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    December 08, 2017

    A court’s decision to postpone the hearing of a woman forced to spend a decade behind bars after having a stillbirth in El Salvador is an outrageous and careless act, Amnesty International said.

    “Teodora has waited 10 years to be before the court that sent her to prison for a stillbirth in 2007, but the judges were not ready to make the decision to undo this utter injustice,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    “Instead of punishing Teodora for being a woman, authorities in El Salvador must urgently take a hard look at their outrageous anti-abortion law and take immediate steps to repeal it.”

    Teodora suffered a stillbirth in 2007, after the rapid onset of serious pain while she was at work. Police arrested her as she lay in a pool of blood. She was later sentenced to 30 years for ‘aggravated homicide’ under El Salvador’s total ban on abortion.

    Her case was reviewed by the court today, but it decided to postpone the decision until Wednesday, December 13.

    December 07, 2017

    Authorities in Burkina Faso should tackle violence by local self-defence groups, investigate alleged torture by police and protect women and girls at risk of early and forced marriages, Amnesty International said today in its submission to the country’s UN Universal Periodic Review.

    The UPR report, Burkina Faso: difficult journey towards human rights respect, assesses the country’s human rights framework and calls on the government to address wide-ranging impunity for human rights abuses.

    “ ‘From torture in police custody to killings of protestors, our research shows that Burkina Faso still has a long way to go in tackling impunity,” said Gaetan Mootoo, Amnesty International West Africa researcher.

    "If the government wants to send a clear message that it is committed to strengthen the respect of human rights in Burkina Faso, these issues must be satisfactorily addressed immediately.”

    Self-defence groups operating outside the law

    December 07, 2017

    Governments across Canada have an unprecedented opportunity to begin addressing long-standing deficiencies in the implementation of the country’s international human rights obligations by laying the groundwork for a coordinated approach to upholding rights across all levels of government, says Amnesty International Canada in a briefing paper submitted to federal, provincial and territorial Ministers.  For the first time in 29 years, Ministers will meet to discuss cross-jurisdictional weaknesses and challenges in implementing Canada’s commitments under an array of binding international human rights instruments. 

    December 07, 2017

    Following the decision today by the Bangkok Military Court to postpone a decision on whether to indict Sulak Sivaraksa, on charges of lèse majesté for comments he made about a battle in 1593, James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Director of Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said:

    “To prosecute a scholar for comments he made about a battle that took place more than four centuries ago would be patently absurd. This case is an ugly reminder of the Thai authorities’ increasing use of the lèse majesté law as a tool of suppression.

    “Aside from being an outrageous attack on freedom of expression and academic freedom, Sulak Sivaraksa’s case appears to be based on a wilful misinterpretation of the existing repressive law on lèse majesté. While it should doubtless be abandoned in its entirety, the law as it currently stands does not apply to historical members of the monarchy.

    “The Thai authorities must end their gross misuse of this law and immediately drop these ridiculous charges.”

    Background

    December 07, 2017

    In reaction to the Australian Parliament passing into law the Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Bill 2017, Amnesty International Australia’s NSW LGBTQI Network Convenor Lizzi Price said:

    “Marriage Equality is a human right and human rights should never be subject to popular vote. While we celebrate this amazing moment, we will continue to stand in solidarity with LGBTQI Australians and their families who have faced such a confronting and challenging experience throughout the postal survey. The Government should commit to never using such a process again.

    "This is a historic and long-overdue moment for Australia. This outcome is due to the hard work, determination, and courage of so many people. LGBTQI Australians, community groups, activists and allies stood up, spoke out and built an unstoppable movement for equality. For that alone, there is such a lot to celebrate here."

     

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

     

    December 06, 2017

    Condemning today’s announcement by the President of the United States, Donald Trump, that the US is recognizing unified Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and will move its embassy there, Raed Jarrar, Amnesty International USA’s Middle East Advocacy Director, said:

    “This is a reckless and provocative decision by the Trump administration that further undermines the human rights of the Palestinian people and is likely to inflame tensions across the region.

    “By recognizing unified Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and announcing the relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv, President Trump has shown yet again his blatant disregard for international law.

    “There is international consensus, including UN Security Council resolutions, on the illegality of Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem. With this move, the United States is violating its own international legal obligations not to recognize or assist an illegal situation and to ensure respect for the Geneva Conventions.

    December 06, 2017

    Responding to the news that Lahore-based Pakistani peace activist Raza Khan has gone missing, Amnesty International’s Deputy South Asia Director, Dinushika Dissanayake, said:

    “The Pakistani authorities must take all measures as may be necessary to investigate Raza Khan's fate immediately.

    “Scarcely does a week go by without Amnesty International receiving reports of people going missing in Pakistan. Many of them may have been subjected to enforced disappearances, which is a crime under international law.

    “In October, Pakistan was elected to the UN Human Rights Council on a pledge to uphold universal human rights for all. But we’ve seen few effective attempts to investigate these disappearances and no one has ever been held accountable for them.

    “Raza Khan’s alleged disappearance in Lahore comes as London Mayor Sadiq Khan is visiting the city. We hope the mayor calls on the Pakistani authorities to immediately establish his whereabouts and return him to his family.”

    Background

    December 05, 2017

    Responding to the failed attempt by China, Philippines and Burundi to vote down a UN Human Rights Council resolution on the situation of the Rohingya and other minorities in Myanmar, Nicholas Bequelin, East Asia Director at Amnesty International, said:

    “The adoption of today’s resolution demonstrates the broad international concern about the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya people so brutally impacted by the ongoing crimes against humanity in Myanmar’s Rakhine State. By voting against it, China and others showed how woefully out of step they are with world opinion on the crisis.

