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    November 18, 2020

    As the U.S. tops 250,000 deaths from COVID-19 today and President Trump continues to reject cooperation with President-Elect Biden’s team on the pandemic, Amnesty International USA Interim Executive Director Bob Goodfellow issued the below statement: 

    “The COVID-19 pandemic is a human rights crisis on an unprecedented scale. The U.S. government’s response to the pandemic has laid bare systemic disparities that have long undermined our human rights, including those to life and health, to and at work, to social security, and to be free from discrimination. From the very beginning, this crisis has affected everyone, but some have been hit much harder than others. Communities of color, frontline and low-wage workers, people with disabilities, older people, people who are undocumented, and those of us facing economic hardship are yet again dying and suffering in far greater numbers. 

    November 07, 2020

    Following reports that Joe Biden will become the 46th president of the United States of America, Amnesty International USA’s Interim Executive Director, Bob Goodfellow, released the following statement:  

    “As an organization dedicated to defending everyone’s human rights in the U.S. and around the world, Amnesty International USA calls on the new Biden administration to act immediately to end human rights violations perpetrated by the U.S. government, including the detention and separation of children and their families seeking safety.    

    November 05, 2020

    Police officers gather to remove activists during an anti-death penalty protest at the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC, January 2017.
    ©BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images

    DOWNLOAD PDF OF UA 26/20 HERE

    Two men and one woman convicted under USA federal law face execution in November and December 2020. 

    After a hiatus of 17 years, the Trump administration resumed federal executions on 14 July 2020, putting to death seven men over ten weeks. Their cases reflected concerns on arbitrariness, racial bias and unfairness that have long affected the USA death penalty system, as well as contempt for international law restrictions on the use of the death penalty. Amnesty International urges the US Attorney General to withdraw any pending death warrants and abandon any plans to pursue further executions.  

    With seven executions carried out in just over two months, the administration has now put to death more people in 2020 than the rest of the country combined.

    October 23, 2020

    Law enforcement agencies across the USA are failing to facilitate people’s fundamental right to freedom of peaceful assembly, and to protect protests and counter-protests from violent disruption by armed groups among others, Amnesty International said today in a new report, Losing the Peace: US Police Failures to Protect Protesters from Violence. 

    Since the police killing of George Floyd in May 2020, there have been thousands of peaceful anti-racism and political protests and counter-protests across the USA. Yet in nearly 200 incidents where violence occurred between participants in conflicting protests, Amnesty International found that US police forces frequently failed to take preventive measures to avoid the disruption of peaceful assemblies and failed to protect protesters from violent attacks when they did occur.

    October 22, 2020

    Responding to reports that the United States Department of State, under Secretary Pompeo’s initiative, may categorize several non-governmental organizations as antisemitic and call on governments worldwide to stop funding them, Bob Goodfellow, the Interim Executive Director of Amnesty International USA, issued the below statement:

    “Secretary Pompeo’s baseless accusations are yet another attempt to silence and intimidate international human rights organizations. The administration is spreading misinformation and working to undermine those who are working to protect human rights. Amnesty International USA is deeply committed to fighting antisemitism and all forms of hate worldwide, and will continue to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth, and dignity are denied. We vigorously contest any allegation of antisemitism.

    October 06, 2020

    Amnesty International has delivered more than one million signatures from around the world to US Attorney General William Barr demanding justice for George Floyd, a Black man killed by police in Minneapolis, Minnesota on 25 May 2020.

    The letter, which can be found here, conveys Amnesty International’s grave concerns about racist policing practices used disproportionately against Black people in the USA, and demands the police officers involved in the killing of George Floyd be held accountable.

    September 30, 2020

    Last night, President Donald Trump failed to condemn white supremacist groups and instead told the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by.” In response, Amnesty International USA’s End Gun Violence Campaign Manager, Ernest Coverson, released the following statement: 

    “Last night, President Trump blew yet another dog whistle to the Proud Boys, a group the FBI has deemed an ‘extremist organization.’ While disappointing and horrifying, this isn’t surprising: President Trump has traded in bigotry since day one, putting ordinary people at greater risk of violence and harassment by white supremacists.

    “The continued failure of President Trump to denounce racial and ethnic hatred has only emboldened those who wish to normalize discrimination. We have seen how white supremacy, racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim, misogyny, and anti-LGBTQ sentiment are being used to further discrimination against already marginalized communities. The failure to hold accountable those who commit, encourage, or turn a blind eye to this hateful rhetoric only worsens the problem.

    September 23, 2020

    By Stefan Simanowitz, Amnesty International's media manager for Europe, Turkey and the Balkans

    The first day of Julian Assange's extradition hearing, which started on Monday 7 September, drew more than two hundred people to gather outside the Old Bailey in London. People in fancy dress mingled with camera crews, journalists and a pack of hungry photographers who would disappear regularly to give chase to any white security van heading towards the court, pressing their long lenses against the darkened windows.

    Arriving at the court each morning was an assault to the senses with the noise of samba bands, sound systems and chanting crowds and the sight of banners, balloons and billboards at every turn. One of the vans had come from Belmarsh high security prison, Julian Assange's home for the last 16 months.

