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Human Rights

    November 22, 2019

    Amnesty International representatives are attending the March and are available for interview

    The Ukrainian authorities must ensure the safety and security of all participants in the Trans March taking place in Kyiv tomorrow, Amnesty International said, warning that participants are at serious risk of violent attacks. In 2018 the police failed to protect participants in a similar peaceful rally from violent groups who hurled abuse and threw smoke grenades.

    “Last year the Ukrainian police showed inexcusable inaction in the face of homophobic and transphobic attacks. Groups advocating hatred and discrimination took full advantage of the police’s failure and subjected peaceful marchers to severe abuse,” said Oksana Pokalchuk, Amnesty International Ukraine’s Director.

    November 21, 2019
    Air quality in Lahore measured at nearly twice “hazardous” level Amnesty International issues first “Urgent Action” for entire population of a major city Pakistan government accused of downplaying crisis

    In an unprecedented step, Amnesty International has issued an Urgent Action for the people of Lahore in a bid to mobilize its supporters around the world to campaign on behalf of the entire population due to the hazardous smog engulfing Pakistan’s second largest city.

    The “Urgent Action” raises concerns about how the poor air quality poses a risk to the health of every person in the Pakistani city of more than 10 million people.

    “The government’s inadequate response to the smog in Lahore raises significant human rights concerns. The hazardous air is putting everyone’s right to health at risk,” said Rimmel Mohydin, South Asia Campaigner at Amnesty International.

    November 21, 2019

    The death of prominent Somali-Canadian human rights activist Almaas Elman, who was shot in Mogadishu yesterday, shows the risk faced by activists in the country and underlines the need for the authorities to ensure the safety of civilians, said Amnesty International.

    Almaas was hit by a bullet on 20 November while she was travelling in a car inside the Halane compound in the capital Mogadishu. She died later in hospital as the result of the injuries she sustained. The circumstances of her killing remain unclear.

    “We send our deepest condolences to Almaas’ family and the entire human rights community in Somalia who continue to fight injustice and push for respect for human rights despite the risks,” said Seif Magango, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    November 21, 2019

    Ottawa, ON – In a few days, the Federal Government of Canada will take First Nations children back to court in an effort to dismiss a compensation order by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT). On his first day as Canada’s Minister of Justice and Attorney General, the Honourable David Lametti should drop its application for judicial review and stay of the ruling and work with the Assembly of First Nations and the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society to develop a plan for children, youth, and families to access compensation.

    As organizations committed to the well-being of all children and to the respect of children’s rights, we have been witnesses to the CHRT case of First Nations child welfare and Jordan's Principle.

    We witnessed as Canada’s conduct was found to be wilful and reckless in discriminating against First Nations children in care.

    We witnessed when Canada was ordered to pay compensation for those who were wrongly removed from their families or denied essential services.

    And we witnessed Canada file for judicial review, opting to continue to fight First Nations children in court.

    November 20, 2019

    OTTAWA, November 20, 2019 / Human rights advocates are denouncing the Canadian government’s financial support for a disastrous hydroelectric project in Colombia, as a leader from one of the affected communities arrives in Ottawa to meet today with officials at Export Development Canada (EDC) and Global Affairs Canada.

    Amnesty International Canada and Above Ground are accompanying Isabel Zuleta, a spokesperson for the coalition Movimiento Ríos Vivos, in her meetings with officials.

    EDC’s president and CEO recently acknowledged that the Hidroituango project, which was financed in part by EDC, led to “an environmental, economic and human catastrophe” after the dam nearly collapsed in 2018, forcing the evacuation of 25,000 people. Another financier, the Inter-American Development Bank, announced last month an investigation into its support for the dam.

    November 19, 2019

    The Bolivian authorities must immediately repeal Decree 4078 of 14 November 2019 and ensure that the security forces act in accordance with international rules and standards on the use of force and protect the human rights of all protesters irrespective of their political opinions, Amnesty International said today.

    “The grave human rights crisis that Bolivia has experienced since the elections of 20 October has been aggravated by the intervention and action of the security forces. Any message giving carte blanche for impunity is extremely serious. The disastrous historical precedents of intervention by the Armed Forces in the region require maximum observance and commitment to respect and protect human rights”, said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International Americas.

    November 19, 2019

    Verified video footage, eyewitness testimony from people on the ground and information gathered from human rights activists outside Iran reveal a harrowing pattern of unlawful killings by Iranian security forces, which have used excessive and lethal force to crush largely peaceful protests in more than 100 cities across Iran sparked by a hike in fuel prices on 15 November, said Amnesty International today.

    At least 106 protesters in 21 cities have been killed, according to credible reports received by Amnesty International. The organization believes that the real death toll may be much higher, with some reports suggesting as many as 200 have been killed. State media have reported only a handful of protester deaths, as well as the deaths of at least four members of the security forces.

    Video footage shows security forces using firearms, water cannons and tear gas to disperse protests and beating demonstrators with batons. Images of bullet casings left on the ground afterwards, as well as the resulting high death toll, indicate that they used live ammunition.

    November 19, 2019

    Facebook and Google’s omnipresent surveillance of billions of people poses a systemic threat to human rights, Amnesty International warned in a new report as it called for a radical transformation of the tech giants’ core business model.

