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    November 09, 2018

    In response to President Trump’s Proclamation to limit the rights of people seeking asylum along the Southern border, Amnesty International´s Secretary General Kumi Naidoo said:

    “President Trump’s Proclamation is yet another attempt to destroy the United States´ long tradition to guarantee the fundamental human right to seek protection from life-threatening fear and persecution. Asylum is not a loophole, it is a lifeline. This policy needlessly places the lives of thousands of people in danger. U.S law states that any individual can seek asylum, whether or not they are at an official point of entry.

    “Beyond Trump’s dehumanizing rhetoric are mothers, fathers, and children fleeing extremely dangerous situations enduring a perilous journey because they’ve had no choice but to leave their home.”

    Amnesty International USA´s executive director Margaret Huang added:

    November 08, 2018

    In the wake of the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Amnesty International staged a public stunt outside the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Ottawa on November 8, highlighting the Saudi government’s brutal crackdown on critics and activists.

    Amnesty posted signs outside the embassy that read “Journalists: Proceed with Caution,” after Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on October 2.

    But this is only the latest atrocity in Saudi Arabia’s growing list of human rights violations. A Saudi-led coalition has shown no signs of backing down from its relentless war against Yemen, which has killed thousands of innocent civilians and left more than eight million on the brink of starvation. Canada remains complicit in this war, as the federal government has yet to announce it will halt a $15-billion arms trade deal with Saudi Arabia. Moreover, leading Saudi feminists remain detained without charge, and some continue to be held incommunicado, for speaking up for women’s rights, following a pattern of silencing dissent that is typical of the Saudi regime. 

    November 08, 2018
    Although authorities should have released him in November 2017, Mohamed Mkhaïtir is still being detained in an undisclosed location  His physical and mental health are deteriorating as a result of his prolonged detention 32 human rights organizations are campaigning for his release and protection

    Authorities in Mauritania should promptly and safely release a blogger who remains in detention despite an appeal Court’s decision one year ago tomorrow to commute his death sentence, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Freedom Now, the Forum des organisations nationales des droits de l’Homme en Mauritanie and 28 other human rights groups said today. 

    Mohamed Cheikh Ould Mkhaïtir, 35, remains in custody in an undisclosed location, with limited access to his family and no access to his lawyers, after authorities failed to implement an appeal court ruling for his release granted on 9 November 2017.

    November 07, 2018

    Amnesty International Philippines Release

    Responding to news of human rights lawyer Benjamin Ramos gunned down by still unidentified men on 6 November, Amnesty International Philippines chairperson Ritz Lee Santos III said:

    “The killing of a human rights lawyer is a new low in the worsening culture of impunity in the Philippines, and yet another blow to the government’s already dismal human rights record.

    Ramos’s murder is all the more alarming, in the midst of the bloody ‘war on drugs’ by the government that has already claimed the lives of thousands of people. When human rights defenders are silenced for good, who else will come to the defense of the growing number of victims of human rights abuses?

    November 07, 2018

    Responding to the decision by an Istanbul court to further postpone the trial of Amnesty International Turkey’s Honorary Chair, Taner Kılıç, former Director, İdil Eser, and nine other human rights defenders, Andrew Gardner, Amnesty International’s Turkey Strategy and Research Manager said:

    “The farce continues for these human rights defenders who are facing absurd terrorism charges. The ridiculous allegations that the Istanbul 10 participated in a secret and subversive meeting has been proven to be entirely untrue in previous hearings. It boggles the mind that the authorities are yet to analyse the digital devices seized when they were first arrested almost a year-and-a-half ago.

    “The trial has now been heard in six separate hearings. Dragging out proceedings in politically motivated cases is nothing new. It is a deliberate tactic forcing innocent human rights defenders to suffer a tortuous wait with the threat of conviction under terrorism charges hanging over their heads.

    November 07, 2018
    Huthi gunmen take up positions on a hospital roof Ongoing Saudi Arabia and UAE-led Coalition air strikes kill scores of civilians Both sides risk committing war crimes unless they prioritize civilian protection 

    Civilians in Yemen’s western port city of Hodeidah will pay a terrible price amid the battle engulfing their city unless warring parties act immediately to protect them from the fighting, Amnesty International warned today.  

    In an extremely worrying development, Huthi fighters arrived at a hospital in Hodeidah and recently took up positions atop a hospital roof, placing numerous civilians inside the building in grave danger.  

    November 07, 2018

    Responding to the news that the cases of twelve men from Saudi Arabia’s Shi’a minority who were sentenced to death last year have been transferred to the ‘Presidency of State Security’, a body under the King’s direct authority mandated to address all state security matters, Heba Morayef, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Director, said:

    “The families of the men are terrified by this development and the lack of information provided to them on the status of the cases of their loved ones. Given the secrecy surrounding Saudi Arabia’s judicial proceedings, we fear that this development signals the imminent execution of the twelve men. 

    “The Saudi Arabian authorities sentenced these men to death in 2016 for spying for Iran after a grossly unfair mass trial. Saudi Arabia is one of the world’s most prolific executioners and regularly uses the death penalty as a political tool to crush dissent from the country’s Shi’a minority, demonstrating its total contempt for the value of human life.

    November 07, 2018

    Proposed changes to a national cybercrimes law will deal a devastating blow to freedom of expression in Jordan, Amnesty International has warned, ahead of a review of the country’s human rights record at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva tomorrow.

    The amendments include criminalizing hate speech using an overly broad definition of the offence and introducing tougher penalties, including lengthier prison terms for online crimes. A vote to pass these changes can be scheduled at any time.

