A group of girls who had been forced to leave school when they became pregnant, Freetown, Sierra Leone, 2016
A group of girls who had been forced to leave school when they became pregnant, Freetown, Sierra Leone, 2016
The G7 meeting in Biarritz has been marred by an unjustifiable crackdown on freedom of assembly and movement, Amnesty International said today.
Authorities also prevented a number of peaceful protests organized around the Summit in cities and areas close to Biarritz, with only two demonstrations allowed to proceed.
“From the beginning of this G7 Summit in Biarritz, it was clear that the French authorities had a plan to restrict freedom of assembly and movement, with the announced presence of more than 13,000 police to man the area.” said Marco Perolini, Amnesty International’s France Researcher.
Amnesty International will today (Thursday April 25) legally challenge the French government’s decision to donate six boats to the Libyan Navy, which includes the Libyan Coast Guard.
Amnesty International is one of eight NGOs demanding that delivery of the boats is suspended, believing they would be used to intercept refugees and migrants and force them back to Libya, where they suffer serious human rights violations.
“Delivering boats to the Libyan Coast Guard was an unlawful and reckless decision - but doing it now, as the armed conflict in Libya escalates, is even more callous and irresponsible,” said Massimo Moratti, Regional Director for Research at Amnesty International.
“The donation would make French authorities complicit in trapping thousands of women, men and children in a country where they suffer extortion and are arbitrarily detained and tortured.
Amnesty International Canada is renewing calls for a public inquiry into the extradition and imprisonment of academic Hassan Diab, after learning the French Court of Appeal has ordered a fresh review of his case.
In response, Secretary General Alex Neve issued the following statement:
“As has been the case for more than a decade, Hassan Diab and his family are not yet able to put these years of Kafkaesque injustice firmly in the past. Today’s news comes as deep frustration and disappointment.
“The handwriting samples and analysis in this case have consistently been rejected by experts in both Canada and France. Yet French authorities continue to hold onto hope that they can keep this case alive by resurrecting evidence that has been roundly discredited as worthless.
“In doing so, they continue to keep Hassan Diab and his family in a suspended state of uncertainty and anguish.
"So while this case is protracted and extended yet one more time in France, it is vital that efforts to get to the bottom of Canada’s role in why and how this happened need to expand and deepen.
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.”
Responding to the decision of a French court to acquit Martine Landry, a 73-year-old woman, charged with helping two 15-year-old asylum seekers in France, Gauri van Gulik, Amnesty International’s Europe Director, said:
“Today’s decision is not only a victory for justice but also for common sense. Martine Landry did nothing wrong. By taking two young people to a police station so they could be registered and cared for as minors, she acted compassionately and within the law.
“Whilst it is a relief that Martine Landry’s ordeal is now over, she should never have been charged in the first place.
“In the wake of today’s decision and the 6 July ruling by France’s Constitutional Council that humanitarian activities should not be criminalized, French law should be amended to ensure only smuggling for material benefit is regarded as an offence.”
Responding to the passing of an asylum and immigration bill that will tighten asylum rules, Cécile Coudriou, President of Amnesty International France, declares:
“This bill, and the discussions around its text, fails to address the difficulties faced by migrants and asylum seekers in France and the need to fully respect their rights. Those drafting this bill missed numerous opportunities including putting an end to the detention of children and providing dignified protection for those fleeing war or persecution.
“The majority of parliamentarians were aware that the ‘offence of solidarity’ could be wrongfully used to prosecute people providing voluntary assistance to asylum seekers. Yet the final draft of the bill remains unaligned with international law.
“The new list of immunities and the conditions for not being prosecuted leaves the sword of Damocles dangling over the heads of activists, citizens and organizations that act to protect human rights.
The world is reaping the terrifying consequences of hate-filled rhetoric that threatens to normalize massive discrimination against marginalized groups, Amnesty International warned today as it launched its annual assessment of human rights.
Nevertheless, the organization found that a growing movement of both first-time and seasoned activists campaigning for social justice provides real hope of reversing the slide towards oppression.
