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    September 15, 2017

    You’ve shown until now how much you care, so could you befriend a refugee and help them settle into your local community?

    You may have to do a bit of research to find a local group that can facilitate this, but a good first place to check is with the organizations that provide services to refugees in your Community

    Refugees that have the support of local people tend to settle in much better, so you would be making a huge difference to their lives.

    It could be just a question of meeting someone for a coffee every now and then, to help them work out any issues they may have, or you could be a lot more hands-on and help a recently arrived refugee family navigate the welfare system in your country or register in school or learn to speak English. 

    September 14, 2017
    Toronto Councillor Joe Mihevc with the Syrian Family he sponsored

    It can feel overwhelming trying to work out how to help in something as massive as the global refugee crisis.

    Well, never forget that as well as being a global refugee crisis, it’s also a local one, as so many communities now have refugees living within them.

    So, remember – you are not alone and you don’t have to act on your own - there’s an incredible network of people across villages, towns, countries, globally, who are already really involved, it’s just a question of finding other like-minded people.

    And that’s really easy to do - look for groups in your local community who are supporting refugees. 

    So today, look into what support groups and activities there are in your community or country. And if you don’t find what you need, contact us to brainstorm for ideas about how you can get involved in your community. 

    You can make a massive difference. Thanks again for your support.

     

    September 14, 2017

    Yesterday we talked about finding or creating a safe space online or in your local community where you can meet likeminded people who also care about refugees.

    Well, today we’re asking you to look into actual, real-life safe spaces you might find in your area. You might be able to find landlords locally that are willing to give a room or a whole property to refugees, or perhaps you have a space you can offer in your own home?

    You could offer a place for refugees to stay in the short-term, or find people that are willing to do so.

    Contact refugee service organizations in your community to find out how you can help them meet the needs of refugees in your community

    Amir, a refugee from Syria, fled to Turkey and managed to learn Turkish, find work, and a place to live relatively easily. So he decided to rent out the rooms in his house to others fleeing Syria, so he could help and support them and make things easier for them in Turkey.

    September 13, 2017

    "The tragic and brutal story of what happened to us, especially at the hands of governments is well-known.... But today, with the adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by the United Nations General Assembly, we see the opportunity for a new beginning, for another kind of relationship with States in North America and indeed throughout the world." - Statement to the United Nations made 10 years ago by Indigenous representatives from North America when the UN Declaration was adopted. 

     

    The adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was a landmark moment in the advancement of global human rights protections.

    For decades, Indigenous peoples had been working within the United Nations and regional human rights bodies such as the Inter-American Commission in an effort to ensure that existing, universal human rights standards were understood and applied in ways that would make a real difference in addressing the many profound abuses faced by Indigenous peoples around the world.

    September 13, 2017

    The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples provides a crucial framework to achieve reconciliation. Such a human rights-based approach is essential to address the racism and discrimination that has caused such profound harm to Indigenous peoples in Canada and around the world.  Violations include uprooting Indigenous peoples from their territories and resources, failure to honour Treaties, tearing Indigenous children from their families, and making Indigenous women, girls and two-spirited people the targets of unimaginable violence.

    The adoption of the UN Declaration ten years ago today – on September 13, 2007 – was a crucial victory in the evolution of international human rights law. This historic achievement was possible because Indigenous peoples persisted for more than two decades in advancing a strong and powerful vision of self-determination, decolonization and non-discrimination.

    September 12, 2017

    "Let them drink the water we have to drink" - Loydi Macedo, Indigenous community of Cuninico, Peru

    Today, as we mark the 10th anniversary of the global adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Amnesty International is releasing a devastating new report documenting the callous failure of government authorities in Peru to address the urgent health needs of Indigenous peoples in that country who live in the midst of intensive mining and oil and gas development.

    The human rights concerns set out in this report – the refusal to listen to Indigenous women’s concerns about the safety of the water on which they depend, the reluctance to investigate and hold companies responsible for the contamination of Indigenous lands and waters, and the failure to provide culturally-appropriate health care to those in greatest need – are all too familiar.

    September 09, 2017

    It’s been a week since we started the 30 days, and I hope you’re seeing the difference already. Hopefully, you understand the issues a bit more and now understand more the change that one person, like you, can make.

    Sometimes change takes time, and sometimes it feels like it happens before your eyes.

    Watch this video and see what happened when people met refugees face-to-face for the first time.

    You can share it with anyone you think might be interested too.

    September 08, 2017

    We told you yesterday about the story of Baraa , who we were able to help thanks to the support of people like you. We can’t thank you enough for all that you’re doing to help refugees.

    Today, we’re asking you to speak out about the treatment of refugees and asylum seekers in detention centres in Canada.

    Did you know that over the last 10 years over 800 children have been held in immigration detention in Canada? Children are placed in detention with or without their families for several weeks, and sometimes for up to a year. In February 2016 a 16 year old Syrian refugee boy was help in solitary confinement in immigration detention for 3 weeks.

