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    November 30, 2017

    Amnesty International welcomes the federal government’s commitment to support in the establishment of a specialized treatment centre for people suffering from mercury poisoning in Grassy Narrows. On November 29th, Minister of Indigenous Services Jane Philpott committed to support “in the development, planning, design and construction of the treatment centre in Grassy Narrows.”

    “We welcome this long-overdue commitment which comes after years of requests from the Grassy Narrows First Nation for effective measures to address mercury poisoning and contamination of their waters,” says Alex Neve, secretary general of Amnesty International Canada.  “All measures must be taken to ensure that this facility is established quickly, effectively and in collaboration with the people of Grassy Narrows in order to uphold the community’s right to much-needed health care resulting from years of grave human rights violations. We are also looking for the provincial government to fully assume their proper responsibilities in addressing human rights violations arising from mercury poisoning in Grassy Narrows.”

    Background:

    November 29, 2017
    No Life for a Child

    On 6 November 2017, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale released new directions aimed to keep children out of Canada's immigration detention system.

    “The key objective of the Ministerial Direction is to – as much as humanly possible – keep children out of detention, and keep families together. The Ministerial Direction makes it clear that the Best Interests of the Child must be given primary consideration. This will be achieved by actively and continuously seeking alternatives to detention when unconditional release is inappropriate.”

    The directive is welcome; detention is never in the best interests of children and it is shocking that children are detained for immigration purposes in Canada, even for short periods of time.

    Amnesty International and many other human rights groups in Canada have actively campaigned to keep children out of immigration detention. Several thousand Amnesty International members and supporters signed petitions and called on the Minister to stop detaining children for immigration purposes.

    November 28, 2017

    In an open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, prominent human rights and environmental organizations today are urging the federal and provincial governments to ensure people from the Grassy Narrows First Nation have access to specialized, long term medical care for mercury poisoning. Amnesty International Canada, The Council of Canadians, The David Suzuki Foundation, CUPE Ontario, KAIROS Canada, Canadian Friends Service Committee and Earthroots have written in support of the Grassy Narrows First Nation appeal for the creation of a specialized facility in their community to meet the needs of those suffering from the effects of mercury poisoning resulting from contamination of their river system.

    November 23, 2017

    Amnesty International welcomes the federal government’s promise of a rights-based national housing strategy aimed at improving access to housing in Canada, including through “new legislation that promotes a human rights-based approach to housing and prioritizes the housing needs of Canada’s most vulnerable. “

    “The adoption of a human rights-based national housing strategy, backed up by legislation, is a positive step toward fulfilling Canada’s international legal obligations to uphold economic, social and cultural rights,” says Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada. “It stands to help address grave concerns raised by the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights during its 2016 review of Canada’s human rights record and recommendations brought forward by several other UN human rights bodies as well, including with respect to homelessness, inadequate housing and a persisting social and economic gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.”

    November 14, 2017

    Dear Minister,

    We are writing, on behalf of the 400,000 supporters of Amnesty International across Canada – in every province and territory – to urge the federal government, and your Ministry in particular, to take steps to ensure funding is made available on an urgent basis to develop and implement a robust redress system for the “No Fly List Kids” and other individuals affected by false positives under Canada’s Passenger Protect Program (PPP).

    Minister, we know that you are aware of the tremendous injustice, inconvenience and indignity experienced by children, and their families, who regularly experience being erroneously flagged under the PPP, because they have the same name as someone else who is listed.  This is not an aberration, it effects hundreds of families on a regular basis; and beyond the impact on children and their families undoubtedly impacts thousands of adults who similarly are wrongly singled out for screening and delays when they are flying.  The embarrassing and frustrating impact has become so trying for some of the children, families and adults who go through this, that they quite simply no longer travel by air. 

    November 09, 2017

     

    UPDATED DECEMBER 11, 2017

    "To our allies, we say, 'keep fighting.' And to those of you just learning about this ruinous decision, don't stand for it...Call, meet, write, email, tweet." - Chief Lynette Tsakoza, Prophet River First Nations

    On December 11, BC Premier John Horgan announced that his government intends to turn its back on the human rights of Indigenous peoples in the Peace River Valley.

    Before being elected as Premier, John Horgan publicly stated that "constitutional rights to practice hunting and fishing" would be "violated by this dam." As Premier, he publicly stated that this issue has never been resolved and may ultimately end up before the Supreme Court.

    Despite these public statements, Premier Horgan now says construction must continue. And, he says, it's not his fault. The Premier says too much money has already been spent, making it too expensive to stop construction.

    November 06, 2017

    Amnesty International is calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to raise pressing human rights concerns during his visits to the Philippines and Viet Nam this week. In an Open Letter to the Prime Minister, the organization highlighted opportunities to demonstrate much-needed leadership in addressing grave crises including the Philippines’ deadly ‘war on drugs’, detention of prisoners of conscience in Viet Nam and the crisis in Myanmar.

    During his visit, Prime Minister Trudeau will attend the ASEAN Summit in Manilla, which runs from November 10th-14th against the backdrop of a full-blown human rights crisis in the Philippines. Since 30 June 2016, President Duterte’s brutal crackdown against the urban poor carried out in the name of combatting the drug trade has resulted in up to 12,000 deaths, including 50 children, with a majority of those amounting to extrajudicial killings carried out with near-total impunity. Amnesty International research has found that the scope and nature of the abuses may constitute crimes against humanity.

