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    January 28, 2021

    Responding to President Joe Biden’s decision to temporarily suspend arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Philippe Nassif, advocacy director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International USA, said:

    “President Biden’s decision to freeze arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE represents a welcome relief in an otherwise shameful chapter of history. Almost six years of conflict in Yemen, fueled by irresponsible arms transfers, have left 14 million Yemenis in dire need of humanitarian assistance.

    “The suspension of arms sales by the US is a step in the right direction and ups the pressure on European countries, most notably the UK and France, to follow suit and stop fueling the human misery in Yemen.

    January 27, 2021
    No justice for victims   Supporters of #EndSARS movement continue to face intimidation  Authorities yet to initiate concrete police reforms 

    Nigerian authorities have failed to bring to justice those suspected to be responsible for the brutal crackdown by security forces on peaceful #EndSARS protesters at Lekki toll gate and Alausa in Lagos in October 2020 and have brazenly attempted to cover up the violence, said Amnesty International Nigeria today, 100 days on from the attacks. 

    Since the assault by security forces, which killed at least 12 people, Nigerian authorities have targeted supporters of the protests against police brutality by the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) Some of the movement’s supporters have had their bank accounts frozen.  

    January 27, 2021

    OTTAWA – Amnesty International is urging Canadian authorities to intervene on the case of Hassan Diab, after a French court ruled that the Ottawa academic must stand trial on groundless terrorism charges stemming from a 1980 synagogue bombing.

    On Wednesday, France’s court of appeal ordered Diab to face trial for the 40-year-old Paris bombing, even after a lower court cleared his name three years ago due to a lack of evidence. It is possible that such a trial could be held in absentia, or in his absence.

    “The French court’s decision to keep pursuing this prolonged injustice against Hassan Diab is unacceptable,” said Ketty Nivyabandi, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada. “His family has been through so much over the past 12 years, only to learn that this painful saga is not over. The Canadian government must do everything in its power to have these charges dropped so Hassan and his family can move forward.”

    January 27, 2021

    The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) must take urgent steps to address the worsening human rights situation in Sri Lanka, said Amnesty International, following the release of a damning UN report on the country’s efforts to ensure accountability for crimes committed during the civil conflict. 

    Almost twelve years on from the end of Sri Lanka’s civil war, the report, from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), warns that the country’s persistent failure to address historic crimes is giving way to ‘clear early warning signs of a deteriorating human rights situation and a significantly heightened risk of future violations.’  

    In February 2020, the Sri Lankan government announced that it would no longer cooperate with the UNHRC's landmark resolution 30/1, which promotes reconciliation, accountability, and human rights in the country, and would instead pursue its own reconciliation and accountability process. 

    January 27, 2021

    A new report by Amnesty International reveals how the Belarusian authorities have weaponized the justice system to punish victims of torture rather than perpetrators, as part of a widespread and brutal crackdown on dissent in the wake of post-election protests. The organization described the pursuit of justice inside Belarus as ‘hopeless’, and called on the international community to take active steps to deliver justice for victims and hold perpetrators to account.

    While Belarusian authorities have admitted receiving more than 900 complaints of abuses committed by police since demonstrations began in August 2020, not one criminal investigation has been launched against law enforcement officers. In contrast, hundreds of criminal investigations have been opened against peaceful protesters, many of whom are victims of torture and ill-treatment.

    January 25, 2021

    Amnesty International today launches a global campaign to ban the use of facial recognition systems, a form of mass surveillance that amplifies racist policing and threatens the right to protest.

    The Ban the Scan campaign kicks off with New York City and will then expand to focus on the use of facial recognition in other parts of the world in 2021. Facial recognition systems are a form of mass surveillance that violate the right to privacy and threaten the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and expression.

    The technology exacerbates systemic racism as it could disproportionately impact people of colour, who are already subject to discrimination and violations of their human rights by law enforcement officials. Black people are also most at risk of being misidentified by facial recognition systems.

    January 24, 2021

    Prison officials in Egypt are subjecting prisoners of conscience and others held for political reasons to torture, cruel and inhuman conditions of detention and are deliberately denying them health care to punish dissent, Amnesty International said in a new damning report today highlighting how prison authorities’ callousness has led or contributed to deaths in custody and irreparable harm to prisoners’ health.

    The report, “What do I care if you die?” Negligence and denial of heath care in the Egyptian prisons released on the 10th anniversary of the start of Egypt’s 2011 uprising, paints a grim picture of the human rights crisis in Egyptian prisons, which president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's government has packed with brave men and women who were at the forefront of the struggle for social and political justice. It also shows how prison authorities have failed to protect prisoners from the COVID-19 pandemic and regularly discriminate against prisoners from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

    January 23, 2021

    Responding to the mass arrests and detention of more than 1,300 protesters gathered today in Moscow and across Russia to rally against the politically motivated detention of prominent opposition activist Aleksei Navalny, Natalia Zviagina, Amnesty International’s Russia Director said:

    “Russian authorities relentlessly unleash reprisals against peaceful protesters what we saw today has only confirmed this. The police ignored their duty to guarantee the right to peaceful assembly and instead indiscriminately beat and arbitrarily arrested protesters, many of whom were young people. 

    Amnesty International monitors witnessed first-hand the viciousness of the police response in Moscow. Low enforcement officers acted roughly and unreasonably against overwhelmingly peaceful protesters, pushing people down the stairs and beating protesters with batons. At one occasion, a policeman hit a man on the head with a baton simply for asking “What are you doing?” 

