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    October 25, 2018

    Reacting to the news that the European Parliament has condemned the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia following the killing of prominent journalist Jamal Khashoggi and called for an arms embargo, Covadonga de la Campa, Interim Director of the Amnesty International, EU Office, said:

    “The recent killing of Jamal Khashoggi has exposed the limits of silent diplomacy when faced with a sharp and sustained disregard for human rights. Amnesty International has documented scores of unlawful attacks committed by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition in Yemen, including indiscriminate and disproportionate airstrikes that have killed and injured civilians and destroyed scores of homes, schools, hospitals, markets and mosques.

    “Given the clear evidence that arms could be used to commit serious violations in Yemen, all arms-supplying states must suspend arms transfers to Saudi Arabia and its coalition members.

    October 25, 2018

    “It seems to be the only way to get the Government to finally do the right thing” - Rachel Logan

    Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Rights Watch UK will be intervening in an appeal over the UK’s arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

    The case, which was originally brought by Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT), is seeking to test the legality of the Government’s decision to issue licences for arms exports to Saudi Arabia despite the risk of the weapons being misused in the conflict in Yemen.

    Last year the High Court in London dismissed CAAT’s case, which had argued that arms transfers to Saudi Arabia should be halted because of the clear risk that the weapons supplied would be used to commit serious violations of international humanitarian law in Yemen. Among other things, the ruling (paragraph 209) discussed the significance of the “finely-balanced” nature of the decision said to be confronting officials and ministers.

    October 25, 2018

    Authorities in Chad have failed to address the vague and repressive provisions in a new law on the right to freedom of association, Amnesty International and four federations of local human rights organizations said today.

    In an analysis report “The use of national legislation to restrict the right to freedom of association’’, the organizations highlight how authorities missed the opportunity to include their recommendations on bringing the law into line with Chad’s international and regional obligations as well as the country’s own Constitution.

    “The authorities have completely disregarded all our recommendations on reforming this repressive law and, in so doing, demonstrated their lack of commitment to respecting human rights,” said Balkissa Ide Siddo, Amnesty International Central Africa Researcher.

    “The environment in which civil society associations are working will continue to deteriorate unless the authorities take concrete actions to change this law and adopt the recommendations they failed to include.”

    October 25, 2018

    Amnesty International is deeply disappointed that the BC Supreme Court has decided to allow construction of the Site C dam to continue while an ongoing Treaty rights case proceeds.

    In a decision released yesterday Justice Warren Milman set out a plan to ensure that the Treaty rights case initiated by the West Moberly and Prophet River First Nations can be heard before the dam is completed and the Peace River Valley flooded.

    However, despite concluding that First Nations could face “irreparable harm” from forest clearing and other preparation activities planned to take place even before the trial begins, Justice Warren Milman turned down the application by the West Moberly First Nations for a temporary injunction to protect the Valley.

    October 24, 2018

    More than two years after being arbitrarily dismissed, almost 130,000 Turkish public sector workers are still awaiting justice and facing an uncertain future, Amnesty International said in a report published today.  

    Purged beyond return? No remedy for Turkey’s dismissed public sector workers reveals that doctors, police officers, teachers, academics and tens of thousands of other public sector workers dismissed from their jobs for alleged “links to terror groups” are yet to be reinstated or compensated, while the Commission set up to review dismissal decisions is woefully unfit for purpose.  

    “Branded as ‘terrorists’ and stripped of their livelihoods, tens of thousands of people who have had their professional and family lives shattered are still awaiting justice,” said Andrew Gardner, Amnesty International’s Turkey Strategy and Research Manager.  

    October 24, 2018

    It is appalling that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau would stand behind a multi-billion-dollar arms deal with Saudi Arabia, as the country’s atrocious list of human rights violations continues to grow.

    Yesterday, in the wake of the brutal killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Trudeau said cancelling the $15-billion agreement to sell LAVs to Saudi Arabia would be too costly for Canadian taxpayers.

    Here is Amnesty International Canada Secretary General Alex Neve’s response:

    - Human rights do not and can never be allowed to carry a price tag.  The people of Yemen do not deserve to be told that protecting their rights and doing everything Canada can do to avoid any degree of complicity in war crimes at the hands of the Saudi-led coalition that has caused so much suffering over the past three years is not worth $1 billion. There is nothing in Canada’s international human rights obligations that sets a financial limit on our responsibility to comply. Any other approach would be unconscionable.

    October 24, 2018

    Following the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is once again under the global spotlight.

    Turkey’s President Erdogan said he believed the death of Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul was a “savage murder”.

    But Khashoggi’s killing is only the latest in a long line of violations to add to the Kingdom’s appalling human rights record.

    1 - Devastating war in Yemen

    October 23, 2018

    The Iranian authorities must immediately and unconditionally release Farhad Meysami, a human rights defender campaigning for women’s rights, who is being held in the medical clinic at Evin prison in Tehran against his will to pressure him into ending his hunger strike, said Amnesty International.

    Farhad Meysami, a medical doctor, was detained in July for supporting a campaign against Iran’s laws imposing forced hijab (veiling) on women and girls. He has been on hunger strike since 1 August and his health has deteriorated drastically. On 26 September, he was forcibly transferred from section 4 of Evin prison to the medical clinic, where he is being held in isolation, and has been administered intravenous fluids against his will. Sources told Amnesty International he is being held there until he agrees to end his hunger strike.

