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    January 14, 2016

    The BC government must now make its own decision about a proposed pipeline project that it has publicly claimed to oppose.

    In a significant victory for Indigenous rights, the BC Supreme Court ruled yesterday that the provincial government "abdicated" its Constitutional obligations by giving up provincial authority to impose conditions on the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline. Without such authority the province could not meaningfully accommodate the rights of affected First Nations, even on issues that the BC itself had conceded were serious concerns.

    The court ruled that BC must now consult with First Nations about the potential impacts of Northern Gateway “on areas of provincial jurisdiction”  and “how those impacts are to be addressed in a manner consistent with the honour of the Crown and reconciliation.”

    The decision does not affect the project approval granted by the federal government – which is the subject of a separate as yet unresolved legal challenge.

    January 07, 2016

    The province of British Columbia is pushing ahead with construction of a hydro-electric megaproject in the Peace River Valley despite unresolved legal challenges from First Nations. A camp set up by community members at an historic site in the path of BC Hydro's efforts to clear the planned reservoir has led to a temporary halt in logging. But the community members now face the risk of arrest for their actions.

    The rapidly evolving situation highlights the urgent need for the federal government to honour its Treaty commitments by suspending all federal licenses and permits for the project so that the underlying issues of Constitutionally-protected rights and due process can be addressed.

    The following is a press released issued by the community members.

     

    First Nations Prepare for Arrest to Stop Site C Dam
    Treaty 8 Stewards of the Land call on Trudeau to stop megadam in B.C.'s Peace Valley

    January 04, 2016
    Photo: Once consultations are complete, the inquiry into murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls should get underway. Meanwhile widely supported recommendations to help address this crisis can be implemented, such as increased funding for women’s shelters on reserves and better police data on the Indigenous identity of murdered and missing women.

     

    by Alex Neve and Béatrice Vaugrante

    After a dark decade for human rights in Canada, Justin Trudeau has an opportunity to restore our standing. Here's how he can do it.

    There have been encouraging signs of a sorely needed new approach to human rights from Justin Trudeau’s government in the last few weeks of 2015. The crucial question now is whether that change will become sustained and meaningful in 2016.

    Over the past decade Canada’s global standing and domestic record on the human rights front has taken a big hit. Over those years, our reputation deteriorated, long-standing concerns went unaddressed and setbacks piled up. The pent-up expectation but also the very real opportunity for change is considerable.

    December 14, 2015

    By Perry Bellegarde, national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, and Alex Neve, secretary general of Amnesty International Canada.

    Every day, federal and provincial governments make decisions about resource development projects. Some are relatively benign decisions, with few or no impacts on First Nations rights. Others carry the potential for massive and irreversible impacts on the rights of First Nations.

    British Columbia’s planned Site C hydroelectric dam falls into the latter category. It will have devastating impacts on the rights and territories of Treaty 8 First Nations in B.C. Approval for Site C means approval for flooding the last pristine stretch of the Peace River valley west of Fort St. John, turning it into a massive reservoir.

    December 08, 2015

    Read the FAQ on Public Inquiries

     

    Today the government of Canada launched the design process for the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in Canada. Amnesty International welcomes this announcement, which has been long called for by Indigenous women and girls, the families of women who have gone missing and been murdered, National Aboriginal Organizations, and human rights groups like Amnesty International. We are mindful of all the families we have worked with for so many years as part of our No More Stolen Sisters campaign--they are in our thoughts today and every day. 

    In the lead up to this announcement, many questions. What exactly is a National Inquiry? What can it accomplish? How will the voices of Indigenous women and girls and family members be heard? 

    November 25, 2015

    A new report released today by Statistics Canada shows that Indigenous people are six times more likely than other people in Canada to be murdered.

    Amnesty International has long called for systematic, publicly available data on the Aboriginal identity of both the victims and perpetrators of violence. Such data can be crucial to better understand and eliminate violence.

    When the first national statistics on missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls were released in 2014 by the RCMP ("Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women: An National Operational Overview")  the data was widely misrepresented and oversimplified in public debate. The numbers show a complex and pervasive pattern of violence against Indigenous women and girls. Amnesty International is still reviewing the data in the latest report, but we feel it is important to emphasize the following:

    November 24, 2015

    Respect for Indigenous peoples' right of free, prior and informed (FPIC) must be a matter of urgent priority for any government committed to a respectful relationship with Indigenous peoples.

