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    September 27, 2018

    Responding to the UN Human Rights Council’s adoption of a resolution on Myanmar in Geneva today, Tirana Hassan, Amnesty International’s Crisis Response Director, said:

    “Today’s resolution is an important step forward in the fight for accountability in Myanmar, making the prospect of justice possible for the Rohingya and other ethnic minorities who have suffered atrocities at the hands of the country’s security forces.

    “While the UN Security Council remains bogged down by politics, the Human Rights Council has stepped up to the challenge with this serious and constructive approach to pave the way for justice. It sends a clear message of solidarity to the victims and survivors, as well as a stark warning to Myanmar’s military that their crimes will be punished.”
    China’s attempt to block the resolution was stopped – with 35 states voting to adopt, three voting against and seven abstaining.

    September 27, 2018

    Guinean and International Organizations Call for Trial to Take Place Without Delay

    No one has yet been tried for Guinea’s stadium massacre of September 28, in which at least 156 opposition supporters were killed and more than a hundred women were raped, five human rights organizations said today. The organizations are the Association of Victims, Parents and Friends of the September 28 Massacre (AVIPA), the Guinean Human Rights Organization (OGDH), the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch.

     While the investigation has been completed since the end of 2017, it is imperative that the judges be appointed and a timetable be established. These are the conditions for this emblematic trial to open in 2019 and for the 13 defendants – three of whom have been detained beyond the legal limits – to finally be tried.

    On April 9, 2018, Justice Minister Cheick Sako set up a steering committee tasked with the practical organization of the trial. It should adopt a clear roadmap as soon as possible, in order to move ahead efficiently toward the trial.

    September 27, 2018

    Pakistan’s authorities must ensure that the criminal justice system is not used to harass or intimidate journalists, Amnesty International said today.

    The human rights organization raised its concern after the Lahore High Court’s decision to issue non-bailable arrest warrants for prominent Pakistani journalist Cyril Almeida and impose a ban on his traveling outside the country.

    Cyril Almeida, Assistant Editor at Dawn newspaper, has been summoned by the court for conducting an interview in May 2018 with former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who is facing charges of treason for comments he made in the interview alleging a link between the Pakistani military and armed groups.

    September 27, 2018

    Twelve countries across Latin America and the Caribbean have signed the Escazú Agreement in a major victory for the environment and human rights that should inspire the rest of the region to follow suit, said Amnesty International today.

    Argentina, Antigua and Barbuda, Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Guyana, Mexico, Panama, Peru, St. Lucia, and Uruguay all signed the treaty at the first opportunity today as the UN General Assembly started in New York, while the Dominican Republic and Haiti have also committed to signing in the coming hours.

    “As Latin America and the Caribbean’s first regional environmental treaty, the Escazú Agreement sets a historic precedent for guaranteeing everyone’s right to a clean and healthy environment, ensuring that all voices can be heard when it’s time to take important decisions that affect us all,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International.

    September 26, 2018

    The Iranian authorities are torturing jailed human rights defender Arash Sadeghi, who has cancer, by deliberately depriving him of the specialist medical care health professionals have said he desperately requires, Amnesty International revealed today.

    Arash Sadeghi, whom Amnesty International considers a prisoner of conscience, having been sentenced to 19 years in prison in 2016 solely for his peaceful human rights work, was diagnosed with a cancerous bone tumour last month. However, authorities at Raja’i Shahr prison, in Karaj, a city north-west of Tehran, have since repeatedly impeded his access to potentially life-saving medical care.

    “The Iranian authorities’ treatment of Arash Sadeghi’s is not only unspeakably cruel; in legal terms it is an act of torture. Every step of the way, the prison authorities, the prosecutor’s office and the Revolutionary Guards have done everything they can to hinder and limit access to the essential treatment that Arash requires in order to address his life-threatening cancer,” said Philip Luther, Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

    September 26, 2018

    A grisly video showing a heinous act of violence quickly went viral after it was posted on 10 July 2018. Men dressed in army fatigues and wielding military-grade rifles brutally marched women and young children – including a baby strapped to his mother’s back – to a rural location before blindfolding and executing them in a hail of bullets.

    As the video spread on social media, so did the rumours. Was this in Mali or Cameroon? Were they government armed forces or Boko Haram fighters masquerading as soldiers? Was it real or staged?

    In situations like this, the “truth” can appear malleable, with those in power sometimes taking advantage of the confusion to peddle false narratives. That’s precisely what the government of Cameroon initially did. Fearing a backlash if the real story came out, on 12 July Cameroon’s Minister of Communication held a press conference where he attempted to dismiss the video as “fake news”.

    September 26, 2018

    Responding to the news that a court in Cambodia has convicted the “ADHOC Five” peaceful activists of “bribery” and given them suspended five-year prison sentences, Minar Pimple, Senior Director of Global Operations from Amnesty International, said:

    “This verdict is yet another example of Cambodian authorities’ use of the courts to harass and stifle the human rights movement. To qualify legal aid as ‘bribery’ is absurd.

    “This is a political outcome to a political case. The ADHOC Five should never have been arrested and prosecuted in the first place. This is an obvious attempt to punish the activists for their peaceful human rights work, and deter them and others. The verdict and sentence must immediately and unconditionally be repealed.

    “This case will cast a long shadow on Cambodia’s peaceful human rights activists, who have come under increasing assault by the authorities. This crackdown must end immediately.”