    “China has the diplomatic, humanitarian and economic resources to make a real difference in the lives of the Rohingya. But its current maneuvering simply seeks to intervene only to preserve impunity for horrific crimes.

    December 05, 2017

    Responding to the recent video circulating on social media, apparently showing the aftermath of an alleged killing of a young man by the country’s Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), Osai Ojigho, Director of Amnesty International Nigeria said:

    “The scale of the reaction to this incident shows that the concerns of the Nigerian people are reaching boiling point. All incidents of violence meted out by this notorious police unit must be independently investigated, and those found to be responsible must be prosecuted in fair trials.”

    “The #EndSARS hashtag is rightly gaining the attention of the police and Nigerian government and now officials must do more to end these horrendous abuses of power. Amnesty International highlighted such abuses more than a year ago and yet these shocking incidents still continue. Restructuring SARS is not enough, the government must take concrete steps to protect Nigerians.”

    Background

    December 05, 2017

    Responding to the news that President Duterte has ordered the police to resume their role in supporting his administration’s so-called “war on drugs,” James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Director of Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said:

    “In returning police to his anti-drug operations yet again, President Duterte has consigned the poorest and most marginalised people in the Philippines to another catastrophic wave of violence, misery and bloodshed.

    “Since the police were withdrawn from anti-drug operations in October, there has been a marked decline in the number of deaths resulting from these operations. We can only expect that to reverse, as the police have the opportunity to pick up where they left off and resume their indiscriminate killing with impunity.

    December 04, 2017

    States around the world are failing in their duty to effectively protect people who defend human rights, leading to an escalation in preventable killings and enforced disappearances, Amnesty International said today.

    The organization’s new report, Deadly but Preventable Attacks: Killings and Enforced Disappearances of Those who Defend Human Rights, highlights the growing risks faced by human rights defenders – people from all walks of life who work to promote and defend human rights.

    The report includes testimonies from friends, relatives and colleagues of human rights defenders, including environmentalists, LGBTIQ and women’s rights activists, journalists and lawyers, who have been killed or disappeared. Many described how victims’ pleas for protection had been repeatedly ignored by the authorities and how the attackers had evaded justice, fuelling a deadly cycle of impunity.

    December 04, 2017

    In response to the death threats made against Aunício da Silva, an investigative journalist and editor of Ikweli, a weekly publication in Nampula City in the north of Mozambique, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southern Africa, Deprose Muchena, said:

    “Aunício da Silva’s life has been threatened simply because he was doing his job as an investigative journalist: holding the powerful to account.

    “This incident represents yet another attack on media freedom in Mozambique and sends a chilling message to journalists across the country to stay silent or face the consequences.

    “Journalism is not a crime. Mozambican authorities must protect the profession by urgently investigating these threats against Aunício. Anyone found to be criminally responsible for threatening and harassing journalists must be brought to justice in a fair trial.”

    Background

    December 01, 2017

    Responding to news that the US Pentagon will indefinitely postpone a ban on older models of cluster munitions, Patrick Wilcken, Researcher on Arms Control and Human Rights at Amnesty International, said:

    “Cluster munitions are internationally banned for very good reasons. Those that don’t instantly explode lie dormant until they are uncovered by unsuspecting civilians, often children, killing and maiming them. The decision by the Pentagon to indefinitely postpone a ban on the most dangerous types beggars belief.

    “This is a profoundly retrograde step that puts the US way out of line with the international consensus – cluster munitions are banned by more than 100 countries due to their inherently indiscriminate nature and the risks they pose to civilians.

    “Apparently conscious of these risks, the Pentagon had originally promised to ban models that result in more than 1% unexploded ordnance by 2019. But today it has reneged on that promise by keeping older types with dud rates* of 20% or more, raising serious questions about its regard for the lives of civilians in war zones.

    December 01, 2017

    Authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo must investigate the heavy-handed police crackdown on yesterday’s protests in which at least one man was shot dead and dozens more injured, said Amnesty International today.

    Police also arbitrarily arrested more than 200 protesters in cities across the country. While many were released later in the day, at least 100 remain in detention, including 45 in Goma and 12 in the capital Kinshasa.

    “This wanton disregard for protesters’ lives and the unlawful use of force cannot be tolerated. The use of firearms against unarmed protesters contravenes DRC’s obligations under international law,” said Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    “The DRC must promptly launch an effective and independent investigation into the killing and injuries and bring all those responsible to justice. The ongoing pattern of repression against peaceful protesters and its associated impunity must stop.”

    November 30, 2017
    Verified photographs show Soviet-made cluster munitions used over densely populated areas by Syrian government forces Doctors describe dire humanitarian situation – including widespread malnutrition – amid tightening siege Witnesses recount indiscriminate attacks killing civilians as Syrian forces commit daily war crimes

    Syrian government forces’ increasing use of banned Soviet-made cluster munitions to carry out indiscriminate attacks and direct attacks on civilians amid a tightening siege in rebel-held Eastern Ghouta has killed at least 10 civilians and brought the area’s humanitarian crisis to breaking point, Amnesty International can reveal today.

    The organization interviewed five people currently under siege in Eastern Ghouta, among them activists and medical professionals, who described a severely deteriorating situation as the government has escalated its bombing campaign of this rebel-held enclave, near the capital, Damascus, since 14 November.

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