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    September 29, 2020

    The complete freezing of Amnesty International India’s bank accounts by the Government of India which it came to know on 10 September 2020, brings all the work being done by the organization to a grinding halt.  The organization has been compelled to let go of staff in India and pause all its ongoing campaign and research work. This is the latest in the incessant witch-hunt of human rights organizations by the Government of India over unfounded and motivated allegations, Amnesty International India said today.

    September 28, 2020

    Access to safe abortion is an essential component of a fair and equal society, and is integral to realizing the full range of human rights, Amnesty International said today. The organization has published its updated policy on abortion that aligns with evolving human rights law and standards. The policy equips the organization to undertake stronger campaigning and advocacy around abortion and to better support local movements advancing sexual and reproductive rights.

    The updated policy recognizes abortion, provided in a manner that respects human rights, autonomy, and dignity, as the right of anyone who can become pregnant. Amnesty International is also calling for universal access to safe abortion and related care and information, in addition to full decriminalization.

    September 26, 2020

    Today, 26 September, is the deadline for countries to sign the Regional Agreement on Access to Information, Public Participation and Justice in Environmental Matters in Latin America and the Caribbean (Escazú Agreement). For it to come into force, at least eleven countries must ratify it, therefore only one more is needed in addition to the ten countries that have already done so.

    "This agreement emerged from the need to urgently address the climate emergency that we are facing. When the treaty was opened for signatures exactly two years ago, hope also emerged that Latin America and the Caribbean could make history with a groundbreaking norm that could contribute to the protection of the environment and those who defend it. Countries in the region must not miss this important opportunity," said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International.

    September 24, 2020

    World leaders must stop using COVID-19 as an excuse to delay urgent action to tackle the climate crisis or risk failing children and future generations further, Amnesty International said ahead of a global day of school strikes against climate change planned for 25 September by young people.

    Climate change was cited as one of the most important issues of our time in a survey of more than 10,000 young people published by Amnesty International just months before the pandemic turned the world upside down.

    “Amnesty International stands with all children and young people taking part in climate strikes. Children globally have faced unimaginable disruption to their lives, education and health as a result of COVID-19. That they must take more time out of school to demand that adults do the right thing is utterly shameful, but young people know only too well the unthinkable consequences of climate inaction to their lives and human rights.” said Ashfaq Khalfan, Amnesty International’s Law and Policy Director. 

    September 24, 2020

    Responding to the much-anticipated 2020 Throne Speech, Amnesty International welcomed several vital commitments and ambitious program announcements while, at the same time, expressing disappointment that the government failed to craft and deliver a transformative human rights agenda for the country, at a time of both crucial need and tremendous opportunity.

    September 23, 2020

    Responding to the decision in the Breonna Taylor case today, Kristina Roth, the Senior Program Officer for Criminal Justice Programs at Amnesty International USA, said:

    “Breonna Taylor’s death is a tragedy. She was asleep in her bed when the police busted down her door and recklessly opened fire, taking her life. Black people in America have the same right to be safe as all people, though this is hard to conceive when we think of the abhorrent killings of Breonna, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Dijon Kizzee and too many more.  

    “Breonna Taylor's case reminds us of how Kentucky's police use of lethal force statute puts accountability out of reach for unlawful killings by police  — and how police, who are supposed to protect life, so frequently only see one side of that principle. This case must serve as a wake-up call to our elected officials that they must meet this moment with a bold agenda for police reform, one that brings about meaningful accountability, reimagines public safety and provides justice for all.

    September 21, 2020

    Twitter is still not doing enough to protect women from online violence and abuse, despite repeated promises to do so, new analysis by Amnesty International reveals.

    The Twitter Scorecard grades the social media company’s record on implementing a series of recommendations to tackle abuse against women on the platform, since Amnesty first highlighted the scale of the problem in its 2018 Toxic Twitter report.  Despite some welcome progress, Twitter needs to do much more to address the problem. The company has fully implemented just one of ten concrete recommendations, with limited progress in increasing transparency on how it handles reports of abuse.

    “Twitter is still not doing enough to tackle the deluge of abuse women face on the platform. Our analysis shows that despite some progress, Twitter is not doing enough to protect women users, leading many women to silence or censor themselves on the platform,” said Rasha Abdul Rahim, Co-Director of Amnesty Tech.

    September 21, 2020

    Lana Verran, Chair of the Board of Directors of Amnesty International Canada (English Branch) today announced the appointment of Burundian human rights defender and poet Ketty Nivyabandi as the branch’s next Secretary General.  Ketty has resided in Canada since 2015 and holds refugee status in the country.  She succeeds Alex Neve, who is stepping down after more than twenty years in the role.

    “At such a challenging time for human rights across Canada and around the world, but also tremendous openings for advancing real change, we are excited and honoured that Ketty Nivyabandi will be our next Secretary General,” said Lana Verran. “Her dynamism, conviction and experience offer precisely the inspiring leadership we need at this time.”

