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    October 18, 2019

    The Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability (which Amnesty Canada is a member of) asked all federal political parties to detail their commitments aimed at ensuring a greater respect for human rights by Canadian companies operating abroad. In a questionnaire, we asked parties to outline their positions on three key measures to increase corporate accountability:

    1.  Will your party support comprehensive mandatory human rights due diligence legislation? Such legislation requires companies to identify, prevent and mitigate human rights abuses and provides for liability when companies cause harm in their global operations (subsidiaries and supply chains).

    2. Will you make the Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise (CORE) independent and provide it with the power to compel documents and testimony so it can effectively investigate human rights abuse allegations linked to Canadian corporations operating overseas?

    October 17, 2019

    MEDIA RELEASE
    UP FOR DEBATE 2019

    October 17, 2019

    OTTAWA – A broad alliance of women’s rights and equality-seeking organizations has officially called off plans to host a national leaders’ debate on women’s rights and gender equality, citing a lack of commitment from most federal party leaders.

    In March, the alliance wrote to all party leaders, inviting them to participate in a national televised debate on women’s rights and gender equality – the first debate of its kind since 1984.

    Months later, and only days away from Election Day, the only two leaders committed to debating women’s rights and gender equality issues are the NDP’s Jagmeet Singh and the Green Party’s Elizabeth May. While the Bloc Quebecois expressed interest, Up for Debate could not secure a firm commitment from the party’s leader, Yves-François Blanchet. The alliance did not receive an RSVP from Conservative leader Andrew Scheer or Liberal leader Justin Trudeau.

    October 16, 2019

    OTTAWA – With less than a week until the federal election, and without a firm commitment from all federal political party leaders, a coalition of women’s rights and equality-seeking organizations in Canada is calling off plans to hold a leaders’ debate on women’s rights and gender equality.

    The Up for Debate campaign called on all federal party leaders to participate in a national debate focused on women’s rights and gender equality – a topic that has been largely absent from the party platforms and televised debates. Days before voters head to the polls, Up for Debate is calling on all federal party leaders to clearly articulate their commitments to address the rights of women, transgender, non-binary, and two-spirit people in Canada, including how they will tackle poverty, income inequality, violence, and support for women’s rights and equality-seeking organizations.

    What: Press conference with Up for Debate coalition members

    Date: October 17, 2019

    Time: 10 a.m.

    Location: 135-B Press Conference Room in West Block

    October 15, 2019

    Amnesty International is welcoming news that Maryam Mombeini has finally reunited with her two sons in Canada, more than 18 months after Iranian authorities separated the family at Tehran’s airport.

    In a heartfelt video posted to Twitter, Maryam is seen embracing her sons, Ramin and Mehran Seyed-Emami, at the Vancouver International Airport on October 10. It had been 582 days since they had last seen each other.

    “We are grateful to the Canadian government, and specifically Foreign Minister Freeland for their unwavering support from day one. We are also thankful to Iran for allowing our mother, Maryam Mombeini, to finally leave and join us in Vancouver,” said Ramin in a statement sent to media and shared with Amnesty International.

    “We have been overwhelmed with an amazing outpour of love and support from everyone. And we cannot be happier to have such an amazing network of friends and family, who’ve stood by our side through thick and thin.

    October 10, 2019
    Andrew Scheer standing behind a podium labelled 'Fair Immigration Equitable'

    On 10 October 2019, Andrew Scheer, leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, went to Roxham Road in Quebec to announce a revised “immigration policy,” including closing the “loophole” in the Safe Third Country Agreement. The news release continuously uses the disparaging and inaccurate term “illegal” to describe people who are exercising their legal and human rights to seek refugee protection in Canada, and irresponsibly conflates Canada’s refugee protection system with it’s immigration system.

    Alongside a number of courageous refugee protection claimants, Amnesty International, the Canadian Council of Refugees and the Canadian Council of Churches are challenging the Safe Third Country Agreement in Federal Court on 4-8 November 2019.  These organizations will argue that the United States is not safe for many refugees, particularly under the harsh policies adopted by President Donald Trump’s administration.

