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  • A harsh winter for hundreds of thousands displaced in Kurdistan Region of Iraq | Amnesty International Canada
    Kurdistan officially known as Kurdistan Region of Iraq or KRI to assess the human rights situation of Syrian refugees and displaced Iraqis alike Bersive I camp near Zakho The toilets and showers are so far away that they cannot be seen in the distance Amnesty International As a result of the advance of the Islamic State armed group IS and other violence across the country more than 2 million Iraqis were displaced during 2014 Nearly half of them some 950 000 are now in the KRI a small semi autonomous area in northern Iraq with a population of 5 2 million In other words the region has seen an influx of people equivalent to almost a fifth of its population it would be like Scotland suddenly receiving a million people from England and Wales Most of them are Yezidis from the Sinjar region in addition to Turkmen and Arabs from towns and villages around Mosul Iraq s second largest city Before January 2014 the KRI had already opened its doors to about 230 000 refugees from Syria Camps The Kurdish Regional Government KRG has made efforts to build camps for the hundreds of thousands of displaced Baharka camp just outside Erbil hosts around 3 000 displaced Iraqis and Palestinian refugees from Iraq Being very close to the capital this is one of the most visible camps Despite the frequent visits by foreign dignitaries journalists and charities however conditions in the camp are far from ideal especially when it rains After dark solar powered lamps and mobile torches keep the market going The governorate of Dohuk a town of 280 000 inhabitants west of Erbil is hosting around 430 000 displaced people in addition to refugees from Syria When we first visited the Dohuk area in September 2014 those who were not hosted by local families sought shelter in any available spaces the local schools building sites unfinished buildings garages parks and gardens Three months later there are nine official camps for IDPs in the Dohuk governorate hosting around 125 000 people catering to only a fraction of the displaced Two of the official camps were built by AFAD the Turkish Disaster and Emergency Management Agency three were built by the United Nations and the remaining four were built by the KRG As a result their standards of accommodation facilities and services vary greatly In Bersive I camp for example an AFAD camp hosting around 10 000 people near Zakho the tents are not fully insulated from the rain there is no hot water and the number of toilets and showers does not meet minimum standards for humanitarian response Unfinished building in Zakho town centre in the Dohuk governorate where around 260 families have been living since August 2014 There are six toilets for men and six for women with no lighting in the main part of the building for the entire group of inhabitants Amnesty International Unfinished building in Zakho town centre in the Dohuk governorate where around 260 families

    Original URL path: http://www.amnesty.ca/blog/a-harsh-winter-for-hundreds-of-thousands-displaced-in-kurdistan-region-of-iraq (2016-02-13)
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  • Israel/OPT: Israeli authorities must protect Palestinian civilians in wake of settler attacks in Hebron | Amnesty International Canada
    carried out or when the Israeli authorities alleged stabbing attacks were intended Amnesty International found evidence that at least some of the killings of Palestinians by Israeli forces in Hebron were extrajudicial executions and four more Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in Hebron since Tuesday morning But Palestinian residents of Hebron have told Amnesty International that they feel just as threatened by the Israeli civilians many of them armed living in illegal settlements in and around the city In the space of less than a month attacks by Israeli settlers on Palestinians in Hebron have escalated from what was already an unacceptably high level said Philip Luther Director for the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International Israeli forces must fulfil their duties to protect Palestinian civilians living under occupation from attacks by settlers work to prevent settler violence and hold those responsible to account particularly in Hebron Their apparent failure to intervene during some of the recent settler attacks effectively makes them complicit Killing of Fadel al Qawasameh Eyewitness accounts stating that a Palestinian killed by an Israeli civilian in the Old City of Hebron earlier this month was not threatening the life of anyone at the scene highlight the dangers faced by Palestinian civilians living and working in the area On the morning of 17 October 18 year old Hebron resident Fadel al Qawasameh was walking to work when he was shot and killed by an Israeli civilian The Israeli military claim that he had a knife and intended to stab the Israeli civilian but have released no evidence to support these claims despite the fact that al Shuhada Street where the incident took place is heavily monitored by video cameras operated by Israeli forces Shortly before he was shot Fadel al Qawasmeh had passed through Checkpoint 56 on al Shuhada Street which separates the section of Hebron