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    October 21, 2019
    33 strikes examined in first detailed investigation on both sides of the frontline More than 100 civilians killed and injured; 100,000 displaced UN arms embargo violations by UAE, Turkey and others fuel potential war crimes

    Warring parties in the ongoing battle for Tripoli have killed and maimed scores of civilians by launching indiscriminate attacks and using a range of inaccurate explosive weapons in populated urban areas, Amnesty International said in a new report today.

    In the first in-depth field investigation across the frontline since fighting broke out on 4 April, the organization visited 33 air and ground strike sites in Tripoli and surrounding areas. It unearthed evidence of potential war crimes by both the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) and the self-proclaimed Libyan National Army (LNA), who have been fighting in and around the city.

    October 21, 2019

    Ahead of today’s extradition hearing in the Westminster Magistrates’ Court, Massimo Moratti, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Europe, said:

    “The British authorities must acknowledge the real risks of serious human rights violations Julian Assange would face if sent to the USA and reject the extradition request. The UK must comply with the commitment it’s already made that he would not be sent anywhere he could face torture or other ill-treatment.

    “The UK must abide by its obligations under international human rights law that forbids the transfer of individuals to another country where they would face serious human rights violations. Were Julian Assange to be extradited or subjected to any other transfer to the USA, Britain would be in breach of these obligations.”

    For more information contact Lucy Scholey, Media Relations, 613-744-7667 ext 236, lscholey@amnesty.ca

    Background:

    Julian Assange: Rape allegations must be treated with utmost seriousness

    October 18, 2019

    The Nicaraguan government must end the repressive strategy it has pursued since 18 April 2018 and which currently includes implementing measures to close down, subdue or silence civil society organizations and the independent media, said Amnesty International today as it launched its campaign "What we left behind: fleeing repression in Nicaragua".

    “The international community must be clear that the human rights crisis in Nicaragua since April 2018, caused by the government of Daniel Ortega, is ongoing and that the authorities have shown no desire to ensure the population can exercise their rights. As a result of this strategy of repression, tens of thousands of people are living in exile, including human rights defenders and journalists,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International.

    October 18, 2019

    Turkish military forces and a coalition of Turkey-backed Syrian armed groups have displayed a shameful disregard for civilian life, carrying out serious violations and war crimes, including summary killings and unlawful attacks that have killed and injured civilians, during the offensive into northeast Syria, said Amnesty International today.

    The organization gathered witness testimony between 12 and 16 October from 17 people including medical and rescue workers, displaced civilians, journalists, local and international humanitarian workers, as well as analyzing and verifying video footage and reviewing medical reports and other documentation.

    The information gathered provides damning evidence of indiscriminate attacks in residential areas, including attacks on a home, a bakery and a school, carried out by Turkey and allied Syrian armed groups. It also reveals gruesome details of a summary killing in cold blood of a prominent Syrian-Kurdish female politician, Hevrin Khalaf, by members of Ahrar Al-Sharqiya, part of the Syrian National Army, a coalition of Syrian armed groups equipped and supported by Turkey.

    October 18, 2019

    Responding to the Hong Kong High Court’s judgment against “MK”, a woman who had filed a lawsuit claiming that Hong Kong law breached her rights to privacy and equality by failing to recognize same-sex unions, Man-kei Tam, Director of Amnesty International Hong Kong, said:

    “This judgment is a bitter blow to the LGBTI communities in Hong Kong, who cannot acquire the same status and recognition, and access the same rights, as opposite-sex couples due to outdated laws that refuse to recognize same-sex unions. MK’s decision to challenge this discrimination in court was an opportunity for Hong Kong to break away from the injustices of the past and start shaping a more fair and equal society.

    October 17, 2019

    Responding to the news that journalist Hajar Raissouni, sentenced to one year in prison over an “unlawful” abortion, was released last night, after she, her fiancé and the three members of medical staff involved in the case received a royal pardon, Heba Morayef, Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa Director, said: 

    “Hajar Raissouni’s release comes as a huge relief and is undoubtedly a cause for celebration for her and her family. But the fact remains that she and the four others involved in this case should never have been detained or convicted in the first place.

    “A royal pardon does not erase the grave injustice they have suffered. Their convictions should be quashed and their records cleared.

    “Hajar Raissouni’s case shows just how much work is still needed to protect women’s rights in Morocco. The Moroccan authorities must urgently decriminalise abortion and repeal all other laws that discriminate against women.”

    Background:

    October 17, 2019

    MEDIA RELEASE
    UP FOR DEBATE 2019

    October 17, 2019

    OTTAWA – A broad alliance of women’s rights and equality-seeking organizations has officially called off plans to host a national leaders’ debate on women’s rights and gender equality, citing a lack of commitment from most federal party leaders.

    In March, the alliance wrote to all party leaders, inviting them to participate in a national televised debate on women’s rights and gender equality – the first debate of its kind since 1984.

    Months later, and only days away from Election Day, the only two leaders committed to debating women’s rights and gender equality issues are the NDP’s Jagmeet Singh and the Green Party’s Elizabeth May. While the Bloc Quebecois expressed interest, Up for Debate could not secure a firm commitment from the party’s leader, Yves-François Blanchet. The alliance did not receive an RSVP from Conservative leader Andrew Scheer or Liberal leader Justin Trudeau.

    October 16, 2019

    OTTAWA – With less than a week until the federal election, and without a firm commitment from all federal political party leaders, a coalition of women’s rights and equality-seeking organizations in Canada is calling off plans to hold a leaders’ debate on women’s rights and gender equality.

