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    March 24, 2020

    Reacting to news that the Colorado legislature has signed a bill to repeal the death penalty, Kristina Roth, Senior Program Officer at Amnesty International USA, stated:

    "Colorado becomes the 22nd state to have abandoned the death penalty, bringing this country one state closer to joining the over two-thirds of the countries in the world that have abolished the death penalty in law or practice. This is the kind of human rights leadership this country needs, now more than ever.

    "The Governor must also be commended for commuting the death sentences of people currently on death row.

    "The death penalty is irreversible, it is ineffective, and it does not deter crime. The way the death penalty is carried out is painful, violent, and inhumane, and it is weaponized in this country disproportionately against communities of color. The use of the death penalty as a punishment is outdated, fundamentally broken and must end once and for all."

    Background: 

    March 24, 2020

    Amnesty International has published recommendations today for states in the Americas to ensure that their responses to COVID-19 are in line with their international human rights obligations, as well as flagging a series of human rights violations in the region that predate the pandemic but could be exacerbated by it.

    The paper, which sets out four things governments should do and four things they should not, affirms that states must not discriminate; leave high-risk groups behind; use repression or excessive force in enforcement of public health measures; or censor or limit access to evidence-based information or prevention. States must also guarantee workers’ rights and social security; guarantee access to adequate water, sanitation and health care for all; ensure a gender-focused response to the pandemic; and protect people’s right to privacy.

    March 23, 2020

    Unlawful detention during the ongoing conflict in Yemen - ranging from politically-motivated death sentences, to forcibly disappearing and torturing detainees in ‘black sites’ - remain rife ahead of the fifth anniversary (Wednesday 25 March) of the war, Amnesty International has said.

    Since the current conflict erupted in March 2015, scores of people – including journalists, academics and members of the Baha’i faith – have been disappeared and detained, primarily because of their human rights activism, political affiliation or their conscientiously-held beliefs.

    “The last five years of relentless conflict have been a breeding ground for serious violations against detainees on both sides – in some cases amounting to war crimes,” said Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Middle East Research Director.

    March 20, 2020

    Today’s news that the Canadian government will turn back refugee claimants attempting to cross the Canada-U.S. border is a shameful breach of international law that risks further endangering lives during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Amnesty International. 

    “This is beyond disappointing and disgraceful,” said Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada. “Today’s news only serves to further inflame misconceptions and racism rather than offering reassurance and leadership. When it comes to refugees, Canada is stepping back at a time when we need to step forward.” 

    March 20, 2020

    Responding to the United States announcement that the country will imminently close its border with Mexico and Canada, Charanya Krishnaswami, the Advocacy Director for the Americas at Amnesty International USA, said:

    "It's hard to imagine travel more essential than the journey an asylum-seeker makes to flee persecution. Yet today's restrictions, which empower the US to push back people who lack proper documentation, may inexcusably prevent asylum-seekers and unaccompanied children - two of the populations at greatest risk of danger - from accessing safety.

    "This is cruel, short-sighted, and opportunistic. Every person has the right to seek safety. Full stop."

    To schedule an interview or for further background, contact Lucy Scholey, Media Relations, Amnesty International Canada (English branch), 613-853-2142, lscholey@amnesty.ca   

    More information: 

    March 18, 2020

    Following reports that the Trump administration intends to issue a new rule that would allow U.S.

    March 18, 2020

    Responding to the effective expulsion of journalists working for three major US newspapers in China, the Head of Amnesty International’s China team, Joshua Rosenzweig, said:

    “This shameful assault on freedom of expression targets journalists who have uncovered the reality of numerous human rights violations in China, from Xinjiang to Hong Kong. These publications have also been among those providing in-depth investigations into Wuhan’s COVID-19 outbreak.

    “This latest escalation of the tit-for-tat row between Beijing and Washington threatens to severely undercut the flow of accurate and independent information from China. At a time when the world needs to work together to combat the devastation wrought by the virus, the banishment of these journalists could potentially have grim public health consequences – globally and within China.

    March 13, 2020

    Two years after the fatal shooting of the human rights defender and Rio de Janeiro city councillor Marielle Franco, and her driver, Anderson Gomes, on 14 March 2018, the crime remains unsolved and has become an example of the impunity regarding violence against human rights defenders in Brazil, said Amnesty International today.

    “Two years is too long to wait. The lack of solid results in identifying those who ordered the assassination, or clarifying the circumstances of the crime, that has characterized the last year of the investigation demonstrates that human rights defenders can be killed in Brazil and that these crimes go unpunished,” said Jurema Werneck, executive director of Amnesty International Brazil.