ostensibly under Palestinian control from the Old City where illegal Israeli settlements are located Amnesty International researchers present at the checkpoint the day before and after the shooting observed Israeli soldiers ordering people to remove items from their pockets and pass through the metal detector multiple times Young men were particularly thoroughly searched making it highly unlikely that Fadel al Qawasmeh would have been able to smuggle a knife through A resident of a house on al Shuhada Street a few metres away from the scene of the shooting told Amnesty International that as he was coming down the stairs of his home he saw a young man being stopped by Israeli soldiers and turned back towards the checkpoint He then reported seeing an Israeli civilian dressed in white who had been standing next to the soldiers follow the man up the road before shooting him at least three times in the head and back He told Amnesty International that Fadel al Qawasameh had nothing in his hands and all the shots were fired from behind Interviewed separately a resident of another house on al Shuhada

    Original URL path: http://www.amnesty.ca/news/israelopt-israeli-authorities-must-protect-palestinian-civilians-wake-settler-attacks-hebron (2016-02-13)
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  • Israeli forces in Occupied Palestinian Territories must end pattern of unlawful killings | Amnesty International Canada
    Contact Us Home Media Awards Multimedia Israeli forces in Occupied Palestinian Territories must end pattern of unlawful killings News releases October 27 2015 Israeli forces have carried out a series of unlawful killings of Palestinians using intentional lethal force without justification said Amnesty International today based on the findings of an ongoing research trip to the West Bank including East Jerusalem The organization has documented in depth at least four incidents in which Palestinians were deliberately shot dead by Israeli forces when they posed no imminent threat to life in what appear to have been extrajudicial executions In some cases the person shot was left bleeding to death on the ground and was not given prompt medical assistance in violation of the prohibition of torture and other ill treatment Since 1 October Israeli forces have killed more than 30 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Israel either after stabbings were carried out or the Israeli authorities allege stabbing attacks were intended A clear pattern has emerged of lethal force being used unlawfully by Israeli forces following a wave of recent stabbing attacks by Palestinians against Israeli civilians and military or police forces in Israel and the occupied West Bank said Philip Luther Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International There is mounting evidence that as tensions have risen dramatically in some cases Israeli forces appear to have ripped up the rulebook and resorted to extreme and unlawful measures They seem increasingly prone to using lethal force against anyone they perceive as posing a threat without ensuring that the threat is real Intentional lethal force should only be used when absolutely necessary to protect life Instead we are increasingly seeing Israeli forces recklessly flouting international standards by shooting to kill in situations where it is completely unjustified Israeli forces must end this pattern of unlawful killings and bring all those responsible to justice In an especially egregious case Israeli forces shot dead 19 year old Sa ad Muhammad Youssef al Atrash in the Old City of Hebron as he attempted to retrieve an ID card at an Israeli soldier s request on 26 October The Israeli police labelled the incident an attempted stabbing but an eyewitness watching the events unfold from her balcony said he had posed no threat when he was shot One of the soldiers had asked him for ID and as he reached into his pocket to grab his card another soldier standing behind him shot him on his right side she told Amnesty International The eyewitness said he was shot six or seven times and bled profusely as he lay on the ground for about 40 minutes afterwards while soldiers failed to provide medical treatment She also reported seeing soldiers bring a knife and place it in the dying man s hand Then they put him on a stretcher and pushed him towards an ambulance but didn t put him in By this time he looked extremely yellow and I thought

    Original URL path: http://www.amnesty.ca/news/israeli-forces-occupied-palestinian-territories-must-end-pattern-unlawful-killings (2016-02-13)
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  • Gaza: Cutting edge investigation points to Israeli war crimes in Rafah on ‘Black Friday’ | Amnesty International Canada
