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    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.

    January 16, 2020

    Ahead of President Xi Jinping’s two-day state visit to Myanmar, which begins on Friday 17 January 2020, Amnesty International’s Regional Director, Nicholas Bequelin, said:

    “President Xi’s government has expressed its desire to help solve the situation in Rakhine State. While this is welcome in principle, the reality is that China’s engagement has failed to yield positive results for the people of Myanmar.

    “China must stop using its position in the UN Security Council to shield Myanmar’s senior generals from accountability. This has only emboldened the military’s relentless campaign of human rights violations and war crimes against ethnic minorities across the country.

    “Almost a million Rohingya languish in refugee camps in Bangladesh while 600,000 still in Myanmar continue to live under appalling conditions of apartheid. If it fails to pressure Myanmar to ensure justice and restore Rohingya’s rights, China’s efforts to resolve the situation will remain ineffective – and counter-productive.

    January 16, 2020

    The Lebanese Internal Security Forces, including anti-riot police, used excessive and unlawful force against protesters on the nights of 14 and 15 January, subjecting scores of protesters to brutal beatings and carrying out waves of arbitrary arrests of many peaceful protesters after two nights of clashes with a minority of protesters. Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Middle East Director of Research, said:

    “What we have witnessed in the past couple of days is an alarming attack on freedom of assembly and expression. Security forces brutally beat protesters, dragging them on the street into the police station, verbally and physically abusing them; they also fired significant amounts of tear gas in residential areas.

    “Acts by a minority of protesters who vandalized banks or threw stones is never a justification for such excessive use of force and sweeping arrests by law enforcement. We are also alarmed that over the past two days security forces attacked at least eight photojournalists and cameramen, threatening and beating them, and also destroying their equipment.

    January 16, 2020

    Responding to a decision by Tel Aviv District Court on Thursday to close the doors of the hearing of a legal action seeking to revoke the export licence of spyware firm NSO Group, Danna Ingleton, Deputy Director of Amnesty Tech, said:

    “Israel’s Ministry of Defence has once again sought to avoid the full glare of public scrutiny. NSO Group’s chilling spyware has put the lives of human rights activists around the world in danger. There remains a clear public interest for this case to be heard in open court and we remain hopeful that information about the hearing will be shared with the public.

    “The cosy complicity between governments and the shadowy surveillance industry has to end.  We will continue to make every effort to ensure NSO Group’s invasive products can no longer be used to commit human rights abuses around the world.”

    Gil Naveh, spokesperson for Amnesty International Israel, added:

    January 16, 2020

    Spokespersons available to take media interviews

    Responding to the announcement that the Saudi Arabian human rights organization Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA) is the 2020 recipient of the prestigious Dutch human rights award, the Geuzenpenning, Amnesty International Netherlands director Dagmar Oudshoorn said:

    “This award recognizes the important work done by ACPRA members like Mohammed al-Qahtani, Abdullah al-Hamid and Mohammed al-Bajadi who have been in jail for years. This is a strong call from the Netherlands to release all of ACPRA's founders and members from prison.”

    “While Saudi Arabia has recently invested in expensive PR campaigns to improve its image, the continued detention of ACPRA members is one of the most telling examples of the true face of the Saudi authorities and its appalling human rights record.”

    “This prestigious award is a reminder for the Dutch government and others to do everything within their power to ensure the release of all imprisoned human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia.”

    January 14, 2020

    The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau
    Prime Minister of Canada
    Ottawa, Ontario

    The Honourable John Horgan
    Premier of British Columbia
    Victoria, BC

    The Honourable Jason Kenney
    Premier of Alberta
    Edmonton, Alberta

    January 13, 2020

    Dear Prime Minister Trudeau and Premiers Horgan and Kenney,

    January 13, 2020

    The UK Government is deliberately and destructively preventing child refugees from being with their families, Amnesty International UK, Refugee Council and Save the Children said in a new report today.

    The 38-page report - Without My Family - shows how the UK Government’s refugee family reunion rules - which block child refugees in the UK from being reunited with their families - are at odds with national law and a flagrant breach of international law, causing irreversible harm to children in this country.

    January 13, 2020

    The global C20 civil society forum hosted this year by Saudi Arabia is a farcical attempt by the new G20 hosts to whitewash their dire human rights record, Amnesty International said.

    The organization has released a joint statement, along with Transparency International and Civicus, explaining why it will not be engaging in this year’s C20 process, a cycle of preparatory meetings leading up to the annual G20 summit, which started yesterday with a three-day “kick-off meeting”.

    January 09, 2020

    Bhutan must seize an historic opportunity to secure equal rights for LGBTI people in the country, Amnesty International said today, calling on the upper house of parliament to pass a bill decriminalizing same-sex relationships.