    We’ve made some notes to help Andrew Scheer better communicate about refugees, and perhaps reconsider some of the policy proposals included in this press release.

    October 08, 2019
    National coalition urges leaders to address women’s rights, gender equality

    With gender issues largely absent from last night’s federal leaders’ debate, a new video ad is urging all candidates to finally speak up on women’s rights and gender equality.

    Up for Debate, a national alliance of women’s rights and gender equality advocates, posted the short ad online Monday night, just as the six federal party leaders took to the stage for the English debate.

    The alliance has also invited the Liberal, Conservative, New Democratic, Bloc and Green parties to participate in a separate televised debate on women’s rights and gender equality. NDP leader Jagmeet Singh and Green Party leader Elizabeth May have committed to participate. Up for Debate has not yet received a firm commitment from the Bloc Quebecois, the Conservatives or the Liberals.

    “It’s been 35 years since federal party leaders debated women’s rights and gender equality,” states the ad, referring to the 1984 federal leaders’ debate on women’s issues.

    October 07, 2019

    Justin Trudeau

    Leader

    Liberal Party of Canada

     

    Andrew Scheer

    Leader

    Conservative Party of Canada

     

    Jagmeet Singh

    Leader

    New Democratic Party

     

    Yves-François Blanchet

    Leader

    Bloc Québécois

     

    Elizabeth May

    Leader

    Green Party of Canada

     

    Maxime Bernier

    Leader

    People’s Party of Canada

     

    September 30, 2019

    Dear Mr. Trudeau, Mr. Scheer, Mr. Singh, M. Blanchet, Ms. May and Mr. Bernier,

    RE: Seeking commitment to establish public inquiry into case of Hassan Diab

    We are writing to seek your party’s public commitment to support the establishment of a public inquiry into the case of Dr. Hassan Diab. 

    September 30, 2019

    Because of persistently high levels of gender-based violence, because women are still being sterilized without their consent, because of the gender wage gap and lack of economic security for women and non-binary people… we need all candidates in the October federal election to discuss women’s rights and gender equality issues.

    In 2015, Amnesty International was part of a coalition that advocated for such a debate. But not all parties were willing to participate in a debate on issues directly impacting half of Canada’s population. In fact, the last federal leader’s debate on women’s rights and gender equality issues was 35 years ago!

    When you engage with federal election candidates in your riding, let them know what gender equality is not yet a reality and we demand that the issues impacting women and non-binary people in Canada be directly addressed in the federal election campaign.

    What are the three key things we’re asking for?

    September 20, 2019

    Canada’s relationship with the Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) Nation of Kanehsatà:ke should be an emblem of reconciliation.

    The 1990 confrontation triggered by planned expansion of a golf course on a sacred site within the Nation’s ancestral territory was a watershed moment in Canadian history, focusing long overdue attention on the profound injustice at the heart of Canada’s persistent failure to recognize and uphold Indigenous land rights.

    Yet almost three decades later, dispute ongoing negotiations between the federal government and the colonial created, band council Chief and Council, the underlying land question remains unresolved. This has resulted in ongoing tension, frustration and anxiety over the fact that municipal officials and private developers continue to hold the power to decide the future of lands crucial to the history and future of Kanehsatà:ke.

    On the 29th anniversary of the confrontation, the traditional government – Rotinonhseshá:ka ne Kanehsatà:ke (People of the Longhouse) -- issued a public call for a halt to development on the ancestral land, unless free, prior and informed consent is given.

    September 17, 2019

    Today, as Canada formally accedes to the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), a coalition of Canadian civil society organizations (CSOs) are once again calling on the Government of Canada to definitively end the export of Light Armored Vehicles (LAV) to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

    This request, previously expressed in two open letters addressed to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, asks Canada to honour the spirit and intent of the ATT, which is now legally binding under international law. University de Montréal law professor Daniel Turp has added his voice to those of the coalition’s member organizations, calling on the Government of Canada to terminate these exports to the Saudi Kingdom. If the transfers continue, he intends to personally take legal action. While accession to the ATT is a positive step, it must be supported by decisive action.

