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Access to Justice

    July 13, 2017

    The toxic combination of a flawed judicial system, untrained police officers and widespread impunity are encouraging arbitrary detentions and leading to torture, executions and enforced disappearances, Amnesty International said in a new report today.

    False suspicions: Arbitrary detentions by police in Mexico demonstrates how police across Mexico routinely detain people arbitrarily in order to extort them. They also often plant evidence in an effort to prove they are doing something to tackle crime or to punish individuals for their human rights activism. The report is based on confidential interviews with members of the police and the justice system.

    “The justice system in Mexico is completely unfit for purpose and is therefore failing the people massively,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    May 03, 2017

    By Fiona Koza

    Nevsun Resources has joined the ranks of Vancouver-based mining companies on trial for human rights abuses allegedly committed at overseas mines. Nevsun is accused of complicity in torture and slavery at its Bisha mine, a joint-venture with the government of Eritrea. Nevsun shareholders deserve to know about these extremely serious allegations, which is why several organizations including Amnesty International held a rally outside Nevsun Resource’s Annual General Meeting in Vancouver this morning.

    The lawsuit against Nevsun claims that the plaintiffs in the case were subject to “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment” while forced to work at the company’s Bisha mine, facing “long hours, malnutrition and forced confinement for little pay.” They allege they “worked under the constant threat of physical punishment, torture and imprisonment” and that Nevsun, by entering into a commercial relationship with the government of Eritrea, “became an accomplice to the use of forced labour, crimes against humanity and other human rights abuses.”

    April 28, 2017

    The civil society organization Bolivian Documentation and Information Centre (CEDIB) reports being harassed, threatened, and evicted from its premises in Cochabamba, central Bolivia. This is a worrying sign of shrinking civic space in Bolivia and could mean the loss of decades of evidence related to human rights in the country.

    On 21 March, the Dean of Universidad Mayor de San Simon (UMSS), a public university in Cochabamba, Juan Rios, issued an official letter to the Director of the Bolivian Documentation and Information Centre (Centro de Documentación e Información Bolivia, CEDIB), Marco Gandarillas, informing CEDIB that they had 48 hours to vacate their office, located inside the UMSS, which they have occupied since 1993. This letter was sent following a visit on the same day by a UMSS advisor to the CEDIB office. CEDIB staff members reported that during this visit the UMSS advisor threatened the CEDIB staff, stating that they would be “locked in” and “they would not be allowed in or out of their office” if they did not evacuate the premises immediately.

    February 23, 2017
    From Mitchell Bay: Quesnel Lake frozen over
    Many of us have special places in nature that we go to when we need to unwind or think.

    These places may be dark forest trails that burst open into sunlit sandy beaches, tiny, hidden lakes, or rocky outcrops over-looking mighty rivers. Mine is a wide, sunny beach on the east coast of Vancouver Island. For Christine McLean, it’s a spot on her property in Mitchell Bay on Quesnel Lake, in central British Columbia.

    Christine is a water defender from Alberta who, together with her husband, bought their dream retirement property on the pristine lake a few years ago. At the time, she had no idea what the future would hold: a mining disaster of previously unseen proportions in Canada in the hills above the lake. The Mount Polley tailings pond breach of August 4, 2014, sent 24 million cubic litres of water and toxic mine waste into surrounding waters and ultimately, into Quesnel Lake.

    July 04, 2016

    The five year prison sentence handed down to a prominent union leader is the latest example of how the government is galvanising its attack on the right to freedom of peaceful assembly in South Korea, Amnesty International said today.

    On Monday, the Central District Court in Seoul convicted Han Sang-gyun, the leader of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU), for his role as an organizer of a number of demonstrations. The most prominent of which was the largely peaceful ‘People’s Rally’ on 14 November 2015.

    “Han Sang-gyun is the latest victim of South Korea’s increasingly ruthless crackdown on peaceful dissent. His conviction is both unjust and shameful,” said Arnold Fang, East Asia Researcher of Amnesty International.

    “This sentence has a chilling effect on the right to freedom of peaceful assembly by deterring other would-be organizers. Under no circumstances should organizers be held responsible for the acts of those that hijack a peaceful protest.”

    May 08, 2014

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

    May 8, 2014

    Dear Prime Minister Harper,

    As an integral part of Amnesty International’s ongoing effort, within Canada and globally, to encourage businesses and governments to ensure that company operations promote strong human rights protection and do not lead to human rights abuses, our international office has recently published the enclosed book, Injustice Incorporated: Advancing the Right to Remedy for Corporate Abuses of Human Rights.  We are officially launching the book in Canada today at a conference at Ryerson University’s Institute for the Study of Corporate Social Responsibility.
     

    May 08, 2014

    Toronto -- Amnesty International today launched in Canada a major new publication on the right to remedy for victims of corporate human rights abuses at a conference on corporate social responsibility at Ryerson University. The book, entitled Injustice Incorporated: Corporate Abuses and the Human Right to Remedy (Injustice Incorporated) provides a comprehensive framework for substantially changing the legal imbalance between vulnerable individuals and powerful companies.

    May 07, 2014

    by Alex Neve,
    Secretary General, Amnesty International Canada

    The stories mount, stories of human rights abuse and injustice: ‘mining activists shot’, ‘mine operations suspended’, ‘company accused of water pollution.’ Far too often a Canadian mining company is behind the story.  Canadian mining companies lead the mining world; but none aspire to lead the world in mining-related human rights abuses.

    There is a common theme to all the cases:  lack of an effective remedy open to the individuals and communities who suffer human rights harms associated with Canadian mining operations. 

