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    September 25, 2018

    Amnesty International USA today called on a halt to a vote on President Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court of the United States unless and until any information relevant to Kavanaugh’s possible involvement in human rights violations—including in relation to the U.S. government’s use of torture and other forms of ill-treatment, such as during the CIA detention program—is declassified and made public.

    Margaret Huang, Executive Director of Amnesty International USA said:

    “Amnesty International takes no position on the appointment of particular individuals to government positions, unless they are reasonably suspected of crimes under international law and could use their appointment to the position in question to either prevent accountability for these crimes or to continue perpetration.

    September 25, 2018

    “Wanted” pictures of Min Aung Hlaing, the Commander-in-Chief of the Myanmar military who oversaw atrocities against the country's Rohingya population, were posted around New York overnight, as part of Amnesty International’s campaign for accountability in Myanmar.

    World leaders, including representatives from Myanmar’s government, are meeting in New York this week for the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA).

    Accountability for the atrocities committed against the Rohingya and Myanmar’s other ethnic minorities is expected to be high on the agenda. The UN Human Rights Council is currently discussing the establishment of an evidence preservation mechanism which could see Min Aung Hlaing and other suspected perpetrators come closer to prosecution.

    Amnesty International’s posters have been plastered on sidewalks in 30 locations around the city, including iconic landmarks. 

    September 25, 2018

    Responding to President Donald Trump’s remarks at the United Nations General Assembly, Margaret Huang, Executive Director of Amnesty International USA, stated:

    “President Trump continues to attack human rights not only within his own country, but also within the UN system built specifically to protect and promote human rights.

    “The US should be building up, not tearing down, international mechanisms that hold governments accountable for their abuses. Though he mentioned transgressions by Iran, his actions chip away at institutions designed to guard against the most egregious human rights violations no matter what nation commits them.

    “This Administration continues to reject international standards, attesting to its exceptionalism as it cruelly turns its back on refugees and threatens to cut aid for all but those who pass some arbitrary litmus test of respect for his leadership, instead of whether they demonstrate a grave need for humanitarian assistance.”

    September 18, 2018

    Reacting to news that U.S. President Donald Trump plans to set the refugee admissions number to 30,000 for Fiscal year 2019, Ryan Mace, Grassroots Advocacy and Refugee Specialist at Amnesty International USA said:

    "The Trump administration is abandoning this country's promise to refugees.

    "Today's announcement demonstrates another undeniable political attack against people who have been forced to flee their homes.

    "This is the lowest goal in the history of the program, and compounded by this administration's history of creating road block after road block for refugees to arrive, this must be perceived as an all-out attack against our country's ability to resettle refugees both now and in the future.

    "There is absolutely no excuse for not accepting more refugees in the coming year."

    "We urge Congress to make clear their opposition to this, especially as they finalize FY19 appropriations."

    Background:

    September 11, 2018

    Amnesty International USA Release

    The U.S. government has allowed gun violence to become a human rights crisis, according to “In the Line of Fire: Human Rights and the U.S. Gun Violence Crisis,” a new report from Amnesty International. The report examines how all aspects of American life have been compromised in some way by the unfettered access to guns, with no attempts at meaningful national regulation.

    While most countries have licensing and regulation systems in place for firearms, the United States lacks measures like a national registration, and 30 states allow handguns to be owned without a license or permit.

    “The U.S. government is prioritizing gun ownership over basic human rights. While many solutions have been offered, there has been a stunning lack of political will to save lives,” said Margaret Huang, executive director of Amnesty International USA. “Despite the huge number of guns in circulation and the sheer numbers of people killed by guns each year, there is a shocking lack of federal regulations that could save thousands.”

    September 10, 2018

    Amnesty International USA Release

    Reacting to news that John Bolton, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, is expected to propose that the Trump administration ban International Criminal Court (ICC) judges and prosecutors from entering the US, impose sanctions on any funds they have in the States, and prosecute them in the US court system, Adotei Akwei, Deputy Director Advocacy and Government Relations at Amnesty International USA stated:

    “The United States’ attack on the International Criminal Court is an attack on millions of victims and survivors who have experienced the most serious crimes under international law and undermines decades of groundbreaking work by the international community to advance justice.

    “Rather than imposing sanctions, the United States should instead once and for all reaffirm its signature of the Rome Statute establishing the ICC, and support – not impede – its investigations.

    August 22, 2018

    Florida’s approach to the death penalty is deepening its outlier status on this human rights issue and has now added an extra layer of arbitrariness to its already discriminatory and error-prone capital justice system, Amnesty International said in a new report released today.

    “While several US states have embraced abolition in recent years, Florida remains a diehard proponent of the death penalty and one of a handful of states that account for the bulk of executions in the USA,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    “Despite its capital sentencing law being found unconstitutional two years ago, Florida still has the second largest death row in the country. Its response to that ruling has been to dig in and defend the indefensible, including the execution of people with mental and intellectual disabilities.”

    Florida shows few signs of joining the USA’s 19 states that have already abolished the death penalty or the others that are rethinking it. It is ranked fourth in the number of executions carried out in the USA since 1976, when the US Supreme Court approved new capital laws.

    August 01, 2018

    Amnesty International USA Release

    Responding to reports that President Donald Trump may seek to cap U.S. refugee admissions at no more than 25,000 refugees for Fiscal Year 2019, the lowest goal in the history of the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program, Ryan Mace, Grassroots Advocacy and Refugee Specialist at Amnesty International USA stated:

    “The United States betrays both its values and long history of helping those escaping war, persecution, and horrific violence when it denies refuge to those for whom resettlement is the only option. The Administration’s policies are denying thousands of refugees a chance at a new life. Many refugees are also hoping to be reunified with their families here in the US – some of whom have waited years to see their family again.

