfully choosing to undermine the human rights of all people everywhere, and their struggles for justice.”

     

    For more information please contact Elizabeth Berton-Hunter 416-363-99333 ext 332 bberton-hunter@amnesty.ca

     

    June 18, 2018

    •         Police report finds nothing to suggest Taner Kılıç ever had the controversial ByLock app on his phone

    •         Trial resumes in Istanbul on 21 June

    •         Amnesty Secretary General and directors from four countries to attend trial

    More than a year after his arrest, a 15-page police report finally submitted by the prosecution, fails to find any evidence that Amnesty International Turkey’s Honorary Chair, Taner Kılıç, ever had ByLock on his phone. The alleged presence of the secure messaging application was central to the case against the rights defender, who is still languishing in prison.

    The findings of the police report do not substantiate the central accusation against Taner and Amnesty International is therefore renewing its call for his immediate release and acquittal.

    June 18, 2018

    The new government of president elect Iván Duque, who is due to take up office on 7 August, has an obligation to guarantee the rights of the more than eight million victims of the armed conflict in Colombia and to adopt an agenda of full respect for human rights, including for human rights defenders and historically excluded communities, stated Amnesty International today.

    “Violence continues to be a reality for thousands of people and communities. We are worried that armed actors, such as paramilitary groups, are still committing crimes under international law, including collective forced displacement, sexual violence against women and girls, and targeted killings of human rights activists. This has to change and we hope that the new administration under president elect Iván Duque will be committed to that change”, said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    June 17, 2018

    Iranian authorities must urgently stop the imminent execution of Mohammad Salas, a 51-year-old man from one of Iran’s largest Sufi orders, the Nemattolah Gonabadi order, and to immediately quash his death sentence, Amnesty International said today.

    “Amnesty International has received information that indicates a huge miscarriage of justice may be carried out if the Iranian authorities go through with this execution. We call on the authorities to immediately quash the death sentence of Mohammad Salas and to order a retrial that meets international fair trial standards without recourse to the death penalty,” said Philip Luther, Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at ‎Amnesty International.

    Prison authorities phoned Mohammad Salas’ family on the evening of 16 June and told them to go to Raja’i Shahr prison where he is imprisoned in Karaj, near Tehran, to visit him for the final time at 3.30pm local time on 17 June. This indicates that his execution is imminent, and could happen within days if not hours.

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