    WAR CRIMES

    September 13, 2019

    The Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, and numerous reports by international human rights bodies have all documented the profound and tragic harms that have resulted from Canada’s colonial laws and policies. Ongoing adverse impacts include denial of Indigenous systems of governance, jurisdiction and laws; dispossession of lands, territories and resources; the ongoing tragedy of Indigenous lives brutally cut short; essential opportunities denied to Indigenous children and youth; and the lack of adequate financial and other assistance to maintain and revitalize Indigenous cultures, traditions and languages in the face of continued threats.

    All these bodies have called on federal and other governments to heal the harm and build positive relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. Canada must act now to fully safeguard and implement the fundamental human rights and protections affirmed in the United Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

    September 12, 2019

    (La version française suit)

    AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL
    MEDIA RELEASE

    September 12, 2019

    Canadian organizations call on political leaders to respect dignity of refugees and migrants during federal election campaign

    Organizations and community leaders across Canada are calling on the leaders of federal political parties to respect the dignity of refugees and vulnerable migrants during the upcoming election campaign. Over 150 Canadian organizations from diverse sectors have signed an open letter.

    Sent to all federal parties in June, the letter was drafted by the Canadian Council for Refugees, Amnesty International, the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers and The Canadian Council of Churches as an expression of the organizations’ concern about how refugees and migrants in Canada may be characterized during the 2019 federal election campaign. The letter calls on leaders to engage in discussions about migration in ways that recognize:

    September 11, 2019

    Today, Amnesty International Canada wrote to hundreds of school boards across the country urging their support for student climate strikers. Around the world we wrote to over 30,000 schools, urging educators to allow children to take part in the unprecedented wave of global climate strikes planned for 20 and 27 September. There are more than 2,400 events planned in 1,000 cities around the world.

    The full text of the letter is below.

    11th September 2019

    To school leaders around the world,

    My name is Kumi Naidoo and I am the Secretary General of Amnesty International, the world’s largest human rights organisation. I am writing to you today about what I believe to be the single most important issue facing our current generation of children and how you can play a key role in enabling them to take action.

    September 11, 2019

    Amnesty International’s Secretary General, Kumi Naidoo, has written a personal plea to more than 30,000 schools around the world today, including hundreds of school boards across Canada, urging them to allow children to take part in the unprecedented wave of global climate strikes planned for 20 and 27 September.

    In a letter sent to school-heads and school boards by Amnesty International’s national offices in Australia, Canada, Hungary, Spain, New Zealand and the UK, Kumi Naidoo said:

    “I believe that the cause for which these children are fighting is of such historic significance that I am writing to you today with a request to neither prevent nor punish your pupils from taking part in the global days of strikes planned for 20 and 27 September.

    “The climate emergency is the defining human rights issue for this generation of children. Its consequences will shape their lives in almost every way imaginable. The failure of most governments to act in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence is arguably the biggest inter-generational human rights violation in history.”

    September 10, 2019

    EDMONTON, AB – Amnesty International has sent an Open Letter to Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, highlighting serious human rights concerns with his aggressive approach to defending the oil and gas industry from criticism, including plans to establish an “energy war room” and a public inquiry into the alleged foreign funding of groups who oppose or criticize energy developments in the province.

    The human rights organization is deeply concerned that Kenney’s proposed “Fight Back Strategy” undermines and violates a range of Alberta’s human rights obligations, under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and international law. Further, his approach exposes human rights defenders – particularly Indigenous, women, and environmental human rights defenders – to intimidation and threats.

    Apart from a call to abandon the Fight Back Strategy, Amnesty International urges Kenney to:

    Ensure that any initiatives to promote the oil and gas industry in Alberta are fully consistent with Alberta’s international human rights obligations and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

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