The report, The State of the World’s Human Rights, covers 159 countries and delivers the most comprehensive analysis of the state of human rights in the world today.
Amnesty International welcomes today’s long-overdue order for the release of Canadian-Lebanese dual citizen Hassan Diab from pre-trial detention in France, following a court ruling dismissing all allegations against him. In contravention of international human rights standards, Mr. Diab spent more than three years in pre-trial detention without being officially charged or brought to trial. He remained imprisoned despite eight consecutive orders from four separate French investigative judges that he be released on bail, all of which were summarily overturned on appeals perfunctorily lodged by French prosecutors.
21 September 2017, Ottawa – On July 28, 2017, the French investigative judge issued a notice about the end of investigations in Dr. Hassan Diab’s case, the Canadian citizen and sociology professor who was extradited to France in November 2014. However, the decision has been delayed as the prosecutor is yet to submit written arguments.
Dear Ministers Freeland and Wilson-Raybould, and Mr. Alghabra,
Amnesty International is alarmed at the continued detention of Lebanese-Canadian dual national Hassan Diab in Fleury-Mérogis Prison in France in the face of six orders from investigating judges that he be released on bail. We urge you to call on your French counterparts to take immediate steps to secure his release on bail.
Strong new evidence uncovered in the past few days that could help in the case of Canadian citizen Hassan Diab, who has been held in pre-trial custody in France for 2½ years without charge or trial, will be the subject of a national press conference tomorrow.
Mr. Diab, a Lebanese-Canadian dual national, was extradited from Canada to France in November 2014 to face criminal charges in connection with a 1980 bombing outside a synagogue in Paris. Mr Diab has consistently professed his innocence.
French investigating judges have delivered 6 judicial orders that Mr. Diab be released on bail, all of which have been summarily overturned on appeal. The most recent release order, on April 24, cited evidence that indicated Mr. Diab was in Beirut during the Paris bombing. That order was quashed on appeal May 2.
Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada, and Chantal Vallerand, of the Canadian Association of University Teachers, will speak at the press conference, as will Mr. Diab’s Canadian lawyer and his spouse.
France: Unchecked clampdown on protests under guise of fighting terrorism
Powers designed to combat terrorism have been repeatedly misused to curb peaceful protest, a new report from Amnesty International has found.
A right not a threat: Disproportionate restrictions on demonstrations under the State of Emergency in France reveals that hundreds of unjustified measures restricting freedom of movement and the right to peaceful assembly have been issued under the guise of countering terrorism.
“Emergency laws intended to protect the French people from the threat of terrorism are instead being used to restrict their rights to protest peacefully,” said Marco Perolini, Amnesty International’s researcher on France.
“Under the cover of the state of emergency, rights to protest have been stripped away with hundreds of activists, environmentalists, and labour rights campaigners unjustifiably banned from participating in protests.”
As the National Assembly and the Senate vote on the renewal of the state of emergency today and tomorrow, Amnesty International is calling on parliamentarians to reject the extension of these disproportionate measures.
After four extensions and more than a year under the state of emergency the risks and knock-on effects of these measures are becoming all too apparent.
Not only is the effectiveness of the state of emergency seriously in question, but the consequences on those targeted under its provisions are very real. The rights of hundreds of men, women and children have been trampled, leaving them traumatized and stigmatized.
While it is the duty of the authorities to take necessary measures to protect the population, it is also their responsibility to ensure that any derogation from international standards does not become the norm and to demonstrate the necessity for the renewal.
Responding to the decision of France’s highest administrative court to overturn the ban on the burkini on a French beach, John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Europe Director said:
“By overturning a discriminatory ban that is fuelled by and is fuelling prejudice and intolerance, today’s decision has drawn an important line in the sand.”
“French authorities must now drop the pretence that these measures do anything to protect the rights of women. Rather, invasive and discriminatory measures such as these restrict women’s choices and are an assault on their freedoms of expression, religion and right to non-discrimination.”
“These bans do nothing to increase public safety, but do a lot to promote public humiliation. Not only are they in themselves discriminatory, but as we have seen, the enforcement of these bans leads to abuses and the degrading treatment of Muslim women and girls,”