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    April 08, 2019

    Fears of further civilian bloodshed are growing as clashes on the outskirts of Tripoli, between forces from the self-proclaimed Libyan National Army, under General Khalifa Haftar’s command, and militias aligned with Libya’s internationally recognized Government of National Accord escalate, said Amnesty International today.

    According to the Tripoli-based Health Ministry, at least 25 people have been killed and 80 injured since the offensive by General Haftar to take over the capital, Tripoli, was launched on 4 April. At least four of those killed were civilians, including two medical workers, according to the UN.

    “The escalation of violence on the outskirts of Tripoli is deeply alarming – there are fears that the civilian death toll will rise rapidly as the fighting intensifies and spreads into more densely populated parts of the city,” said Magdalena Mughrabi Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

    April 08, 2019

    Today, Amnesty International released the organization’s 2019 Human Rights Agenda for Canada and called on all governments in the country to take a serious stance against human rights abuses, domestically and abroad. The report, Building Hope, Addressing Injustice, is being released with less than six months to go before the 2019 federal election, against an international backdrop of conflict, strife, and continued rise of political agendas fueling hate and demonization; and amidst a domestic context of growing divisive political rhetoric about refugees, violence against Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit people, systemic discrimination against racialized communities, and failure to uphold the land rights of Indigenous peoples.

    April 07, 2019

    The dangerous global trend towards hate-filled, divisive politics shows that world leaders have collectively ignored the terrible lessons of the 1994 Rwanda genocide, Amnesty International said today as the world marks the 25th anniversary.

    “It is shameful that the conscience of world leaders is all too often pricked only in the aftermath of massive atrocities; then as soon as the news moves on, politicians around the world go straight back to peddling the hateful and dehumanizing rhetoric that fuels these horrific incidents in the first place,” said Kumi Naidoo, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.

    In just 100 days between April and July 1994, more than 800,000 people were killed, the vast majority of them Tutsi who were targeted in a deliberate government attempt to eliminate their ethnic group. Some Hutu opposed to the genocide were also targeted.

    April 05, 2019

    Responding to reports that the Saudi Arabian authorities have arrested at least seven individuals, some of whom are journalists, writers and academics, Amnesty International’s Middle East Director of Research Lynn Maalouf said:

    “Those arrested include Salah al-Haidar, the son of human rights activist Aziza Al-Yousef, who was temporarily released just a few days ago after more than 10 months of a terrible ordeal. Others include Abdullah al-Duhailan, a journalist, novelist and advocate for Palestinian rights and Fahad Abalkhail, who has supported the Women to Drive Campaign.

    “In their continuing crackdown, it is no coincidence that the Saudi Arabian authorities are shamelessly targeting those citizens who are part and parcel of the society’s vibrant intellectual, artistic, activist landscape. By targeting them, they are signaling to their entire people that there will be zero tolerance of any form of criticism, let alone questioning, of the state’s authoritarian practices.

    April 04, 2019

    A police raid on the offices of online news site 263 Chat after one of its journalists filmed the removal of street vendors in Harare is a blatant assault on the right to freedom of expression and media freedom, Amnesty International said today.

    Police fired tear gas into the newsroom after chasing reporter Lovejoy Mtongwiza to the website's offices. The journalist had been taking photos and videos of the police forcing out street vendors in the Zimbabwean capital.

    "Today’s attack on the 263 Chat offices was designed to send a chilling message to journalists and shows the lengths the Zimbabwean police are prepared to go to muzzle media freedom," said Muleya Mwananyanda, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for Southern Africa.

    “The authorities must end the attack on the media and launch a prompt, thorough and effective investigation into this attack and ensure that all suspected perpetrators are identified and brought to justice.”

    263 Chat is an online news site which reports on political, economic and social issues in Zimbabwe.

    April 03, 2019

    Amnesty International appeared today before the Senate Human Rights Committee to urge government to take immediate steps to address sterilization of Indigenous women in Canada without their consent.

    Amnesty International testified alongside Alisa Lombard, a lawyer leading a class-action lawsuit representing women who allege they were forcibly or coercively sterilized; Sandeep Prasad from Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights; and Karen Stote, a professor at Wilfrid Laurier University who has extensively studied the historic record on this issue in Canada.

    April 03, 2019

    Responding to the news that Brunei Darussalam has today finalised the implementation of a new Shariah Penal Code that introduces cruel punishments such as death by stoning for same-sex sexual acts and amputation for robbery, Stephen Cockburn, Deputy Director of Global Issues at Amnesty International, said:

    “We are extremely concerned that these heinous punishments have become law in Brunei today.

    “This new penal code allows punishments such as amputation or death by stoning which are unspeakably cruel and have no place anywhere in the world.

    “We are alarmed that the code criminalizes behaviour that should not be considered crimes at all. The international community must continue to condemn Brunei’s decision to put these cruel penalties into practice.

    “The Brunei authorities must refrain from implementing these laws, and must take necessary steps to repeal this unacceptable legislation and bring it in line with international human rights laws and standards.”

    These punishments are provided for in newly-implemented sections of Brunei’s Sharia Penal Code that will come into force today.

     

    April 03, 2019

    Despite being among the top ranking countries in the world in terms of gender equality, four Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden) have disturbingly high levels of rape and survivors of sexual violence are being failed by their justice systems, Amnesty International said in a report published today.