    “People across the United States are ready to stand with the global community in welcoming refugees as their neighbors, colleagues, classmates, families, and friends. The Administration’s policies continue to keep people in grave danger.”

    More information:

    July 24, 2018

    The House Appropriations Committee must reject all funding increases for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in next year’s budget for the Department of Homeland Security, Amnesty International urged in a letter as the committee prepares to mark up the FY19 DHS budget.

    The current bill proposes increased spending on border enforcement, including an unprecedented $5 billion for President Trump’s Border Wall, as well as funds for 44,000 ICE detention beds per day, a record high.

    “This bill will threaten asylum seekers at every turn. It will fuel this administration’s cruel policies of detaining, deporting, and punishing children and families seeking humanitarian protection” stated Joanne Lin, Amnesty International USA’s National Director of Advocacy and Government Affairs.

    “Congress should have no hand in funding and fueling the inhumane practice of locking up children and parents seeking humanitarian protection.”

    July 16, 2018

    Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump must use their upcoming summit in Helsinki to tackle the world’s most urgent human rights issues and restore their nations’ credibility as responsible international players, Amnesty International said ahead of the meeting between the Russian and US presidents in Finland’s capital on Monday.

    The organization calls on the two leaders to put the international refugee situation and the war in Syria at the top of their agenda during the summit, as well as violations taking place in their own countries.

    “Presidents Putin and Trump have been toxic for human rights. Their respective policies have resulted in broken families, children being held in cages, continuing atrocities in a prolonged war in Syria and the torture and killing of LGBTI people in Chechnya, to name just a few of the horrors that have unfolded under their watch,” said Anna Neistat, Amnesty International’s Senior Director of Research.

    July 05, 2018

    Amnesty International calls for “zero-tolerance” on child migration detention

    With hundreds of traumatized children still trapped in detention centres in the USA as a result of the Trump administration’s family separation policy, Amnesty International is calling on world leaders to take action by including a commitment to end child migration detention in the text of the Global Compact on Migration (GCM), which enters the final stage of negotiations next week.

    “The appalling scenes in the USA have illustrated why an international commitment to ending child migration detention is so desperately needed – these negotiations could not have come at a more crucial time,” said Perseo Quiroz, Amnesty International’s Senior Americas Advocate.

    “Many world leaders have expressed their outrage at the Trump administration’s recent horrendous treatment of children whose parents have arrived in the USA irregularly. Now is the time to channel that outrage into concrete action.

    July 04, 2018

    The Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR), Amnesty International (AI) and the Canadian Council of Churches (CCC) yesterday completed filing extensive evidence in Federal Court to support their legal challenge of the designation of the United States as a safe third country for refugees.

    “Canadians have seen over the last few weeks how refugees are treated heartlessly in the US under President Trump: children separated from their parents, long-term detention in horrific conditions, criminal prosecution of people just for crossing the border to seek safety, new policies closing the door on women fleeing gender-based violence,” said Claire Roque, CCR President. “The conclusion is clear: the US cannot be considered a safe country for refugees.”

    June 28, 2018
      US authorities must put an immediate end to both the separation and detention of children and families who come to the US border with Mexico seeking asylum, while also immediately reuniting the thousands of families who remain separated as a result of the Trump administration’s unlawful and damaging policies, said Amnesty International ahead of the Global Day of Action against these practices planned for 30 June.   “Despite the executive order that President Trump signed last week, thousands of frightened children are still being kept apart from their distraught parents, who have no idea when they’ll see them again. By holding kids in cages or flying them to shelters thousands of miles away, the US authorities are deliberately inflicting deep and lasting mental suffering on them in a bid to deter desperate families from seeking asylum,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.  
    June 26, 2018

    The following can be attributed to Ryan Mace, Grassroots Advocacy & Refugee Specialist at Amnesty International USA:

    “This hateful policy is a catastrophe all around – not only for those who simply want to travel, work, or study here in the States, but for those seeking safety from violence as well. While this decision doesn’t address the separate and equally harmful ban on refugees, it cruelly traps people in conflict-afflicted countries and prevents them from seeking safety in the U.S. or being reunited with family.  Some of the people banned from this policy are fleeing conflicts that the United States has had a direct hand in creating or perpetuating, as is the case in Yemen and Syria. In those cases especially we are essentially lighting a house on fire and locking the escape door shut. This ban, and the anti-Muslim sentiment in which it originated, has no place in a country that claims to value human rights.” 

    For more information please contact Jacob Kuehn Media Relations Officer at jkuehn@amnesty.ca

    June 22, 2018

    In response to a letter sent by the United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley to human rights groups, accusing them of blocking reform at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General, said:

    “Following the USA’s showy departure from the Human Rights Council, Nikki Haley’s letter is another sign that the Trump administration prefers confrontation to compromise.

    “This letter expresses open hostility towards human rights organizations with different opinions to the United States. As civil society, our job is to hold those in power to account, and refusing to engage with anyone who disagrees with it will leave the Trump administration in a very lonely place.

    “Blaming human rights groups for the USA’s regrettable decision ignores the tireless campaigning done by Amnesty International and others to reform the Human Rights Council, including calling for higher membership standards. Glossing over the facts will not help the USA’s standing on the international stage.

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