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    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

    AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL
    NEWSFLASH

    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.

    March 19, 2019
    His passport and phone are confiscated   He was sent back home handcuffed and put on a military plane At least three unidentified individuals seen moving around his house doing surveillance

    Authorities in Equatorial Guinea should immediately return a passport and phone to a prominent human rights activist who was banned from leaving the country and then handcuffed, put on a military plane and sent back to his home town, Amnesty International said today, with a call to guarantee his safety and freedom of movement.

    Alfredo Okenve was arrested on 15 March after having been banned from receiving in the capital Malabo the “Franco-German prize for human rights” for his work. 

    “This ban shows how determined the authorities are in restricting Alfredo Okenve’s ability to do his legitimate work in Equatorial Guinea even when he is due to receive an award for his courageous work to defend and promote human rights,” said Marta Colomer, Amnesty International’s Senior Campaigner for West Africa.

    March 18, 2019
    Amnesty worker in Gaza interrogated and ill-treated by security forces

    Hamas security forces’ violent crackdown against peaceful Palestinian protesters, activists, human rights workers – including an Amnesty International worker - and local journalists must be immediately halted and investigated, said Amnesty International.

    Hundreds of protesters have been subjected to beatings, arbitrary arrest and detentions, and torture and other forms of ill-treatment since 14 March, when Palestinians took to the streets across the Gaza Strip to protest against the rising cost of living and deteriorating economic conditions under the Hamas de facto administration.

    March 18, 2019
    Major stunt lights-up Athens landmark Spokespeople available in Lesvos as situation on islands remains critical

    European leaders were sent a clear message last night when a huge “Refugees Welcome” sign was projected on to the side of the Acropolis.

    The stunt, organized by Amnesty International, is intended to draw attention to the suffering of refugees trapped on the Greek Islands by the EU-Turkey deal, which marks its third anniversary today.

    “Three years after the EU-Turkey deal was implemented, it is vital that this call for humanity is seen not just across Athens, but across the whole of Europe,” said Fotis Filippou, Campaigns Director for Europe at Amnesty International.

    “The situation facing thousands of migrants and refugees on the islands is a scar on the conscience of Europe. Anyone looking up at the Acropolis can see thousands of years of civilisation. Anyone who looking towards the refugee camps on the Greek islands will see that our leaders have learnt nothing.

    March 18, 2019

    Following today’s decision by the Shali City Court in Chechnya to sentence human rights defender and prisoner of conscience, Oyub Tititev, to four years in penal colony, Amnesty International’s Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Marie Struthers said:

    “The four-year prison sentence slapped on Oyub Tititev is an affront to human rights, reason, and justice. By pronouncing him guilty, despite all the evidence to the contrary, the court has demonstrated how deeply flawed the Russian justice system is. The court has revealed itself to be little more than a tool that the regional authorities have used to silence one of the last human rights defenders working in Chechnya.

    “When this sham trial started, the human rights community called on the Russian authorities to transfer proceedings out of Chechnya, pointing out that the court will be under pressure from the regional authorities and unable to try Oyub fairly and reach an independent decision. By failing to do so, the Russian federal authorities proved to be accomplices in this gross injustice and in the violation of Oyub Titiev’s human rights.

    March 15, 2019

    Responding to news that a court in Rostov-on-Don, Southern Russia, has extended until 17 June the house arrest of Anastasia Shevchenko, prisoner of conscience and former coordinator with Otkrytaya Rossiya (Open Russia), a pro-democracy and human rights movement, Amnesty International’s Eastern Europe and Central Asia Director, Marie Struthers, said:

    “The criminal case against Anastasia Shevchenko is profoundly flawed, and by forging ahead with it regardless, the Russian authorities are creating an abhorrent precedent. Anastasia has lost her freedom and yet she has not committed any recognizable criminal offence. The authorities are casting their net ever more widely, with another former Otkrytaya Rossiya’s employee, Maksim Vernikov, now also facing criminal proceedings. We call on Russia to stop this increasingly ugly persecution.