    Time for change: Justice for rape survivors in the Nordic countries reveals that flawed legislation and widespread harmful myths and gender stereotypes have resulted in endemic impunity for rapists across the region.

    “It is a paradox that Nordic countries, which have strong records of upholding gender equality, suffer shockingly high levels of rape,” said Kumi Naidoo, Amnesty International’s Secretary General. 

    April 02, 2019

    Marking six months since the shocking murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Samah Hadid, Amnesty International’s Middle East Director of Campaigns, said:

    “Six months after the extrajudicial execution of Jamal Khashoggi, there are still no real signs of justice or international accountability. It has become clear that the issue is being swept under the carpet by the Saudi authorities and foreign governments for the sake of security cooperation, lucrative business ties and arms deals.

    April 01, 2019

    Amnesty International Kenya welcomes the decision by the three-judge bench to uphold the right to privacy of citizens and to stop the mandatory collection of information under the new National Integrated Identity Management System (NIIMS) also known as “Huduma Namba”.

    “Kenya’s mandatory biometric registration system legal framework poses a massive risk to the right to privacy of citizens, foreign nationals and refugees living in the country. Parliament should swiftly repeal the invasive sections and expedite the National Taskforce’s Data Protection Bill to bring forth a legal framework for safeguarding personal data” said Irũngũ Houghton, Amnesty International Kenya’s Executive Director.

    “No country in the world has passed a law enabling it to collect DNA samples and biometric data from its entire population without even a basic legal framework for data protection. There must be concrete safeguards for data storage, security and independent oversight of the system.”

    April 01, 2019

    The Nigerian authorities must investigate the killing of a man shot dead by the notorious Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) police unit while he was watching a televised football match in Lagos yesterday, Amnesty International said.

    Kolade Johnson was reportedly shot accidentally by officers from the Special Anti-Cultism Squad (SACS) – a branch of SARS – who had been pursuing another man at the football viewing centre.

    Amnesty International has documented a pattern of grave human rights violations carried out by SARS since 2016.

    “Kolade Johnson is the latest victim of the SARS police squad, which has become notorious for extrajudicial killings, torture and extortion,” said Osai Ojigho, Director of Amnesty International Nigeria. “This appears to be an unlawful killing which must be impartially and thoroughly investigated, with any officers suspected of criminal responsibility brought to justice in a fair trial before an ordinary civilian court.

    April 01, 2019

    Two years after the violent ‘gay purge’ in Chechnya, Russian authorities have failed to provide justice for the victims, Amnesty International said today.

    In a crackdown revealed in 2017, dozens of men were abducted, tortured and killed for their real or perceived sexual orientation. To date, not one person has yet been held accountable for these crimes.

    “The Russian authorities have shown themselves to be complicit in heinous crimes committed in Chechnya against people believed to be gay or lesbian”, said Marie Struthers, Amnesty International’s Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

    “Two years after reports of a ‘gay purge’ sent shockwaves worldwide, it’s clear that the perpetrators have gone unpunished because of state-sponsored homophobia and impunity for human rights violations in Chechnya.”

    Meanwhile, authorities have also failed to provide effective protection to LGBTI rights defender Igor Kochetkov, the leading figure in the public investigation of the violent crackdown, who has recently received death threats.

    March 29, 2019

    Arab leaders must bring an end to the widespread repression that has become a hallmark of governments in the region, Amnesty International said today ahead of the Arab League Summit in Tunisia this weekend. 

    The lack of international accountability throughout the region has meant that governments in MENA have had free rein to imprison peaceful critics, restrict the activities of civil society or use arbitrary arrest, detention and excessive use of force against protesters demanding their rights.

    “All across the MENA region, thousands of peaceful critics have been victims of relentless government violations”, said Heba Morayef, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

    “The fact that the summit is being held in Tunisia is a reminder that people across the Arab world rose up in protest calling for social justice and political reform in 2011 - yet the Arab Summit seeks to pretend that this never happened.

    March 29, 2019

    Following the tabling of a proposed bill on “secularism” (laïcité) in the Quebec legislature on March 28, Amnesty International is reminding the Quebec government that it must uphold its international human rights obligations toward all those living in the province.

    “It’s the responsibility of the government to do everything possible to fight systemic discrimination towards marginalized groups,” said France-Isabelle Langlois, Executive Director of Amnesty International Canada’s Francophone Branch. “The government must ensure that Quebec remains an inclusive society that respects human rights.”

    March 29, 2019

    Responding to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen’s letter to Congress, Charanya Krishnaswami, Americas Advocacy Director at Amnesty International USA stated:

    “Secretary Nielsen is ready to exploit the vulnerable situations of families in order to send a loud message to the world that refugees are not welcome in America.

    “The US must live up to its promise and implement humane policies that do not unnecessarily detain people seeking safety and protection.

    “The DHS’s argument that treating asylum seekers humanely fuels migration is a blatant lie meant to curb the basic rights of those fleeing violence and persecution in their home countries.”

    Amnesty International USA calls on Congress to reject Secretary Nielson’s request for more powers and demand that DHS renew its ‘Alternative to Detention’ programs.

    Background

    In October, Amnesty International launched a report on the policy of family separation and illegal pushbacks and the arbitrary detention of asylum seekers.

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