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    November 22, 2017

    A year on from the signing of the Peace Agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia, FARC), other guerrilla and paramilitary groups are wrestling for control of parts of the country in conflicts that are wreaking havoc on the lives of ordinary Colombians, Amnesty International said in a new report today.

    Years of solitude continue explores how the Colombian Peace Agreement, signed on 24 November 2016, is having a very limited impact on the lives of scores of Indigenous and afro-descendant communities in the department of Chocó – where 60 percent of the population are registered as victims of the armed conflict.

    The Peace Agreement was meant to end the 50-year armed conflict that had resulted in the deaths of more than 220,000 Colombians and displaced nearly seven million people.

    November 22, 2017

    Edward Snowden, Catherine Deneuve, Sting, Ai Weiwei, Angélique Kidjo, Anish Kapoor, Francois Morel and MPs sign open letter

    More than 70 renowned cultural and political figures have come together to demand that Turkish authorities drop trumped-up terrorism charges against 11 human rights defenders, including Amnesty International’s Turkey Director and Chair.

    The call made by more than 30 politicians and scores of artists - including Edward Snowden, Sting, Ai Weiwei, Anish Kapoor, Catherine Deneuve, Angélique Kidjo - comes as the trial of the 11 resumes in Istanbul on charges which carry jail terms of up to 15 years.

    “We are proud to add our voices to the global demand to end this gross injustice and to immediately and unconditionally release Taner Kılıç from jail,” they write in the letter.

    “When human rights defenders are silenced, all our rights are put at risk. They are the ones that stand up for us. Now we must stand up for them.”

    November 21, 2017

     

    Responding to the news that Robert Mugabe has resigned as President of Zimbabwe, Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International said:

    “After more than three decades of violent repression, the way forward for the country is to renounce the abuses of the past and transition into a new era where the rule of law is respected and those who are responsible for injustices are held to account.

    “During 37 years of President Mugabe’s leadership, tens of thousands of people were tortured, forcibly disappeared or killed. President Mugabe condoned human rights violations, defended criminal actions of his officials and allowed a culture of impunity for grotesque crimes to thrive.

    “Although Zimbabwe invested heavily in social services in the early years of independence, much of this progress was wiped out by later events such as the Operation Murambatsvina forced evictions campaign of 2005, which destroyed the homes or livelihoods of 700,000 people.

    November 20, 2017
    Rohingya segregated and abused in “open air prison” Two-year investigation reveals root causes of current Rakhine State crisis System of discrimination amounts to the crime against humanity of apartheid

    The Rohingya people in Myanmar are trapped in a vicious system of state-sponsored, institutionalised discrimination that amounts to apartheid, said Amnesty International today as it publishes a major new analysis into the root causes of the current crisis in Rakhine State.

    “Caged without a roof” puts into context the recent wave of violence in Myanmar, when the security forces killed Rohingya people, torched whole villages to the ground, and drove more than 600,000 to flee across the border into Bangladesh.

    November 20, 2017

    The Kenyan government must take immediate steps to de-escalate tensions between communities, protect people and ensure their safety as opposition supporters protest against today’s Supreme Court verdict upholding President Uhuru Kenyatta’s re-election, said Amnesty International.

    Following the verdict, violence broke out in opposition strongholds including the Mathare and Kibera slums in Nairobi, and Migori and Kisumu in western Kenya. The violence came after the Supreme Court dismissed the two petitions that sought to invalidate the outcome of the 28 October presidential election re-run. Initial reports said four people were killed in the clashes.

    A witness told Amnesty International that groups of young men in Kondele, Kisumu, were carrying out house searches today, looking for ethnic Kikuyu residents, harassing them and looting their homes. He said three groups tried to enter his compound and that his neighbour’s gate was torn down and he and his family were forced to flee for their own safety. There were also media reports of an attempt by protesters to burn down Kondele Police Station.