    “The Russian authorities must drop all charges against Anastasia Shevchenko and Maksim Vernikov, and repeal the ludicrous ‘undesirable organizations’ law which is blatantly being used to target human rights defenders.”

    Background

    March 15, 2019

    Responding to reports that the U.S. will restrict visas for International Criminal Court personnel looking into the U.S. military personnel actions in Afghanistan, Daniel Balson, Advocacy Director at Amnesty International USA stated:

    “This announcement is the latest attack on international justice and international institutions by an administration hellbent on rolling back human rights protections.

    “While victims’ rights should be the very top priority of the United States government, throwing roadblocks in front of the ICC’s investigation undermines justice not only for abuses committed in Afghanistan, but also for the millions of victims and survivors throughout the world who have experienced the most serious crimes under international law.

    “The ICC prosecutes the most serious crimes under international law, including genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. Impeding the work of ICC investigators disrupts its vital function and demands impunity for the White House's own policies. In doing so, it risks setting a dangerous precedent.

    March 15, 2019

    A deeply flawed draft state of emergency law currently being discussed in parliament could grant Tunisian authorities sweeping powers to ban demonstrations and strikes, suspend activities of NGOs, impose arbitrary restrictions on movement of individuals and carry out unwarranted searches of properties based on vague national security grounds, said Amnesty International. A parliamentary debate on the proposed law has started and is expected to go to a vote in the coming weeks.

    The organization is calling on Tunisia’s parliament not to adopt the new bill unless fundamental changes are made to bring it in line with international law and the country’s own constitution.

    “Tunisia has operated under a continuous state of emergency for more than three years. What should be an exceptional temporary state has become the new normal. Tunisia’s authorities should be urgently working to restore full respect for the rule of law – not approving a repressive draft law that will further endanger human rights,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International.

    March 14, 2019

    Amnesty International welcomes today’s signing into law of the bill ratifying the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) without reservations by the President of Kyrgyzstan, Sooronbay Jeenbekov. The bill will enter into force in ten days after publication.

    “The ratification of the Convention paves the road to the effective inclusion of 180,000 people living with disabilities in the social and economic life of Kyrgyzstan,” said Anna Kirey, Deputy Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia at Amnesty International.

    “It should be a priority for the government of Kyrgyzstan to guarantee that persons with disabilities are involved in all decision-making processes, including relevant working groups and committees. The Convention’s implementation will demand combined approaches to policy and advocacy from persons with disabilities and their organizations.   

    March 14, 2019

    Following last night’s presidential pardon of about 700 people, including many detained solely for expressing their political views or participating in peaceful protests over the period 1 January 2015 to 31 December 2018, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes Sarah Jackson said:

    “President Tshisekedi’s decision to pardon prisoners of conscience and other people arbitrarily detained is to be applauded as a crucial first step towards restoration of human rights in the country. It must now be followed by their immediate and unconditional release from prison.

    “While their release will fulfil a promise he made to free political activists [from the opposition] in his first 100 days in office, his administration must now go further and guarantee that no one else is arrested, detained or prosecuted simply for expressing their opinions or for peacefully exercising their human rights.

    March 14, 2019

    The announcement today that the mandatory death penalty will be abolished for 11 offences should be considered Malaysia’s first step towards total abolition of the death penalty.

    “The government has sadly reneged on its earlier commitment to abolish the death penalty in totality, but we urge the government to keep its promise to abolish the death penalty once and for all at the soonest opportunity,” Amnesty International Malaysia Executive Director Shamini Darshni Kaliemuthu said today. 

    On 13 March 2019, Deputy Minister in charge of Law Mohamed Hanipa Maidin announced to Parliament that the Government is proposing to introduce sentencing discretion for 11 offences under the Penal Code and Firearms (Increased Penalties) Act 1971, which currently carry the mandatory death penalty. The change would leave the imposition of the death penalty at the hands of judges.

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