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    May 15, 2018

    Reacting to the adoption today of the draft outcome document of an important UN review of Canada’s human rights record, Amnesty International joined 30 Indigenous peoples’ organizations and civil society groups in calling on the federal government to break from past, disappointing responses to international human rights reviews and instead take bold and decisive action to ensure effective implementation of the important recommendations that have been made. The call came in the form of an Open Letter to the federal Ministers of Justice, Canadian Heritage and Foreign Affairs.

    May 15, 2018

    Human rights defenders in Pakistan are under threat from a targeted campaign of digital attacks, which has seen social media accounts hacked and computers and mobile phones infected with spyware, a four-month investigation by Amnesty International reveals.

    In a new report released today, “Human Rights Under Surveillance: Digital Threats against Human Rights Defenders in Pakistan”, Amnesty International reveals how attackers are using fake online identities and social media profiles to ensnare Pakistani human rights defenders online and mark them out for surveillance and cybercrime.

    “We uncovered an elaborate network of attackers who are using sophisticated and sinister methods to target human rights activists. Attackers use cleverly designed fake profiles to lure activists and then attack their electronic devices with spyware, exposing them to surveillance and fraud and even compromising their physical safety," said Sherif Elsayed-Ali, Director of Global Issues at Amnesty International.

    May 14, 2018

    Indigenous peoples’ organizations and social justice groups are welcoming the news that the federal government will not oppose a First Nations court application to suspend construction of the Site C dam.

    “The impact of the Site C dam on First Nations Treaty rights must be addressed before it’s too late,” said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs. “Now that the federal government has done the right thing, and helped cleared the way for an injunction to be granted, Premier Horgan absolutely must ensure that the province and BC Hydro do the same. Anything less would make a mockery of the province’s commitments to reconciliation and respect for the rights of Indigenous peoples.”

    The West Moberly and Prophet River First Nations have launched a civil suit alleging that flooding the Peace River Valley would violate rights protected in Treaty 8. West Moberly has asked the court to grant an injunction to protect the valley while the matter is before the courts.

    May 14, 2018

    *Spokespeople available for interview*

    Responding to reports that dozens of Palestinians have been killed and hundreds injured by the Israeli military during protests along the fence that separates Gaza and Israel today, Philip Luther, Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International, said:

    “This is another horrific example of the Israeli military using excessive force and live ammunition in a totally deplorable way. This is a violation of international standards, in some instances committing what appear to be wilful killings constituting war crimes.

    “Today’s footage from Gaza is extremely troubling, and as violence continues to spiral out of control, the Israeli authorities must immediately rein in the military to prevent the further loss of life and serious injuries.

    May 14, 2018

    Responding to suicide bombings in three churches in Indonesia’s second largest city of Surabaya, East Java, that killed at least 13 people and injured around 40 others, Amnesty International Indonesia executive director Usman Hamid said:

    "We are all deeply shocked by the bomb attacks in Surabaya this morning. We grieve with those who lost loved ones, and stand united with those opposing terror with freedom, fairness and the respect for human rights. The deliberate targeting and killing of women, men, and children going about their daily lives can never be justified and shows complete contempt for the most fundamental principles of human rights."

    "Those responsible must be brought to justice in proceedings which meet international standards of fairness and without resort to the death penalty."

    Background

    May 12, 2018

    The Palestinian authorities must immediately drop criminal defamation charges against Ahmad Awartani, a 25-year-old mechanical engineer from the Palestinian village of Anabta in the West Bank, said Amnesty International today ahead of his court hearing on 15 May.

    Ahmad Awartani has been detained in Jericho prison since 21 April on charges of defamation relating to a Facebook post in which he wrote, that he and residents of his village of Anabta do not pledge loyalty to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. A court in Jericho has extended his pre-trial detention twice since then, most recently on 9 May for an additional seven days.

    “The prosecution of Ahmad Awartani is the latest example of the Palestinian authorities’ use of draconian defamation laws to criminalize freedom of expression. For a harmless Facebook post Ahmad Awartani has spent more than three weeks in pre-trial detention, showing just how hell-bent the authorities have become on silencing critics,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, Middle East and North Africa Deputy Regional Director at Amnesty International.

    May 11, 2018

    More than a hundred Sudanese nationals arrested in Niger are at risk of serious abuses including unlawful detention in harsh conditions, torture and other forms of ill-treatment, often for the purpose of extortion, after they were deported back to Libya last week, said Amnesty International.

    The group of around 145 people - including women and children – had fled Libya because of the brutal conditions they endured there, and had been living in a displacement camp in the Nigerien city of Agadez where they hoped to claim asylum.

    On 2 May authorities in Niger rounded them up, packed them onto trucks and drove back towards the Libya border. Authorities confirmed the deportation, saying it had been carried out because the groups were not ‘’refugees but possible members of armed groups’’ in Libya, and therefore threatened the security of the country.

    “By forcibly sending back these people to Libya, authorities in Niger are violating the very principle of asylum and refugee protection,” said Gaetan Mootoo, Amnesty International West Africa researcher.

    May 11, 2018

    Ten years after an outbreak of horrific xenophobic violence claimed 60 lives in South Africa, refugees and migrants are still facing daily discrimination and living in constant fear of physical attacks, Amnesty International said today. 