    research team based at Goldsmiths University of London There is strong evidence that Israeli forces committed war crimes in their relentless and massive bombardment of residential areas of Rafah in order to foil the capture of Lieutenant Hadar Goldin displaying a shocking disregard for civilian lives They carried out a series of disproportionate or otherwise indiscriminate attacks which they have completely failed to investigate independently said Philip Luther Director of the Middle East and North Africa Program at Amnesty International This report presents an urgent call for justice that must not be ignored The combined analysis of hundreds of photos and videos as well as satellite imagery and testimony from eyewitnesses provides compelling evidence of serious violations of international humanitarian law by Israeli forces which must be investigated The massive amount of evidence collected was presented to military and other experts and then pieced together in chronological order to create a detailed account of events from 1 August when the Israeli military implemented the controversial and secretive Hannibal procedure following the capture of Lieutenant Hadar Goldin Under the Hannibal Directive Israeli forces can respond to the capture of a soldier with intense firepower despite the risks to his life or to civilians in the vicinity As the report illustrates the implementation of the directive led to the ordering of unlawful attacks on civilians After Lieutenant Hadar Goldin was captured Israeli forces appear to have thrown out the rule book employing a gloves off policy with devastating consequences for civilians The goal was to foil his capture at any cost The obligation to take precautions to avoid the loss of civilian lives was completely neglected Entire districts of Rafah including heavily populated residential areas were bombarded without distinction between civilians and military targets said Philip Luther The ferocity of the attacks which continued after Lieutenant Goldin was declared dead on 2 August suggests they may in part have been motivated by a desire to punish the population of Rafah as revenge for his capture Intense bombardment Shortly before Lieutenant Goldin s capture on 1 August 2014 a ceasefire had been announced and many civilians returned to their homes believing it was safe Massive and prolonged bombardment began without warning while masses of people were on the streets and many of them especially those in vehicles became targets That day later became known in Rafah as Black Friday Eyewitness accounts described horrifying scenes of chaos and panic as an inferno of fire from F 16 jets drones helicopters and artillery rained down on the streets striking civilians on foot or in cars as well as ambulances and other vehicles evacuating the wounded One witness described the attacks that day as an attempt to pulverize Rafah s civilians likening the onslaught to a machine making mincemeat out of people without mercy Cutting edge forensic analysis For this investigation eyewitness accounts describing the carnage in Rafah were cross referenced with hundreds of photos and videos taken from various sources and multiple locations as well

    Original URL path: http://www.amnesty.ca/news/news-releases/gaza-cutting-edge-investigation-points-to-israeli-war-crimes-in-rafah-on-%E2%80%98black (2016-02-13)
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  • Unlawful and Deadly in Gaza: Where does Canada stand? | Amnesty International Canada
    on the firing by Palestinian armed groups of thousands of unguided rockets and mortars towards Israel during the fifty day war These indiscriminate attacks were a breach of international law which led to the deaths of both Israelis and Palestinians Six Israeli civilians including a four year old boy and a Bedouin man were killed Bedouin communities in Israel s Negev Naqab face increased risk as they do not benefit from shelters missile defenses or warning sirens afforded to others in Israel Thirteen Palestinians including eleven children were killed when a projectile believed to have been launched from within the Gaza Strip fell short of its intended target and struck the al Shati refugee camp Where does Canada stand Canada has not released a statement regarding the findings in the report The Canadian government has however been a vocal opponent of Palestinian ICC membership despite being a member itself calling the move a concerning and dangerous development despite overwhelming international support for Palestinian accession at the United Nations Canada must support the ICC s exercise of jurisdiction over the Palestinian territory and take an evenhanded approach to such investigations thereby helping to obtain justice for both Israeli and Palestinian victims while reinforcing its reputation as a reliable human rights champion Canada must call on Israel to grant full access to Amnesty International and other organizations to the Gaza Strip Here are 8 reasons why Canada needs to change its game 1 The ICC would investigate Palestinian armed groups for IHL violations in Gaza Israel claims Palestinian armed groups failed to take necessary precautions to protect civilians by using human shields and firing from built up civilian areas Palestinian armed groups have denied taking these actions and Israel has not provided any details to substantiate its claims An investigation could help establish whether this was in fact the case 2 The ICC would investigate Palestinian armed groups for IHL violations against Israel IHL imposes obligations on all parties to armed conflict to distinguish between civilians and combatants and between civilian objects and military objectives The firing of indiscriminate munitions towards Israel injuring or killing civilians constitutes a war crime 3 An ICC investigation would examine Israeli claims that it abides by the rules of war The Israeli government and the IDF have insisted that they do not target civilians Yet the vast majority of Palestinian casualties during the 2014 war were civilian A full investigation allows the opportunity to verify Israel s claims it had been targeting militants or military objectives in its attacks 4 An ICC investigation would bring an end to the pattern of impunity enjoyed by perpetrators in previous conflicts Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups both committed violations of IHL in 2008 09 during Israel s operation Cast Lead and in 2012 during operation Pillar of Defense The prosecution of those responsible will help deter future violations and secure justice for victims 5 Palestine s accession to the Rome Statute of the ICC is a positive development

