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    March 24, 2020

    Reacting to news that the Colorado legislature has signed a bill to repeal the death penalty, Kristina Roth, Senior Program Officer at Amnesty International USA, stated:

    "Colorado becomes the 22nd state to have abandoned the death penalty, bringing this country one state closer to joining the over two-thirds of the countries in the world that have abolished the death penalty in law or practice. This is the kind of human rights leadership this country needs, now more than ever.

    "The Governor must also be commended for commuting the death sentences of people currently on death row.

    "The death penalty is irreversible, it is ineffective, and it does not deter crime. The way the death penalty is carried out is painful, violent, and inhumane, and it is weaponized in this country disproportionately against communities of color. The use of the death penalty as a punishment is outdated, fundamentally broken and must end once and for all."

    Background: 

    March 20, 2020

    Responding to the United States announcement that the country will imminently close its border with Mexico and Canada, Charanya Krishnaswami, the Advocacy Director for the Americas at Amnesty International USA, said:

    "It's hard to imagine travel more essential than the journey an asylum-seeker makes to flee persecution. Yet today's restrictions, which empower the US to push back people who lack proper documentation, may inexcusably prevent asylum-seekers and unaccompanied children - two of the populations at greatest risk of danger - from accessing safety.

    "This is cruel, short-sighted, and opportunistic. Every person has the right to seek safety. Full stop."

    To schedule an interview or for further background, contact Lucy Scholey, Media Relations, Amnesty International Canada (English branch), 613-853-2142, lscholey@amnesty.ca   

    More information: 

    March 18, 2020

    Following reports that the Trump administration intends to issue a new rule that would allow U.S.

    March 06, 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. Hearings on the case were held last week. Amnesty's Julia Hall was there as an observer. Read her reflections here.

    In this context, publication of disclosed documents mirrors the work of investigative journalists. Punishing this kind of activity can have a chilling effect on the right to freedom of expression, leading journalists to self-censor from fear of prosecution.

    February 21, 2020

    Washington, DC – More than 60 national and international groups urged the administration, Congressional leadership, and the American public today to reject once and for all the worldwide production and use of anti-personnel landmines and join the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty.

    Their letter, excerpted below, is in response to the administration’s new landmine policy and can also be viewed in full here.

    “In response to the January 31 announcement by the White House of the Department of Defense’s new landmine policy, we, the undersigned organizations, strongly condemn the Trump Administration’s decision to lift existing American prohibitions against the use of landmines. We urge the White House and Department of Defense (DOD) to reconsider and take steps to join the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty. We urge Congress to take immediate measures to block the deployment of landmines and prohibit the development, production, or other acquisition of new antipersonnel landmines.

    February 20, 2020
    Amnesty International launches new campaign ahead of extradition hearing Espionage charges are chilling blow to publishers and journalists

    Authorities in the US must drop all espionage and other related charges that Julian Assange is facing as part of the US extradition request to allow for his prompt release, said Amnesty International ahead of his 24 February extradition hearing.

    If these charges are not dropped, the UK authorities must ensure that Julian Assange is not extradited to the USA where he would face a real risk of serious human rights violations.

    "The US government’s unrelenting pursuit of Julian Assange for having published disclosed documents that included possible war crimes committed by the US military is nothing short of a full-scale assault on the right to freedom of expression,” said Massimo Moratti, Amnesty International’s Deputy Europe Director.

    January 31, 2020

    Spokespeople are available in New York and Washington, D.C.

    Responding to reports that the Trump administration is expanding what has become known as the Muslim ban, which President Trump signed during his first week in office, Margaret Huang, Amnesty International USA’s executive director said:

    “This chaos has become the new normal. The policies this administration has enacted towards people seeking safety have been cruel, inhumane, bigoted. Once again, we reject these policies and stand in support of all people this administration seeks to exclude because of their identity. Reviving this ban, and the anti-Muslim sentiment in which it originated, is a violation of the values of human rights and human dignity, and it must be overturned.”

    “The Trump administration’s efforts to expand the ban are offensive and actually harmful to our national security. Our research has demonstrated how every version of this ban has shown itself to be deadly, dangerous, and disastrous. This policy is rooted in hate, white supremacy, and racism. 