    November 20, 2017

    New research by Amnesty International has revealed the alarming impact that abuse and harassment on social media are having on women, with women around the world reporting stress, anxiety, or panic attacks as a result of these harmful online experiences.

    The organization commissioned an IPSOS MORI poll which looked at the experiences of women between the ages of 18 and 55 in Denmark, Italy, New Zealand, Poland, Spain, Sweden, the UK and USA.

    Nearly a quarter (23%) of the women surveyed across these eight countries said they had experienced online abuse or harassment at least once, ranging from 16% in Italy to 33% in the US. Alarmingly, 41% of women who had experienced online abuse or harassment said that on at least one occasion, these online experiences made them feel that their physical safety was threatened.

    “The internet can be a frightening and toxic place for women. It’s no secret that misogyny and abuse are thriving on social media platforms, but this poll shows just how damaging the consequences of online abuse are for the women who are targeted,” said Azmina Dhrodia, Amnesty International’s Researcher on Technology and Human Rights.

    November 17, 2017

    Kenyan police must stop firing live ammunition during opposition protests and instead protect all people gathering in public, said Amnesty International today amid running battles in which three opposition supporters are feared to have been shot dead.

    “We have received reports of at least three deaths, and live TV footage shows another man being shot in the leg. Firearms can only be used when strictly unavoidable in order to protect life,” said Abdullahi Halakhe, Amnesty International’s East Africa Researcher.

    “The indiscriminate use of live ammunition is totally unacceptable. Firearms must never be used to disperse crowds.”

    According to Amnesty International research, at least 66 people have been killed by police in election-related violence since August. At least 33 of them died in the aftermath of the 8 August elections and another three were killed during the October re-run.

    The opposition supporters were trying to get to Uhuru Park in downtown Nairobi, where they expected Raila Odinga to address them, just hours after he had returned from an eight-day trip to the US.

    November 17, 2017

    The USA, UK and France must immediately cease supplying arms to the Saudi Arabia-led coalition fighting in Yemen, which is impeding humanitarian assistance, including items indispensable to the survival of civilians, said Amnesty International today. According to the UN and humanitarian agencies food and medicine are being blocked and vital supplies will run out in a matter of weeks.

    Since the Saudi Arabia-led coalition tightened the blockade after a missile was fired at Riyadh, 29 ships carrying essential supplies have been prevented by the coalition from reaching Hodeidah port. Mitigating measures announced by the coalition, such as opening Aden’s port, are woefully inadequate to meet humanitarian needs. More than 20 million people are now living in dire need of assistance.

    “The looming prospect of famine is becoming a reality because of the new restrictions by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition, which appear to amount to collective punishment of Yemen’s civilians,” said Philip Luther, Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

    November 17, 2017

    Civilians on the island of Mindanao paid a high price with dozens killed and widespread destruction of homes and property amid the ‘battle of Marawi’ that pitted the Philippine military against militants allied to the armed group calling itself Islamic State (IS) between May and October this year, Amnesty International said in a report today.

    The ‘Battle of Marawi’: Death and destruction in the Philippines is the first detailed human rights analysis of the conflict, based on a research trip to Lanao del Sur, Mindanao in September. It documents how IS-allied militants targeted Christian civilians for the worst of the abuses, including at least 25 extrajudicial killings, mass hostage-taking, and extensive looting of civilian property.

    Philippine armed forces, meanwhile, detained and ill-treated fleeing civilians, and also engaged in looting. Their extensive bombing of militant-held areas of Marawi city wiped out entire neighbourhoods and killed civilians, highlighting the need for an investigation into its compliance with international humanitarian law. 

    November 16, 2017

    Ordinary Cubans perceived to be even subtly critical of life in the country face a future of harassment at work, or unemployment as authorities use their control over the job market as an additional tool of repression, Amnesty International said in a new report today.