    Original URL path: http://www.amnesty.ca/blog/unlawful-and-deadly-in-gaza-where-does-canada-stand (2016-02-13)
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  • Unlawful and Deadly in Gaza: The time has come for a new path to peace and justice | Amnesty International Canada
    Insurance Contact our Planned Giving Associate Disclaimer Gifts of Stocks and Securities Give a Gift in Memoriam Send a Special Occasion Gift Raise Money for Human Rights Tips for Raising Money Fundraising Q As Donate a car Update your monthly donor information Join Us About Us What we do Key Facts about Amnesty International How We Make A Difference Our Leaders Our Impact Governance Financial Information Work With Us FAQ Members Thank You Contact Us Home Unlawful and Deadly in Gaza The time has come for a new path to peace and justice Saturday May 23 2015 13 22 Photo Credit Damage to the outpatients clinic of al Shifa hospital in Gaza City on 28 July 2014 Amnesty International By Tarek Chatila Montreal area activist and writer for Amnesty Canada s Isr OT PA co group In March Amnesty International released its report entitled Unlawful and deadly Rocket and mortar attacks by Palestinian armed groups during the 2014 Gaza Israel conflict Coming just two weeks before Palestine s accession to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court ICC it is part of the Nowhere to run for life safety justice campaign which demands accountability for human rights violations carried out by all parties during Israel s operation in Gaza codenamed Protective Edge During fifty days of hostilities Palestinian armed groups launched thousands of unguided rockets and mortars towards Israel in contravention of international law Six civilians in Israel including a four year old boy and a Bedouin man died in the attacks Bedouin communities in Israel s Negev Naqab area are particularly vulnerable as Israel does not provide them with shelters missile defenses or warning sirens Inside Gaza thirteen Palestinian civilians eleven of them children were killed when a projectile believed to have been launched from the Gaza Strip fell short of its intended target and struck the al Shati refugee camp A Hamas statement rejected the findings saying the report relied on the Israeli version of events and is as such imbalanced It added war crimes have clear specifications according to the Rome Statute that do not in any way apply to the Palestinian resistance which was is and will defend its people Israel for its part welcomed the report s highlighting of Hamas s war crimes including the deliberate targeting of Israel s civilian population by thousands of rockets and mortars adding that it is vigorously investigating its own conduct during the conflict aiming to draw lessons and minimize civilian harm In response to an urgent petition requesting that Israeli authorities provide Bedouin communities in the Negev Naqab with protective facilities state representatives told the Israeli High Court of Justice that the villagers themselves had primary responsibility for providing protection and that the best protective measure the residents could take was to lie on the ground The Canadian government has not commented on the report Canada itself an ICC member has expressed strong opposition to Palestinian accession to the court despite widespread international support for the move

    Original URL path: http://www.amnesty.ca/blog/unlawful-and-deadly-in-gaza-the-time-has-come-for-a-new-path-to-peace-and-justice (2016-02-13)
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  • Freedom of Expression and the Canada/Israel Relationship | Amnesty International Canada
    College for Youth Dance for Rights Human Rights College 2015 Planning Committee Member Application Lifesaver Actions for Young Activists Student Group Registration Form Youth Leadership Oppotunitities Join a group Community Activism Volunteer Leadership Fieldworkers Join our Membership Consultation Committee MCC Volunteers Wanted Nova Scotia University Orientation Week Country and Theme Coordinators in Canada The Board of Directors Resources for Activists Activism Fund Have your say Seasonal Activism Guide Meet our Team Work Volunteer Opportunities Donate Become a Monthly Donor Sign Up Online Your Donations at Work Amnesty Canvassers Telephone Canvassing Make a One time Donation Donate Online Leave a gift in your will Why we are remembering Amnesty in our wills Bequests RRIFs and RRSPs Life Insurance Contact our Planned Giving Associate Disclaimer Gifts of Stocks and Securities Give a Gift in Memoriam Send a Special Occasion Gift Raise