18 September 2023

Amnesty International Thailand


Cambodia: World Heritage Committee must not ignore ‘mass forced evictions’ around Angkor Wat

10 September 2023


The World Heritage Committee must discuss the concerning situation of forced evictions around the World Heritage site of Angkor when it meets this month, Amnesty International said after submitting preliminary research findings to UNESCO ahead of the Committee’s upcoming session in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia from 10 – 25 September.

“The World Heritage Committee must not ignore the Cambodian government’s ongoing removal of a reported 10 thousand families from around the Angkor Wat temple that amounts to mass forced evictions in the name of conservation, as per our preliminary findings of our latest research,” said Montse Ferrer, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director of Research.

“The Cambodian government has claimed the evictions are of ‘illegal inhabitants’ only, as opposed to those who comprise ‘traditional villages’. However, our research shows that the state has provided no clarity as to who has a legally recognized right to stay. Many people who are being forced to leave have told us their families have lived at Angkor for generations in what they believe are traditional villages.”

“We have also documented the poor conditions of the resettlement sites where families are moved to. These sites do not have any housing or toilets and evicted families are required to build their own homes, contrary to international human rights standards, which state that sites must include the provision of drinking water, housing and sanitation before people are relocated.”

In March, Amnesty International reported that the state was conducting mass forced evictions as authorities intimidated families to leave the Angkor area to move to government resettlement sites. Amnesty International has since conducted in-person interviews with more than 100 people who have been evicted or face eviction.


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Iran: One year after uprising international community must combat impunity for brutal crackdown 

13 September 2023

The international community must pursue pathways for justice at the international level to address systemic impunity for Iranian officials responsible for hundreds of unlawful killings of protesters and widespread torture, Amnesty International said today, as Iran marks the one-year anniversary of the “Woman Life Freedom” uprising.

Over the past year, Iranian authorities have committed a litany of crimes under international law to eradicate any challenge to their iron grip on power. These include hundreds of unlawful killings; the arbitrary execution of seven protesters; tens of thousands of arbitrary arrests; widespread torture, including rape of detainees; widespread harassment of victims’ families who call for truth and justice; and reprisals against women and girls who defy discriminatory compulsory veiling laws.

“The Iranian authorities have spent a year inflicting unspeakable cruelty on people in Iran for courageously challenging decades of repression and inequality. One year after Mahsa/Zhina Amini’s death in custody, not one official has been criminally investigated, let alone prosecuted and punished for crimes committed during, and in the aftermath of, the uprising,” said Diana Eltahawy, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

“The anniversary of the ‘Woman Life Freedom’ protests offers a stark reminder for countries around the world of the need to initiate criminal investigations into the heinous crimes committed by the Iranian authorities under universal jurisdiction. Government statements calling on the Iranian authorities to halt the unlawful use of firearms against protesters, stop torturing detainees, and release all individuals detained for peacefully exercising their human rights remain as crucial as ever. These actions show victims they are not alone in their darkest hour.”


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Egypt: Immediately release prominent dissident on trial for online expression

5 September 2023


Ahead of the verdict expected on 16 September for Hisham Kassem, a prominent opposition politician and publisher arbitrarily detained since 20 August solely for the peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression, Amnesty International’s Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, Philip Luther, said:

“The prosecution of Hisham Kassem for simply posting critical messages online is a signal that the Egyptian authorities’ relentless campaign to silence peaceful critics and punish dissent, including through the use of criminal defamation and other draconian laws, is continuing in full force. 

“Criticizing the government and public officials is a human right. Hisham Kassem must be released immediately and unconditionally; and criminal defamation and other politically motivated charges against him dropped. 

“Although a limited number of dissidents were recently released from prolonged and unjust imprisonment, the world must not be fooled. Egypt’s shocking human rights record is plain to see, amid a renewed wave of arbitrary detentions and unfounded prosecutions of critics.

“Egyptian authorities must urgently halt the endless cycle of arrests and prosecutions targeting critical voices and stop using criminal defamation laws to muzzle dissent. States around the world must demand justice and freedom for those who dare to speak up.”


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Global: Climate protests to call for an end to the use of fossil fuels

14  September 2023


Millions of people at protests and events being held worldwide in coming days will call for a halt to the use of fossil fuels, echoing Amnesty International’s view that this is essential to try and prevent the climate catastrophe from escalating.

Agnès Callamard, Amnesty International’s Secretary General, said:

“Amnesty International is calling for a fast and fair phase out of all fossil fuels and for an immediate halt to the development of new fossil fuel resources. It also supports people’s right to free expression and campaigns to protect the right to peacefully protest.

“The youth-led and organized Fridays for Future movement is again at the forefront of these calls for a just energy transition. This generation faces a worsening climate catastrophe, with devastating consequences for human rights, but too many leaders in positions of power today are doing too little to avert this disaster, and even reneging on existing promises.

“We call on governments and corporations to act now to safeguard everyone’s right to a healthy environment by bringing a rapid end to the current era of fossil fuel dependency, swiftly and fairly transitioning to renewable energy sources, and ending energy poverty.”


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Mexico: Land, territory and environmental defenders are being criminalized for exercising their right to protest

13 September 2023


The disproportionate use of criminal law is one of the main threats facing the right to protest peacefully in defense of land, territory and environment in Mexico, Amnesty International said today upon publishing a new report. Mexico: Land and Freedom? Criminalizing defenders of land, territory and environmentdocuments the disproportionate use of the justice system to deter, punish and prevent defenders from protesting in demand of their rights.

“The disproportionate use of the criminal justice system against protesters forms part of a broader strategy of disincentivizing and dismantling advocacy for land, territorial and environmental rights. It is alarming to see that Mexico ranks among the countries with the highest number of murders of environmental defenders and yet, far from the State addressing and preventing this violence, other serious human rights violations are also being committed such as stigmatization, harassment, attacks, assaults, forced displacement and disappearances,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International.

The right to protest is a fundamental recourse that land, territory and environmental defenders have used to demand their rights, particularly when other institutional mechanisms have failed or have not been accessible to them. Various state authorities have used criminal proceedings against them, ignoring principles of legality, necessity and proportionality. They have also failed to consider the context of the protests, their root causes, and the people’s right to defend their land, territory and the environment.


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