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    February 05, 2018

    Amnesty International has warned that the 15-day declaration of the state of emergency in the Maldives must not become a licence for further repression.

    “The declaration of the state of emergency in the Maldives is an extremely worrying development that comes at a time of heightened political anxieties in the country. But respect for human rights must not become another casualty of this ongoing crisis,” said Dinushika Dissanayake, Amnesty International’s Deputy South Asia Director.

    “The Maldivian authorities have an appalling track-record of suppressing freedom of expression and any form of opposition, a pattern of behaviour that has intensified over recent years. It is vital that authorities respect their obligations under international human rights law during this period of emergency. This cannot be a licence for further repression.”

    Background

    The declaration of the state of emergency – which suspends several clauses of the Maldivian constitution – comes days after the Maldivian Supreme Court overturned a politically-motivated conviction against former President Mohamed Nasheed on ‘terrorism’ charges.

    February 02, 2018

    The decision made today by a federal court to release Sergio Sánchez Arellano, who was arbitrarily detained in 2010 and remained imprisoned in a Mexico City prison for over seven years, represents a victory for justice and the defence of human rights, said Amnesty International.

    “Sergio Sánchez Arellano’s case is a tragic illustration of the risk of being arbitrarily detained in Mexico. Arbitrary detentions by the police are an everyday occurrence in the country and create states of impunity in which further human rights violations such as torture, forced disappearances and extrajudicial executions can take place”, said Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    “Sergio Sánchez spent almost eight years in prison. His release is undoubtedly a step towards justice but there is still a long way to go in order to guarantee reparations for the damages caused in this case and to prevent such cases from recurring”.

    February 02, 2018

    Responding to reports that at least six young human rights defenders, including Shima Babaei and her husband Dariush Zand, Saeed Eghbali, Leila Farjami, Mahmoud Masoumi and Behnam Mousivand have been detained in coordinated arrests across Iran on 1 February, Magdalena Mughrabi, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International said:

    “These human rights defenders must be released immediately and unconditionally – they have committed no crime and have been arrested purely because of their human rights work. We are extremely concerned that these individuals are now at risk of torture or other ill-treatment.

    “The coordinated nature of these arrests confirms our grave concerns about the grim reality for those defending human rights in Iran today, where peaceful activism is repressed and criminalized by the authorities. These people are prisoners of conscience, detained solely for peacefully defending human rights.

    February 02, 2018

    Responding to news that the US government has imposed an arms embargo on South Sudan, now in its fifth year of an armed conflict that has led to widespread abuses and relentless suffering, Amnesty International USA’s Africa Advocacy Director Adotei Akwei said:

    “This long overdue announcement by the Trump administration must spur the UN Security Council to take greater action to prevent further killings of civilians and other gross human rights violations in South Sudan by imposing a comprehensive arms embargo to cut off the flow of weapons to the country.

    “Civilians who have suffered ethnically motivated attacks, mass rape and forced displacement over the past five years deserve the support of the international community, which must do everything in its power to bring stability to the world’s youngest country.”

    Despite the signing of a ceasefire agreement on 21 December 2017 by South Sudan’s warring parties, there has been no let-up in fighting which is likely to escalate during the current dry season – unless coordinated and sustained international action is taken.

    February 01, 2018

    The decision to renew the detention of Amnesty International’s Turkey Chair mere hours after a court ordered his release must be immediately reversed and Taner Kılıç set free, said Amnesty International.

    “Over the last 24 hours we have borne witness to a travesty of justice of spectacular proportions. To have been granted release only to have the door to freedom so callously slammed in his face is devastating for Taner, his family and all who stand for justice in Turkey,” said Amnesty International’s Secretary General, Salil Shetty.

    "To have been granted release only to have the door to freedom so callously slammed in his face is devastating for Taner and his family."

    “This latest episode of his malicious detention has dashed the hopes of Taner and those of his wife and daughters who were waiting by the prison gates all day to welcome him into their arms.”

