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    March 12, 2019

    Responding to reports that Brazilian police have arrested two men in Rio de Janeiro over the killing of human rights defender Marielle Franco and her driver Anderson Gomes on 14 March 2018, Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International, said:

    “This week marks one year since Marielle Franco was brutally killed, in an attack which devastated the many communities whose rights she fought to defend. Marielle’s killing was a blatant attempt to silence a brave human rights defender, who had devoted her life to advocating for women, LGBTI people and black youth in Rio favelas.”

    “These arrests are the first sign of progress in an investigation that has barely moved in the year since the killings. We are calling for the Brazilian authorities to ensure that investigations are independent and impartial, and to bring all those responsible, including those who ordered the crime, to justice in fair trials.”

    “There is no better way to honour Marielle Franco’s amazing legacy than by committing to protect human rights defenders and ensuring they can safely continue their vital work.”

    March 11, 2019

    A series of videos shared on social media in recent weeks have shed light on the daily harassment and violent attacks women in Iran face at the hands of morality police and pro-government vigilantes seeking to enforce the country’s forced hijab (veiling) laws, said Amnesty International.

    The videos show members of the public or plain-clothes morality police aggressively confronting or attacking women for defying Iran’s degrading forced hijab laws, in the name of defending “public decency”. Perpetrators of such attacks appear to be getting bolder in their assaults in response to efforts by women to film the violence they face and share the videos on social media.

    “The video footage that has emerged in recent weeks demonstrates the shocking levels of abuse women in Iran face on a daily basis from morality police or pro-government thugs simply for daring to defy the country’s abusive forced hijab laws,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Research and Advocacy Director.  

    March 11, 2019

    The State of Palestine’s new government must seize the opportunity to reverse the appalling deterioration of human rights that took place under the previous administration and signal that it is serious about meeting its international obligations, Amnesty International. Mohammad Shtayyeh, the newly appointed prime minister, is expected to form a government in the coming days. 

    Since June 2014, when the national consensus government led by former Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah came to power, Amnesty International has documented escalating human rights violations by Palestinian security forces in the West Bank despite the State of Palestine having joined international human rights treaties. These include excessive use of force, arbitrary arrests, the use of torture and other forms of ill-treatment leading to deaths in custody, and an intensified crackdown on freedom of expression and civil society.

    March 11, 2019

    The sentencing of prominent Iranian human rights lawyer and women’s rights defender Nasrin Sotoudeh to 33 years in prison and 148 lashes in a new case against her is an outrageous injustice, said Amnesty International today. 

    The sentence, reported on her husband Reza Khandan’s Facebook page, brings her total sentence after two grossly unfair trials to 38 years in prison. In September 2016, she had been sentenced in her absence to five years in prison in a separate case.

    “It is absolutely shocking that Nasrin Sotoudeh is facing nearly four decades in jail and 148 lashes for her peaceful human rights work, including her defence of women protesting against Iran’s degrading forced hijab (veiling) laws. Nasrin Sotoudeh must be released immediately and unconditionally and this obscene sentence quashed without delay,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Research and Advocacy Director.

    March 11, 2019

    One year on from the killing of the human rights defender and Rio de Janeiro city councillor Marielle Franco and her driver Anderson Gomes, Brazilian authorities are still failing to provide their families and society with adequate answers, and their inability to identify those responsible and bring them to justice continues to put other human rights defenders at risk, said Amnesty International today.

    “After a year of investigation, the Brazilian authorities’ alarming inability to solve the killing of Marielle Franco sends a message that attacks against human rights defenders will go unpunished,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International.

    “The authorities that took office following last year’s elections must bring all those responsible for ordering and carrying out the killing to justice and show that attacks of this nature will not be tolerated in Brazil.”

    March 10, 2019

    Warning: This media release contains graphic testimonies from child survivors of sexual abuse. 

    An investigation by Amnesty International has revealed that children as young as eight years old have been raped in the Yemeni city of Ta’iz. The suspected perpetrators, including members of militias backed by the Saudi Arabia-led Coalition, are yet to be held to account.

    The families of four boys told Amnesty International that their sons had been sexually assaulted in a series of incidents over the past eight months. In two of the cases, families alleged that those responsible were Islahi-aligned militiamen supported by the Saudi Arabia-led Coalition. 

    “The heartbreaking testimonies of these young survivors and their families expose how the ongoing conflict has rendered children vulnerable to being sexually exploited in a city plagued by weak security and institutions. These victims and their families have been left unprotected and alone to face the horrific ordeal of sexual abuse and its aftermath,” said Heba Morayef, Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.  

    March 07, 2019

    Syrian women must have an official and active role in shaping the country’s future Amnesty International said today, as it launched a new campaign highlighting the gender-based violations women have experienced during the conflict and the failure to include them in discussions and decision-making about the future.

    The campaign Unheard No More: Syrian women shaping Syria’s future illustrates how since the beginning of the Syrian crisis in 2011, women have been subjected to multiple violations and abuses including arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance, abduction and gender-based violence at the hands of the Syrian authorities and other parties involved in the conflict.

    March 07, 2019

    Afghan women must have a say in the future of their country, Amnesty International said today, as the human rights organization unveiled a mural in Kabul celebrating their tremendous achievements.

    As part of Amnesty International’s BRAVE campaign to promote the rights of human rights defenders, the mural depicts Afghan women protesting for their rights, demanding equality, and raising their voices for justice.

    This is the second mural that Amnesty International has unveiled in Kabul as part of its BRAVE, or “Shuja” (in Dari) campaign. The first mural was consecrated to the memory of journalists who have been killed doing their jobs, depicting the famous Afghan photographer Shah Marai of Agence France Presse holding a camera.

