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Members Take Action

    May 21, 2017
    Junior Mandoko, far left, and Merryl David-Ismayil, front centre with some of their French students

    Junior Mandoko, far left, and Merryl David-Ismayil, front centre with some of their French students

    By Merryl David-Ismayil

    It all started with an experiment at Glendon College (York University), the unique bilingual College in Toronto. After realizing that numerous English-speaking students do not want to take some courses in French because their level in this language would not permit them to get the “A” they need to continue, Meryll David-Ismayil, who teaches Political Science there and who is also part of the Board of Directors of the Amnesty International Toronto Organization (AITO), decided to launch some free French language classes on Human Rights. No mark, no stress: just the pleasure to learn and speak about human rights… while practicing French!

    May 12, 2015

     

    Long-time activist Margaret John tells us how joining Amnesty Canada changed her life, and why she wants our work to be part of her own legacy.

    My journey with Amnesty started nearly four decades ago. I remember growing up wanting to make life better for someone else. But I didn't see myself as a leader, and kept asking “What could I do?”

     

        "People leaving gifts to Amnesty in their wills represented 8.6% of our global income in 2013: €20.6 million. It’s our second biggest income source, after individual donations (81%)."

        - Amnesty International

     

    At first, I simply worked on the local Amnesty group newsletter and letter-writing. Then our group was assigned a Singaporean prisoner of conscience for action, on whose dossier I was made responsible - a daunting task. Later I was asked to become Amnesty Canada’s permanent Country Coordinator on Singapore and Malaysia.

    The same questions kept leaping to mind: “But what could I do?” After all I was just a little brown mouse?

    February 08, 2017

    Amnesty International Canada will hold its 2017 Human Rights College (HRC) for Youth from May 30th to June 4th, in Calgary, AB.

    The HRC is a three day youth leadership training that takes place just prior to, and is connected with, our AGM. The HRC aims to empower and support young activists within Amnesty to facilitate their active leadership role within Amnesty International's youth program. The HRC will be a mix of skills and learning workshops, along with an opportunity for all participants to have a hands-on experience of testing out their new skills.

    The college directly precedes Amnesty Canada’s Annual General Meeting which all members of the HRC then go on to take part in.

    Applications for the Human Rights College are now being accepted and are due on March 27th.

    If you have any questions regarding the Human Rights College or would like an application, please contact youth@amnesty.ca

    We look forward to seeing you in Calgary!

    November 02, 2016

    Calling all youth! We need your voice!

    For years, Amnesty International Canada has worked alongside young activists to create change locally and globally. Every day, inspiring youth join our movement to promote and protect human rights. However, we want to continue to improve the ways in which we work with young people. In order to do this, Amnesty International Canada is preparing to launch a National Youth Strategy in late spring 2017, and we need your input!  *November 3rd, 2016 to December 16th 2016, we will be running consultations across the country to learn from our members what we can do as an organization to improve our work with youth.*

    The National Youth Strategy is a document which will guide our work as a section by identifying ways in which we can better engage and support youth. It will be utilized by staff, decision makers, activist leaders, and many others to ensure that youth are engaged at all levels of our work.

    July 21, 2016

    By Gloria Nafziger, Amnesty International Canada's Campaigner for Iran

    Where would you spend a Sunday in July?

    On Sunday July 17, the members of Amnesty International’s TriCities Group in Coquitlam BC chose to stand in solidarity with Iranian prisoner of conscience, Narges Mohammadi

    Narges Mohammadi is a human rights defender who received a 16-year prison sentence after she was convicted, following an unfair trial in April 2016, of the charges of “founding an illegal group”, “gathering and colluding to commit crimes against national security”, and “spreading propaganda against the system”. She is already serving a six-year prison sentence from a previous case. Her convictions are based solely on her human rights work.

    Narges is critically ill. She suffers from a pulmonary embolism (a blockage in the blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the lungs) and a neurological disorder that has resulted in her experiencing seizures and temporary partial paralysis. She needs ongoing specialized medical care, which she cannot receive in prison, as well as daily medication.

    July 06, 2016

    By George Harvey, LGBTI Coordinator

    July 13, 2016

    It may seem like just one letter, just one petition signature, or just one day tabling at a farmer’s market. But when every signature, every conversation, and every  action are added together we accomplish extraordinary things we transform lives. And that’s just what we did through Amnesty's Stop Torture and My Body My Rights campaigns.

    Over the past two years we campaigned for Canada to join a key torture prevention treaty, we took action to support torture survivors in Mexico as they seek justice, and we called on countries around the world to end the secrecy in detention centres which allows torture to take place. We raised awareness of sexual and reproductive health rights issues, helped secure the release of women in El Salvador imprisoned for having pregnancy-related complications, and successfully helped to change laws on early and forced marriage in Burkina Faso.

    July 22, 2016

    By Kathy Price, Mexico campaigner at Amnesty International Canada

    They are bright and beautiful, they are eye-catching, and they carry a powerful message – a message of concern, solidarity and enormous caring. 

