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    October 10, 2013

    OpenMedia.ca is joining with more than 30 major organizations and over a dozen leading experts to launch the largest pro-privacy coalition in Canadian history. With Parliament set to resume, the Protect Our Privacy Coalition has banded together to ensure Canadians get effective legal measures to protect their privacy against government intrusion.

    The broad-based coalition includes organizations and individuals from a wide range of political perspectives, including citizen-based groups, civil liberties groups, privacy advocates, right-leaning organizations, First Nations groups, labour groups, small businesses. LGBT groups and academic experts, all of whom have signed onto the statement:

    “More than ever, Canadians need strong, genuinely transparent, and properly enforced safeguards to secure privacy rights. We call on Government to put in place effective legal measures to protect the privacy of every resident of Canada against intrusion by government entities.”

    October 08, 2013

    by Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada

    "Perhaps the one positive thing coming out of all I have been through is to know that there are so many good people in the world, like the members of Amnesty International, willing to stand up for other people."

    – Omar Khadr, Edmonton Institution, October 5, 2013

    October 07, 2013

    by Craig Benjamin, Campaigner for the Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples

    Over the next week, the United Nation’s top expert on the human rights of Indigenous peoples will be meeting with government officials and First Nations, Inuit and Métis organizations, communitie,s and activists across Canada.

    In his mandate as Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, James Anaya has carried out research missions to developed and developing countries around the world and published reports on the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Finland, the Russian Federation, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Botswana, Namibia, Republic of the Congo, Nepal, and New Caledonia, among others.

    October 07, 2013

    By Craig Benjamin, Campaigner for the Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples

    Today, October 7th, is an important moment to reflect on Canada’s long unfulfilled promise to respect the land rights of Indigenous peoples.

    Two hundred and fifty years ago today, on October 7th, 1763, King George of England formally proclaimed that even as the British Crown asserted its control over North America, Indigenous peoples’ lands would continue to be protected for their use.

    The Royal Proclamation of 1763 set out a clear commitment that non-Indigenous peoples’ access to the lands of Indigenous peoples would only take place if the Indigenous nations “should be inclined” to sell or cede their lands to the Crown.

    The Proclamation is not merely an historic document.

    October 03, 2013

    On November 4-5 2013, Amnesty International Canada will be intervening in a case at the Court of Appeal for Ontario:  Minister of Justice of Canada v Hassan Naim Diab. Our role is as “friend of the Court,” in which we present arguments about the legal test that should be applied to extradition decisions. Lorne Waldman is acting as our counsel.

    Mr. Diab is a Canadian citizen of Lebanese origin currently subject to extradition proceedings by the Republic of France, in connection with his alleged role in the 1980 bombing of a Paris synagogue in which four people were killed and scores injured. The decision to surrender Mr. Diab to France is being challenged by Mr. Diab’s counsel on a number of grounds, including the risk that Mr. Diab will be denied the right to fundamental justice by reason of France’s alleged use of anonymous, unsourced and uncircumstanced evidence that may have been obtained by torture.

    September 25, 2013

    Joint News Release from Control Arms Coalition -  Oxfam Canada, Project Ploughshares, Amnesty International, Oxfam Québec 

    Ottawa – The Canadian members of the Control Arms Coalition today welcomed the United States decision to sign the Arms Trade Treaty, a global effort to reduce loss of life from the unregulated trade in weapons and ammunition. Oxfam Canada, Project Ploughshares, Amnesty International and Oxfam Québec also expressed frustration and disappointment at Canada’s failure to sign on.

    “Canada has a moral responsibility to help protect the lives of innocent civilians, particularly women and children”, said Lina Holguin, Policy Director for Oxfam Québec. “Why is Canada withholding its signature on a treaty that aims to keep weapons out of the hands of criminals, terrorists and mercenaries? It is incomprehensible.”

    September 20, 2013

    The Quebec government is preparing to table a bill based on a “Charter of Quebec Values” and is proposing, among other measures, to prohibit government employees from wearing conspicuous religious symbols.

    Amnesty International salutes the Quebec government for its plans to strengthen the fulfillment of its obligation to respect the right of women to be free from discrimination and the right to equality for all. But  Amnesty International questions the means by which the Quebec government is attempting to strengthen these rights. Prohibiting all government employees from wearing conspicuous religious symbols not only limits the fundamental rights of freedom of expression and freedom of religion, but also fails to promote equality between the sexes.

    September 19, 2013

    In presenting a deeply disappointing report today at the UN Human Rights Council, outlining Canada’s response to a review of the country’s human rights record carried out in April 2013, the Canadian government has squandered a valuable opportunity to move forward in addressing important national human rights concerns and to demonstrate human rights leadership on the world stage.

    Canada was reviewed under the UN’s Universal Periodic Review process on April 26 and 30.  Other countries, including many of Canada’s closest allies, highlighted a wide range of concerns and made recommendations to Canada regarding steps to improve human rights protection in the country.

