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    January 21, 2021

    Amnesty International Australia today welcomed the further release of refugees from the Park Hotel, Alternative Place of Detention (APOD), in Melbourne, but said the release showed the policy was arbitrary and cruel. Amnesty redoubled its call for the release of a further 14 people who remain in detention and all those arbitrarily detained.

    Among those released is Mostafa “Moz” Azimitabar, a courageous voice of the #GameOver campaign, who was Medevac’d to Australia at the end of 2019 for urgent medical care and has been in detention ever since.

    “This is the most beautiful moment of my life… after 2,737 days locked up in detention – I am free.

    “Thank you to all of the amazing people who helped me to stay strong.

    “If I am able to obtain my freedom, there should be the opportunity for the others seeking asylum to have their freedom as well. Until all of us are free, none of us are truly free.”

    January 18, 2021

    Russian authorities must immediately and unconditionally release prominent Kremlin critic, Aleksei Navalny, detained minutes after he arrived at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport from Berlin, Amnesty International said today. Navalny had been recovering in the German capital after being poisoned in Siberia in August. 

    “Aleksei Navalny’s arrest is further evidence that Russian authorities are seeking to silence him. His detention only highlights the need to investigate his allegations that he was poisoned by state agents acting on orders from the highest levels,” said Natalia Zviagina, Amnesty International’s Moscow Office Director. 

    “The Russian authorities have waged a relentless campaign against Navalny. While he was recovering in Germany, the Russian Federal Penitentiary Service demanded that he immediately present himself to a probation officer or face prison for violating a non-custodial criminal sentence, which was based on politically motivated charges. He has now been arrested on trumped-up charges of fraud.” 

    January 15, 2021

    OTTAWA – Canadian journalists have an extra week to submit their stories to Amnesty International’s Media Awards in Canada, the human rights organization announced today.

    The English-speaking branch of Amnesty International’s Canadian section will now accept submissions up to 11:59 p.m. EST on Jan. 22, 2021.

    These awards honour outstanding reporting on human rights issues by journalists in Canada and Canadian journalists abroad, while also increasing awareness and understanding of human rights issues for all in Canada.

    If you are a Canadian journalist or working as a journalist in Canada, we invite you to review the judging criteria below and submit your 2020 human rights stories with the link provided. We look forward to hearing from you.

    All entries must be published or broadcast in Canada between Jan. 1, 2020 and Dec. 31, 2020. Unfortunately, we can only accept English submissions at this time.

    For more information, please contact: Lucy Scholey, Media Relations, Amnesty International Canada, 613-853-2142, lscholey@amnesty.ca

    January 13, 2021

    Ten years after Tunisia’s Revolution, which sparked a wave of uprisings across the Middle East and North Africa, victims are still struggling to obtain justice and reparations for grave human rights violations committed during the revolution, between 17 December 2010 and 14 January 2011, said Amnesty International today in a detailed statement.

    Successive Tunisian governments have failed to prioritize accountability for human rights violations committed by security forces. Impunity for acts of torture and other ill-treatment or excessive use of force of the past has contributed to a never-ending cycle of violations.

    Since May 2018, at least 10 trials relating to the violent repression of the revolution were initiated before the Specialized Criminal Chambers created by the Transitional Justice law to address crimes of the past – but no verdict has been handed down. Former and current Ministry of Interior officials have refused to respond to court summons to appear.

    January 13, 2021
    Field investigators visited dozens of strike sites in Azerbaijan and Armenia Evidence refutes both sides’ denials they launched indiscriminate strikes, including with cluster munitions Other weapons used include ballistic missiles and volleys of notoriously imprecise rockets and artillery

     

    The Armenian and Azerbaijani forces’ repeated use of notoriously inaccurate and indiscriminate weapons – including cluster munitions and explosive weapons with wide area effects in populated civilian areas – violated international humanitarian law and killed scores of civilians, injured hundreds and destroyed homes and key infrastructure in the recent conflict, Amnesty International said today.

    January 13, 2021

    In response to the events of last week and in anticipation of more gatherings by white supremacists ahead of the inauguration, Amnesty International USA has sent a letter to 3,500 United States mayors and governors calling on them to protect people from armed groups and to denounce white supremacy.

    January 11, 2021

    Amnesty International has released a new report highlighting ongoing and historic human rights violations at the Guantánamo Bay detention facility, as detentions there enter their 20th year and as a new President prepares to enter the White House.  

    “This is about more than just the 40 people still held at Guantánamo – it is also about the crimes under international law committed over the past 19 years and the continuing lack of accountability for them. It is about the future, too, as we move towards the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and strive for enduring justice,” said Daphne Eviatar, Director of the Security with Human Rights Program at Amnesty International USA.

    January 07, 2021

    In his speech, subsequent audio recording and tweets, President Trump continued to incite his supporters —leading to thousands storming and breaching the U.S. Capitol. In response, Amnesty International USA Interim Executive Director Bob Goodfellow issued the below statement:

    “The President’s embrace of white supremacist and violent groups has further fanned the flames of the chaos and violence we witnessed today, putting human rights and the rule of law at grave risk in the United States. All U.S. officials must respect, protect, and fulfill human rights, including to be free from violence, intimidation and racism.

