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Canada

    January 28, 2013

    An evening of dialogue with:

    Robert Morales, lead negotiator Hul’qumi’num Treaty Group

    Paul Joffe and Jennifer Preston, co-editors “Realizing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: Triumph, Hope and Action”

    Moderator: Craig Benjamin, Campaigner for the Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Amnesty International

    An unprecedented push is being made to further intensify resource development in Canada. A federal legislative agenda undermines environmental oversight. And an extradordinary grassroots resurgence demands the recognition of the rights of Indigenous peoples.  This panel brings together experts and activists who have been deeply involved in the advancement of global recognition of the human rights of Indigenous peoples at the United Nations and the Inter-American system. They will lead a discussion of how these vital international standards can make a difference in the defense of Indigenous rights in Canada and the promotion of government accountability for environmental protection.

    DATE:  Tuesday, January 29th, 7-9pm

    WHERE: Cadboro Bay United Church 2625 Arbutus Rd, Victoria BC

    January 24, 2013

    On January 21, 2013, the Saskatchewan Police Commission approved the use of Conducted Energy Weapons – commonly referred to by the brand name “tasers” – by municipal police. This announcement followed an extensive multi-year review inspired in part by concerns around the taser-related death of Robert Dziekanski in Vancouver Airport in 2007. Any municipal police force wishing to issue tasers to its members must still have its policies approved by the Commission before the device can be deployed.  Up until this point, only tactical units and RCMP officers in the province were authorized to use tasers.

    International human rights standards for the use of force and firearms by law enforcement support the principle that the minimum force necessary should be used to safely resolve any situation.

    January 08, 2013

    Take action > Send a letter to Prime MInister Harper demanding that the Canadian government commit to upholding its legal and moral obligations to Indigenous peoples.

    Grassroots rallies across Canada under the banner 'Idle No More' have put the spotlight on a federal legislative agenda that is trampling the rights of Indigenous peoples set out in  domestic and international law.

    December 19, 2012

    Canada has a strong record of accepting international obligations, including by ratifying most of the major international human rights treaties.  However, Canada’s record is less exemplary when it comes to complying with the findings and recommendations that come out of UN reviews.  Canada’s human rights record attracted considerable UN-level attention over the course of 2012.  The reviews covered a range of ongoing and very serious human rights concerns in the country. Amnesty International’s 2013 Human Rights Agenda for Canada is calling for concerted action to address this deepening concern. 

    Rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international instruments apply globally and equally to all people.  The integrity of the system depends on all countries, including Canada, living up to those obligations and being held accountable when they fail to do so.  It will require leadership.  It will require political will.  And it will require cooperation and coordination among federal, provincial and territorial governments.  But it cannot wait any longer. 

    November 21, 2012
    ‘Everything around us was disappearing... The clean water, our way of life, our traditions, even the wild rice picking and blueberry picking were all disappearing. It's all connected to the land.’ - Judy DaSilva, Grass Narrows

    It has been called one of the worst environmental disasters in Canadian history. Between 1962 and 1970, a mill in Dryden, Ontario dumped more than 9 metric tons of untreated inorganic mercury into the English and Wabigoon Rivers in Northwestern Ontario.

    These waters had been a source of both food and jobs for the people of Asubpeeschoseewagong (Grassy Narrows) and neighbouring First Nations. Community members had worked as guides and as staff in the many commercial fishing lodges. When the mercury dumping was discovered, the commercial fishery was closed, cutting the people off from their most important source of income.

    Even worse, it was discovered that many of the residents had greatly elevated levels of mercury in their bodies and were exhibiting signs of the neurological degeneration associated with mercury poisoning.

    November 06, 2009

    Amnesty International’s Brief in support of Bill C-300

    An Act respecting Corporate Accountability for the Activities of Mining, Oil or Gas in Developing Countries

    Presented to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development

    6 November 2009

    Amnesty strongly supports the important purpose of Bill C-300 -  ensuring “that corporations engaged in mining, oil or gas activities and receiving support from the Government of Canada act in a manner consistent with international environmental best practices and with Canada’s commitments to international human rights standards.” Amnesty ultimately believes not only that human rights can be good for business, but also that business can be good for human rights. For these reasons, Amnesty strongly supports Bill C-300 and urges all Members of Parliament to vote in favour of this important legislation.