    March 07, 2019

    Reacting to news that the Trump administration has revoked a part of an Obama executive order requiring reporting on civilian casualties, Daphne Eviatar, Amnesty International USA’s Director of Security with Human Rights stated:

    “This is a shameful decision that will shroud this administration’s actions in even more secrecy with little accountability for its victims.

    “The public deserves to know how many civilians are killed by U.S. actions. This is an unconscionable decision and in complete disregard of fundamental human rights.

    “It is incomprehensible that this vital work will be left only to human rights organizations such as ours.”

    Background

    In 2016, Amnesty International USA spoke out on the Obama-era policy documenting standards for airstrikes, when they were first announced, calling for more transparency and accountability.

    March 07, 2019

    Update:

    On 7 March Malak al-Kashef appeared in front of a Supreme State Security Prosecutor, who ordered her detention for 15 days pending investigations for “aiding a terrorist organization” and “misusing social media to commit a crime punishable by law”. The police then took her to an undisclosed location, where they detained her incommunicado until 10 March, when her lawyer was able to confirm that the police is detaining her in solitary confinement at al-Haram police station in Giza. Her detention is up for renewal again on 19 March, when the prosecutor will decide whether to release her or extend her detention.

     *****

    Fears are growing for the safety and wellbeing of Malak al-Kashef, a transgender woman seized during a police raid from her home in Giza in the early hours of 6 March and who has not been heard from since, Amnesty International said.

    Malak al-Kashef was taken by police to an undisclosed location. Her lawyers have not been able to locate her and police stations have denied she is in their custody.

    March 07, 2019

    In a positive development, the Government of South Sudan has been summoned to appear before the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) on 25 March 2019 over the arbitrary arrest and detention of businessman and philanthropist Kerbino Agok Wol.

    The South Sudanese government, and particularly its National Security Service (NSS), is allegedly responsible for widespread human rights violations including arbitrary arrest and detention, and torture and ill-treatment in detention, which are committed with rampant impunity.

    This is the first time ever that the South Sudan government has been taken to the regional court for human rights violations committed by the NSS.

    “Amnesty International welcomes this judicial development which offers a ray of hope for the people of South Sudan who have endured seemingly endless human rights violations and abuses with no justice in sight until now,” said Seif Magango, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    March 07, 2019

    Responding to news that the Constitutional Court has ruled on the request to dissolve the Thai Raksa Chart Party, Katherine Gerson, Amnesty International’s Thailand campaigner said:

    “This decision highlights the Thai authorities’ abuse of judicial powers to restrict the peaceful association and expression of the political opposition. This far-reaching measure raises strong concerns about the human rights to freedom of association and expression in the period leading to the elections.

    “We call on the military government and all election candidates to commit to protecting these fundamental rights during the elections – and for the next government to undertake deep reforms to end the continued decline in human rights protections. 

    “Serious human rights violations have flourished in Thailand's past decade of political instability, including these last four years of military rule. Sweeping and vaguely worded legal restrictions, including a ban on meetings of five or more persons for ‘political’ purposes, have facilitated a wide-ranging attack on political opponents and civil society.”

    March 06, 2019

    States should take a clear stand against human rights violations in Saudi Arabia by joining a UN Human Rights Council statement addressing the government’s crackdown on peaceful activists, including a group of detained women human rights defenders known to have been tortured and sexually abused, said Amnesty International.

    The crucial statement, due to be delivered at a Human Rights Council session on Thursday, is expected to address Saudi Arabia’s use of counter-terrorism legislation to persecute people peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression and assembly, and the killing of Jamal Khashoggi.

    “This initiative at the UN Human Rights Council offers a rare opportunity for states to take a strong public stand against the catalogue of human rights violations by the government of Saudi Arabia.  States who stay silent risk abdicating responsibility at a crucial moment and sending a dangerous message that Saudi Arabia can continue to commit egregious abuses without being held to account,” said Heba Morayef, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

    March 05, 2019

    A call for consent-based rape legislation by Danish Minister of Justice Soren Pape Poulsen is an important and welcome step, said Amnesty International as it launches a new report into barriers to justice for rape victims in Denmark.

    Responding to a statement by Soren Pape Poulsen today, that there is a “need for new legislation that that says sex should always be voluntary,” Amnesty International’s Secretary General Kumi Naidoo said:

    “We welcome the fact that the Danish Minister of Justice has chosen to make a statement supporting Amnesty’s call for consent-based legislation.

    “Together with the survivors campaigning for improved access to justice, we look forward to seeing the draft law. But this is only one piece of the puzzle and it is essential that other Ministries support this initiative. Any law must be accompanied by proper implementation, appropriate sexuality education and challenging rape myths through awareness-raising.”

    March 05, 2019

    Responding to reports by The Intercept that Google is still working on Project Dragonfly, its censored search engine for China, Anna Bacciarelli, AI and Big Data Researcher and Adviser at Amnesty Tech, said:

    “The lack of transparency around the development of Dragonfly is very disturbing. We continue to call on Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai to publicly confirm that it has dropped Dragonfly for good, not just ‘for now’. Our Secretary General Kumi Naidoo visited Google’s Mountain View office last week to reiterate our concerns over Dragonfly, including the apparent disregard for transparency and accountability around the project.

    “If Google is still developing Project Dragonfly, it’s not only failing on its human rights responsibilities but ignoring the hundreds of Google employees, 70+ human rights organisations and hundreds of thousands of campaign supporters around the world who have all called on the company to respect human rights and drop Dragonfly.”
     

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