    January 22, 2021

    Today is an historic milestone in the campaign to rid the world of nuclear weapons, Amnesty International said, as the UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) enters into force. The treaty makes it illegal under international law to develop, test, possess, host, use or threaten to use nuclear weapons, and has been adopted by two-thirds of UN member states. 

    None of the world’s nuclear powers have signed the treaty, and Amnesty International is urging these states and others to join the movement to eliminate the most inhumane and destructive weapons ever created.  

    “Until now, nuclear weapons have been the only weapons of mass destruction not subject to a global ban treaty, despite the catastrophic harm they inflict. Today’s momentous change in international law - the result of decades of campaigning by civil society - brings us one step closer to abolishing the nuclear threat for good,” said Verity Coyle, Amnesty International's Senior Advisor on Military, Security and Policing.

    January 21, 2021

    Amnesty International Australia today welcomed the further release of refugees from the Park Hotel, Alternative Place of Detention (APOD), in Melbourne, but said the release showed the policy was arbitrary and cruel. Amnesty redoubled its call for the release of a further 14 people who remain in detention and all those arbitrarily detained.

    Among those released is Mostafa “Moz” Azimitabar, a courageous voice of the #GameOver campaign, who was Medevac’d to Australia at the end of 2019 for urgent medical care and has been in detention ever since.

    “This is the most beautiful moment of my life… after 2,737 days locked up in detention – I am free.

    “Thank you to all of the amazing people who helped me to stay strong.

    “If I am able to obtain my freedom, there should be the opportunity for the others seeking asylum to have their freedom as well. Until all of us are free, none of us are truly free.”

    January 20, 2021

    The Ugandan authorities must immediately lift the police and military siege of opposition leader Robert Kyagulanyi’s home and release him and his wife Barbara Itungo Kyagulanyi. This is an arbitrary detention, said Amnesty International as the post-election blockade entered its 7th day.

    Robert Kyagulanyi, also known as Bobi Wine, was declared runner-up by the Electoral Commission in last week’s presidential election, with 34.8% of the vote, behind President Yoweri Museveni, who it said got 58.6%. Bobi Wine and his National Unity Platform (NUP) party have alleged fraud.

    “Robert Kyagulanyi and his wife, Barbara Kyagulanyi, are being held under house arrest without being presented before a judge and for a non-cognizable offence. This is also having an impact on his ability to challenge the presidential election results, in what appears to be a ploy to prevent the NUP from going to court in time,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East and Southern Africa.

    January 19, 2021

    Democratic Republic of Congo’s authorities must immediately and unconditionally release 10 youth activists who are facing malicious charges solely for participating in a peaceful protest to demand the protection of civilians in Beni Town, Amnesty International said today ahead of their sentencing by a military court on 20 January.

    Eight of the 10 activists, belonging to the youth movement, Lutte pour le Changement (LUCHA), were arrested in Beni on 19 December after they staged a protest to denounce what they see as the UN peacekeeping force’s failure to protect civilians in the area. Two other activists, also belonging to LUCHA, were arrested in Beni on 7 January, during a peaceful protest against a new taxation on motorcycle taxis.

    “The arrests and subsequent prosecutions of these youth activists for merely asking for the protection of civilians in Beni is a travesty and amounts to persecution. This persecution contravenes the Constitution of the Democratic Republic of Congo,” said Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for East, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    January 19, 2021

    Responding to the record prison sentence handed to Anchan P. by a Thai court today after conviction for lèse majesté and computer-related crimes,  Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Regional Director, Yamini Mishra, said:

    “This shocking case is yet another serious assault on Thailand’s vanishing space for freedom of expression.  

    “The fast-rising number of individuals facing charges and being detained under the lèse majesté law demonstrates the Thai authorities’ relentless drive to silence dissent. Today’s extreme sentence is a case in point, and shows why this law is inconsistent with international human rights law.

    “Defamation should never incur a criminal conviction in the first place, let alone an extremely long jail sentence like today’s.

    January 18, 2021

    Reacting to news that prominent Russian opposition activist Aleksei Navalny has been remanded in custody for 30 days, following an unprecedented court “hearing” at the police station where he has been held since being arrested on arrival from Berlin, Natalia Zviagina, Amnesty International’s Moscow Office Director, said: 

    “Today's ‘hearing’ makes a mockery of ​​justice. Not only did the authorities shamelessly bring a judge to the police station to rule on Aleksei Navalny’s detention, but they also denied him access to his lawyer until the last possible moment. No independent media or member of the public was present to witness this farcical ‘hearing’, but to give the illusion of a transparent process, the ‘courtroom’ was packed with representatives of the pro-government press.” 

    January 18, 2021

    Russian authorities must immediately and unconditionally release prominent Kremlin critic, Aleksei Navalny, detained minutes after he arrived at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport from Berlin, Amnesty International said today. Navalny had been recovering in the German capital after being poisoned in Siberia in August. 

    “Aleksei Navalny’s arrest is further evidence that Russian authorities are seeking to silence him. His detention only highlights the need to investigate his allegations that he was poisoned by state agents acting on orders from the highest levels,” said Natalia Zviagina, Amnesty International’s Moscow Office Director. 

    “The Russian authorities have waged a relentless campaign against Navalny. While he was recovering in Germany, the Russian Federal Penitentiary Service demanded that he immediately present himself to a probation officer or face prison for violating a non-custodial criminal sentence, which was based on politically motivated charges. He has now been arrested on trumped-up charges of fraud.” 

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