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    March 28, 2019

    Responding to the release of three Saudi women activists, Iman al-Nafjan, Aziza al-Yousef and Ruqayyaa al-Mhareb, Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Middle East Director of Research, said:

    “The release from jail of Iman al-Najfan, Aziza al-Yousef and Ruqayyah al-Mhareb, who will finally be able to return to their homes and loved ones after their 10-month ordeal of arbitrary detention and torture, is welcome news.

    “This is a long overdue step as these women should never have been jailed in the first place and their release should certainly not be on a ‘temporary’ basis. They have been locked up, separated from their loved ones, subjected to torture and threats for simply peacefully calling for women’s rights and expressing their views.

    “Amnesty International calls on the Saudi authorities to drop all the charges against them and the other women’s human rights defenders, who all must be released immediately and unconditionally.

    March 28, 2019

    Police in the Dominican Republic routinely rape, beat, humiliate and verbally abuse women sex workers to exert social control over them and to punish them for transgressing social norms of acceptable femininity and sexuality, said Amnesty International in a new report released today.

    ‘If they can have her, why can’t we?’ chronicles the stories of 46 Dominican cisgender and transgender women sex workers, many of whom reported suffering various forms of violence, much of which amount to gender-based torture and other ill-treatment. The criminalized status of sex workers combined with profound machismo, fuels arbitrary detentions by police and enables these grave human rights violations, with impunity.

    “Gender-based violence is epidemic across Latin America and the Caribbean, with women sex workers at particular risk from state officials and other individuals,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International.

    March 27, 2019

    Syrian government forces, supported by Russia, hit a hospital, blood bank and other medical facilities as well as a bakery and a school in towns and cities under the control of armed opposition groups in Idlib, in what appear to be direct attacks on civilian objects or indiscriminate attacks, Amnesty International said today after verifying six attacks.

    Over the past month, the Syrian government escalated its air strikes and artillery attacks on densely populated areas located on the strategic Damascus-Aleppo international highway in Idlib, known as M5.

    Amnesty International interviewed 13 residents who witnessed such attacks in Saraqeb, Khan Sheikhoun, Talmans and Sheikh Idriss in Idlib. The organization verified the witness testimonies through analysis of videos, open source information and satellite imagery. At least four civilians were killed and four were injured in these attacks.

    According to testimonies, the recent escalation in violence has displaced thousands of people to cities and towns close to the border with Turkey.

    March 27, 2019

    Ahead of the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix this weekend (Friday 29 to Sunday 31 March), Amnesty International has highlighted the grim human rights record of the country.

    Samah Hadid, Amnesty International’s Middle East Director of Campaigns, said:

    “Beneath the glamour of the F1, there is a far more sinister side to Bahrain, revealing the country as a deeply repressive state where anyone critical of the government can be jailed merely for posting a tweet.

    “Prominent human rights defenders are under relentless attack in the country. Nabeel Rajab was shamefully convicted and sentenced to five years in prison for tweeting about the conflict in Yemen and torture allegations in Jaw Prison.

    “Instead of just “sportwashing” its image and glossing over its dismal human rights record through high speed sport, the Bahraini government should immediately repeal laws that criminalize freedom of expression and fast track the release of all prisoners of conscience.”


    March 27, 2019

    The prosecution of Issa Amro, a prominent Palestinian human rights defender, over a social media post critical of the Palestinian authorities is another devastating blow for freedom of expression in Palestine, said Amnesty International ahead of his first court hearing on 28 March.

    Issa Amro, a founding member of the Youth Against Settlements group, was arrested by Palestinian security forces on 4 September 2017 after  criticizing the Palestinian authorities on Facebook for arresting a journalist in Hebron who had been critical of President Mahmoud Abbas.

    March 27, 2019

    Responding to news that Russian security forces in occupied Crimea have conducted extensive searches and detained ethnic community Crimean Tatars, Oksana Pokalchuk, Amnesty International Ukraine’s Executive Director, said:

    “The crackdown on the Crimean Tatar community, whose members are regarded as disloyal to the de facto Russian authorities, has continued unabated for five years.

    “The Russian authorities will use any means to suppress any dissent, real or perceived, casting their net wide to target the Crimean Tatar community and silence dissenting voices. The latest crackdown is one of the biggest acts of brazen intimidation of the whole community in recent months.”

    According to the de facto Crimean Directorate of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), the law enforcement agents conducted searches and detentions to investigate the activities of Hizb ut-Tahrir, a religious group banned in Russia as “terrorist” but operating lawfully in Ukraine.


    March 27, 2019

    Cruel and inhuman punishments such as death by stoning for same-sex sexual acts and amputation for robbery will come into effect in Brunei Darussalam next week, Amnesty International said today.

    “Pending provisions in Brunei’s Penal Code would allow stoning and amputation as punishments – including for children, to name only their most heinous aspects,” said Rachel Chhoa-Howard, Brunei Researcher at Amnesty International.

    “Brunei must immediately halt its plans to implement these vicious punishments, and revise its Penal Code in compliance with its human rights obligations. The international community must urgently condemn Brunei’s move to put these cruel penalties into practice.”

    These punishments are provided for in newly-implemented sections of the Brunei Darussalam Syariah Penal Code that are due to come into force on 3 April 2019, according to a discreet notice on the Attorney General’s website.

    March 26, 2019

    Tunisia’s authorities must not squander the opportunity to ensure justice for thousands of victims of historic human rights violations, said Amnesty International, ahead of the publication of a crucial report by the country’s Truth and Dignity Commission (IVD) tomorrow, 26 March.

