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    February 22, 2021

    On 23 and 24 February, the Federal Court of Appeal will hear the Canadian government’s appeal of a decision finding that the Canada-US Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA) is unconstitutional. Amnesty International (AI), the Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR), and The Canadian Council of Churches (CCC) will once again join individual refugee claimants as their lawyers reiterate to the court that the STCA violates the right to life, liberty, and security of the person, as well as equality rights guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

    February 18, 2021

    The Sri Lankan Government has launched a renewed crackdown on dissent that is severely curtailing civil society freedom and obstructing efforts to deliver justice for conflict-era crimes under international law, said Amnesty International, in a new report published today.  

    The report, Old ghosts in new garb: Sri Lanka’s return to fear, exposes how the Sri Lankan government has targeted human rights organisations, media, lawyers, political opponents, and law enforcement officers in a concerted bid to suppress opposing voices and hamper the transitional justice process for crimes committed during the country’s 30-year armed conflict.  

    “Over the past year, the Sri Lankan government has radically transformed the country’s civic space, which is now defined by an increasing hostility and intolerance towards dissenting voices,” said David Griffiths, Director of the Office of the Secretary General at Amnesty International.   

    February 17, 2021

    In a new open-source investigation, Venezuela: Impunity in the face of lethal policy of social control, that collected evidence verified by its Crisis Evidence Lab, Amnesty International considers the deaths of at least 14 men in the La Vega area of ​​Caracas, between 6 and 9 January 2021, as probable extrajudicial executions and calls for the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to include these facts in its preliminary examination of the crimes against humanity that have and are being committed by state agents in Venezuela.

    Although neighbours denounced police presence since 6 January, two days later, as many as 650 agents of Venezuelan security forces were deployed in La Vega parish, southwestern Caracas, due to alleged clashes between gangs and police. Officers deployed included the Special Action Forces (FAES) and other members of the Bolivarian National Police, who have been criticized in the past for the systematic extrajudicial executions of young men living in poverty.

    February 17, 2021

    Wednesday, February 17, 2021 - Amnesty International welcomes the Canadian government’s initiative endorsed by 57 countries to condemn the arbitrary detention of foreign nationals —including those with dual citizenship— for political purposes. We hope the implementation of this new declaration, announced by Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau on Monday, will be followed by a binding implementation plan.  

    February 16, 2021

    A decade after the overthrow of Muammar al-Gaddafi, justice has yet to be delivered to victims of war crimes and serious human rights violations including unlawful killings, enforced disappearances, torture, forced displacement and abductions committed by militias and armed groups, Amnesty International said today. Libyan authorities have promoted and legitimized leaders of militias that have been responsible for heinous acts of abuse, instead of ensuring accountability and redress for violations committed both since al-Gaddafi’s fall and under his rule.

    The protests that began in February 2011 were met with violence and quickly escalated into a full-fledged armed conflict, which following an air campaign by NATO, led to al-Gaddafi’s demise. Since then, Libya has been engulfed by lawlessness and impunity for war crimes committed by rival militias and armed groups. Successive Libyan governments have promised to uphold the rule of law and respect human rights, but each has failed to rein in perpetrators.

    February 11, 2021

    Ahead of tomorrow’s deadline for the US to submit their appeal against the UK decision not to extradite Julian Assange, Amnesty International USA have added their voice to a letter sent to the US Department of Justice calling on President Biden to drop charges against the Wikileaks founder. The letter states:

    “We, the undersigned press freedom, civil liberties, and international human rights advocacy organizations, write today to share our profound concern about the ongoing criminal and extradition proceedings relating to Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, under the Espionage Act and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

    While our organizations have different perspectives on Mr Assange and his organization, we share the view that the government’s indictment of him poses a grave threat to press freedom both in the United States and abroad. We urge you to drop the appeal of the decision by Judge Vanessa Baraitser of the Westminster Magistrates’ Court to reject the Trump administration’s extradition request.

    February 08, 2021

    During the COVID-19 lockdowns imposed by Southern African countries, some homes across the region became enclaves of cruelty, rape and violence for women and girls trapped with abusive family members and nowhere to report or escape the danger, Amnesty International said today in a new briefing.

    Harmful gender stereotypes embedded in social and cultural norms, which suggest that women must always submit to men or that a man who beats his wife does so because he loves her, have fueled the rise in violence against women and girls in Madagascar, Mozambique, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. As one activist in Mozambique said: “Girls are taught that husbands only beat their wives when they love them.”

    Amnesty International also found in its briefing, “Treated like furniture: Gender-based violence and COVID-19 response in Southern Africa”, that women and girls who dare to report violence and abuse risk social rejection for failing to conform to gender roles -- and when they do speak out, their complaints are not taken seriously by authorities.

    February 02, 2021

    A court in Moscow has sentenced opposition activist and Kremlin critic Aleksei Navalny to two years and eight months in prison, amid a brutal crackdown on peaceful protests which saw at least 5,021 people detained on 31 January alone. The Simonovsky District Court granted a motion put forward by the Federal Penitentiary Service to replace Aleksei Navalny’s suspended sentence with jail time, and he will be held at a penal colony.

    “In their vendetta against Aleksei Navalny and his supporters, the Russian authorities have shredded any remaining veneer of justice and respect for human rights. The politically motivated sentencing of Alexei Navalny shows the true face of the Russian authorities, who seem intent on locking up anyone who dares to speak out against their abuses and repression of human rights,” said Natalya Zviagina, Amnesty International’s Moscow Office Director.