    September 21, 2020
    New Amnesty investigation highlights why EU export rules for surveillance technology fail.

    European tech companies risk fuelling widespread human rights abuses by selling digital surveillance technology to China’s public security agencies, a new Amnesty International investigation reveals. The findings are published ahead of a crucial meeting in Brussels on 22 September where the European Parliament and EU member states will decide whether to strengthen lax surveillance export rules.

    Amnesty International found that three companies based in France, Sweden and the Netherlands sold digital surveillance systems, such as facial recognition technology and network cameras, to key players of the Chinese mass surveillance apparatus. In some cases, the export was directly for use in China’s indiscriminate mass surveillance programmes, with the risk of being used against Uyghurs and other predominantly Muslim ethnic groups throughout the country.

    September 21, 2020

    Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in March, authorities in Venezuela, El Salvador and Paraguay have held tens of thousands of people in inadequate state-run quarantine centres without sufficient safeguards against human rights violations, in what could amount to ill-treatment and risk the detentions becoming arbitrary, Amnesty International said in a new report published today.

    When protection becomes repression: Mandatory quarantines under COVID-19 in the Americas documents how the authorities in three countries have disproportionately held migrants, refugees, people returning to their countries of origin, and low-income communities in state-run quarantines, often in unsanitary and sometimes inhumane conditions without adequate food, water and medical care, which may amount to ill-treatment. The appalling conditions stand to make them counterproductive spaces where people are at risk of contracting COVID-19.

    September 17, 2020

    Following the one-year anniversary of Canada’s accession to the UN Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), a coalition of civil society organizations are calling on Canada to end weapons exports to Saudi Arabia. This follows a recent report by the UN Group of Eminent International and Regional Experts on Yemen, which specifically names Canada as one of the countries “perpetuating the conflict” in Yemen through ongoing weapons sales to Saudi Arabia.

    “Canada has now been publicly shamed in front of the international community for its ongoing weapons transfers to Saudi Arabia, while the devastating war in Yemen rages on,” said Justin Mohammed, Human Rights Law and Policy Campaigner at Amnesty International Canada. “Legal obligations under the ATT have not deterred this government’s unrelenting support for weapons exports to Saudi Arabia. It has ignored the groundswell of civil society opposition to these exports. Hopefully, the UN’s report will provoke a different response.”

    September 16, 2020

    The Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Venezuela, created by the UN Human Rights Council in September 2019, presented its conclusions in its first report to the Council today during its 45th session. Responding to the findings, Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International, said: 

    “Amnesty International condemned the probable commission of crimes against humanity in Venezuela in May 2019. In a milestone for the victims of human rights violations, the much anticipated and hard-hitting report of the Fact-Finding Mission on Venezuela endorses this serious denouncement and supports the thousands of victims in their pursuit of justice that has been denied to them in their country. We share the UN’s call to the international justice system, including the International Criminal Court, to guarantee the rights of truth, justice, reparation and non-repetition.”

    September 16, 2020

    Responding to reports that there have been hysterectomies performed on immigrant women detained in the Irwin County Detention Center (ICDC) in Georgia, Denise Bell, Researcher on Refugee and Migrant Rights, said:

    “The reports of hysterectomies performed on women detained in Irwin County without their full consent are deeply alarming. According to the report, some women were reportedly unsure why the procedure was performed, or they were not fully informed of what procedures would be performed on them.

    September 15, 2020

    Spokespersons available to take media interviews

    Following last night’s arrest of Amnesty International Kenya’s Chairperson and advocate, Renee Ngamau, and today’s no show by the police in court, Amnesty International Kenya’s Executive Director Irungu Houghton said:

    “Amnesty International condemns the arbitrary arrest of our Kenya Chairperson Renee Ngamau. We believe she was targeted simply for as acting as human rights defender to protect public land. The Kenyan Police Service must end harassment, intimidation and attack on Renee Ngamau, human rights activists and public land defenders.”

    “Authorities should protect those defending other people’s rights, and not use the criminal justice against them.”

    “Our Chairperson Renee Ngamau has been through an enormously stressful ordeal. She was arrested for the leadership she provides in her community as the Chairperson of the Jamhuri Phase 1 Residents Association. The Association has been peacefully protesting diversion of public land allocated for a children’s playground.

    September 14, 2020

    The highest-level authorities in Colombia must send a clear and strong message that the disproportionate use of force by the National Police is unacceptable, and immediately put a stop to the repression of protests over the death of lawyer Javier Ordoñez, Amnesty International said today, following the verification of at least four incidents of human rights violations committed by police officers, including torture and excessive use of force.

    “We’ve verified video evidence of how Colombia’s National Police tortured lawyer Javier Ordoñez with an electric Taser gun, using excessive and unnecessary force against him,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International.

    “We demand an immediate end to the excessive use of security forces against protestors seeking justice for the death of lawyer Javier Ordoñez. In addition, we urge the authorities to send a strong message of condemnation and carry out prompt, exhaustive, independent and impartial investigations into the human rights violations committed by the Colombian police.”

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