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Human Rights

    July 03, 2020

    Following a majority court ruling to convict Taner Kılıç for ‘membership of the Fethullah Gülen terrorist organization’ and to convict Özlem Dalkıran, İdil Eser and Günal Kurşun for ‘assisting the Fethullah Gülenterrorist organization’, Andrew Gardner, Amnesty International’s Turkey researcher who observed the hearing said: 

    “Today, we have borne witness to a travesty of justice of spectacular proportions. This verdict is a crushing blow not only for Taner, Özlem, İdil and Günal and their families but for everyone who believes in justice, and human rights activism in Turkey and beyond.

    “The decision of the court is staggering. During 12 court hearings, each and every allegation has been comprehensively exposed as a baseless slur. The court’s verdict defies logic and exposes this three-year trial as the politically motivated attempt to silence independent voices it was from day one.”  

    June 30, 2020

    The Israeli authorities must immediately abandon plans to further “annex” territory in the occupied West Bank which breach international laws and exacerbate decades of systematic human rights violations against Palestinians, Amnesty International said on the day the Israeli cabinet is due to begin its deliberations on the plans. 

    Amnesty International is also calling on the international community to take firm action against the “annexation” proposals and illegal Israeli settlements in occupied territory. 

    “International law is crystal clear on this matter – annexation is unlawful. Israel’s continued pursuit of this policy further illustrates its cynical disregard for international law. Such policies do not change the legal status of the territory under international law and its inhabitants as occupied nor remove Israel’s responsibilities as the occupying power – rather it points to the ‘law of the jungle’ which should not have a place in our world today,” said Saleh Higazi, deputy regional director for Amnesty Middle East and North Africa.

    June 30, 2020

    Today an international group of 142 scientists, community groups and NGOs from 24 countries published a set of 16 guidelines for the safer storage of mine waste. The guidelines aim to protect communities, workers and the environment from the risks posed by thousands of mine waste storage facilities, which are failing more frequently and with more severe outcomes.

    Safety First: Guidelines for Responsible Mine Tailings Management states that the ultimate goal of tailings management must be zero harm to people and the environment and zero tolerance for human fatalities. Last year’s tragic dam collapse in Brazil killed 270 people and destroyed the town of Brumadinho, and came on the heels of tailings dam failures at the Mount Polley mine in Canada and the Samarco mine in Brazil, among others. Across the world, communities in the shadow of large tailings dams live in a state of perpetual fear.

    June 30, 2020

    Responding to today’s passing of a national security law for Hong Kong by the Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress, the head of Amnesty International’s China Team, Joshua Rosenzweig, said:

    “The passing of the national security law is a painful moment for the people of Hong Kong and represents the greatest threat to human rights in the city’s recent history. From now on, China will have the power to impose its own laws on any criminal suspect it chooses.

    “The speed and secrecy with which China has pushed through this legislation intensifies the fear that Beijing has calculatingly created a weapon of repression to be used against government critics, including people who are merely expressing their views or protesting peacefully.

    “The fact that the Chinese authorities have now passed this law without the people of Hong Kong being able to see it tells you a lot about their intentions. Their aim is to govern Hong Kong through fear from this point forward.

    June 26, 2020

    Nadia Rahman, Researcher and Policy Advisor in Amnesty International’s Gender, Sexuality and Identity Team

    “You held my hand. Promised me a revolution. How did you forget me? How?” These lyrics by Lebanese band Mashrou’ Leila echoed at a Cairo concert on a September evening in 2017. They are perhaps more devastatingly relevant today than they were three years ago. 

    Sarah Hegazy, a queer feminist in the audience, probably felt a fleeting sense of freedom while watching a popular Arab band with an openly gay frontman sing to a packed audience in a conservative country, and she dared to raise the rainbow flag. Those brief moments of hope where she decided to unapologetically celebrate who she was, changed her life. And three years later, snatched it away too.  

    "To my siblings - I tried to find redemption and failed, forgive me. To my friends - the experience [journey] was harsh and I am too weak to resist it, forgive me. To the world - you were cruel, to a great extent, but I forgive."

    June 26, 2020

    This weekend’s Pride celebrations are a chance to celebrate and promote the rights of LGBTI people at a time when their rights are under increased threat, Amnesty International said today.

    The organization warned that existing inequalities have been entrenched by months of lockdown measures, exposing LGBTI people to terrifying levels of discrimination, stigma, hostility and violence. 

    “This Pride weekend, LGBTI people, activists and allies around the world will show that even a global pandemic cannot stop them from demanding the rights which many governments continue to deny them,” said Nadia Rahman, Researcher and Policy Advisor in Amnesty International’s Gender, Sexuality and Identity Team.

    “While virtual celebrations are a moment of hope in difficult times, countless LGBTI people will be spending Pride trapped in hostile or dangerous lockdown situations where their sexualities or identities are not accepted. 

    June 25, 2020

    As Israel steps up construction of illegal settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), in brazen defiance of international law, Amnesty International is calling on TripAdvisor to urgently remove its listings in settlements and send a clear message that it will no longer contribute to human rights violations.

    With a sharp increase in settlement expansion underway, and persistent attacks on Palestinians and their properties by some Israeli settlers, it is more important than ever that companies do not further legitimize settlements by doing business in them.

