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    September 06, 2018

    The landmark ruling by India’s Supreme Court decriminalizing consensual same-sex relations is a historic step, which sends a message of hope not only to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people, but to everyone fighting for justice and equality, Amnesty International India said today.

    “The judgment closes the door on a dark chapter of Indian history. It marks a new era of equality for millions of people in India. The remarkable victory today is a milestone in the three decade old struggle by the LGBTI community and their allies in India”, said Asmita Basu, Programmes Director, Amnesty International India.

    On 6 September, a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court decriminalized consensual same-sex relations between adults. The Court’s unanimous verdict has upheld the right to equality, privacy, dignity and freedom of expression of all people regardless of their sexual orientation. The apex court added that any discrimination on basis of sexual orientation is a violation of fundamental rights guaranteed by the Indian Constitution.

    September 04, 2018

    Responding to the news that a sentence of six strokes of caning has been carried out in a courtroom against two women in Terengganu state – reportedly witnessed by family members and government officials – after they were convicted of attempting to have consensual same-sex sexual relations with each other, Rachel Chhoa-Howard, Amnesty International’s Malaysia Researcher, said:

    “This is a terrible day for LGBTI rights, and indeed human rights, in Malaysia. To inflict this brutal punishment on two people for attempting to engage in consensual, same-sex relations is an atrocious setback in the government’s efforts to improve its human rights record.

    “The caning of the two women is a dreadful reminder of the depth of discrimination and criminalization that LGBTI people face in the country. It’s a sign that the new government condones the use of measures that amount to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment, much like its predecessor.

    September 04, 2018

    South Sudanese authorities have arbitrarily arrested, detained, tortured and ill-treated people to the point of death, despite repeated promises to release detainees, said a new Amnesty International briefing out today. 

    “People in South Sudan have been arrested for their political and ethnic affiliations and are then subjected to unimaginable suffering – sometimes leading to death - at the hands of the government’s security forces,” said Seif Magango, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    Between February and July 2017, four men - Mike Tyson, Alison Mogga Tadeo, Richard Otti and Andria Baambe - died in detention due to harsh conditions and inadequate medical care. The four, who were arrested in 2014, were all held without charge, for alleged links to the opposition. Amnesty International has previously documented the deaths of at least 20 people in detention between February 2014 and December 2016.

    September 04, 2018

    Responding to the arrest in Iran this morning of Reza Khandan, the husband of prominent jailed human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, Amnesty International's Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, Philip Luther, said:

    “First the authorities jail Nasrin Sotoudeh on bogus charges, then harass, intimidate and threaten her family and friends, and now arrest her husband. These callous actions illustrate the lengths to which Iranian authorities will go to silence human rights lawyers, even targeting their families.

    “The Iranian authorities must immediately and unconditionally release both Nasrin Sotoudeh and Reza Khandan. They must drop all charges against them and stop their harassment of this family once and for all.

    “The international community, including the EU given its ongoing dialogue with Iran, must condemn in the strongest terms the arbitrary arrest and detention of both Reza Khandan and Nasrin Sotoudeh, and do everything in their power to expedite the release of these two human rights defenders.”

    Background

    August 31, 2018

    Amnesty International UK PRESS RELEASE

    39-year-old man executed by firing squad this morning - had originally received a life sentence

    First execution since 2016 is ‘a crushing setback to abolition hopes’

    Responding to the execution of a 39-year-old man in Taiwan today - the country’s first execution since President Tsai Ing-wen came to office in 2016 - Annie Huang, Amnesty International Taiwan’s Acting Director, said:

    “Today’s execution is a crushing setback to the abolitionist movement in Taiwan and an act that casts a shadow over Tsai’s presidency.

    “It is deeply disappointing that Taiwan has decided to resume the implementation of a cruel punishment, especially after President Tsai Ing-wen had stated clearly that her government aims to abolish the death penalty. That pledge now rings hollow.

    “We once again call on the Taiwanese authorities to establish an official moratorium on executions as a first step towards abolishing the death penalty once and for all.”

    August 30, 2018

    Kenyans will be able to share information about police extra-judicial killings and abductions in real time, using a new online portal designed to help human rights organizations hold the authorities to account, Amnesty International said as the world marks the International Day of Victims of Enforced Disappearances.

    “Hundreds of people are arrested every year in what are termed as crime-busting police swoops, but many so-called suspects are never presented in court or charged with any crime. The next thing that usually happens is that they are found dead, their bodies callously dumped somewhere. Others are disappeared without a trace,” said Joan Nyanyuki, Amnesty International’s Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    “It is unconscionable that scores of families have been made to live in agony at the hands of those meant to protect and defend them; not knowing where their loved ones are; whether they are alive or dead, and if dead, where their bodies are.”

    August 30, 2018

    AI UK Press release

    In response to the news that the Australian government is considering denying American activist Chelsea Manning a visa to enter the country for a series of public talks, Claire Mallinson, National Director of Amnesty International Australia said:

    “Amnesty International is very concerned that the Australian government is seeking to silence American activist Chelsea Manning by intending to deny her a visa into Australia.

    “By refusing her entry, the Australian government would send a chilling message that freedom of speech is not valued by our government. It is not too late for the Government to change their mind.

    "Chelsea Manning is travelling to Australia for a series of talks which will include discussion of the potential human rights violations she exposed as a whistle-blower and her human rights activism since she got out of prison, including as an outspoken LGBTQI rights advocate.

    August 30, 2018

    In response to the release of concluding observations on China by the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Amnesty International’s Deputy East Asia Director Lisa Tassi said:

    “The Committee’s findings highlight the systematic oppression of ethnic minorities in China, including the mass arbitrary detention of Chinese Uighurs and others in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR).