    January 30, 2020

    Amnesty International USA is appalled by the reports that the Trump administration is planning to allow the production and use of landmines in potential future conflicts—a weapon that the global community has rejected as being dangerously indiscriminate. If the reports are confirmed, it would make the United States one of only a handful of state forces worldwide, along with Myanmar, North Korea and Syria, to openly use antipersonnel landmines in recent years despite the weapons being banned by an international treaty in 1997.

    The restriction on the production and use of landmines was based on research that showed the horrific human cost these weapons have caused over the years. Any action to ease restrictions on their use and availability is a massive step backwards. 

    January 24, 2020

    Wednesday, January 29 marks one year since the Trump administration implemented an unprecedented program disingenuously titled the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), also known as “Remain in Mexico,” under which the U.S. government forcibly returns people to Mexico while they ask for asylum in the U.S. 

    January 17, 2020

    • Amnesty International expert attending hearing and available for interviews

    The two psychologists responsible for designing and implementing the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation techniques” will testify in pre-trial hearings in the September 11 case at Guantánamo Bay next week. Amnesty International experts will be there to observe their testimony.

    The contract psychologists, James E. Mitchell and John “Bruce” Jessen, are responsible for developing interrogation techniques, including waterboarding, confinement in small boxes, beatings, and sleep deprivation, which amounted to torture. Many detainees suffered such abuse in secret sites around the globe, including in Europe, with the complicity of a number of European governments. Julia Hall, Amnesty International’s leading expert on counter-terrorism, who will be attending the hearings, said:

    “The perverse ‘work’ of these psychologists has dramatically set back the global fight against torture. The interrogation methods they championed have had a rippling effect around the world.

    December 04, 2019

    Responding to the passage of the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act in the United States Senate and House of Representatives, Francisco Bencosme, the Asia Pacific advocacy manager at Amnesty International USA said:

    “The Chinese government must be held accountable for its horrendous abuses in Xinjiang. The fact that there are thousands of Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities who are systematically being persecuted for what they believe or what ethnicity they identify with is absolutely unacceptable and demands a response.

    “This legislation sends a message that impunity is no longer provided to the Chinese government as it continues to inflict horrors upon its own people. Hundreds of thousands of people with no idea what has happened to their loved ones deserve better from all countries that are able to put pressure on the Chinese government to provide answers and reveal information on its camps.”

    Background and Context

    November 13, 2019

    After an inspiring, challenging and eventful week at the Federal Court in Toronto, it is worth taking a moment for some final reflections on the court challenge to the Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA) which took place from November 4-8, 2019. 

    November 08, 2019

    Jaya Bordeleau-Cass and André Capretti are the 2019-2020 Public Interest Articling Fellows at Amnesty International Canada. They will be posting updates about the Safe Third Country Agreement hearing throughout the week.

    The brief and frustrating answer: it’s unclear what it takes. 

    Submissions in the Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA) challenge continued to be delivered from November 4-8th at the Federal Court in Toronto. Earlier this week, counsel for the applicants – representing Amnesty International, the Canadian Council for Refugees and the Canadian Council of Churches, and other individual litigants – provided a general overview of the requirements for a safe third country designation, why it is unlawful, and why the operation of the agreement violates the security and equality rights of STCA returnees.

    November 07, 2019

    As the Supreme Court of the United States prepares to hear arguments on November 12 in the case of Hernandez v. Mesa, which concerns the killing of fifteen-year-old Sergio Hernández, by Jesus Mesa, Jr., a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent, Amnesty International USA, along with the Center for Constitutional Rights, Human Rights First, and the Rutherford Institute, submitted an amicus brief in support of the Hernández family.

    Justin Mazzola, deputy director of research at Amnesty International USA said:

    November 06, 2019

    Jaya Bordeleau-Cass and André Capretti are the 2019-2020 Public Interest Articling Fellows at Amnesty International Canada. They will be posting updates about the Safe Third Country Agreement hearing throughout the week.

    Shame. Frustration. Rage. Disappointment.  

    Court hearings can be dry, but when we listen to the facts and stories presented over the past two days in the challenge to the Canada-US Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA), it is hard not to have an emotional reaction.

    On the second day of the hearings in Toronto, counsel for the applicants – Amnesty International, the Canadian Council for Refugees, the Canadian Council of Churches and individual refugee claimants – continued to present their legal arguments and reviewed how the STCA violates equality rights under section 15 of the Canadian Charter, and the rights to liberty and security of the person under section 7.

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