    February 01, 2021

    Amnesty International today published new evidence of the misuse of tear gas by security forces in several countries in the second half of 2020, including during protests around the election in Uganda, the Black Lives Matter movement in the USA, and in the repression of protesters in Lebanon.

    The organization’s interactive website Tear Gas: An Investigation has now been updated to include new cases of police committing human rights violations against peaceful protesters around the world.

    Since first launching the site in June 2020, Amnesty International has verified recent incidents of tear gas misuse in several countries, including France, Guatemala, India, Mali, Nigeria, Peru, Serbia and Tunisia.

    “The ongoing misuse of tear gas by police forces around the world is reckless and dangerous, often injuring and sometimes even killing peaceful protesters,” said Patrick Wilcken, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Global Issues Programme.

    January 29, 2021

    Reacting to the mounting reports of searches and arrests in Russia of prominent political and civil activists associated with imprisoned Aleksei Navalny, Natalia Zviagina, Amnesty International’s Moscow Office Director, said: 

    “The crackdown on dissent in Russia has become increasingly brutal – and desperate – even compared to vicious reprisals in recent years. The authorities appear shamelessly bent on violating human rights by silencing their critics. In the last few days, the authorities have detained a young mother, raided the home of a prominent journalist’s elderly parents, and opened criminal prosecutions on dubious grounds, such as the violation of sanitary regulations by demonstrators.  

    “This wave of reprisals is obviously aimed at repressing growing popular dissent in Russia. It is a cowardly attempt to prevent further planned peaceful protests against the prosecution of prisoner of conscience Aleksei Navalny, and the allegations of top-level corruption in Russia which he unearthed.” 

    January 28, 2021

    Following the publication by the Polish Constitutional Tribunal of the ruling invalidating the constitutionality of access to abortion on the ground of “severe and irreversible foetal defect or incurable illness that threatens the foetus’ life”, Esther Major, Senior Research Adviser at Amnesty International, said:

    “Today is a terrible day for women and girls in Poland. This harmful ruling roll back on pregnant people's sexual and reproductive rights and puts their health at risk.

    “This dangerous ruling is the latest in a coordinated and systematic wave of attacks on women’s human rights by Polish lawmakers. Legal prohibitions on abortion do not prevent abortion or reduce the rates of abortion. Instead, they serve only to damage women’s health by pushing abortions underground or forcing women to travel to foreign countries to access abortion care they need and to which they have a right.

    “We stand in solidarity with women and girls in Poland and share in their outrage at this cruel decision.”

    For more information or to arrange an interview contact:

    January 27, 2021
    No justice for victims   Supporters of #EndSARS movement continue to face intimidation  Authorities yet to initiate concrete police reforms 

    Nigerian authorities have failed to bring to justice those suspected to be responsible for the brutal crackdown by security forces on peaceful #EndSARS protesters at Lekki toll gate and Alausa in Lagos in October 2020 and have brazenly attempted to cover up the violence, said Amnesty International Nigeria today, 100 days on from the attacks. 

    Since the assault by security forces, which killed at least 12 people, Nigerian authorities have targeted supporters of the protests against police brutality by the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) Some of the movement’s supporters have had their bank accounts frozen.  

    January 27, 2021

    OTTAWA – Amnesty International is urging Canadian authorities to intervene on the case of Hassan Diab, after a French court ruled that the Ottawa academic must stand trial on groundless terrorism charges stemming from a 1980 synagogue bombing.

    On Wednesday, France’s court of appeal ordered Diab to face trial for the 40-year-old Paris bombing, even after a lower court cleared his name three years ago due to a lack of evidence. It is possible that such a trial could be held in absentia, or in his absence.

    “The French court’s decision to keep pursuing this prolonged injustice against Hassan Diab is unacceptable,” said Ketty Nivyabandi, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada. “His family has been through so much over the past 12 years, only to learn that this painful saga is not over. The Canadian government must do everything in its power to have these charges dropped so Hassan and his family can move forward.”

    January 27, 2021

    The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) must take urgent steps to address the worsening human rights situation in Sri Lanka, said Amnesty International, following the release of a damning UN report on the country’s efforts to ensure accountability for crimes committed during the civil conflict. 

    Almost twelve years on from the end of Sri Lanka’s civil war, the report, from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), warns that the country’s persistent failure to address historic crimes is giving way to ‘clear early warning signs of a deteriorating human rights situation and a significantly heightened risk of future violations.’  

    In February 2020, the Sri Lankan government announced that it would no longer cooperate with the UNHRC's landmark resolution 30/1, which promotes reconciliation, accountability, and human rights in the country, and would instead pursue its own reconciliation and accountability process. 

    January 27, 2021

    A new report by Amnesty International reveals how the Belarusian authorities have weaponized the justice system to punish victims of torture rather than perpetrators, as part of a widespread and brutal crackdown on dissent in the wake of post-election protests. The organization described the pursuit of justice inside Belarus as ‘hopeless’, and called on the international community to take active steps to deliver justice for victims and hold perpetrators to account.

    While Belarusian authorities have admitted receiving more than 900 complaints of abuses committed by police since demonstrations began in August 2020, not one criminal investigation has been launched against law enforcement officers. In contrast, hundreds of criminal investigations have been opened against peaceful protesters, many of whom are victims of torture and ill-treatment.

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