    “The Chinese government must now heed the call to tackle serious human rights violations. Rather than dismissing the Committee’s recommendations, it must immediately set out next steps to address them.

    “The international community has a responsibility to hold China to account for its repression of ethnic minorities and cultures, specifically in in the XUAR and Tibet Autonomous Region.”

    Background

    The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination’s concluding observations were issued on Thursday following the review of China on 10 and 13 August.

    The Committee highlighted serious human rights violations against ethnic minorities in China including:

    August 30, 2018

    The Eswatini government must halt forced evictions which have left hundreds of people homeless and pushed them deeper into poverty, Amnesty International said in a new report today.

    They don’t see us as people: security of tenure and forced evictions in Eswatini details forced evictions in two areas of the country that resulted in more than 200 people, most of them subsistence farmers, being made homeless and without access to land where they could continue farming.

    Although the evictions involved a long legal process, they were carried out in the absence of adequate notice, genuine consultation and without adequate compensation, in violation of international law. Amnesty International is also aware of at least 300 more people facing imminent eviction from land they depend on for farming, food and their livelihoods.

    August 29, 2018

    In reaction to the video released today by Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto in relation to the enforced disappearance of 43 students from Ayotzinapa in the southern state of Guerrero in 2014, Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International, said:

    “It is negligent and apathetic for the president of Mexico to continue to publicly defend the alleged ‘historical truth’ of an investigation which has now been discredited by several different organizations and independent experts following a rigorous analysis. This is yet another example of the political decision of Peña Nieto’s government to dedicate all available resources to hiding the facts rather than to guaranteeing truth, justice and reparation for the victims and their families”.

    For more information please contact Elizabeth Berton-Hunter, Media Relations 416-363-9933 ext 332 bbberton-hunter@amnesty.ca

    Further information:

    Mexico: Government insists on hiding the truth about Ayotzinapa (News, 18 July 2018)

    August 28, 2018

    Responding to a scathing report published today by the United Nations Group of Eminent Experts on Yemen (GEE) which concludes that all parties to the conflict may be guilty of war crimes, Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Middle East research director, said:

    “The GEE, in its first report, confirms what we have known for the past three years, namely that all parties to the conflict in Yemen have acted with utter disregard for civilian lives. The Saudi Arabia-led coalition and allied forces, Huthi and Yemeni government aligned forces have consistently carried out unlawful attacks, restricted access to humanitarian aid, carried out widespread arbitrary detention, enforced disappearances, child recruitment and other serious violations that have and continue to inflict unimaginable suffering on Yemen’s civilian population.

    August 27, 2018

    In response to reports that two members of Hong Kong pro-democracy party Demosistō were detained and interrogated by Chinese state security officials when visiting mainland China in separate incidents in March and August 2018, Joyce Chiang, Director of Amnesty International Hong Kong, commented:

    “This is a chilling attempt by state security officials in mainland China to silence Hong Kong activists and stop them from participating in civil society organizations. Individuals should not have to live in fear of being detained and tortured when visiting mainland China simply for peacefully exercising their rights in Hong Kong.

    “The Hong Kong authorities now need to show they are prepared to defend Hong Kong’s freedom of expression and freedom of association in the face of pressure from the mainland government, including for those who are critical of the government. The Hong Kong government must be unequivocal in calling for an investigation into these serious allegations. Any failure to do so would lead to the further erosion of the rights to freedom of expression and association in Hong Kong.”

    Background

    August 27, 2018

    As rapid technological advances bring “killer robots” ever closer to reality, Amnesty International is calling on states to support the negotiation of new international law to ban fully autonomous weapons systems.

    The Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems will meet in Geneva between 27 and 31 August 2018. The meeting is a key moment for states to discuss options for addressing the human rights, humanitarian, ethical and security challenges posed by fully autonomous weapons systems.

    “Killer robots are no longer the stuff of science fiction. From artificially intelligent drones to automated guns that can choose their own targets, technological advances in weaponry are far outpacing international law. We are sliding towards a future where humans could be erased from decision-making around the use of force,” said Rasha Abdul Rahim, Researcher/Advisor on Artificial Intelligence and Human Rights at Amnesty International.

    August 25, 2018

    World leaders’ failure to act has allowed the Myanmar security forces’ perpetrators of crimes against humanity to remain at large for a year after their murderous campaign against the Rohingya prompted an exodus of epic proportions, Amnesty International said today.

    More than 700,000 Rohingya women, men, and children fled from northern Rakhine State to neighbouring Bangladesh after 25 August 2017, when the Myanmar security forces launched a widespread as well as systematic assault on hundreds of Rohingya villages. The onslaught came in the wake of a series of attacks on security posts by a Rohingya armed group, the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA).

    August 24, 2018

    A day before the informal ‘Gymnich’ meeting of EU foreign affairs ministers in Vienna, women human rights defenders from El Salvador, Poland, Indonesia, Kenya, Austria, Syria and Russia will meet EU representatives to demand greater protection and support for their work amid increasing attacks on fellow activists.

    Speaking ahead of the 29 August event, which will take place from 13:00 to 18:15, at the Haus der Europäischen Union, Wipplingerstrasse 35, 1010 Vienna, Guadalupe Marengo, Deputy Program Director, Human Rights Defenders at Amnesty International, said:

    “From Afghanistan to Egypt and from the Democratic Republic of Congo to Brazil, women human rights defenders often suffer horrific reprisals when fighting for justice and rights. Far too often these courageous women, who work for positive change, face threats, beatings, imprisonment and even death. It is our duty to stand in solidarity with them.”

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