    “Amnesty International works for a world where all those in power respect the law, meet their human rights obligations, and are held to account when failing to do so. Across the world, we have witnessed the dire consequences of government officials who spread false information and incite racist or political violence to stay in power. The world is watching, and so are our more than 10 million supporters and members.”

    January 06, 2021

    Ahead of the first of three federal executions scheduled to take place in 2021, with Lisa Montgomery facing execution on January 12, 2020, which would make her the first woman to be executed by the federal government in 67 years, Amnesty International USA's Interim Executive Director, Bob Goodfellow said:

    “President Donald Trump must grant clemency to those facing execution during the last days of his administration and President-Elect Joe Biden should end the use of the federal death penalty immediately upon taking office.

    “After a seventeen-year hiatus in federal executions, the Trump administration resumed federal executions this last year and has pursued far more executions on federal death row since reliable statistics began to be gathered in 1927. The cases of those selected for execution have been marked by arbitrariness, ineffective legal representation, racial bias, and, in violation of international law and standards, have involved people with severe mental and intellectual disabilities.

    January 06, 2021

    Today’s decision by the Magistrate’s Court in London to deny Julian Assange’s request for bail has rendered his continued detention arbitrary, said Amnesty International.

    “Today’s decision to refuse Julian Assange’s bail application renders his ongoing detention ‘arbitrary’, and compounds the fact that he has endured punishing conditions in high security detention at Belmarsh prison for more than a year,” said Nils Muižnieks, Amnesty International’s Europe Director.

    “Rather than finally going home with his loved ones and sleeping in his own bed for the first time in almost ten years, Julian Assange will be driven back to his solitary cell in a high security prison.”

    Julian Assange has been detained for more than year pending a decision on his extradition to the US. On Monday, a judge ruled that extradition to the US would be unlawful. After so long in detention the failure to grant him bail has rendered his detention arbitrary.

    January 06, 2021

    Responding to the arrests of around 50 Hong Kong opposition figures on Wednesday morning for violation of the city’s national security law, Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Regional Director Yamini Mishra said:

    “This shocking crackdown on Hong Kong’s political opposition – sweeping up candidates, activists and pollsters alike – is the starkest demonstration yet of how the national security law has been weaponized to punish anyone who dares to challenge the establishment.

    “This ruthless legislation gives the Beijing and Hong Kong authorities free rein to crush any dissenting views and puts all government critics at risk of imprisonment. Today’s arrests also illustrate how the broad scope of the law allows it to be applied in circumstances that do not qualify as genuine threats to national security.

    January 05, 2021

    The Israeli government must stop ignoring its international obligations as an occupying power and immediately act to ensure that COVID-19 vaccines are equally and fairly provided to Palestinians living under its occupation in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, said Amnesty International today.

    On 23 December, the Israeli Health Ministry began the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. Having already given initial jabs to more than a 10th of its population, Israel has been hailed as the country that has to date achieved the widest vaccination coverage in proportion to its population size. However, the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out plan so far covers only citizens of Israel, including Israeli settlers living inside the West Bank, and Palestinian residents of Jerusalem. It excludes the nearly 5 million Palestinians who live in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, under Israeli military occupation.

    January 04, 2021

    Responding to the decision by the Magistrate’s Court in London not to approve the extradition of Julian Assange to the US where he would face a risk of ill-treatment in prison, Amnesty International’s Europe Director, Nils Muižnieks, said:

    "We welcome the fact that Julian Assange will not be sent to the USA and that the court acknowledged that due to his health concerns, he would be at risk of ill-treatment in the US prison system. But the charges against him should never have been brought in the first place. The charges were politically-motivated, and the UK government should never have so willingly assisted the US in its unrelenting pursuit of Assange.

    "The fact that the ruling is correct and saves Assange from extradition, does not absolve the UK from having engaged in this politically-motivated process at the behest of the USA and putting media freedom and freedom of expression on trial. It has set a terrible precedent for which the US is responsible and the UK government is complicit."

    BACKGROUND

    December 09, 2020

    As Airbnb prepares to go public in a multi-billion-dollar Initial Public Offering (IPO) it must withdraw listings of rental properties built illegally on the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), Amnesty International said today.

    The San Francisco-based online accommodation company has around 200 properties for rent in the illegal Israeli settlements that are at the heart of systematic human rights violations faced by Palestinians.

    Two years ago, Airbnb said it would remove accommodation in the settlements from its listings, before reversing its decision.

    December 07, 2020

    Leading human rights organizations have come together to demand the acquittal of 19 human rights defenders for their participation in a Pride parade in 2019, ahead of the verdict expected on Thursday.

    The 18 students and an academic at the Middle East Technical University (METU) are facing prison sentences of up to three years simply for organizing and participating in a Pride march on campus that the University management had unlawfully banned.

    “In the summer of 2019, students and others peacefully participating in a celebration of love and solidarity were met with police pepper spray, plastic bullets and tear gas. Nineteen of them have also been dragged through the courts on baseless criminal charges and face absurd jail sentences,” said Nils Muižnieks, Amnesty International’s Europe Director.

    “The ban of the Pride march lacked legal grounds and these brave students who defied it had their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly violated. They must be acquitted.”

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