    On 11 May 2008 a Mozambican national, Ernesto Alfabeto Nhamuaye, was beaten, stabbed and set alight in a brutal killing which set off a chain of violent attacks against migrants and refugees in South Africa.

    “The violence that spread across South Africa in 2008 should have been a wake-up call for the government, underscoring the catastrophic consequences of its failure to root out hatred against refugees and migrants. But 10 years on, refugees and migrants still feel the echoes of that terrifying period,” said Shenilla Mohamed, Executive Director of Amnesty International South Africa.  

    May 11, 2018

    Ahead of tomorrow’s planned student Pride march at the Middle East Technical University - cancelled by the university’s rector under the blanket ban of LGBTI events by Ankara’s city authorities - Fotis Filippou, Amnesty International’s Campaigns Director for Europe said:

    “For the last seven years students at this university have marched through their campus in support of LGBTI rights. Rather than banning Pride events, university and city authorities should be supporting and protecting such marches. Students must be allowed to march without fear of intimidation or violence.”

    “It is not just this university’s march that is under threat. Such bans have been used to reverse a once progressive trend to counter homophobia and transphobia in Turkey.”

    Background

    Ahead of the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT) on 17 May, Amnesty International are calling on Ankara Governor to reverse the blanket ban on all LGBTI events in Ankara.

    May 11, 2018

    A Sudanese court’s sentencing today of a 19-year-old woman to death for killing her rapist husband in self-defence highlights the failure of the authorities to tackle child marriage, forced marriage and marital rape, Amnesty International said today. 

    Noura Hussein Hamad has been held in the Omdurman Women’s Prison since May 2017, and was today handed the death sentence for killing the man her father forced her to marry when she was 16 years old.

    “Noura Hussein life-long wish was to become a teacher but she ended up being forced to marry an abusive man who raped and brutalized her. Now she has been slapped with a death sentence by a court which refused to recognize the existence of rape within marriage. Noura Hussein is a victim and the sentence against her is an intolerable act of cruelty,” said Seif Magango, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    May 10, 2018

    Amnesty International has verified through cases it has documented that the Public Prosecutor’s Office (PPO) is not fulfilling its obligation to pursue investigations into excessive use of force on 1 October  by state security forces, specifically members of a special tactical unit of the National Police and the Civil Guard.

    In a report presented today, 1-O en Cataluña: Obstáculos para la investigación del uso excesivo de la fuerza (1 October in Catalonia: Obstacles in the investigation of excessive use of force), Amnesty International shows that, faced with the efforts of various courts to establish the truth of what happened, the PPO is taking steps that obstruct the proceedings and encourage the disqualification of complaints. The PPO has even shown a lack of interest in the process, complicating the efforts of judicial authorities to clarify what happened.

    For example, the PPO tried to present acts of violence by demonstrators as fundamental evidence that should preclude investigations into excessive use of force, presenting videos showing the participation of protesters in incidents with security forces.

    May 09, 2018

    A Canadian delegation led by Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould will receive questions and recommendations from other countries regarding Canada’s human rights record during the country’s third assessment under the UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review process (UPR) on May 11th. This will be the first time Canada undergoes examination by the top UN human rights body under the Trudeau government.   The procedure was adopted by the UN in 2006 and got underway in 2008.  Canada was previously reviewed in 2009 and 2013. The UPR is particularly significant because it is the only regular process under which a state’s human rights record is examined by other governments.

    May 09, 2018

    In advance of today’s hearing before the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on Gina Haspel’s nomination to Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Amnesty is calling on the Committee to vote No.

    “Ever since President Trump nominated Gina Haspel to become CIA Director, we have called for her nomination to be withdrawn pending proper investigation and declassification of her alleged role in the CIA’s program of torture and enforced disappearances. No such investigation has been initiated or conducted, so as things stand, the nomination should not proceed. Simple as that.” said Daphne Eviatar, Director of Security with Human Rights at Amnesty International USA.

    “A nomination hearing is not the place to establish the truth about the nominee’s alleged role in crimes under international law. Senators should block this nomination.”

    May 09, 2018

    WASHINGTON – Three U.S. citizens – Kim Dong-chul, Kim Hak-song, and Kim Sang-duk –have been recently released by North Korea after spending months behind bars without a fair trial. Francisco Bencosme, advocacy manager for Asia Pacific at Amnesty International USA, issued the following statement:

    “While we welcome the release of three individuals, we remain concerned over the fate of up to 120,000 North Koreans who remain confined in political prison camps. No one should languish behind bars without being given a fair trial. President Trump and his administration must urge North Korea to respect freedom of expression and other human rights at every opportunity, including the possible upcoming summit.”

     

    Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning global movement of more than 7 million people who campaign for a world where human rights are enjoyed by all. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.

    May 09, 2018

    Responding to Israel’s decision to expel Human Rights Watch’s Country Director Omar Shakir, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, Magdalena Mughrabi, said:

    “We stand in complete solidarity with Omar Shakir and strongly condemn Israel’s decision to revoke his work permit and order him to leave the country. This is yet another alarming sign of the country’s increasing intolerance of critical voices.

    “The Israeli authorities must immediately stop their ongoing harassment of human rights defenders. Barring access to those documenting human rights abuses won’t hide Israel’s mass violations carried out in the context of more than 50 years of occupation. Israel must repeal laws that arbitrarily restrict human rights advocacy, including criticism of human rights violations and breaches of international humanitarian law that it has committed.”

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