    March 11, 2020

    To: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Premier Dwight Ball, Premier Caroline Cochrane, Premier Doug Ford, Premier Blaine Higgs, Premier John Horgan, Premier Jason Kenney, Premier Dennis King, Premier François Legault, Premier Stephen McNeil, Premier Scott Moe, Premier Brian Pallister, Premier Joe Savikataaq, Premier Sandy Silver

    March 5, 2020

    Dear Prime Minister and Premiers,

    RE: Urgent need to respond to violence and hate directed at human rights defenders in Canada

    We are writing this Open Letter, in advance of next week’s First Ministers’ Meeting, to urge that you individually and collectively commit to measures that will ensure that human rights defenders across Canada, particularly women and Indigenous human rights defenders working on issues related to territory, land and the environment, are recognised for their human rights work and able to carry out that vital work free from threats and violence, in a safe and enabling environment.

    March 09, 2020

    Spokespersons available to take media interviews

    An Amnesty International investigation has found that Sudan’s crackdown on protests against the government of deposed President Omar al-Bashir in 2018 and 2019 involved all branches of the country’s security forces and revealed new evidence about how protesters were killed.

    In a new report, “They descended on us like rain”, the organization documents how the police, the National Intelligence Security Service (NISS) and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) at different times led deadly assaults on protesters.

    “During our research many victims and their families clearly pinpointed specific arms of the security forces that ruthlessly attacked protesters. We have documented evidence of the specific killings and which of the security forces were involved,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Director for East and Southern Africa.

    March 06, 2020

    Amnesty International will participate in the demonstrations on 8th March alongside women's movements fighting for the protection and ongoing promotion of their rights.

    In view of the disturbing global trend of misogynist messages currently disseminated by some political and religious leaders, and the increase in oppressive and sexist policies and practices, women around the world are joining forces to consolidate and protect the rights and freedoms achieved to date. The women's movement seeks to ensure that, far from restricting rights, further progress is made in combating the inequalities persisting in many corners of the planet. Millions of women are challenging discourses that demonize them and attempt to jeopardise the feminist movement, as well as advocates of women's rights, gender equality and sex education.

    March 04, 2020

    An independent investigation into police violence during the Hong Kong protests is essential to preventing unrest from reigniting in the city and rebuilding public trust, Amnesty International said in a new briefing released today. 

    “Missing truth, missing justice” examines the insurmountable defects of the Hong Kong police’s accountability mechanisms. The briefing sets out the need for establishing an independent commission of inquiry to investigate widespread human rights violations that occurred during the mass protests which erupted last year.

    “Each passing day that the Hong Kong government stubbornly resists establishing an independent inquiry adds to the accountability vacuum and erodes public trust further,” said Nicholas Bequelin, Amnesty International’s Regional Director.

    “Hong Kong’s existing police complaint system is not fit for purpose. No institution should be trusted to investigate itself – the police is accountable to the public.

    March 04, 2020

    Ahead of a summit between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Moscow tomorrow (Thursday 5 March) to discuss the escalating military conflict in Idlib in Syria, Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Middle East Research Director, said:

    “The Moscow summit represents an opportunity for Russia and Turkey to prioritize the safety of civilians.

    “The fate of almost one million people forced from their homes now hangs in the balance as this meeting goes ahead.

    “After nine years of fighting characterized by utter disregard for civilians’ lives, new attacks in Idlib - including the ongoing targeting of schools and hospitals - is causing more untold misery to civilians, many of whom have already been forced to flee multiple times in this humanitarian horror story.

    “As a matter of priority, Russia and Turkey should pressure the Syrian government to end attacks on civilians to avoid escalating deaths and injuries and further displacement.

    March 04, 2020

    The investigation of more than 20 peaceful protesters after they held two demonstrations in Malaysia over the weekend is an alarming sign of the new government’s attitude towards human rights, Amnesty International said today.

    Police have summoned at least 20 human rights defenders and political activists to give statements or undergo questioning later today. Among them is lawyer Fadiah Nadwa Fikri, one of the protest organizers. She was already questioned on 3 March and was forced to allow the police access to her Twitter account.

    “Police summons in response to peaceful protests are a return to Malaysia’s authoritarian past,” said Nicholas Bequelin, Amnesty International’s Regional Director.

    “This new government must not reverse human rights progress achieved over the last two years. These investigations are baseless and must be dropped – Malaysian people in the country must be allowed to come together and demonstrate peacefully.”

    March 03, 2020

    An investigation by Amnesty International has uncovered evidence that at least 23 children were killed by Iranian security forces in the nationwide protests in November last year.

    At least 22 of the children were shot dead by Iranian security forces unlawfully firing live ammunition at unarmed protesters and bystanders, according to the findings.

    The children killed include 22 boys, aged between 12 and 17, and a girl reportedly aged between eight and 12. Details of their deaths are included in a new Amnesty International briefing, ‘They shot our children’ - Killings of minors in Iran’s November 2019 protests.

    “In recent months an increasingly gruesome picture has emerged of the extent to which Iranian security forces unlawfully used lethal force to crush last year’s nationwide protests. However, it is still devastating to learn that the number of children who fell victim to this brutality is so shockingly high,” said Philip Luther, Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

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