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    June 16, 2020
    Analysis of coronavirus apps in Europe, Middle East and North Africa finds major risks for human rights

    Bahrain, Kuwait and Norway have rolled out some of the most invasive COVID-19 contact tracing apps around the world, putting the privacy and security of hundreds of thousands of people at risk, an Amnesty International investigation reveals.

    Amnesty’s Security Lab reviewed contact tracing apps from Europe, Middle East and North Africa, including a detailed technical analysis of 11 apps in Algeria, Bahrain, France, Iceland, Israel, Kuwait, Lebanon, Norway, Qatar, Tunisia and United Arab Emirates, some of which ranged from bad to dangerous for human rights. Bahrain’s ‘BeAware Bahrain’, Kuwait’s ‘Shlonik’ and Norway’s ‘Smittestopp’ apps stood out as among the most alarming mass surveillance tools assessed by Amnesty, with all three actively carrying out live or near-live tracking of users’ locations by frequently uploading GPS coordinates to a central server.

    June 15, 2020

    Right Honourable Justin Trudeau
    Prime Minister of Canada
    80 Wellington Street
    Ottawa, Ontario
    K1A 0A2

    Honourable Bardish Chagger
    Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth
    15 Eddy Street, 14th Floor
    Gatineau, Quebec
    K1A 0M5

    Honourable Bill Blair
    Minister of Public Safety and Emergency-Preparedness
    269 Laurier Avenue West
    Ottawa, Ontario
    K1A 0P8

    June 15, 2020

    Dear Prime Minister Trudeau and Ministers Chagger and Blair,

    We write this Open Letter, on behalf of 400,000 supporters of Amnesty International across Canada, to urge your government to advance transformative change addressing anti-Black racism in Canada, including but not limited to the systemic anti-Black racism in policing and justice systems. We write to the three of you collectively because of the clear responsibility you each carry by virtue of your roles within government to act immediately to address this entrenched crisis.

    June 12, 2020

    Responding to Zoom’s compliance with a Chinese government request to end meetings related to the Tiananmen crackdown and suspend the accounts of a group of US-based activists hosting meetings, Amnesty International’s Business and Human Rights Analyst William Nee said:

    “The Chinese government goes to great lengths to ensure that no one in China commemorates or even mentions those killed on 3-4 June 1989. By complying with Beijing’s request to end meetings on the Tiananmen crackdown, Zoom risks contributing to this assault of freedom of expression.

    “Zoom has said it will take steps to ensure users ‘outside mainland China’ are not targeted by such interventions in the future, but in so doing it seemingly turns a blind eye to the repression of users on the mainland.

    “Tech firms such as Zoom must put principles before profit and defend internet freedom, rather than bowing to repressive governments’ demands to stifle it.

    “Zoom must respect human rights throughout all its business operations and not become a tool in China's powerful censorship system."

    Background

    June 11, 2020

    Rio de Janeiro 10.06.2020 – Today, the Civil Police of Rio de Janeiro State executed a series of search and seizure warrants in relation to the investigation into the brutal killing of human rights defender Marielle Franco and her driver Anderson Gomes. The operation culminated in the arrest of firefighter Maxwell Simões Corrêa, who is accused of hiding the weapons used in the assassination and being the close accomplice of Ronnie Lessa who fired the shots. Simões Corrêa's arrest is an important step towards getting to the bottom of this crime and we hope it helps clear up the main questions that remain unanswered: who ordered Marielle’s killing and why?

    Marielle Franco was killed in an ambush that had been thoroughly planned over a number of months. The investigations of the Civil Police and Public Prosecution Service of Rio de Janeiro State identified two people suspected of carrying out the criminal act, Elcio de Queiroz and Ronnie Lessa, who are currently facing criminal proceedings. It was also discovered that other people were indirectly involved in the act, concealing weapons and obstructing the investigations. 

    June 11, 2020
    Amnesty International launches interactive website documenting security forces’ misuse of tear gas New analysis of almost 80 events in 22 countries and territories Launch comes as tear gas is again being used in mass quantities in Hong Kong, Paris and cities across the USA

    The shadowy and poorly regulated global trade of tear gas is fuelling police human rights violations against peaceful protesters on a global scale, Amnesty International said today as it launched a new resource analyzing the misuse of the riot control agent around the world.

    Tear Gas: An investigation is the organization’s interactive, multimedia site looking into what tear gas is, how it is used and documenting scores of cases of its misuse by security forces worldwide, often resulting in severe injuries or death.

    June 11, 2020

    As protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing spur a ripple effect of change around the country, and around the world, Amnesty International is calling for a ban on the use of facial recognition technology by police for mass surveillance purposes, to address racially discriminatory policing and racial profiling of Black people.

    June 11, 2020
    MEDIA ADVISORY 

    June 11, 2020 

    CANADA MUST PUT AN END TO SAUDI ARMS EXPORTS  

    A broad coalition of civil society organizations, human rights organizations, labour organizations and concerned individuals are calling for the Canadian government to end arms transfers to Saudi Arabia. A vigil will be held on 11 June 2020 in London, Ontario, outside of General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada beginning at 1 pm, alongside demonstrations that will take place in cities across Canada and virtually. 