    The IVD has investigated more than 62,000 cases of human rights violations in Tunisia dating back decades. A report containing its findings and recommendations will be handed over to the Tunisian civil society in a short ceremony tomorrow afternoon.

    “This is a watershed moment for Tunisia - how the government responds to the report findings will be a crucial test of its genuine commitment to human rights. Tunisia’s authorities must take concrete steps to implement the Truth Commission’s recommendations and finally break the pattern of impunity that has marred human rights progress for decades,” said Fida Hammami, Amnesty International’s Researcher on Tunisia.

    March 25, 2019

    Amnesty International welcomes today’s Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench decision that Omar Khadr’s sentence has been served. The decision gives Mr. Khadr, whose ordeal has spanned 17 years and three unanimous Canadian Supreme Court decisions in his favour, his long-awaited full freedom.

    Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada noted: “The litany of serious human rights violations Mr. Khadr has endured since the beginning of this ordeal – particularly during 10 years of detention at Guantánamo Bay – include torture and ill-treatment, discrimination, arbitrary imprisonment, unfair trial, denial of consular rights and refusal to recognize his status as a child soldier.”

    March 25, 2019

    Responding to news that two sisters from Saudi Arabia, known as Reem and Rawan, whose lives would have been in danger had they been sent back to the Kingdom, have now left Hong Kong to live safely in a new country, Lynn Maalouf, Middle East Research Director at Amnesty International, commented:

    “It is great news that Reem and Rawan are now in a safer place. They showed immense courage and took huge risks to escape the repeated abuse by their male relatives. The sisters must be allowed to build their lives without living in fear that their family or the Saudi authorities will force them back.

    March 24, 2019

    All warring parties in Yemen continue to inflict unimaginable suffering on the civilian population, Amnesty International said today on the fourth anniversary of the devastating conflict.

    Since the Saudi and UAE-led coalition’s bombardment of Yemen began in March 2015, Amnesty International has documented a horrific catalogue of crimes under international law perpetrated by all, including Yemeni government forces, the Coalition and allied forces, as well as by the Huthis and allied forces.

    “After four years of bloodshed in the Arab world’s poorest country, Yemenis can no longer bear the catastrophic humanitarian impact of the war. The international community must step up efforts to ensure that civilians are protected, obstacles to humanitarian assistance and arbitrary restrictions on import of essential goods are lifted, and impunity for war crimes and other violations is ended,” said Samah Hadid, Amnesty International’s Middle East Campaigns Director.

    March 21, 2019


    March 21, 2019

    OTTAWA – Whether it’s the devastating legacy of mercury contamination at Grassy Narrows, ongoing pollution from the Mount Polley mining disaster, or the looming threat of the Site C dam construction, Amnesty International says government decisions that ignore the health and well-being of Indigenous peoples must be recognized as a form of environmental racism.

    “It’s no coincidence that three of our highest priority human rights cases in Canada all revolve around contamination and threats to the rivers and lakes on which Indigenous peoples depend for their livelihoods and ways of life,” says Tara Scurr, business and human rights campaigner with Amnesty International Canada. “Far too often, governments in Canada have demonstrated that they place little value on the health and well-being of Indigenous peoples and the revitalization of their cultures and traditions. That’s why we are marking World Water Day by renewing our commitment to support the Indigenous water defenders leading these crucial and inspiring human rights struggles.”

    March 20, 2019

    Amnesty International is today publicly challenging leaders within the electric vehicle industry to make the world’s first completely ethical battery within five years. At the Nordic Electric Vehicle (EV) Summit in Oslo, the organization is highlighting how lithium-ion batteries, which power electric cars and electronics, are linked to human rights abuses including child labour in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and environmental risks which could undermine their green potential.

    “Finding effective solutions to the climate crisis is an absolute imperative, and electric cars have an important role to play in this. But without radical changes, the batteries which power green vehicles will continue to be tainted by human rights abuses,” said Kumi Naidoo, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.

    March 19, 2019
    Forensic investigation yields credible evidence 14 civilians were killed in just five strikes More than 100 strikes by US drones and manned aircraft since early 2017 Strikes in Somalia tripled under Trump, outpacing Yemen and Libya combined

    The US government must carry out impartial, thorough investigations into credible evidence its rapidly escalating air strikes in Somalia have killed numerous civilians, Amnesty International said in a new report today.

    The Hidden US War in Somalia details how 14 civilians were killed and eight more injured in just five of the more than 100 strikes in the past two years. These five incidents were carried out with Reaper drones and manned aircraft in Lower Shabelle, a region largely under Al-Shabaab control outside the Somali capital Mogadishu. The attacks appear to have violated international humanitarian law, and some may amount to war crimes.

    March 19, 2019

    With hundreds of people confirmed dead and thousands others missing or displaced after a devastating cyclone hit Mozambique, Zimbabwe and parts of Malawi, Amnesty International is calling on foreign governments, including regional leaders, to ramp up efforts and resources available for rescue efforts.

    The organization said the focus should be on saving people who are still trapped in the affected areas and ensuring that humanitarian assistance is provided to so that people’s basic needs are met and their human rights are protected.

    With the cyclone expected to move further west, the authorities should also aim to mitigate further loss of life by devising early-warning mechanisms and other risk-reduction strategies.

    “The Southern African Development Community and the international community must provide the necessary resources to aid rescue efforts in the countries hit by Cyclone Idai in order to save lives and provide relief for those who have lost their homes and livelihoods,” said Muleya Mwananyanda, Deputy Regional Director for Southern Africa.


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