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    April 26, 2019

    Responding to the news that Mozambique has been hit by another catastrophic storm, Cyclone Kenneth, Kumi Naidoo, Secretary General of Amnesty International said:

    “It is just five weeks since Cyclone Idai, one of the worst weather-related disasters in Southern Africa, hit Mozambique and the country has far from recovered. Now its people are experiencing the shock of yet another life-changing storm, one that is expected to bring yet more devastating rainfall, storm surges and flooding.

    “While Cyclone Kenneth has been downgraded after its winds weakened, it has already claimed three people’s lives in the island nation of Comoros. The government has rightly called for the swift evacuation of people, with about 30,000 of 700,000 people affected already evacuated from high risk areas, but the dangers to people’s lives and other human rights can continue in the aftermath of the storm, with the significantly heightened risk of flooding and disease. 

    April 25, 2019
    Amnesty International and Airwars launch interactive website documenting hundreds of civilian casualties Most comprehensive investigation into civilian deaths in modern warfare US, UK and French forces still in denial, admitting to 10% of killings

    The US-led military Coalition must end almost two years of denial about the massive civilian death toll and destruction it unleashed in the Syrian city of Raqqa, Amnesty International and Airwars said today as they launched a new data project on the offensive to oust the armed group calling itself “Islamic State” (IS).

    April 25, 2019

    Amnesty International will today (Thursday April 25) legally challenge the French government’s decision to donate six boats to the Libyan Navy, which includes the Libyan Coast Guard.  

    Amnesty International is one of eight NGOs demanding that delivery of the boats is suspended, believing they would be used to intercept refugees and migrants and force them back to Libya, where they suffer serious human rights violations. 

    “Delivering boats to the Libyan Coast Guard was an unlawful and reckless decision - but doing it now, as the armed conflict in Libya escalates, is even more callous and irresponsible,” said Massimo Moratti, Regional Director for Research at Amnesty International.  

    “The donation would make French authorities complicit in trapping thousands of women, men and children in a country where they suffer extortion and are arbitrarily detained and tortured. 

    April 24, 2019

    Thousands of people continue to languish in Malagasy prisons without having been found guilty of any crime due to the excessive use of pre-trial detention, Amnesty International said on Africa Pretrial Detention Day.

    Six months after an Amnesty report exposed the alarming use of pre-trial detention in the island nation, the situation has worsened, and earlier this month a student was found dead after spending a night in police custody.

    “The excessive use of pre-trial detention in Madagascar is unjust and abusive, and it has now reached crisis levels with up to 14,000 people held,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southern Africa.

    “Pre-trial detention is mostly used against poor people who cannot afford lawyers to get them out of prison. The Malagasy authorities cannot continue keeping thousands of people who have not been found guilty of any crime in jail.”

    April 24, 2019

    A violent attack by fighters who opened fire on refugees and migrants at a detention centre on the outskirts of Tripoli highlights the urgent need to ensure civilians are protected and perpetrators are held to account, said Amnesty International after speaking to eye witnesses.

    Armed men raided the Qasr Ben Ghashir detention centre, south of Tripoli on 23 April and shot a number of the people being held there. According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) at least 12 people were hospitalized as a result of their injuries.

    Video footage reviewed by Amnesty International shows distressed refugees and migrants in the aftermath of the shooting, some of them screaming. In one of the videos, three people are shown with apparent gunshot wounds. Another video shows several injured people lying on the floor, their bandages soaked with blood.

    April 24, 2019

    Four leaders of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy Umbrella Movement protests jailed today for their role in the 2014 peaceful protests must be immediately and unconditionally set free and have their convictions overturned, Amnesty International said.

    The pro-democracy activists were given jail terms ranging from eight to 16 months in prison at West Kowloon Magistrates’ Courts.

    Among the eight protesters sentenced were the co-founders of the “Occupy Central” campaign – legal scholar Professor Benny Tai Yiu-ting and sociologist Professor Chan Kin-man, who each received 16 months’ imprisonment. The other two activists jailed are political party leader Raphael Wong and lawmaker Shiu Ka-chun, each sentenced to eight months’ imprisonment.

    April 23, 2019

    South Africa’s post-election government must put human rights at the centre of its policies or risk shackling people to the chains of unemployment, poverty and inequality for decades to come, said Amnesty International South Africa as it published 25 Years On: A Human Rights Manifesto for South Africa today.

    “Although progress has been made since the first free elections 25 years ago, especially in developing a robust Constitution and progressive legislation to promote and protect human rights, compliance and implementation is often lacking. This keeps people bound to the triple burdens of unemployment, poverty and inequality, with escape impossible,” said Kumi Naidoo, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

    “The government-elect as well as all political parties must comply with South Africa’s Constitution as well as domestic and international human rights laws to ensure that the rights of all those in South Africa are upheld.”