    The Up for Debate campaign called on all federal party leaders to participate in a national debate focused on women’s rights and gender equality – a topic that has been largely absent from the party platforms and televised debates. Days before voters head to the polls, Up for Debate is calling on all federal party leaders to clearly articulate their commitments to address the rights of women, transgender, non-binary, and two-spirit people in Canada, including how they will tackle poverty, income inequality, violence, and support for women’s rights and equality-seeking organizations.

    What: Press conference with Up for Debate coalition members

    Date: October 17, 2019

    Time: 10 a.m.

    Location: 135-B Press Conference Room in West Block

    October 15, 2019

    Amnesty International is welcoming news that Maryam Mombeini has finally reunited with her two sons in Canada, more than 18 months after Iranian authorities separated the family at Tehran’s airport.

    In a heartfelt video posted to Twitter, Maryam is seen embracing her sons, Ramin and Mehran Seyed-Emami, at the Vancouver International Airport on October 10. It had been 582 days since they had last seen each other.

    “We are grateful to the Canadian government, and specifically Foreign Minister Freeland for their unwavering support from day one. We are also thankful to Iran for allowing our mother, Maryam Mombeini, to finally leave and join us in Vancouver,” said Ramin in a statement sent to media and shared with Amnesty International.

    “We have been overwhelmed with an amazing outpour of love and support from everyone. And we cannot be happier to have such an amazing network of friends and family, who’ve stood by our side through thick and thin.

    October 15, 2019

    In response to the Trump Administration’s continued assault on the U.S. refugee resettlement program, 18 leaders from the nation’s leading faith and human rights organizations, as well as a former State Department official, were arrested on Capitol Hill as part of the first ever act of civil disobedience in the name of refugee resettlement. Those 18 arrested represented the 18,000 refugee cap set by the Trump administration - the lowest in the history of the resettlement program.

    Those arrested were joined by supporters holding 95 photographs of refugees, a nod to the historic average refugee cap of 95,000 per year. The arrests came as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo today meets with Members of Congress to consult over the historically low cap.

    Prior to being taken into custody by Capitol Police, a number of the arrested issued the following statements:

    October 15, 2019

    On Monday evening, the Metropolitan Police issued a revised section 14 order saying demonstrators protesting in London after 21:00 BST could be arrested.

    Allan Hogarth, Head of Advocacy and Programmes at Amnesty International UK, said:

    “Imposing a blanket ban on Extinction Rebellion protests is an unlawful restriction on the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. Under UK and international human rights law, the Government has an obligation to facilitate the exercise of these rights. 

    “The majority of those protesting have been doing so peacefully, removing and prosecuting activists for engaging in non-violent direct action to raise their voice is deeply worrying. Overly harsh and disproportionate charges will have a chilling effect on rights.

    “This is a heavy-handed and unacceptable move by the Metropolitan Police. Certain disruption to ordinary life for protesting is natural, and it needs to be tolerated. The police must respect the rights of those peacefully protesting and ensure that the voices of those demanding action on tackling the climate crisis are allowed to be heard.”

    October 15, 2019

    Spokespeople available to take media interviews

    Responding to Ugandan Ethics and Integrity Minister Simon Lokodo’s announcement that the government is planning to introduce the death penalty for consensual same-sex sexual acts, Amnesty International’s Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes, Joan Nyanyuki said:

    “It is outrageous that instead of the Ugandan government taking urgent steps to decriminalize gay sex, they want gay people executed. This is going to fire-up more hatred in an already homophobic environment.

    “This is an example of how Uganda’s politicians are stoking dangerous intolerance and bias against LGBTI people. Uganda’s MPs must resoundingly reject any plan to legalize this kind of bigotry and witch hunting of anyone who is perceived as being different.”

    On 5 October, Brian Wassa, a gay paralegal succumbed to brain hemorrhage after been hacked in the head by unknown persons the previous day at his home in Kampala.

    October 11, 2019

    Malaysia must start to fulfil its promise to abolish the death penalty in forthcoming legislation by ending its use for drug-related offences and eliminating the mandatory death sentence, Amnesty International said today, as it launches a new report to mark the World Day Against the Death Penalty.

    The report, Fatally flawed: Why Malaysia must abolish the death penalty, reveals the use of torture and other ill-treatment to obtain “confessions”, inadequate access to legal assistance, an opaque pardons process and other serious violations of the right to a fair trial that have put people at risk of execution.

    The report also highlights how 73% of those on death row – 930 people – have been sentenced to death for drug-related offences in contravention of international human rights law. Almost half are foreign nationals – including nearly nine out of ten women. More than half of them (478) are foreign nationals.

    October 11, 2019

    Spokespersons available to take media interviews

    Responding to the announcement that Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has been awarded the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize, Amnesty International’s Secretary General Kumi Naidoo said:

    “This award recognizes the critical work Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government has done to initiate human rights reforms in Ethiopia after decades of widespread repression.

    October 10, 2019

    The torture in custody of Alaa Abdel Fattah, a blogger and activist who rose to fame during the 2011 uprising, as well as the mistreatment of his lawyer Mohamed el-Baqer, are chilling illustrations of the ruthless tactics the Egyptian authorities are prepared to use to silence critics, said Amnesty International today.

    Following his arrest on 29 September during the authorities’ latest crackdown, Alaa Abdel Fattah was transferred to Egypt’s notorious Tora maximum security prison 2, known as al-Aqrab 2 - where prison officers blindfolded him, stripped him of his clothing, beat and kicked him repeatedly, and subjected him to threats and verbal abuse.

    One police officer told him prison was “made for people like you”, adding that he would be in prison for the rest of his life. A National Security Agency officer warned he would face further torture if he reported the abuse.

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