    September 06, 2017

    Amnesty International welcomes the initiative of the Canadian government, and non-governmental partners Rainbow Railroad and Russian LGBT Network, which has brought dozens of gay men from the semi-autonomous Russian republic of Chechnya to Canada as government-assisted refugees. This unique government and civil society partnership comes in response to a coordinated campaign against men in Chechnya who are believed to be gay.

    In early April, the Russian independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta reported that over a hundred of men believed to be gay had been recently abducted, sent to undisclosed detention centres, tortured and otherwise ill-treated, and forced to disclose other LGBTI individuals known to them. Chechen officials have also supported ``honour killings`` of gay men by their families. Amnesty International documented the practice of extrajudicial executions of gay men in Chechnya and elsewhere in the region earlier this year.

    September 06, 2017

    You care about refugees – that’s clear from the fact that you’re reading this now.

    And because of that, we thought you might be interested in signing up for a free online course about the rights of refugees.

    This course will help you to understand, defend and promote the rights of refugees. You will also develop new skills and knowledge from experts and learn how to hold governments to account.

    You can do the course at your own pace, and you can also connect with other participants from across the world.  

    We really hope you enjoy it.

    And knowledge is power, so by doing this and sharing the course with others who might be interested, you will be helping to change people’s attitudes to refugees.

    Take the free online refugee rights course

    September 05, 2017
    Graphic of the refugee crisis by numbers

    To really make a difference to refugees, you need to understand the scale of the problem.

    But behind each and every number, behind every image of crowds of people waiting in refugee camps – behind each of these is a person, like Ahmed.

    He’d spent his life working in his 300-person capacity restaurant, which welcomed scores of tourist buses every day. He was well known where he lived, and much loved by tourists and locals alike.

    But the war in Syria changed everything. Both his home and his restaurant were destroyed by bombs so he fled to another city with his family, including his two young children, Aya and Read. But even there they weren’t safe, so Ahmed made the difficult decision to leave his beloved country to seek safety in Jordan. .

    Read outside his home in Toronto

    September 04, 2017

    We’re spending a month highlighting all the amazing ways you can help make a difference to refugees around the world.

    If you’ve ever felt helpless or hopeless hearing about the millions of people forced to flee their homes, we want to change all that so that you can do something you believe in.

    You’ve already taken the first step, probably without even realising it. As Mohamed,  a refugee from Somalia, explains:

    “There is a proverb in my culture which says an open heart is entered but not an open door. So if you see an open door you will not enter it, but you will enter it if the person who is there has an open heart. So I think having a great heart, it's the first thing.”

    So you’re off to an excellent start. 

    But if you are going to make a difference, you need to know the basics – what is a refugee?

    August 29, 2017

    Amnesty International urges the Canadian government to act on all the recommendations made for Canada by the UN Committee for the Elimination of Racism and Discrimination (CERD).

    The United Nations' top anti-racism body has strongly condemned the continued construction of the Site C dam as a clear violation of Treaty rights and Canada's international human rights obligations and has called for its immediate suspension.

    The UN committee said that it was unacceptable for governments in Canada to force Indigenous peoples to pursue long and costly legal challenges as the only way to uphold rights that the government is obligated to protect. It also noted that federal government support for the Site C dam contradicts the government's public commitments to uphold Indigenous rights, including the right to free, prior and informed consent.

    The committee is an independent, expert body with a mandate to promote compliance with the legally binding UN Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

    August 28, 2017
    Ranea and Danea from Iraq have been stranded in Lesvos for 16 months

    The thing refugees need above all is a lasting, long-term solution. Without this, they have no real hope of rebuilding their lives.

    Imagine: you’re forced to flee your home and escape to another country. There, you are recognized as a refugee by either the UN’s refugee agency, UNHCR, or the local authorities. But you still face threats, abuses like sexual violence, or problems getting life-saving medical treatment.

    UNHCR will decide if you urgently need protection in another country. This is called resettlement. Canada, for example, opened its doors to 25,000 Syrian refugees between November 2015 and February 2016. Every single one reached their new home country in the only obvious way: by plane.

    But unfortunately, only a tiny fraction of refugees who qualify for resettlement have actually received that all-important call saying they can move abroad.

    August 28, 2017

    We’ve given you a global overview on refugees so far, but now it’s time to focus in on the situation local to you.

    Canada has been viewed as a global leader with respect to refugee protection. It has signed the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, and other human rights instruments which protect refugees. Canada was the first country to set out guidelines for considering the refugee claims of women, and has taken an active role globally in the resettlement of refugees through both government and private sponsorship programs. In recent years however, Canada like many other countries, is creating more barriers for people seeking safety and security.

    Your voice is important in showing there is public support for welcoming refugees and demanding Canada does more.

    Here Gloria Nafziger explains how refugee issues became an actual electoral issue in Canada due to the demands of people who wanted more refugees resettled.

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