    November 03, 2017

    PUBLIC STATEMENT

    3 November 2017

    Amnesty International is deeply disappointed in yesterday’s Supreme Court of Canada decision dismissing an appeal by the Ktunaxa Nation in British Columbia, who sought to protect their religious practices and beliefs.

    “We are surprised by the majority of the Supreme Court’s narrow interpretation of religious freedom,” said Craig Benjamin, Amnesty International Campaigner for the Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples. “As we argued in our submission to the Court, Amnesty International believes it would be discriminatory if the protection of religious freedoms in Canada failed to meaningfully protect spaces in nature that are sacred according to Indigenous peoples’ spiritual beliefs and customs.”

    November 02, 2017

    The Site C dam is a project that should never have been approved. As the British Columbia Utilities Commission has now concluded after a long overdue review of the cost and purpose of this project, completing Site C offers little or no economic benefit compared to less destructive alternatives and could ultimately cost much more and carry greater financial and legal risks. Completing the construction is, quite simply, bad public policy.

    More than that, however, the Site C dam represents a profound betrayal of the solemn commitments undertaken when Canada entered into Treaty 8, when it adopted its Constitution, and when it endorsed the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

    November 01, 2017

    Ottawa, November 1, 2017 – The interim report released today by the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls makes recommendations for immediate action, many of which were set out in previous reports.

    “Minister of Indigenous-Crown Relations and Northern Affairs Carolyn Bennett has said repeatedly that the federal government wouldn’t wait for the Inquiry’s final report before addressing well-known gaps in protections and support for Indigenous women and girls,” said Alex Neve, Secretary-General of Amnesty International Canada. “The government must keep this promise. It is crucial that the government’s response to the Interim report clearly sets out what the government is committed to do and when.”

    The interim report calls on the federal government to:

    October 31, 2017

    As Horgan Government Weighs Fate of the Megaproject, Treaty 8 Indigenous First Nations, Human Rights and Environmental Groups Bring a Message That Canadians and the World Expect BC to Keep Its Promise to Uphold Indigenous Rights

    At 1:00 p.m. on November 2nd, representatives from Treaty 8 First Nations, human rights and environmental groups will present a literal “boat load” of petitions, postcards and solidarity messages urging the Provincial Government to protect the Peace River Valley. Across the country, more than 120,000 people have called for a halt to construction of the Site C dam. Their voices are joined by tens of thousands of solidarity messages from around the world.

    The megaproject would flood more 100 km stretch of the Peace River Valley and its tributaries. If construction proceeds, Treaty 8 First Nations would lose hunting grounds, burial sites and other areas vitally significant to their culture, heritage and sustenance.

    October 27, 2017

    One of the first acts of the recently elected provincial government of British Columbia was to order an independent review of the economic case for and against the massive Site C hydro-electric project. After releasing an interim report in September, the BC Utilities Commission held a series of public meetings across the province. The final report is due November 1 after which the decision on the fate of the project - and the Peace River Valley - will rest with the provincial government.

    Gary Ockenden, the Vice President of Amnesty International Canada shared this note from a hearing that he attended:

    The Chair and three Commissioners of the BC Utilities Commission came to Nelson, BC on September 26th and held a public hearing on the Site C project. I was fortunate enough to get a five minute slot to present to them as a BC ratepayer.

    October 27, 2017
    Letters to a Prisoner (Owlkids 2017) is a wordless children’s book inspired by the Write for Rights campaign - created by Montreal author Jacques Goldstyn. The book illustrates the power of hope and the written word. The Youth and Activism Team has been actively collaborating in partnership with Owlkids Books to make this book available to the Amnesty Canada community.

    Letters to a Prisoner will provide a fun and engaging way for young people (ages 6 and up) to participate with and promote human rights and the Write for Rights campaign. 

    October 23, 2017

    Over 40 Supporters, including Organizations, Academics and Politicians, Formally Call for Hon. Minister Hussen’s Reconsideration

    October 23, 2017, OTTAWA—Over 40 prominent civil society organizations, elected officials, university professors and professionals have sent letters in support of human rights activist Chelsea Manning, who was recently turned away at the Canadian border. The letters are united in their call to reverse the government’s decision to bar Ms. Manning from Canada, and were submitted by her legal counsel as part of a formal request for reconsideration to the Hon. Minister Ahmed Hussen on Friday morning.

    Chelsea Manning is an internationally recognized human rights activist and whistleblower. She has received numerous awards for her work as a prominent advocate for civil liberties, government transparency, LGBTQ rights, and prisoners’ rights.

    October 14, 2017

    Amnesty International Canada (francophone branch)

    Centre for Sustainable Development

    Montreal, 14 October 2017

     

    We deeply regret that a major accident has occurred this morning before the launch of an activity scheduled at the Centre for Sustainable Development.

    A member of the team from Decalade, the company in charge of the activity, has lost his life.

    Our thoughts are with his family, to whom we offer our sincere condolences.

    A police investigation is underway. We are committed to providing all necessary support to our colleagues and other people who were present.

    Amnesty International Canada (francophone branch)

    Centre for Sustainable Development

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