    October 23, 2018

    By Alex Neve, Secretary-General of Amnesty International Canada

    Donald Trump has clearly decided that several thousand Honduran refugees and migrants who have formed a “caravan” that has been making its way through Guatemala and into Mexico over the past week, with the eventual intention to attempt to cross into the United States, offer a wedge political issue that may help Republicans in the mid-term elections.

    And so, he has been spewing toxic, hate-filled threats and untruths about the #CaravanaMigrante at a series of political rallies meant to boost the fortunes of various candidates for Congress.

    It is a display of contempt for the rule of law, for human rights and for international norms of refugee protection. It is laced with bigotry and devoid of compassion. And it is not only instructive as to the sorry state of affairs along the U.S.’s southern border, it has serious ramifications for the northern border with Canada as well.

    October 23, 2018

    Responding to the decision of the National Criminal Court that the trial of those accused of the killing of Berta Cáceres should proceed with the Public Prosecutor's Office acting as representative for her family and for Gustavo Castro, the only witness to the killing, because their lawyers supposedly abandoned the trial, Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International, stated:

    “Throughout the investigation of the killing of Berta Cáceres, the family of the human rights defender and Gustavo Castro have repeatedly stated that the Public Prosecutor’s Office neither ensured they had genuine and full access to the case file and the evidence nor fulfilled its obligation to identify those suspected of being behind the killing.”

    “Despite this, to date the National Criminal Court has taken no action to ensure that the Public Prosecutor’s Office fulfils its obligation to give the lawyers access to the information they have requested. Faced with this situation, the lawyers lodged a petition calling for the judges hearing the case to be recused on grounds of bias.”  

    October 23, 2018
    52 pre-trial detainees died in Madagascar’s prisons in 2017 Many pre-trial detainees, including children and women, held in lengthy detentions for petty crimes such as minor theft Appalling conditions of detention amount to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment

    People who have not been found guilty of any crime are dying in Madagascar’s prisons due to appalling conditions, Amnesty International said today, as it released a report highlighting how the Malagasy authorities’ excessive use of pre-trial detention is harming the poorest people in society. The organization documented how, in 2017 alone, 52 out of the 129 detainees who died in Madagascar’s prisons were in pre-trial detention.

    October 22, 2018

    By Kumi Naidoo

    The enforced disappearance and killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, last seen entering the Saudi Arabia consulate in Turkey on Oct. 2, shows just how brazen the Saudi authorities have become in crushing dissent.

    When Jamal Khashoggi, a prominent Saudi Arabian journalist and political commentator, entered the Saudi Arabian Consulate in Istanbul to obtain personal documents earlier this month, he likely knew how dangerous it could be.

    Picking up documents from your consulate should not carry a risk to your life. However, given that Khashoggi was forced into self-exile following a wave of arrests targeting journalists, academics and activists last year, he likely knew that it would carry some risk. Saudi Arabia has now admitted that Khashoggi was killed at its Consulate.   

    This op-ed originally appeared on CNN and can be read in full here. 

    October 22, 2018

    By Alex Neve, Secretary-General of Amnesty International Canada

    Even as the truth about how Jamal Khashoggi was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2 remains elusive, there is one vital lesson that Canada and the entire international community must already take to heart.

    The days of governments around the world enabling, ignoring, excusing or – at best – crying crocodile tears about Saudi Arabia’s abysmal human-rights record must at long last come to an end.

    Why is it that this particular case – the killing of one outspoken journalist, a critic of the Saudi regime, admittedly with a massive following in both social and traditional media – has been such a catalyzing moment that has gripped world attention for over two weeks now?

    October 22, 2018

    By Kumi Naidoo, Amnesty International’s Secretary General

    This month I was in Raqqa – my first time in Syria amid one of the world’s bloodiest conflicts in decades. I witnessed first-hand the destruction caused by the US-led coalition’s relentless bombardment during a four-month battle that ended a year ago this week. Today, residents are still digging corpses from the rubble and the stench of death hangs heavy in the air.

    Walking around, I saw how entire city blocks had been levelled by Coalition air and artillery strikes aimed at ousting the armed group calling itself Islamic State (IS). Supporting the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on the ground, US, UK and French forces carried out thousands of air strikes. US military officials boasted about lobbing 30,000 artillery rounds into the city – the most fired by a US battalion anywhere since the Vietnam War.

    October 22, 2018

    As Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland meets with Mexican secretaries-designate today in Ottawa, Amnesty International Canada released the following statement from Secretary-General Alex Neve:

    “Mexico’s acute human rights crisis, with more than 37,000 reported disappearances and more every day, must be a top priority for the Canada-Mexico relationship. This horrendous situation can no longer take a back seat to other considerations. As thousands of desperate migrants from Honduras are now entering Mexico, it is imperative to resist pressure from President Trump to treat these people as a security threat and ignore international obligations. Instead, Mexican authorities must protect their human rights and ensure no one is deported back to situations of danger; and the Canadian government must reinforce those vital obligations in all exchanges with both Mexican and US counterparts.”

    For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

    Lucy Scholey, Amnesty International Canada (English):  +1 613-744-7667 ext. 236; lscholey@amnesty.ca

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