    September 23, 2020

    Responding to the decision in the Breonna Taylor case today, Kristina Roth, the Senior Program Officer for Criminal Justice Programs at Amnesty International USA, said:

    “Breonna Taylor’s death is a tragedy. She was asleep in her bed when the police busted down her door and recklessly opened fire, taking her life. Black people in America have the same right to be safe as all people, though this is hard to conceive when we think of the abhorrent killings of Breonna, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Dijon Kizzee and too many more.  

    “Breonna Taylor's case reminds us of how Kentucky's police use of lethal force statute puts accountability out of reach for unlawful killings by police  — and how police, who are supposed to protect life, so frequently only see one side of that principle. This case must serve as a wake-up call to our elected officials that they must meet this moment with a bold agenda for police reform, one that brings about meaningful accountability, reimagines public safety and provides justice for all.

    September 17, 2020

    Amnesty International is deeply concerned that the organization’s lack of access to the Julian Assange extradition hearing, which began on 7 September at the Old Bailey in London, undermines the recognition of trial observers as guardians of international fair trial standards. The organization lodged three separate applications to request access to the premises of the Court for the hearing. All applications were rejected, signaling a retreat on the part of the UK authorities from the principle of open justice.

     Amnesty International has called on the US government to drop all charges against Julian Assange for his publishing activities and on the UK authorities not to send Assange to the USA or any country where he would be at risk of serious human rights violations. As part of its research, advocacy and campaigning work on the Assange case, Amnesty is committed to monitoring the UK extradition hearing by engaging expert international trial monitors to observe and document the proceedings.

    September 16, 2020

    Responding to reports that there have been hysterectomies performed on immigrant women detained in the Irwin County Detention Center (ICDC) in Georgia, Denise Bell, Researcher on Refugee and Migrant Rights, said:

    “The reports of hysterectomies performed on women detained in Irwin County without their full consent are deeply alarming. According to the report, some women were reportedly unsure why the procedure was performed, or they were not fully informed of what procedures would be performed on them.

    September 08, 2020

    By Julia Hall, Amnesty International's expert on human rights in Europe

    The last time I saw Julian Assange he looked tired and wan.

    Dressed neatly in casual business attire, the Wikileaks founder was sitting in a glass-enclosed dock, at the back of a courtroom adjoining Belmarsh high security prison in London, flanked by two prison officers.

    I had travelled from the US to observe the hearing. He had travelled via tunnel from his cell to the courtroom. 

    Today, Julian Assange will be in court again, for the resumption of proceedings that will ultimately decide on the Trump administration’s request for his extradition to the US.

    But it is not just Julian Assange that will be in the dock. Beside him will sit the fundamental tenets of media freedom that underpin the rights to freedom of expression and the public’s right to access to information. Silence this one man, and the US and its accomplices will gag others, spreading fear of persecution and prosecution over a global media community already under assault in the US and in many other countries worldwide.

    September 07, 2020

    Julian Assange is currently being held at Belmarsh, a high security prison in the UK, on the basis of a US extradition request on charges that stem directly from the publication of disclosed documents as part of his work with Wikileaks. He faces up to 175 years if convicted. Initial hearings on the case were held last February with Amnesty's Julia Hall there as an observer.

    On March 25, 2020, Julian Assange's lawyers applied for bail, reiterating health concerns amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Bail was denied. Decreasing the prison population and the number of people in detention centres is a crucial means of slowing the spread of COVID-19 and keeping people safe. If Julian Assange has an underlying condition that puts him at risk, he should be immediately released on bail, as should any detainees and prisoners at such risk who does not pose a risk to society.

    September 01, 2020
    Protesters march on Hiawatha Avenue while decrying the killing of George Floyd on May 26, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota

    Amnesty International must honestly and openly confront concerns about anti-Black racism within our organization, historically and currently. We are moving towards meaningfully addressing systemic oppression, internally and externally, beginning with acknowledgment of allegations and harms. 

    Activists against anti-Black racism in the United States and Canada have raised troubling questions about the possible role of Luis Kutner — said to have had leadership roles in the early years of Amnesty International and/or Amnesty International USA — in events that led to 21-year-old Black Panther leader Fred Hampton being shot and killed in December 1969 by the FBI and local police in Chicago.  FBI documents, declassified in 2018, reveal information Kutner provided to the FBI prior to the raid that resulted in Fred Hampton’s murder at the hands of police. 

    August 26, 2020

    Following reports indicating that two protestors were killed and one was injured during protests in Kenosha, WI, Amnesty International USA released the following statement from End Gun Violence campaign manager, Ernest Coverson. The protests come after local police shot and severely injured Jacob Blake as he tried to get into his car. 

    “Once more, we are witnessing why it is crucial for the United States to protect the rights of protestors who are exercising their right to hold peaceful public assemblies and to end gun violence. Simply put, it is the duty of law enforcement officers to protect those who’ve gathered to protest. While Wisconsin is an open carry state, law enforcement officers should ensure that armed private individuals are not endangering public safety or targeting peaceful protestors. 

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