    Victims have nowhere to turn for justice.  Not in their home country; neither in Canada.

    April 24, 2014

    Caption:A Bangladeshi mourner and relative of a victim of the Rana Plaza building collapse weeps as she takes part in a protest marking the first anniversary of the disaster at the site where the building once stood in Savar on the outskirts of Dhaka on April 24, 2014. The Rana Plaza building collapsed on April 24, 2013, killing 1138 workers in the world's worst garment factory disaster. Western fashion brands faced pressure to increase help for victims as mass protests marked the anniversary. Thousands of people, some wearing funeral shrouds, staged demonstrations at the site of the now-infamous Rana Plaza factory complex.AFP PHOTO / Munir uz ZAMAN (Photo credit should read MUNIR UZ ZAMAN/AFP/Getty Images)

    By Joe Westby, Corporate Campaigner at Amnesty International

    April 14, 2014
    Open for Justice logo

    MPs are in their home ridings this week and next, so now is the perfect time to phone your MP and ask him or her to ensure that Canada is "Open for Justice". We know that some people have experience speaking with their MP, and others do not, so we have put together a handy kit to help you. Our Open for Justice kits contain a campaign backgrounder, a Q&A, tips on setting up a meeting with your MP, talking points for your meeting, and a pledge for your MP to sign. You can download your kit from the "resources" section on our Open for Justice website www.amnesty.ca/openforjustice

    Several Amnesty members and groups have already met with their MPs to discuss this important issue and two MPs have signed the pledge: MP John McKay (Scarborough-Guildwood) and Elizabeth May (Saanich-Gulf Islands). Will your MP be next? And we have an exciting new announcement. The next three Amnesty members who are successful in getting their MPs to sign the pledge will win an Amnesty prize! So don't delay - phone or meet with your MP today!

     

    April 09, 2014
    Police forced evictions in villages within the Porgera gold mine Special Mining Lease (SML) April - July 2009, Porgera, Papua New Guinea.

    By Audrey Gaughran
    Director of Global Issues, Amnesty International

    For more than five years now Amnesty International has been working on a project on the right to effective remedy in cases of corporate-related human rights abuses.  We have focused on cases where poor communities have confronted powerful multinational companies (MNCs) in an effort to seek justice. The project has included wide-ranging research as well as support to strategic litigation in several countries. Last month (March) we published a book, Injustice Incorporated, based on our research and practical legal work. The book highlights several obstacles to access to justice – one of which is the political power of MNCs, and the structures that underpin this power. These structures include the role of international financial institutions (IFIs) in laying the foundations for undue corporate influence on the governments and regulators in developing countries.

    April 08, 2014

    Germán chub speaks about the impact a Canadian company has had on him

    © James Rodríguez www.mimundo.org

    Imagine finding out that your drinking water is polluted, the walls of your house have cracked, you are developing rashes on your legs or a neighbour has just been attacked. These are some of the impacts that communities abroad sometimes experience when Canadian companies start mining for gold, nickel, oil or other resources nearby.

    When people are hurt by the actions of Canadian companies operating in other countries, does the Canadian government help them find justice in Canada? The sad answer is that it does not.

    Germán Chub is a young man from the community of La Unión in eastern Guatemala. Germán (pronounced erMAN) loves watching soccer.

    One day in September 2009, he was watching a game when he heard a disturbance not far from the field. He walked in the direction of the noise.

    November 20, 2013

    The Northern Ireland Attorney General’s call for an end to prosecutions for killings during three decades of political violence in Northern Ireland is an utter betrayal of victims’ fundamental rights to justice, Amnesty International said today.

    Attorney General John Larkin said there should be no inquests, inquiries and prosecutions into any killings that took place before the signing of the Good Friday/Belfast  Agreement in 1998.

    John Dalhuisen, Director of Amnesty International’s Europe and Central Asia Program, said:

    “The Attorney General’s call today would in effect be the granting of a blanket amnesty for human rights abuses and violations committed by all sides during the three decades of political violence in Northern Ireland. It would be an utter betrayal of victims’ fundamental right to justice.

    “Such a move would fly in the face of international human rights standards and perpetuate impunity.

    November 05, 2013

    Bahrain’s Ministry of Interior must immediately rescind the decision to strip 31 members of the opposition of their Bahraini nationality made a year ago, Amnesty International urged.

    On 7 November 2012, the Ministry took the extreme measure against the opposition activists, who are all Shi’a, saying they had caused “damage to state security”. Those without dual citizenship were effectively made stateless by the decision.

    “Stripping away the nationality of government critics shows that the Bahraini authorities continue to lash out and discredit anyone they deem a threat. Instead of addressing the criticism levelled against them, the authorities have found no other way to respond than depriving Bahraini citizens of their nationality,” said Hassiba Hadj-Sahraoui, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East Programme.

    October 30, 2013

    The Mexican President’s decision to pardon indigenous teacher Alberto Patishtán who was imprisoned for more than a decade following an unfair trial is a long overdue recognition of the injustice done to him, but it should spur a complete review of countless unfair trial cases, Amnesty International said today.

    “This is an innocent man who has been in prison for 13 years. The Presidential pardon is a big relief for Alberto Patishtán and his family, but it falls short of delivering truth, justice and reparation. Those responsible for his unfair trial and imprisonment should be held to account,” said Javier Zúñiga, special advisor at Amnesty International.

    “Mexico’s prisons are populated by countless people like Patishtán. His liberation should be only the first step towards a total review of those cases and the adoption of measures that put a halt to discrimination and inequality in the access to justice.”

    The presidential pardon is the result of years of campaigning by Alberto Patishtán, his lawyers and supportive non-governmental organizations.

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