    Villagers protest against the mining project during a visit by Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu KyiMarch 13, 2013. Photo:REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun Canadian mining company Ivanhoe Mines (now called Turquoise Hill Resources) lied publicly about its Myanmar joint venture selling copper to Burmese security forces, says a new report by Amnesty International. Ivanhoe Mines also used secrecy jurisdictions in the Caribbean to evade scrutiny over the sale of assets in Myanmar (Burma) and to dodge Canada’s economic sanctions against Myanmar at the time. A breach of these sanctions is a criminal offence.

    Public symposium, online and in person
    9-5 pm, Wednesday, May 20th, University of Ottawa Participate in person or through a live, interactive webinar.

    Online:
    Please register to receive information by email on how to log in and submit your questions during the seminar.

    In Person:
    University of Ottawa, Fauteux Hall Room 147. Room opens for registration at 8:30 am on the 20th.

     

    If you are an Indigenous woman or girl in Canada—whether you live on reserve or in an urban area, regardless of your age or socio-economic status—the simple fact that you are an Indigenous woman or girl means that you are at least 3 times more likely to experience violence, and at least 6 times more likely to be murdered than any other woman or girl in Canada. This violence is a national human rights crisis and it must stop.

    Why are the rates of violence so high?

    Racist and sexist stereotypes lead perpetrators to believe that they can get away with committing acts of violence against Indigenous women and girls.

    The many legacies of colonialism increase the risk of experiencing violence—from impoverishment to the lasting harm from residential schools to the disempowerment of Indigenous women and girls in their own communities.

    Decades of government and law enforcement inaction to end the violence.

    A number of organizations are calling on their supporters to join this timely rally at BC Hydro headquarters in Vancouver. 

    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 proposed $8 billion plus Site C hydroelectric dam would flood more than 80 km of the river valley, stretching west from Fort St. John. The severe impact on Indigenous peoples is beyond dispute. A joint federal-province environmental impact assessment concluded that the dam would “severely undermine” use of the land, would make fishing unsafe for at least a generation, and would submerge burial grounds and other crucial cultural and historical sites.

    There is not one cause of violence against Indigenous women and girls, and likewise, there is not one single solution. A comprehensive, coordinated, well resourced national response, developed with Indigenous women and girls, is needed to end the violence. 

    What solutions are needed to stop the violence?

    A comprehensive national response to end violence against Indigenous women and girls should include:

    A national public inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women focused on exposing the nature of this violence and on ensuring government and police accountability for an effective and coordinated response.

    A national action plan to end violence against women which addresses the root causes of violence and identifies holistic, culturally-appropriate ways in which to prevent violence and to support those impacted by violence.

    Ai Wei Wei: Never Sorry, and Umoja: No Men Allowed.

    Join Amnesty International at a Red Dress concert to raise awareness of our Stolen Sisters campaign. 

    With the 2016 release of her album Holding Patterns the Red Dress single and video, and Amanda Rheaume continues her history of advocating change through her work – and this time, it’s personal. 

    Red Dress was recorded to honour the over 1,180 Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls in Canada. 

    The Centre’s “Red Dress Concert” will be an expression of community solidarity and awareness-raising for this ongoing national tragedy. 

    Check out the Red Dress Single and Video here: https://youtu.be/AeoJWh0Ujr4

    Tickets are $23 (including all taxes)

    Amnesty International is in the process of conducting research into the human rights impacts of large-scale natural resource development in northeastern British Columbia, with a particular focus on the region’s urban centre, Fort St. John. Part of this research focuses on the human rights impacts on women and girls, and particularly Indigenous women and girls.

    Why? Because every year women from Fort St. John travel to Ottawa with a banner listing the missing and murdered women and girls in their community—and every year the banner includes more names. And because, as a wide range of people and organizations from this region have pointed out, environmental assessments and other decision-making processes around large-scale natural resource development projects need to pay more attention to their impact on people's lives and the social fabric of the communities they live in.

    What would resource extraction and development look like if the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was implemented in Canada? This panel attempts to answer that question. We'll hear from Indigenous rights advocates and legal experts about what UNDRIP is, how it has been contravened by projects like the Site C dam in BC and the Alton Gas project in Nova Scotia, and processes developed by Indigenous communities to give, or withhold, consent. Panelists will discuss the topic in broad terms as well as offer specific insights to ongoing projects and resistance movements. This event is co-sponsored by the Council of Canadians and Halifax Public Libraries. 

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