    Following the lower house’s vote in favour of repealing discriminatory sections of the penal code last June, the bill proposing amendments will be presented to the National Council, the upper house of parliament, this month.

    “If the amendment bill is passed by the upper house, this will be an important step in recognizing that Bhutan supports the equality of all citizens regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. For a country that prides itself on the happiness of its people, Bhutan must without any delay rid itself of laws criminalizing consensual same-sex relationships,” said Babu Ram Pant, South Asia Campaigner at Amnesty International.

    January 09, 2020

    OTTAWA ­– With little more than a week left to submit entries, Amnesty International Canada invites Canadian journalists and students to apply for its 25th annual Media Awards.

    **The deadline for submissions has been extended to Jan. 17, 2020 at 11:59 PM EST.** 

    All entries must be published or broadcast in Canada between Oct. 1, 2018 and Dec. 31, 2019. Unfortunately, we can only accept English submissions at this time.

    These awards honour the efforts of journalists to increase Canadians' awareness and understanding of human rights issues, while also highlighting excellent journalism.

    You can read more about Amnesty International Canada’s Media Awards here or head directly to the submissions form to apply.

    The winners will be announced in late February or early March 2020. A reception to honour the winners will be held in Toronto on May 6, 2020.

    January 07, 2020

    The multiple acts of harassment and threats against opposition legislators in Venezuela’s National Assembly are part of the policy of repression that the Nicolás Maduro government has maintained against any form of political dissent in recent years, said Amnesty International today.

    “The authorities under Nicolás Maduro have made repeated and sustained attempts to dismantle any form of political dissent in the country, committing serious human rights violations including the use of torture, enforced disappearances and arbitrary detention,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International.

    The organization has learned of what could amount to the forced disappearance of the congressmen Gilber Caro and Victor Ugas, who were arrested by alleged state agents on 20 December 2019. Although both were brought before a judge, the authorities have denied their families any information about where they are being held.

    January 06, 2020

    In response to a masked mob attacking at least 26 students and teachers in Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), the Executive Director of Amnesty International India, Avinash Kumar said:

    “The violence unleashed on the students inside the JNU campus is shocking. For the Delhi police to tolerate such a violent attack that has resulted in grave injuries is even worse and shows a shameful disregard for the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. It is alarming to note the ease with which the mob entered a ‘secured’ university space and were able to mete out such violence. Various media reports and students have alleged that the police stood witness to the attack and refused to control and arrest the mob. They have also alleged that ambulances were blocked from entering the campus.”

    January 06, 2020

    Responding to Philippine Vice President Leni Robredo’s call on the government to review its anti-drug strategy, including by ending violent police operations, Joanne Mariner, Amnesty International’s Research Director for Southeast Asia, said:

    “Vice President Robredo gave a damning insider account of the government’s murderous approach to the drug problem. This is yet more proof that the Duterte administration should address the problem through drug rehabilitation programs rooted in communities – not through a brutal policy of extrajudicial killings.

    “Robredo’s assessment gives credence to what Amnesty International and others have said time and again: the government’s ‘war on drugs’ is a war on the poor, marked by human rights violations and rampant impunity for the police and other high ranking officials. Another approach is possible, one based on respect for human rights, human life and human dignity, which addresses the social conditions that give rise to illegal drug use and trade.

    December 23, 2019

    Responding to a Saudi Arabian court’s sentencing of five people to death and three others to prison for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Middle East Research Director, said:

    “This verdict is a whitewash which brings neither justice nor the truth for Jamal Khashoggi and his loved ones. The trial has been closed to the public and to independent monitors, with no information available as to how the investigation was carried out.

    “The verdict fails to address the Saudi authorities’ involvement in this devastating crime or clarify the location of Jamal Khashoggi’s remains.

    “Saudi Arabia’s courts routinely deny defendants access to lawyers and condemn people to death following grossly unfair trials. Given the lack of transparency from the Saudi authorities, and in the absence of an independent judiciary, only an international, independent and impartial investigation can serve justice for Jamal Khashoggi.”

    Background

    December 18, 2019

    Spokespersons available for media interviews

    One year after protests broke out in Sudan leading to the ouster President Omar al Bashir on 11 April 2019, the new transitional authorities must to live up to the hopes and expectations of the Sudanese people, Amnesty International said today.

    “A year after the Sudanese people took to the streets to protest a spike in food prices ultimately ending three decades of the Al-Bashir regime, they can celebrate that their collective action brought an end to suffocating repression and revived hopes for a better Sudan,” said Seif Magango, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    “The transitional authorities must honour the commitments they made to restore the rule of law and protect human rights. The Sudanese people deserve nothing less.”

    The Sudanese people’s hopes now lie squarely with the transitional authorities headed by Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok, and backed by the Transitional Constitutional Charter, which enshrines the country’s most comprehensive Bill of Rights yet. 

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