    “The proposed changes to Jordan’s already flawed cybercrimes law are extremely worrying. Instead of taking steps to protect people’s rights online the authorities appear to be moving backwards, introducing changes that would further suppress freedom of expression,” said Heba Morayef, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Director.

    “The Jordanian authorities should be working to eliminate all repressive elements from the current cybercrimes law to bring it in line with international law, not expanding them to further restrict people’s online activities.”

    November 06, 2018

    The expression-related charges against a would-be presidential candidate and her mother must be dropped, Amnesty International said ahead of the resumption of their trial on Wednesday.

    She is charged in relation to comments she made that were critical of the ruling party, condemned problems of injustice and the state of the economy.

    Diane Rwigara and her mother Adeline were arrested in September 2017 after Diane tried to stand as a candidate in Rwanda’s August 2017 presidential election.

    “The right to freedom of expression must not be put on trial as Rwanda’s courts hear the Rwigaras’ case,” said Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    “Politicians must be allowed to explain their policies, and, like everyone else, engage with and criticize those of their opponents.”

    November 06, 2018

    Ten men have been arrested on suspicion of being gay on the Tanzanian island of Zanzibar after police received a “tip-off” from members of the public about a same-sex marriage taking place, Amnesty International has revealed.

    The arrests come after a prominent Tanzanian politician last week called on the public to report the names of suspected gay men to the police – comments subsequently denounced by the government.

    “This is a shocking blow following the Tanzanian government’s assurance that no one would be targeted and arrested because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity,” said Seif Magango, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    “This appalling attack on Tanzanian people simply exercising their human rights shows the danger of inflammatory and discriminatory rhetoric at senior levels of government.

    November 06, 2018

    Responding to the news that Tunis’ Administrative Court spokesperson has stated that border control measures imposed on thousands of people in the name of security, known as S17 measures, should be considered illegal, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Director Heba Morayef said:

    “Yesterday’s statement from judge Imed Ghabri, spokesperson of the Administrative Court finally acknowledges that the arbitrary and discriminatory manner in which S17 travel restrictions are often imposed is unlawful. This is a significant step forward for all those who have campaigned against the way S17 measures are being applied.

    November 06, 2018

    LGBTI communities in Indonesia are facing increasing crackdowns both from the police and the municipal police (Satpol PP) with at least four series of arrests and public humiliations having taken place across the country in the past month, Amnesty International says.

    The latest crackdown took place on November 4 when Satpol PP in Padang, West Sumatra, arrested ten people assumed to be lesbian women after one of them posted a photo of her kissing and hugging her girlfriend on Facebook. The Satpol PP moved to make the arrest after people in Padang complained about the picture. They said that the ten people would be sent to a local social affairs agency to undergo an “education program” without elaborating further.

    Meanwhile, in the neighboring province of Lampung, local Satpol PP also raided a beach and arrested three people whom they suspected of being transgender women in an operation said to “provide safety and maintain public order” in the city. Following the raid, the Satpol PP hosed these people down in public using a fire truck as part of what it called a ‘mandatory bath’, or ghusl.

    November 05, 2018

    The next government of Madagascar must bring an end to the brutal suppression of human rights in the country, Amnesty International said ahead of the island nation’s upcoming election.

    Amid a recent spike in human rights violations, thousands of people have been held in unjustified pre-trial detention, while environmental human rights defenders have been targeted for protecting the country’s natural resources, such as rosewood. The first round of presidential elections are scheduled for 7 November.

    “In Madagascar it has become very dangerous to speak out against the illegal trafficking of rosewood and environmental degradation caused by multinational corporations,” said Muleya Mwananyanda, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for Southern Africa.

    “Thousands of people are languishing in jail without having been found guilty of any crime, owing to the government’s excessive and unjustified use of pre-trial detention.”

    Targeting of activists

    November 05, 2018

    Following the abduction of at least 70 schoolchildren in Cameroon’s Anglophone region, Samira Daoud, Amnesty International Deputy regional director for West and Central Africa said:

    “These appalling abductions show just how general population is paying the highest price as violence escalates in the Anglophone region.

    “The abduction of schoolchildren and teachers can never be justified. Whoever is responsible must release and return the victims immediately.
    “We express solidarity with the families of these children and demand that the Cameroon authorities do everything in their power to ensure all the pupils and school staff are freed unharmed.

    “In a case with a chilling echo of the 2014 kidnappings of the Chibok schoolgirls in Nigeria, it is vital that Cameroon’s government act swiftly and decisively to reunite these children with their loved ones.” 

    For more information please contact Lucy Scholey, Amnesty International Canada (English):  +1 613-744-7667 ext. 236; lscholey@amnesty.ca

    November 05, 2018

    Responding to the Bahraini Appeal Court verdict, overturning the acquittal of opposition leader Sheikh Ali Salman and sentencing him instead to life in prison, Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa Director Heba Morayef said:

    “This verdict is a travesty of justice that demonstrates the Bahraini authorities’ relentless and unlawful efforts to silence any form of dissent. Sheikh Ali Salman is a prisoner of conscience who is being held solely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression.

    “The Bahraini authorities must immediately and unconditionally release Sheikh Ali Salman and quash his politically motivated conviction and sentence”. 

    “The international community’s silence on the continued crackdown on dissent must also come to an end. Instead of ignoring criticism of Bahrain’s human rights record, the country’s political allies must use their influence to push for the release of Sheikh Ali Salman and all prisoners of conscience in Bahrain”.

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