    June 10, 2020

    With ever-growing numbers of infections and deaths from COVID-19, the removal of cumulative data on COVID-19 from Ministry of Health announcements is extremely serious, points out Amnesty International Brazil. Since the start of the pandemic, we have been warning about the lack of adequate measures by the federal government to tackle the crisis. We do not consider concealing data and facts an appropriate response to get through this difficult time.

    In May, Amnesty International Brazil, together with 35 other rights organizations and social movements, launched the Our Lives Matter campaign. The objective of the campaign is for the Brazilian authorities to provide adequate and inclusive responses to address the COVID-19 pandemic without leaving vulnerable segments of the population behind.

    June 10, 2020

    Responding to news of a Rohingya boat intercepted off the coast of Langkawi and the subsequent detention of the 269 refugees on board, Preethi Bhardwaj, Interim Executive Director of Amnesty International Malaysia, said: 

    “Allowing the Rohingya to disembark was a humane step in upholding their human rights. Boats carrying people in distress must always be allowed to land safely. They must not be pushed away, threatened or intimidated. 

    “It is terrible that a woman’s body was found on board – it’s clear this boat was adrift and failing to find a safe shore until then. For one person, this rescue came too late.

    “Authorities must also respect the refugees’ right to health amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The Malaysian government has been detaining migrants and refugees in immigration detention centres that have seen outbreaks of COVID-19. We are concerned that this latest group of refugees will also be moved to these centres, placing them at a high risk of contracting the virus and keeping the pandemic alive.

    June 10, 2020

    OTTAWA – As COVID-19 restrictions begin to relax across Canada, remote and Indigenous communities are developing their own solutions specific to their needs and concerns.  

    As Amnesty International highlights in a new interactive project, Building Immunity in Community, different communities face different threats and challenges and they are developing effective solutions based on the needs of the people and the resources at hand. Many communities need better healthcare equipment and services, many have concerns about over-crowded housing, and other people are checking in with elders, sharing food and traditional medicines, and creating emergency plans. 

    June 04, 2020

    The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau

    Prime Minister of Canada

    80 Wellington Street

    Ottawa, Ontario

    K1A 0A2

    June 3, 2020

    Dear Prime Minister,

    We are writing this Open Letter, on behalf of Amnesty International’s supporters across Canada and also reflective of the concerns of the entire global movement of Amnesty International, to urge you to take a much stronger position of unequivocal opposition to Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to annex a large part of the West Bank, land that is part of Occupied Palestinian Territory.  

    Prime Minister Netanyahu is expected to finalize this in the coming weeks. Such a step would violate the UN Charter, jus cogens norms of international law, and international humanitarian legal obligations. It would certainly stand as well to deepen and exacerbate decades of severe and entrenched human rights violations against Palestinians living in the West Bank. It is urgent and vital for Canada to express firm, explicit and public condemnation of this move.

    June 04, 2020

    Responding to Hong Kong’s Legislative Council passing a law that makes it illegal to insult China’s national anthem, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East and Southeast Asia, Joshua Rosenzweig, said: 

    “People who ‘insult’ China’s national anthem could now be jailed for up to three years. But today the Hong Kong authorities have again insulted the right to freedom of expression in their latest attempt to criminalize peaceful dissent.

    “People’s right to express their different feelings about national anthems and other state symbols is well protected by international human rights law. This law’s broad and subjective provisions leave it open to wide interpretation and abuse.

    “The passing of this odious bill is an ominous sign for the future of human rights in Hong Kong. With China’s ruthless national security law looming, the city’s rights and freedoms are under greater threat than ever before.”

    Background

    June 02, 2020

    OTTAWA – The Canadian government must advance consistent and globally-coordinated action to reverse China’s deeply problematic decision to apply its national security laws to Hong Kong. This troubling move poses extremely dangerous implications for the people of Hong Kong, said several human rights defenders and federal politicians in a press conference today.

    Last week, the Canadian government released a joint statement – along with the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia – condemning the new legislation. Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada’s English branch, said “it is now vital to deepen and expand on this joint declaration of concern, through consistent and forceful diplomacy with China, with other governments around the world, and in all available multilateral fora.”  

    June 02, 2020

    Today, on International Sex Workers’ Day, Amnesty International and the Network of Women Sex Workers from Latin America and the Caribbean (RedTraSex) call on states in the Americas to take immediate measures to guarantee the rights of women who engage in sex work in the context of COVID-19. In particular, they must guarantee access to adequate health services without discrimination, access to social security and protection from human rights violations, such as torture, which in this case is gender-based, committed by the security forces in the context of states of emergency.

    “Cisgender and transgender women who engage in sex work are systematically marginalized, stigmatized and face multiple barriers when exercising their rights. There is concern that the COVID-19 pandemic is aggravating this inequality. States in the Americas have an obligation to protect all women, regardless of their occupation, from the violence and insecurity caused by gender-based discrimination,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International.

    June 02, 2020

    Responding to remarks by President Donald Trump today in the Rose Garden, Ernest Coverson, the End Gun Violence campaign manager at Amnesty International USA said:

    “The violence that can no longer be ignored is the violence committed against Black lives by the police. The real disgrace is the anti-Black racism of the Trump administration.The President swore an oath to the nation to protect all of its people - not just those he deems worthy. 

    “The time for justice has passed for George Floyd, his children, and his loved ones. The possibility for justice was taken away the day that he was killed. All that remains is accountability - and accountability has been absent from an administration that continues to fan the flames of hate. 

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