    Amnesty International today submitted a petition to TripAdvisor’s CEO Stephen Kaufer, signed by more than 300,000 people from around the world, calling on the company to pull out of illegal settlements. The company has not responded to Amnesty International’s requests for comment.

    June 23, 2020

    Egyptian security forces today whisked away human rights activist and former prisoner of conscience Sanaa Seif from outside the Public Prosecutor’s office in New Cairo, where she was waiting to file a complaint after suffering a violent assault. 

    Sanaa Seif was taken to the office in Cairo of the Supreme State Security Prosecution, a branch of the Public Prosecution specialized in investigating national security threats. Family and supporters gathered outside the office subsequently learnt that prosecutors had questioned her over the charges of “disseminating false news”, “inciting terrorist crimes” and “misuse of social media.”

    Sanaa Seif’s brother, activist Alaa Abdel Fatah, has been in arbitrary detention since September 2019. On 22 June, Sanaa Seif, her mother and sister were waiting outside the Tora Prison Complex to receive a letter from him when they were beaten and robbed by a group of women armed with sticks, in full view of security forces. 

    June 22, 2020


    Sixties Scoop Network launches innovative mapping project for 60s Scoop survivors 

    (Ottawa/Unceded Algonquin Territory –  June 22 2020) This morning, the Sixties Scoop Network (formerly the National Indigenous Survivors of Child Welfare Network) launched a ground-breaking interactive map to visualize the displacement of Sixties Scoop survivors and share their stories. 

    June 18, 2020

    Lagos/London/Brussels/Amsterdam, 18 June 2020 – Nearly 10 years after a clean-up was urged for areas polluted by Shell and other oil companies in the Niger Delta, work has begun on only 11% of planned sites while vast areas remain heavily contaminated, according to a new investigation by four NGOs.

    In 2011 the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) released a report documenting the devastating impact of the oil industry in Ogoniland, and set out urgent recommendations for clean-up. But the new investigation highlights that “emergency measures” proposed by UNEP have not been properly implemented and that the billion-dollar clean-up project launched by the Nigerian government in 2016 has been ineffective. 

    June 17, 2020

    Earlier today, Canada lost its bid to be elected to a two-year term on the United Nations Security Council. Despite this loss, Canada can and must still advance its global goals through its Feminist Foreign Policy.

    Canada must play a constructive global role through continuing to support efforts to advance gender equality and the rights of women, girls and gender-diverse people across all areas of its foreign policy. 

    June 17, 2020

    Amnesty International is calling on Canada to urgently intervene to secure the release from prison of Yasser Albaz, a Canadian citizen who has been arbitrarily detained by Egypt since February 2019. Amnesty International is calling on Egyptian authorities to release Yasser Albaz immediately, as the organization considers his ongoing detention to be arbitrary based on information received from his family, including the absence of formal charges and judicial oversight of pre-trial detention. 

    June 12, 2020

    Responding to Zoom’s compliance with a Chinese government request to end meetings related to the Tiananmen crackdown and suspend the accounts of a group of US-based activists hosting meetings, Amnesty International’s Business and Human Rights Analyst William Nee said:

    “The Chinese government goes to great lengths to ensure that no one in China commemorates or even mentions those killed on 3-4 June 1989. By complying with Beijing’s request to end meetings on the Tiananmen crackdown, Zoom risks contributing to this assault of freedom of expression.

    “Zoom has said it will take steps to ensure users ‘outside mainland China’ are not targeted by such interventions in the future, but in so doing it seemingly turns a blind eye to the repression of users on the mainland.

    “Tech firms such as Zoom must put principles before profit and defend internet freedom, rather than bowing to repressive governments’ demands to stifle it.

    “Zoom must respect human rights throughout all its business operations and not become a tool in China's powerful censorship system."


    June 11, 2020

    Rio de Janeiro 10.06.2020 – Today, the Civil Police of Rio de Janeiro State executed a series of search and seizure warrants in relation to the investigation into the brutal killing of human rights defender Marielle Franco and her driver Anderson Gomes. The operation culminated in the arrest of firefighter Maxwell Simões Corrêa, who is accused of hiding the weapons used in the assassination and being the close accomplice of Ronnie Lessa who fired the shots. Simões Corrêa's arrest is an important step towards getting to the bottom of this crime and we hope it helps clear up the main questions that remain unanswered: who ordered Marielle’s killing and why?

    Marielle Franco was killed in an ambush that had been thoroughly planned over a number of months. The investigations of the Civil Police and Public Prosecution Service of Rio de Janeiro State identified two people suspected of carrying out the criminal act, Elcio de Queiroz and Ronnie Lessa, who are currently facing criminal proceedings. It was also discovered that other people were indirectly involved in the act, concealing weapons and obstructing the investigations. 

    June 11, 2020
    Amnesty International launches interactive website documenting security forces’ misuse of tear gas New analysis of almost 80 events in 22 countries and territories Launch comes as tear gas is again being used in mass quantities in Hong Kong, Paris and cities across the USA

    The shadowy and poorly regulated global trade of tear gas is fuelling police human rights violations against peaceful protesters on a global scale, Amnesty International said today as it launched a new resource analyzing the misuse of the riot control agent around the world.

    Tear Gas: An investigation is the organization’s interactive, multimedia site looking into what tear gas is, how it is used and documenting scores of cases of its misuse by security forces worldwide, often resulting in severe injuries or death.


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