    Background

    September 25, 2018

    Amnesty International USA today called on a halt to a vote on President Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court of the United States unless and until any information relevant to Kavanaugh’s possible involvement in human rights violations—including in relation to the U.S. government’s use of torture and other forms of ill-treatment, such as during the CIA detention program—is declassified and made public.

    Margaret Huang, Executive Director of Amnesty International USA said:

    “Amnesty International takes no position on the appointment of particular individuals to government positions, unless they are reasonably suspected of crimes under international law and could use their appointment to the position in question to either prevent accountability for these crimes or to continue perpetration.

    September 25, 2018

    “Wanted” pictures of Min Aung Hlaing, the Commander-in-Chief of the Myanmar military who oversaw atrocities against the country's Rohingya population, were posted around New York overnight, as part of Amnesty International’s campaign for accountability in Myanmar.

    World leaders, including representatives from Myanmar’s government, are meeting in New York this week for the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA).

    Accountability for the atrocities committed against the Rohingya and Myanmar’s other ethnic minorities is expected to be high on the agenda. The UN Human Rights Council is currently discussing the establishment of an evidence preservation mechanism which could see Min Aung Hlaing and other suspected perpetrators come closer to prosecution.

    Amnesty International’s posters have been plastered on sidewalks in 30 locations around the city, including iconic landmarks. 

    September 25, 2018

    Responding to President Donald Trump’s remarks at the United Nations General Assembly, Margaret Huang, Executive Director of Amnesty International USA, stated:

    “President Trump continues to attack human rights not only within his own country, but also within the UN system built specifically to protect and promote human rights.

    “The US should be building up, not tearing down, international mechanisms that hold governments accountable for their abuses. Though he mentioned transgressions by Iran, his actions chip away at institutions designed to guard against the most egregious human rights violations no matter what nation commits them.

    “This Administration continues to reject international standards, attesting to its exceptionalism as it cruelly turns its back on refugees and threatens to cut aid for all but those who pass some arbitrary litmus test of respect for his leadership, instead of whether they demonstrate a grave need for humanitarian assistance.”

    September 25, 2018

    Responding to the arrest of Senator Antonio Trillanes IV in the Philippines, Minar Pimple, Senior Director for Global Operations at Amnesty International, said:

    “Senator Trillanes is one of the most vocal and persistent members of the opposition and has consistently challenged the government's so-called 'war on drugs'.

    “This arrest is a worrying sign that the government will stop at nothing to silence its critics and divert attention from ongoing human rights violations by the authorities.

    “The arrest of Senator Trillanes follows the imprisonment of another opponent of President Duterte, Senator Leila de Lima, who is a prisoner of conscience and remains in detention on politically motivated charges, after more than a year. It is time the government stopped its crackdown on peaceful critics and put an end to human rights violations.”

    Background

    September 25, 2018

    Following the conviction of Loan Torondel, a human rights defender charged with defamation for a tweeted photograph of policemen standing over one of the many people systematically evicted from informal camps in Calais, Nicolas Krameyer, Programme Manager at Amnesty International France, said:

    “This is outrageous decision sets a dangerous precedent for anybody attempting to document the disproportionate use of force employed by the police in Calais and throughout the country. It will also have a chilling effect on the work of migrant rights defenders and leave migrants and refugees in an even more precarious situation.

    “This case highlights the harassment and intimidation of volunteers dedicated to providing aid to migrants and asylum seekers who have been left homeless in northern France after the 2016 closure of the informal 'Jungle' camp.

    “Criminal defamation laws that inhibit legitimate criticism of public officials are contrary to the right to freedom of expression. The authorities must stop harassing human rights defenders through the courts.”

    September 24, 2018

    Companies all over the world are still profiting from the sale of gruesome torture equipment like spiked batons, stun belts and leg irons, Amnesty International said today, as it called on world leaders to join the Global Alliance for Torture-Free Trade, a landmark agreement launched in 2017.

    The Global Alliance’s 58 member states have committed to controlling and restricting exports of goods which can be used for torture or other ill-treatment. Amnesty International’s Secretary General Kumi Naidoo will today address the first ministerial meeting of the Global Alliance at the UN headquarters in New York

    September 24, 2018

    Afghanistan’s human rights defenders who have faced years of attacks and other human rights abuses must be recognized and effectively protected Amnesty International said today, as the global human rights organization unveiled a mural honouring the memory of many brave human rights defenders who have been killed in the country.

    Journalists, students, lawyers, activists, trade unionists and other human rights defenders have faced intimidation, harassment, threats, attacks and have even been killed for doing their legitimate work defending the rights of others. The Afghan authorities must do more to address their security concerns.

    “Afghanistan’s human rights defenders have shown great courage despite the very difficult context in which they live in. Faced with grave threats to their lives and well-being, they continue to speak up against injustice and stand up for the rights of others. It is about time that the Afghan authorities and the international community stands up for their rights as well,” said Samira Hamidi, South Asia Campaigner at Amnesty International.

    September 24, 2018
    An estimated up to one million predominantly Muslim people are held in internment camps in Xinjiang in northwest China Families tell Amnesty of their desperation for news on missing loved ones

    China must end its campaign of systematic repression and shed light on the fate of up to one million predominantly Muslim people arbitrarily detained in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR), Amnesty International said in a new briefing published today.

    The past year has seen an intensifying government campaign of mass internment, intrusive surveillance, political indoctrination and forced cultural assimilation against the region’s Uighurs, Kazakhs and other predominantly Muslim ethnic groups. Most of the detainees’ families have been kept in the dark about their loved ones’ fate and are often too frightened to speak out.

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