    Your mind is in prison explores how decades of arbitrary use of criminal laws and other unlawful practices -- including discriminatory and wrongful dismissals from state-employment and further harassment in the emerging self-employed sector -- translate into a system where even Cubans who are not politically active have to avoid criticizing the government if they want to hold a job.

    “Many Cubans feel suffocated by a web of state-control over their daily lives. Part of that control is: if you want to hold a job, you have to agree with everything the government says,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    November 16, 2017

    Reacting to the Cambodian Supreme Court’s decision to dissolve the main opposition party, the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Director of Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said:

    “Today’s decision by the Supreme Court to dissolve the CNRP is not only a blatant act of political repression that must be reversed immediately, but also a serious violation of the human rights to freedom of association and expression in Cambodia. The fact that the court also ruled to ban more than 100 senior CNRP officials from political activity for five years compounds this injustice.

    “This is yet more evidence of how the judiciary in Cambodia is essentially used as an arm of the executive and as a political tool to silence dissent. The Supreme Court President Judge is known to have close ties to Prime Minister Hun Sen and is a member of high level committees of the ruling Cambodian People’s Party.

    November 15, 2017
    - Survey of electronics and car companies shows major blind spots in supply chains - Apple is the industry leader for responsible cobalt sourcing – but the bar is low - Microsoft, Lenovo and Renault have made least progress Major electronics and electric vehicle companies are still not doing enough to stop human rights abuses entering their cobalt supply chains, almost two years after an Amnesty International investigation exposed how batteries used in their products could be linked to child labour in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the organization said today.   A new report, Time to Recharge, ranks industry giants including Apple, Samsung Electronics, Dell, Microsoft, BMW, Renault and Tesla on how much they have improved their cobalt sourcing practices since January 2016. It finds that while a handful of companies have made progress, others are still failing to take even basic steps like investigating supply links in the DRC.  
    November 15, 2017

    In response to the military takeover and subsequent control of certain streets of the capital city Harare and the state-run broadcaster Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southern Africa Deprose Muchena said:

     

    “At this tense time, it is essential that the military ensure the safety and security of all people in Zimbabwe – regardless of their political allegiance - and refrain from any action that puts lives and human rights at risk.

    “Military officials must uphold human rights, including the right to liberty, freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly. The free flow of information – through the media and social media - must be guaranteed.

    “The military takeover should not be used as an excuse to undermine Zimbabwe’s international and regional human rights obligations and commitments.”

    Background

    The Zimbabwe Defence Forces spokesperson Sibusiso Moyo announced the military takeover. He said that said they were targeting people around President Robert Mugabe who had caused “social and economic suffering” to bring them to justice.

     

    November 14, 2017

    The Russian authorities will tighten their stranglehold on press freedom in the country today by introducing a bill that designates foreign-funded news organizations as “foreign agents” and imposes onerous obligations to declare full details of their funding, finances and staffing, said Amnesty International.

    The move is likely to effect the Russian services of major international media outlets such as the BBC, Deutsche Welle and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, as well as the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta. All political parties represented in the State Duma, the Russian Parliament’s lower chamber, have expressed their support of the bill and are expected to pass it unanimously as early as Wednesday.

    “This legislation strikes a serious blow to what was already a fairly desperate situation for press freedom in Russia. Over the last couple of years, the Kremlin has been tirelessly building a media echo chamber that shuts out critical voices, both inside Russia and from abroad,” said Denis Krivosheev, Deputy Director for Europe and Central Asia at Amnesty International.

    November 14, 2017
    Over 30,000 forcibly evicted from settlements in Lagos state in defiance of court orders 11 people unlawfully killed and at least 17 missing after violent evictions by security forces and unidentified armed men 300,000 others are under threat of further forced evictions Evicted residents not provided with consultation, compensation or alternative housing

    Nigerian authorities must halt a violent, unlawful campaign of demolitions and forced evictions of waterfront communities in Lagos State which has so far left more than 30,000 people homeless and 11 dead, Amnesty International said today.

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