    September 12, 2013

    Six years ago – on September 13, 2007 – the United Nations General Assembly adopted the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as the minimum standards for the “survival, dignity and well-being” of Indigenous Peoples around the world.

    The UN Declaration recognizes Indigenous Peoples’ right to self-determination and calls for the full and effective participation of Indigenous Peoples in all decisions potentially affecting their land. The Declaration urges partnership and collaboration between states and Indigenous Peoples. It sets out the requirement of free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) to protect the right of Indigenous Peoples to make decisions about whether and when development should proceed.

    Implementation of the UN Declaration remains critical as Indigenous Peoples around the world continue to face exploitation of the natural resources of their territories. FPIC and other rights affirmed in the UN Declaration provide indispensable safeguards as Indigenous Peoples struggle to overcome a history of discrimination, marginalization and
    dispossession.

    September 12, 2013

    Indigenous Peoples’, human rights, and faith organizations are calling on Canada to ensure that Indigenous Peoples can freely decide for themselves whether and when resource development projects will take place on their traditional lands and territories.

    In a statement released on the eve of the sixth anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Indigenous Peoples’ and civil society organizations say it is time to end the colonial practice of imposing development decisions on Indigenous peoples.

    August 22, 2013

    Toronto - Organizations representing more than one million people across Ontario are calling on Premier Kathleen Wynne to a make a clear and unequivocal commitment that the province will respect the wishes of the people of Asubpeeschoseewagong (Grassy Narrows) that no new logging permits be issued in their traditional territory.

    The province is currently engaged in five year long talks with Grassy Narrows over the management of their traditional lands in the Whiskey Jack forest, north of Kenora. Last year, while the talks were in progress, the Ministry of Natural Resources unilaterally adopted a ten year forest management direction for Grassy Narrows Territory that included no meaningful recognition of Aboriginal and Treaty rights and perpetuated the model of industrial clear-cutting that first sparked an ongoing blockade at Grassy Narrows a decade ago.

    In June, a wide range of human rights, faith, labour and environmental organizations wrote to the Premier urging her to call an end to unwanted logging permits on Grassy Narrows lands as a good faith demonstration of the province’s commitment to a forest management approach that respects Aboriginal rights.

    August 19, 2013

    Capital Pride and Amnesty International are holding a Human Rights Vigil on Thursday August 22nd from 8:00–9:00pm at the Human Rights Monument, located on Elgin Street at Lisgar Street. The vigil will honour the many LGBTI people globally who have faced persecution, violence, and in many cases death because of their sexuality or gender identity.

    Leading LGBTI activists will speak about how difficult it is to “Be Loud, Be Proud” in many parts of the world, and a sneak peek at a new documentary film on homophobia in Jamaica will be screened. The names of those whose lives have been lost to homophobia in the past year will be read out, followed by a moment of silence.

    A contrast to the fun-filled parade and some of the other events during Capital Pride, the Human Rights Vigil serves as a reminder that for people in many parts of the world it is not possible to “Be Loud, Be Proud,” and there is much work left to be done to ensure that the human rights of LGBTI individuals the world over are protected.

    July 24, 2013

    The Right Honourable Stephen Harper
    Prime Minister of Canada
    Office of the Prime Minister
    80 Wellington Street
    Ottawa, Ontario
    K1A 0A2

    July 24, 2013

    Dear Prime Minister,

    We are writing to you on behalf of Voices-Voix, a coalition of more than 200 national and local civil society organizations across the country.  We are seriously concerned about recent reports that your office had instructed government officials to compile “friend and enemy stakeholder” lists as part of the process of preparing briefing materials for new members of Cabinet. 

    July 24, 2013

    Craig Benjamin, Campaigner for the Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples

    Independent journalist Maggie Padlewska is the midst of a one year project to document under-reported stories in communities around the world. In May, her One Year, One World project took her to the northern British Columbia First Nation of Nak'azdli at a crucial moment for that community.

    A large gold and copper mine is under construction on lands where the Nak'azdli people hunt, fish, trap and gather berries and medicines. When Maggie visited Nak'azdli, the community, which had no say in the decision to open the mine, was holding a sacred ceremony to pray for their land and for the safety of the mine workers.

    Maggie's short video, The Farewell Ceremony, tells the powerful and moving story of a community that remains determined to protect their culture and way of life.

    July 23, 2013

    Your support for Amnesty International has helped us achieve a legal victory in Canada that could have far reaching and live-saving implications for refugees who seek asylum in Canada and elsewhere.

    In July 2013, Canada’s highest court, the Supreme Court of Canada, ruled in the case of Rachidi Ekanza Ezokola, a case that grapples with the thorny issue of who can be excluded from refugee status. Their unanimous decision has brought Canada’s interpretation fully into line with international law.

    Amnesty’s first-rate team of pro bono lawyers, comprised of Michael Bossin, Laïla Demirdache and Chantal Tie, assisted by our Legal Coordinator Anna Shea, laid out our position in arguments before the Court back in January 2013. We've waited six months for the decision.

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