Money for Human Rights Tips for Raising Money Fundraising Q As Donate a car Update your monthly donor information Join Us About Us What we do Key Facts about Amnesty International How We Make A Difference Our Leaders Our Impact Governance Financial Information Work With Us FAQ Members Thank You Contact Us Home Freedom of Expression and the Canada Israel Relationship Monday May 4 2015 10 55 By Alex Neve Amnesty International Canada s Secretary General Follow Alex on Twitter AlexNeve Amnesty Amnesty International has reviewed the Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of Foreign Affairs Trade and Development Canada and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of Israel regarding Public Diplomacy Cooperation MOU which was concluded between the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the two countries on 18 January 2015 Amnesty International is concerned that various provisions in the MOU may lead to infringements of the right to freedom of expression which is enshrined in both the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and international human rights treaties binding on Canada The MOU is grounded in a shared concern about efforts to single out the State of Israel for criticism noting in particular calls for a boycott of the State of Israel for the divestment of investments and for sanctions to be imposed on Israel The MOU refers to selective targeting of Israel as being the new face of anti Semitism The MOU commits Canada and Israel to work together to oppose efforts to single out or isolate the State of Israel In that regard there is particular reference to i Developing a coordinated public diplomacy initiative both bilaterally and in international and multilateral fora to oppose boycotts of Israel its institutions and its people within three to six months ii Publically expressing their opposition to those who would call into question the State of Israel s very right to exist or to defend itself by itself iii Engaging in annual consultations to identify opportunities to advocate in favour of the State of Israel s full participation in the global economy Amnesty International reminds both the Canadian and Israeli governments of their obligation not only to refrain from

    Original URL path: http://www.amnesty.ca/blog/freedom-of-expression-and-the-canadaisrael-relationship (2016-02-13)
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  • ‘Nowhere in Gaza is safe’ - A snapshot of life under the bombs | Amnesty International Canada
    Life Insurance Contact our Planned Giving Associate Disclaimer Gifts of Stocks and Securities Give a Gift in Memoriam Send a Special Occasion Gift Raise Money for Human Rights Tips for Raising Money Fundraising Q As Donate a car Update your monthly donor information Join Us About Us What we do Key Facts about Amnesty International How We Make A Difference Our Leaders Our Impact Governance Financial Information Work With Us FAQ Members Thank You Contact Us Home Nowhere in Gaza is safe A snapshot of life under the bombs Monday July 28 2014 15 09 Photo Credit EPA OLIVER WEIKEN Interview with a human rights fieldworker in Gaza This morning as I brushed my teeth I could hear the familiar buzzing of a drone circling above our building I ignored the sound Drones circle overhead all the time you never know whether it s just for surveillance or an impending missile launch The uncertainty makes you feel helpless What can anyone do Five minutes later a missile fired from what sounded like an F 16 fighter jet struck nearby The loud boom sent the children running to me They crowded in the bathroom for comfort and safety They looked so frightened and pale their eyes red from lack of sleep I am known for keeping a cool head people say I have nerves of steel so typically I just smiled at them still clutching my toothbrush The relief of seeing me smile made them break down in giggles it s one of those absurd reactions you have under extreme stress Overall I try to keep things as normal as possible for them we don t talk about the war and deaths all the time We take rational precautions but we don t overdo it and try to avoid sowing panic We don t shout go downstairs go downstairs each time there s a drone buzzing My home feels relatively safe because I know my neighbours in the building and around me and I know there is no one who could be a target Yet nowhere in Gaza is truly safe Life is dangerous It s war We trust in God and look after the children I try to stay away from the areas where the fighting is taking place in any case the Israeli military has made them off limits No vehicle is immune from attack Just the other day a drone strike destroyed a clearly marked ambulance It s when I am out taking photos and interviewing people who live in the areas being targeted that I am most at risk The danger is when you feel that every house you are in could be targeted next But I believe my work is important regardless of the danger it s essential for the truth to come out Last week the case of the Abu Jame family in eastern Khan Yunis shook me to the core Twenty five members of one family had been wiped out in an Israeli airstrike

    Original URL path: http://www.amnesty.ca/blog/%E2%80%98nowhere-in-gaza-is-safe%E2%80%99-a-snapshot-of-life-under-the-bombs (2016-02-13)
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