    This is part of a message to the the new Prime Minister and his Cabinet from Indigenous peoples' organizations, human rights groups, environmentalists and others.

    In an open letter sent today, 16 organizations from across Canada called on the federal government to collaborate with Indigenous Peoples’ governments and organizations to ensure that:

    November 24, 2015

    BY CRAIG BENJAMIN AND JACKIE HANSEN

    Indigenous women and girls in Canada are roughly 7 times more likely to be targeted by serial predators. This is according to an article in the published this week in the Globe and Mail.

    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!

    November 09, 2015

    Inuit people in Labrador who depend on the Lake Melville estuary to hunt and fish are concerned about the impact of a large hydro-electric dam being built upstream. They are particularly concerned that the dam will lead to methylmercury contamination of fish and seals, rendering them unsafe to eat.

    The Inuit government of Nunatsiavut has not opposed the Muskrat Falls dam. But it has called for rigorous measures to protect the health and livelihoods of its people. These measures include a full clearing of the reservoir before flooding to reduce the amount of methylmercury produced, establishment of a downstream monitoring program designed and overseen by an independent expert advisory committee; and significant Inuit participation in high-level environmental monitoring and management decisions.  

    October 29, 2015
    by Jackie Hansen, Women's Rights Campaigner, Amnesty International Canada Amnesty International Canada was a proud member of the Up for Debate campaign to promote women's rights and gender equality in the lead up to last week’s federal election. Our goal was to make sure that all federal political party leaders explained how they would build a more equal Canada for us all, and make meaningful commitments to change the lives of women and girls for the better at home and around the world. And we succeeded!

    We shaped the debate: Our media outreach, social media engagement, and direct engagement with political parties and voters put women’s rights issues firmly on the election agenda, more than in previous election campaigns.

    October 28, 2015

    Indigenous women from Val d’Or, Quebec, a small town located about 500km northwest of Montreal, alleged that officers from the Sûreté du Québec (SQ, Quebec’s provincial police) have committed serious crimes against them, including physical and sexual assault.

    According to a report aired last week on the Radio Canada program Enquête, SQ officers are alleged to have “routinely picked up women who appeared to be intoxicated, drove them out of town and left them to walk home in the cold.” Some of the women interviewed by Radio Canada also allege that they were “physically assaulted or made to perform sex acts.”

    These allegations are extremely serious. But although law enforcement and government officials have known about the allegations since May, it wasn’t until the Radio Canada report aired that the eight officers under investigation for sexual misconduct were put on leave or transferred to administrative duty.

    October 15, 2015

    “Our people have a deep connection with this land because our ancestors told the stories and legends that are connected to that valley.”
    -- Chief Liz Logan, Treaty 8 Tribal Association, testifying before the environmental impact assessment of the proposed Site C hydroelectric dam

    The Peace River Valley in northeastern British Columbia is a unique ecosystem and one of the very few areas in the region that so far has been largely preserved from large-scale resource development. First Nations and Métis families and communities rely on the valley for hunting and fishing, gathering berries and sacred medicine, and holding ceremonies. Their ancestors are buried in this land.

    The planned $8 billion plus Site C hydroelectric dam would flood more than 80 km of the river valley, stretching west from Fort St. John. There is no dispute that construction of the dam and the flooding will have a severe impact on the First Nations and Métis families and communities who depend on the Valley. 

    October 15, 2015

    by Sharmila Setaram, President, Amnesty International Canada 

    www.respecthewomen.ca

    Today I publicly stand in common cause with over 500 other Canadian women – leaders from such widely differing worlds as law, politics, civil society, Indigenous women’s groups, religion, labour, academia, the arts, international affairs and business.  Our viewpoints, politics and life experiences vary tremendously.

    October 01, 2015

    Connie Greyeyes is a grassroots activist from Fort St. John, a small community in northeastern British Columbia. She volunteers with the Fort St. John Women’s Resource Society, started the Women Warriors support group for families of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, and she is one of the founders of the Fort St. John Sisters in Spirit vigil. Connie is a member of Alberta’s Bigstone Cree First Nation.

    Amnesty International caught up with Connie as she was preparing for the Sisters in Spirit vigil scheduled for October 9 in Fort St. John. The vigil is held annually to honour the lives of missing and murdered Indigenous women and to raise awareness of the issue of violence against Indigenous women and girls.

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