6 November 2023

Amnesty International Thailand


Global/India: Apple notifications highlight the unabated threat of unlawful targeted surveillance

31 October 2023


Responding to the reports of Apple sending a new round of threat notifications globally, including to Indian opposition leaders and journalists, noting that their iPhones may have been targeted by “state-sponsored attackers”, Likhita Banerji, Amnesty International’s Researcher and Advisor on technology and human rights, said:

“This latest round of Apple threat notifications confirm that the abuse of highly invasive spyware by state-actors around the world continues unabated, targeting human rights defenders, journalists, and politicians. Despite repeated scandals and revelations, a shameful lack of accountability and transparency has contributed to an atmosphere of impunity, leading to what appears to be yet another surveillance scandal.

“In India, civil society organizations, journalists, and activists have previously faced unchecked and unlawful surveillance. Spyware technology has been used to clamp down on human rights and stifle freedom of assembly and expression. In this atmosphere, the multiple reports of prominent journalists and opposition leaders receiving the Apple notifications are particularly concerning in the months leading up to state and national general elections. Unlawful surveillance cannot be allowed to continue.

“Amnesty International reiterates its call that all governments must immediately ban the use of highly invasive spyware which cannot be independently audited or limited in its functionality. The Apple security notifications need to be promptly and impartially investigated by relevant independent authorities. The abuse of spyware technology must come to an end.”

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Global: FIFA should secure human rights protections for 2030 and 2034 World Cups as bidding deadline passes

31 October 2023

FIFA needs to secure clear and binding commitments to improve human rights in countries likely to host the 2030 and 2034 men’s football World Cup tournaments to prevent serious potential abuses linked to its flagship event, the Sport & Rights Alliance said today.

The warning from the Alliance comes as Saudi Arabia is the sole bidder to host the 2034 event shortly before deadline closes at midnight tonight, and a joint bid from Morocco, Portugal and Spain is the only one being considered for 2030. The coalition of human rights and anti-corruption organizations, trade unions, fans representatives, athlete survivors groups, and players unions believes the lack of competition to host the tournaments risks undermining FIFA’s leverage, and means it is crucial that football’s world governing body takes the lead and secures binding human rights guarantees from the bidders.

“With only a single bid for each tournament on the table, FIFA may have scored an own goal. FIFA must now make clear how it expects hosts to comply with its human rights policies. It must also be prepared to halt the bidding process if serious human rights risks are not credibly addressed,” said Steve Cockburn, Amnesty International’s Head of Economic and Social Justice. 

The Sport & Rights Alliance (SRA) partners include Amnesty International, The Army of Survivors, Committee to Protect Journalists, Football Supporters Europe, Human Rights Watch, ILGA World (The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association), the International Trade Union Confederation, and World Players Association, UNI Global Union. As a global coalition of leading NGOs and trade unions, the SRA works together to ensure sports bodies, governments and other relevant stakeholders give rise to a world of sport that protects, respects, and fulfills international standards for human rights, labour rights, child wellbeing and safeguarding, and anti-corruption.


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Bangladesh: Repeated cycle of deaths, arrests and repression during protests must end

30 October 2023


Responding to widespread arrests of opposition party members, and reports of violent clashes between protesters and police officers that left at least two dead during opposition led anti-government protests over the weekend in Dhaka in Bangladesh, Yasasmin Kaviratne, Amnesty International’s regional campaigner for South Asia, said:

“The intensified crackdown on opposition party leaders and protesters over the weekend signal an attempt at a complete clampdown of dissent in Bangladesh ahead of the general elections in January. The Bangladeshi authorities need to remember that it is not a crime to dissent, and they must respect everyone’s right to protest peacefully.

“The repeated cycle of killings, arrests and repression in Bangladesh has deeply chilling implications on human rights in the country before, during and after the elections. Once again, Amnesty International urges the Bangladeshi authorities to stop the crack down on protesters and instead fulfil their duty to facilitate peaceful assemblies.

“It is paramount that the police investigate the deaths that occurred in an impartial, independent and transparent manner with a view to bringing all those responsible to justice in fair trials without resorting to the death penalty. As per media reports, some individuals in the protests used violence, the police must ensure that those who are protesting peacefully are able to continue to do so and refrain from using the violent acts of a few as a pretext to restrict the rights of the others.

“The lead up to elections can be charged with tensions and the government of Bangladesh must take all appropriate measures to deescalate the situation. The authorities must ensure that all law enforcement agencies strictly adhere to international standards on the use of force when strictly necessary, in order to avoid further harm to people’s physical integrity and possible escalation of this crisis.”


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Global: A human rights-focused Loss and Damage Fund for climate change is vital to alleviate suffering

1 November 2023


With negotiations on how to finance and manage an international Loss and Damage Fund on the brink of failure before the COP28 climate summit begins later this month, Amnesty International’s Climate Advisor Ann Harrison said:

“A functioning and effective Loss and Damage Fund which can help communities shattered by catastrophic climate events to recover is potentially a matter of life or death for people facing the severe consequences of global warming, such as droughts, floods, rising sea levels and loss of livelihoods.

“It is shameful and deeply concerning that since parties agreed to establish the Loss and Damage Fund almost a year ago at the last COP in Egypt, no consensus has yet been reached on a proposal for how it should be financed and managed. There is a last-ditch opportunity this week for members of a key working group to agree recommendations for the fund at a meeting scheduled for 3-4 November in Abu Dhabi.

“Amnesty International is calling for parties to seize this moment to reach agreement on setting up a fund which places human rights at its core. It should provide comprehensive, fast and effective remedy and redress for all harms caused by climate change to affected communities in developing countries, who are often already marginalized groups.

“Historical emitters of greenhouse gases must make the largest financial contributions to the fund, with additional funding based on the polluter pays principle. As the fund should offer grants rather than loans to avoid increasing the indebtedness of developing states, and to ensure that all developing countries in need are eligible to receive finance, it should not be run by the World Bank.”


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Pakistan: Decision on forced returns of Afghan refugees must be reversed immediately

31 October 2023


Ahead of the Pakistan Government’s deadline on 1 November 2023 for forced deportations of unregistered Afghan refugees, Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Senior Director, said:

“Amnesty International strongly reiterates its call to the Government of Pakistan to immediately reverse its decision to forcibly deport unregistered Afghan refugees ahead of the deadline set for tomorrow. Pakistan must meet its international legal obligations including the principle of non-refoulement and stop the crackdown against, and harassment of, Afghan refugees across the country.

“Amnesty International is also calling on the international community to financially support Pakistan for hosting Afghan refugees, and to share the responsibility to provide protection to those fleeing persecution in Afghanistan.

“More than 1.4 million refugees are at risk of being uprooted from the place they’ve taken refuge and called home. There is still time for Pakistan to act swiftly today to avoid creating a crisis where families are rendered homeless, denied access to livelihood and basic services and separated in the lead up to the harsh winter months.

“This would particularly put women and girls in grave danger as they would be exposed to persecution and other serious human rights violations simply because of their sex and their gender. For an overwhelming majority of them living and studying in Pakistan may be their only chance of gaining a formal education. A significant number of Afghan refugees including journalists, human rights defenders, women protestors, artists, and former government officials and security personnel would also be at imminent risk of persecution and repression by the Taliban, if forced to return to Afghanistan.

“Afghan refugees’ lives and rights are at stake due to the collective failure of the Pakistan Government and the international community to share the responsibility for their protection. This is simply unacceptable.”


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