Russia Invades Ukraine
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022 – now entering the third month with no end in sight – is an act of aggression that has unleashed the gravest human rights and refugee crisis in Europe since World War Two.
Amnesty International is documenting serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law, including the unlawful killing and injury of civilians, destruction of infrastructure, and blocking of desperately needed aid for civilians. Attacks on hospitals and schools, employing “surrender or starve” sieges on civilians, the use of banned weapons such as cluster munitions, and strikes on populated areas using inaccurate weapons may constitute war crimes.
Exposed to constant attacks and with many cut off from water, electricity and heating, people caught up in conflict in cities such as Izium and Mariupol are on the brink of a humanitarian disaster. Diminishing food, water and medical supplies have left them at breaking point, as remaining civilians seek shelter in their basements. Amnesty International’s on-the-ground reports and digital investigations help ensure that evidence of these attacks reaches the world.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
- Keep up with the latest updates and read more about how Amnesty’s Crisis Evidence Lab verifies military attacks in Ukraine.
- Continue to sign and share the online action calling for Russia to stop the aggression and protect civilians. You can also write a letter to the Russian Ambassador to Canada.
- Use social media to express solidarity and call for protection of civilians. General graphics can be found here. These graphics can also be used when joining in-person solidarity actions.
Crackdown on anti-war protests in Russia
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, thousands of people took to the streets across Russia to denounce the invasion and call for an end to the fighting. The crackdown was immediate and brutal. Crowds were forcibly dispersed, protesters arrestFollowing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, thousands of people took to the streets across Russia to denounce the invasion and call for an end to the fighting. The crackdown was immediate and brutal. Crowds were forcibly dispersed, protesters arrested, and independent media censored or closed down. On March 4, new amendments to the criminal code severely limited the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly. Over 15,000 people had been arrested. On April 8, the offices of human rights organizations – including Amnesty International’s Moscow office – were forced to close. The authorities have particularly targeted journalists and feminist-led anti-war networks.
During the months of April and May 2022 we are asking people to take a selfie holding a sign using phrases from Russian protesters. If taking a group selfie, try to use a backdrop that helps identify your location such as an iconic building or city/town sign. Post your image on social media using the hashtags: #нетвойне #notowar #UkraineRussiaWar and be sure to tag @AmnestyNow on Twitter and @Amnesty Canada on Facebook and Instagram. Please also email your images to email@example.com.
Further instructions, sample phrases in Russian and examples of posters can be found here.
For people located on Ottawa, Toronto, and Montreal, we will be organizing photo actions on May 7 outside the Russian embassy and consulates (date and exact time TBC). If you are interested in participating, please RSVP using this form >>>
RELATED CASE: On March 22, 2002, opposition figure and anti-corruption activist Aleksei Navalny was sentenced to a further 9 years for “fraud on an especially large scale” and “contempt of court”. He was accused of siphoning off approximately US$ 25,000 from donations to organizations he founded. Amnesty International analyzed the case and concluded that this prosecution was politically motivated and based on the arbitrary application of law which wrongfully criminalized Aleksei Navalny.
Please continue to sign and share the global petition calling for the release of Aleksei Navalny.
Ongoing Campaigns: End Israeli Apartheid
After four years of research in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories and building on decades of human rights advocacy in the region, Amnesty International launched a new report, Israel’s Apartheid Against Palestinians, on February 1st, 2022. The report sets out how massive seizures of Palestinian land and property, unlawful killings, forcible transfer, drastic movement restrictions, and the denial of nationality and citizenship to Palestinians are all components of a system which amounts to apartheid under international law.
The government of Israel has an obligation under international law to dismantle this system of apartheid, and to repeal or amend all laws, regulations, policies, and practices that discriminate on racial, ethnic, or religious grounds to bring them into line with international human rights law and standards.
Amnesty’s human rights concerns have always been directed at the policies, laws, and actions of the government of Israel, not the Jewish people. It is crucial not to conflate legitimate criticism of crimes under international law committed by the government of Israel with antisemitism. To do so is inaccurate and dangerous. We stand against antisemitism in the strongest possible terms.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Read the campaign blog and FAQ, check out the free 90-minute course Deconstructing Israel’s Apartheid against Palestinians. and continue to sign and share the online action Demolish Apartheid, not Palestinian Homes.
Ethiopia: Ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity in Western Tigray.
On April 6, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch launched the joint report, ‘We Will Erase You From This Land’: Crimes Against Humanity and Ethnic Cleansing in Ethiopia’s Western Tigray Zone. The extensive research documents how newly-appointed officials in Western Tigray and security forces from the neighbouring Amhara region, with the acquiescence and possible participation of Ethiopian federal forces, systematically expelled several hundred thousand Tigrayan civilians from their homes using threats, unlawful killings, sexual violence, mass arbitrary detention, pillage, forcible transfer, and the denial of humanitarian assistance. These widespread and systematic attacks against the Tigrayan civilian population amount to crimes against humanity and war crimes.
China: June 4 Tiananmen Square anniversary.
On the evening of June 3-4, 1989, hundreds – possibly thousands – of people were killed in Beijing when troops opened fire on students and workers who had been peacefully calling for political and economic reforms as well as an end to corruption. An unknown number of people were killed and jailed in similar crackdowns throughout the country. No one knows the exact number of fatalities since the Chinese authorities have stifled and censored discussion of the crackdown for the past three decades.
Hongkongers attending an annual Tiananmen vigil in the city’s Victoria Park since 1990 have called on the Chinese authorities to reveal the truth about what happened and take responsibility for the killings. The vigil has been banned for the past two years, ostensibly on Covid-19 grounds. In December 2021, three Hong Kong activists were convicted for their role in the 2020 Tiananmen Square vigil.
A short solidarity campaign will start in May (details TBC).
Saudi Arabia: Raif Badawi and travel bans
Although Raif Badawi was released in March after completing his ten-year sentence, a travel ban currently prevents him from joining his family in Canada. We are currently monitoring developments. Stay tuned for a campaign on travel bans later this spring.
For more information, please contact Hilary Homes, Crisis and Tactical campaigner, at the national office: firstname.lastname@example.org.