    Surveillance Giants lays out how the surveillance-based business model of Facebook and Google is inherently incompatible with the right to privacy and poses a systemic threat to a range of other rights including freedom of opinion and expression, freedom of thought, and the right to equality and non-discrimination.

    “Google and Facebook dominate our modern lives – amassing unparalleled power over the digital world by harvesting and monetizing the personal data of billions of people. Their insidious control of our digital lives undermines the very essence of privacy and is one of the defining human rights challenges of our era,” said Kumi Naidoo, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

    November 18, 2019

    In the context of the social and political crisis in Bolivia, following the elections of 20 October 2019, the Bolivian authorities must investigate all acts of violence, establish criminal responsibility as appropriate and protect the population from such acts.

    Amnesty International recalls that the security forces must refrain from excessive use of force in controlling demonstrations. Faced with allegations of violence perpetrated by demonstrators in some protests, the authorities must take all necessary and conducive measures to bring these episodes to an end, while ensuring that those who peacefully protest can continue to do so.

    The authorities also have an obligation to promptly, independently and impartially investigate allegations of violent deaths and to provide clear and accurate information about the context in which they occurred.

    November 18, 2019

    (Lire la version française ici)

    OTTAWA – Today, two days before Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unveils his new cabinet, Amnesty International is publishing an open letter urging the Prime Minister to prioritize human rights in the mandates of all ministers.

    In the letter, Amnesty International Canada Secretary General Alex Neve and Amnistie internationale Canada francophone Executive Director France-Isabelle Langlois say upholding and promoting human rights “must be a hallmark” of the Liberal Party’s second term of government.

    “It is vital that your government at all times puts human rights first in international diplomacy, and does not allow economic or other strategic considerations to create double standards,” the letter states. “It is also vital that human rights not be compromised or sidelined in any of the laws you propose, policies you adopt or decisions you take.”

    November 18, 2019

    Amnesty International will announce the findings of its investigation into grave human rights violations committed during protests in Chile at a press conference in Santiago on Thursday, 21 November.

    Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International, will be in Chile from Wednesday, 20 November to present the results of the investigation and hold meetings with Chilean authorities, civil society organizations and victims of human rights violations.

    The organization has requested meetings with President Sebastián Piñera and other authorities to raise the organization’s concerns about the human rights crisis in Chile and make recommendations to guarantee the rights of all people.

    Pilar Sanmartín, crisis researcher for Amnesty International, and Ana Piquer, executive director of Amnesty International Chile, will accompany Erika Guevara-Rosas in presenting the results of the investigation.

    November 18, 2019

    Following the most violent confrontations of the Hong Kong protests so far during a police siege at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, the Director of Amnesty International Hong Kong Man-Kei Tam said:

    “By laying siege to Polytechnic University and firing tear gas and rubber bullets at people trying to flee, the Hong Kong Police are yet again fanning the flames of violence when they should be trying to defuse it.

    “It is the police’s responsibility to de-escalate this situation, but instead of assisting injured protesters trapped at the University they are unlawfully arresting the medics attempting to treat the wounded.

    “The increasingly violent nature of the Hong Kong protests and the resultant injuries to bystanders and others is alarming, but the heavy-handed police response to largely peaceful demonstrations over the past months is the main cause of this escalation. Their threat today that protesters could face live ammunition is a further aggressive move that heightens the risk of tragedy on the streets.

    November 17, 2019

    Amnesty International has today launched Write for Rights, the world’s biggest human rights campaign, which this year champions children’s rights and youth activists.

    “This year Write for Rights, Amnesty’s flagship human rights campaign, champions youth activists who are taking on the world’s biggest crises,” said Kumi Naidoo, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

    “From those campaigning for climate and environmental justice, to those challenging inequality, poverty, discrimination and political repression, young people have emerged as a powerful force for change who deserve the world’s support.”

    Every December people around the world write millions of letters, emails, tweets, Facebook posts and postcards for those whose human rights are under attack, in what has become the world’s biggest human rights event.

    Amnesty International is hoping to break last year’s Write for Rights record of nearly six million messages of support for activists and individuals from 10 countries whose human rights are under attack.

    Youth activism in the spotlight

    November 15, 2019

    OTTAWA – On November 20, Universal Children’s Day, Ottawa-based Inuk artist Sabrina Taqtu Montague will unveil a walleye fish banner she has painted in solidarity with Indigenous Anishinaabe youth impacted by the mercury crisis in Grassy Narrows First Nation.

    For 50 years, members of the First Nation in northwestern Ontario, also known as Asubpeeschoseewagong, have been facing mercury poisoning. A pulp mill dumped roughly 10 tonnes of mercury into the English-Wabigoon River system from 1962 until 1970, contaminating the community’s vital waterways and walleye fish. Due to government inaction, young people living in Grassy Narrows continue to face devastating health and social impacts, including the loss of the community’s jobs and the erosion of their cultural traditions.

    November 15, 2019

    TORONTO – United Way, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and Amnesty International today jointly announced an incredible gift of $3 million from Alice and Grant Burton.

    Alice and Grant Burton, long-time philanthropists from Toronto, will evenly split the $3 million between these organizations, allowing them each to significantly increase their capacity to fight local poverty, provide medical assistance to people affected by conflict, and promote an end to worldwide human rights violations, respectively.

    Grant Burton is president of Starcan Corporation and director emeritus at the National Arts Centre while Alice Burton is an artist whose works have principally been exhibited in Toronto, Montreal, and New York.

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