    February 01, 2018
    New facilities unsafe and do not meet refugees’ basic needs Refugees say they live with constant fear of violence Australia must policy of cruelty and neglect

    The Australian government has abandoned hundreds of refugees and asylum seekers, leaving them in a situation that more closely resembles punishment instead of protection in Papua New Guinea, Amnesty International said in a new report today.

    Punishment not protection: Australia’s treatment of refugees and asylum seekers in Papua New Guinea documents how, since refugees were forcibly evicted from a transit centre on Manus Island in November 2017, they have been moved to newer but inadequate facilities where violence from the local community remains a constant threat.

    “Moving refugees and asylum seekers from one hellish situation to another is not a solution, it is just prolonging these desperate men’s suffering. The new centres on Manus Island are not just a safety risk but also leave those who live there without basic services,” said Kate Schuetze, Amnesty International’s Pacific Researcher.

    January 31, 2018

    The Bahraini government expelled four of its citizens whose nationality was revoked in 2012, in yet another display of the kingdom’s steady and sustained disregard of its own citizens and for human rights and international law more broadly, said Amnesty International.

    Brothers Ismail and Ibrahim Darwish were expelled to Iraq at 09:00am on 28 January 2018, followed by Adnan Kamal and Habib Darwish on 29 January 2018. Four other people, Mohammed Ali, Abdul Amir, Abdulnabi Almosawi and his wife Maryam Redha, who also had their nationality revoked that same year, were told they would be forcibly deported to Iraq on 1 February 2018.

    “The Bahraini government is using revocation of nationality – rendering many of its citizens stateless in the process - and expulsion, as tools to crush all forms of opposition, dissent and activism.” said Lynn Maalouf, Middle East research director

    “It is doing so with little to no pushback from the international community, including key allies such as the United Kingdom that could use their leverage to publicly condemn these actions,”

    January 31, 2018

    The Thai military government must end its far-reaching crackdown on peaceful demonstrations, Amnesty International said today as nine activists - including the first person arrested for protesting after the military coup in 2014 - are facing criminal proceedings.

    They join hundreds of people who have been harassed or jailed simply for speaking out peacefully against military government or its policies over the past three years. Just yesterday, authorities announced plans to charge a further seven activists with sedition for staging pro-democracy protests.

    "Thailand's military rulers are not only continuing to tie up hundreds of real or perceived critics with long-running criminal proceedings, but have escalated a crackdown on peaceful dissent in recent months. Authorities must honour their promise to lift the absurd and unjustifiable restrictions they have now been imposing for almost four years, ostensibly in the name of national security," said James Gomez, Amnesty International's Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

    January 30, 2018

    Amnesty International is outraged by reports that the Iranian authorities have executed a young man convicted of murder who was only 15 years old at the time of the crime.

    The organization learned that 22-year-old Ali Kazemi was hung earlier today in prison in Busher province. His execution was scheduled and carried out without any notice given to Ali Kazemi’s lawyer as required by Iranian law.

    “By carrying out this unlawful execution, Iran is effectively declaring that it wishes to maintain the country’s shameful status as one of the world’s leading executers of those who were children at the time of their crime,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director.

    “This is nothing short of an all-out assault on children’s rights, as enshrined in international law, which absolutely bans the use of the death penalty against someone who was under 18 years of age at the time of the crime.”

    January 30, 2018

    Responding to the news that police have resumed their role in implementing the so-called “war on drugs” declared by President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration, Amnesty International’s Director of Southeast Asia and the Pacific, James Gomez said:

    “Since President Duterte came to power, police have unlawfully killed thousands of people, the vast majority of them from poor and marginalised communities, in attacks so extensive and brutal they may well amount to crimes against humanity. Now that police are once more returning to the forefront of anti-drug operations, the government must make sure that there is no repeat of the bloodshed seen during the past 18 months.

    “To date, police have been allowed to operate in a culture of almost total impunity. It is a positive step by the Department of Justice to file murder charges against three police officers accused of killing Kian Loyd delos Santos, the teenager whose death is emblematic of the horrors of the ‘war on drugs.’ But independent investigations must cover each of the thousands of other unlawful killings, and all perpetrators, including those in positions of command, must be held to account.