    Amnesty supporters in communities, big and small, from all across Canada are creating butterfly messages to make visible how they feel about a shocking epidemic of disappearances in Mexico, as well as threats to the safety of family members seeking the return of their loved ones.

    Monarch butterflies unite Mexico and Canada. Their annual life-giving migration across borders makes them the perfect symbol for Canadians to express our support for Mexican families courageously confronting an agonizing, hidden crisis.
     

    November 06, 2015

     

    By Stephanie Tran – Youth Intern, Amnesty International

     

    Over 30 000. That’s the number of cards of solidarity written for Raif Badawi with urgent calls for his freedom. Written by supporters from around the world, sentiments of solidarity came from around 20 countries altogether. Along with Ensaf Haidar, Raif Badawi’s wife, we brought 17 boxes filled with these cards to the Saudi Arabian Embassy. They refused to accept any of them.

    “What does the Saudi Embassy fear by refusing them?,” asked Director General of Amnesty Canada’s Francophone Branch, Beatrice Vaugrante. “It is disappointing but it will in no way lessen our determination to campaign for Raif.”

    November 10, 2015

    by Catherine Brunelle, Write for Rights Support Team

    Amnesty Canada campaigner Hilary Homes has seen many events during her work with Amnesty activists. As we approach Amnesty International’s biggest global activism day of the year, Write for Rights on International Human Rights Day, December 10, we’ve asked her to share some favourite organizing takeaways. Haven’t signed up yet? Join Write for Rights at writeathon.ca!
     

    1. Hold your event in a fun public space

    Partner with a coffee shop or library! Or hold it in a university campus common space,  an art gallery, or at the market. Think of spaces that naturally have a lot of people. It’s an easy way to boost your numbers!

    July 08, 2015

    Gord Barnes is a volunteer fieldworker who lives in Regina.  As f ieldworker, Gord connects with many people throughout Saskatchewan to promote Amnesty's human rights work.

    I have met people who have had family members executed. Other people who have been prisoners of conscience, jailed solely for their political or religious beliefs who have eventually been released.  I have met First Nations people who live here in Regina who have gone through the terrible experience of having a mother, daughter or sister murdered or who is missing.

    Fundamentally, I feel all human rights are universal, that the rights that are guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, all need to be enjoyed by everyone, I was involved with Amnesty International for a few years, writing  letters and active locally here in Regina, and then (many years ago) I was encouraged by one of the AI Canada staff to consider applying tobecome involved in the volunteer Fieldworker program.  I wasn’t sure I had the right experience and skills but I discovered this was a great way to learn more about human rights and about effective activism – I am grateful for being encouraged to do this.

    June 18, 2015
    Kassidy Goyette, Tanis Moreland and Gail Klinck of Massey Vanier High School stand in solidarity with Hilda Legideño Vargas and her son Jorge Antonio, one of 43 disappeared students of Ayotzinapa

    By Kassidy Goyette, a student at Massey Vanier High School in Cowansville, Quebec.

    I would have never imagined that the petition created by our “small but mighty” Social Action Committee from Massey-Vanier High School would have such impact. It was amazing to have the opportunity to actually hand it over to Mexico’s Ambassador in Ottawa, see his reaction, and hear him say that he would ensure it reached the office of President Peña Nieto in Mexico.

    December 08, 2014

     

    Barrie turns out to mark International Human Rights Day during Write for Rights!

    For the very first time, the Amnesty International Flag was raised at Barrie City Hall and will continue to wave to mark International Human Rights Day on December 10th. Mayor Jeff Lehman, students from Barrie Central, Maple Grove E.S., residents of Barrie and members of our local Barrie Amnesty International Action Circle were in attendance.

    October 20, 2014
    Students at Symmes Junior and D’Arcy McGee High in Gatineau were given the opportunity to meet Emmanuel Jal, a former child soldier from Southern Sudan and a current Toronto-based recording artist.

    by Ali Wagner, Intern at Amnesty International Canada

    Former child soldier from Southern Sudan and current Toronto-based recording artist Emmanuel Jal continues to inspire as his Key tour crosses Canada.

    Last week, 900 students wandered into their gymnasium in Aylmer, Quebec expecting a simple presentation on human rights, but were greeted with pounding hip hop and Emmanuel Jal, leading an interactive and emotionally charged event. Emmanuel’s unique style of hip hop and message of peace and reconciliation engaged students and brought them along on his journey, through his happiest and darkest moments.

    February 12, 2014
    By Duncan Garrow, Amnesty International Toronto (AITO) Board member, member of AI Toronto Speakers Bureau, member Church of the Redeemer Action Circle.

    By any account the evening had already been a great success. Upwards of 100 people braved the elements on a chilly Friday night to fill all of the available seats for Weaving Hope, a night in support of Indigenous people in Colombia. Many were attending their first Amnesty event, and enthusiastically joined in the many creative actions. Painted hand prints were made, photos of solidarity were taken, and petitions were signed. The audience listened attentively to the poetry of Ojibway writer Art Solomon and shared in the smudging and blessing ceremony conducted by Clayton Shirt. 

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