    April 23, 2019

    Responding to the decision by Myanmar’s Supreme Court to uphold the conviction and seven year prison sentence of Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, Nicholas Bequelin Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East and Southeast Asia said:

    “The Supreme Court’s rejection of Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo’s appeal compounds a grave injustice and marks a dark day for press freedom in Myanmar. This case shows the authorities’ resolve to ensure there can be no independent reporting on the military’s atrocities in Rakhine State – even at the cost of debasing the country’s judicial system.

    “Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo are not isolated cases. In recent weeks, we have seen a disturbing surge in the number of people being arrested on politically motivated charges, most of them for criticism of the military.

    “Ahead of the 2020 general election, the international community must put much more pressure on the government to immediately and unconditionally release all prisoners of conscience and amend or repeal the oppressive laws that are being used to curtail freedom of expression.”

    April 18, 2019

    Iranian authorities must stop harassing, arresting and imprisoning women’s rights defenders peacefully protesting against Iran’s degrading and discriminatory forced veiling laws, and release those detained on this basis immediately and unconditionally, said Amnesty International today. 

    The organization has confirmed that two women’s rights defenders, Yasmin Aryani and Monireh Arabshahi, have been detained in the past week and that a third activist, Vida Movahedi, who has been detained since October 2018, was sentenced to one year in prison last month for peacefully protesting against forced veiling.

    Iran’s intelligence and security bodies have also subjected several other women’s rights defenders to threatening telephone calls, warning them that they will be arrested if they continue to campaign against forced veiling. Some have been summoned for questioning and fear imminent arrest.

    April 17, 2019

    Following the attorney general’s decision that individuals who seek asylum after crossing between ports of entry and pass their initial credible fear test will not be eligible for bond and could be detained indefinitely if not released on humanitarian parole, Charanya Krishnaswami, Americas advocacy director for Amnesty International USA, made the following statement:

    “Seeking asylum is a human right, not a crime, and families forced to flee for their lives shouldn’t be treated like criminals. This appalling decision could also force parents to decide to either be locked up with their children indefinitely, or relinquish custody of them for the duration of their approval process, which could take months or years. This is both a heartless punishment against vulnerable people, and a potential back-door way for the administration to  separate families. This decision must be reversed.”  

    April 15, 2019

    Responding to a news report that more than 700 refugees and migrants in Libya were trapped in a detention centre in Qasr bin Ghasher in close proximity to intense armed clashes in Tripoli, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, Magdalena Mughrabi, said:

    “The Libyan government must immediately release all migrants and refugees from these horrific detention centres where they are held illegally and face appalling abuse and torture. The authorities must do everything to ensure the safety of these men, women and children, left without access to food, water and other essentials amid the escalating violence in and around Tripoli.

    April 15, 2019

    Indonesia’s next government must put human rights at the center of its policies after the serious abuses that have marred the country in recent years, Amnesty International said ahead of polling day on 17 April.

    With nearly 200 million registered voters expected to cast their ballots in Indonesia’s general elections, Amnesty International have published a Human Rights Agenda targeting 7,968 parliamentary candidates and the two presidential candidates.

    “Our agenda puts forward a concrete action plan that the next government and parliament must deliver to improve the human rights situation in Indonesia, after the deteriorating environment experienced by so many people in the past four and half years – especially minorities and other marginalized groups,” said Usman Hamid, Amnesty International Indonesia’s Executive Director. “The next government has an opportunity to turn the tide and prevent Indonesia from squandering the vital human rights progress made since 1998.”

    April 12, 2019

    Update: On 12 April 2019, a Lebanese military court transferred Ziad Itani’s torture complaint to a civilian court. According to article 15 of the Lebanese Code of Criminal Procedure, offenses committed by judicial police officers while performing their duties falls under the jurisdiction of ordinary civilian courts. Lebanon’s anti-torture law specifies that the public prosecutor should refer torture cases to ordinary courts within 48 hours.

    Itani Case Shouldn’t Be Heard by Military Courts

    April 12, 2019

    In response to President Trump’s transgender military ban going into effect, Tarah Demant, director of the gender, sexuality, and identity program at Amnesty International USA, made the following statement:

    “The ban on transgender service members is a shameful step backward. The Trump Administration seems committed to creating policies that are based on bigotry and discrimination. Regarding transgender people in particular, President Trump has stripped away protections for students, employees, and now those serving in the military. The Trump administration is sending a dangerous message globally that the United States is ready and willing to blatantly disregard the human rights of thousands of people.”

    April 12, 2019

    The International Criminal Court’s decision not to authorize an investigation into crimes committed in Afghanistan under international law marks a shocking abandonment of victims and will further weaken the court’s credibility, Amnesty International said today.

    The ICC’s decision comes just days after the United States, which had already issued threats to the court, revoked the chief prosecutor’s visa because the investigation involved crimes committed by USA forces.

    “Afghanistan has been witness to heinous crimes committed with near-absolute impunity, across the country, for more than a decade and a half. The ICC’s decision today is a shocking abandonment of the victims which will weaken the court’s already questionable credibility,” said Biraj Patnaik, South Asia Director at Amnesty International.

    The ICC judges claimed that their decision was influenced by the prospect of investigators having to deal with challenging investigations, a lack of ready state cooperation and budgetary constraints.

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