    January 30, 2018
    Communal clashes leading to killings with impunity At least 35 killed as military launches air attacks on villages beset by communal violence

    The Nigerian authorities’ response to communal violence is totally inadequate, too slow and ineffective, and in some cases unlawful, Amnesty International said today, as clashes between herdsmen and farmers in Adamawa, Benue, Taraba, Ondo and Kaduna have resulted in 168 deaths in January 2018 alone.

    “The government must totally overturn its response to these deadly clashes to avoid this crisis getting out of control. They need to investigate and bring suspects to justice,” said Osai Ojigho Director Amnesty International Nigeria.

    “Hundreds of people lost their lives last year, and the government is still not doing enough to protect communities from these violent clashes. Worse, the killers are getting away with murder.”

    “In some cases where the Nigerian security agencies did respond to communal violence, they used excessive or unlawful force resulting in even more deaths and destruction.”

    January 29, 2018

     

    The territorial control strategy advanced by the Gaitanistas Self-Defence Forces of Colombia (Autodefensas Gaitanistas de Colombia, AGC) and the National Liberation Army (Ejército de Liberación Nacional, ELN) in territories previously controlled by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Revolucionarias Armadas de Colombia, FARC) in Chocó puts these communities at imminent risk of human rights violations once again. State action must be emphatic to ensure that the human rights of people in Chocó be respected, said Amnesty International.

     

    January 29, 2018

    DUBLIN, 29 January 2018 – Amnesty International has welcomed the government’s decision at today’s Cabinet meeting to schedule a referendum on the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution. The Cabinet decided wording that effectively repeals the Eighth Amendment. It adopted the Attorney General’s recommendation that an enabling clause be inserted to provide greater legal certainty for the Oireachtas to legislate for termination of pregnancy. It was agreed that the Minister for Health will prepare legislation in line with the Joint Oireachtas Committee’s recommendations on abortion access, which includes a 12-week ‘on request’ period for abortion access.

    “We are heartened at today’s government backing for legislation framed around a 12-week ‘on request’ model for abortion access, with later gestational limits in specific circumstances. This is a further sign of real political will to put women’s and girls’ bodily autonomy firmly at the centre of abortion law reform. We further welcome the Taoiseach’s personal endorsement of this legislative model as the best way to ensure effective access to this healthcare.

    January 29, 2018

    Reacting to the Indonesian police’s arrest of 12 transgender people in North Aceh on 27 January, while forcefully cutting their hair to “make them masculine” and shutting down beauty salons where they work, Amnesty International Indonesia’s Executive Director Usman Hamid said:

    “The latest raids on beauty salons are just the latest example of the authorities arbitrarily targeting transgender people simply for who they are. Despite them having committed no crime, Aceh has become an increasingly hostile place for LGBTI people.

    “Cutting the hair of those arrested to ‘make them masculine’ and forcing them to dress like men are forms of public shaming and amount to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, in contravention of Indonesia’s international obligations. This is part of a long-standing pattern of harassing and discriminating against LGBTI people in the region that must stop immediately.”

    The police released all the transgender people on 28 January without any charges. The local police chief told media that they detained the transgender people for an “education” program in order to make them “normal” men.

    January 26, 2018

    Reacting to today’s verdict sentencing two environmental activists affiliated with the NGO Mother Nature to prison for one year plus fines, James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Southeast Asia and Pacific Director, said:

    “This is a farcical sentence that must be overturned immediately. The two Mother Nature activists have done nothing but peacefully campaigned for the protection of Cambodia’s environment and should have never been charged in the first place. Instead of going after the messenger, the authorities should do more to curb the illegal trade in natural resources that Hun Vannak and Doem Kundy activists were trying to expose.

    “Today’s ruling is yet more evidence of the politicised nature of Cambodia’s courts. Far from seeking justice and fairness, they too often act as an arm of the government to harass, intimidate and imprison human rights activists.

    “The backslide on human rights in Cambodia over the past year has been alarming. Unless the world wakes up and acts to demand change, space for peaceful activism and expression will shrink further as the government tightens its grip ahead of elections due this July.”

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