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Indigenous Rights

    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 14, 2017

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

    and

    Gloria Nafziger, Refugee Campaigner for Amnesty International Canada

    A federal government that has branded itself as internationally engaged and committed to human rights is expected to face tough questions this week when its record is reviewed by the United Nations top anti-racism body. How the Trudeau government responds will be a crucial test of its willingness to match lofty rhetoric with real and meaningful action.

    This week’s hearing before the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is one of a series of periodic reviews where independent, expert committees examine how well states are living up to their commitments under the various international human rights treaties that they’ve ratified. There were similar reviews of Canada in 2016 before the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women and the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

    May 25, 2016

    By Craig Benjamin

    The president of Royal Society of Canada – a national association of Canada scholars – has written to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to urge the government to "step back" from the Site C hydro-electric project. It's reported that this is the first time in decades that the Royal Society has taken a public position in opposition to a specific project.

    The letter states that government approval of the Site C dam – despite numerous serious concerns identified in the environmental impact assessment process – "goes against the Canadian government emphasis on evidence-based decision-making."

    The letter also condemns the failure to uphold the Treaty rights of First Nations in the Peace River region, stating, "That is not the blueprint for Canada in the twenty-first century, especially given Canada's recent decision to support the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Work on the Site C project should be discontinued for this reason alone."

    Gender, Indigenous rights, and energy development in northeast British Columbia, Canada

    Join Amnesty International's new campaign to make sure the safety and wellness of Indigenous women and girls in northeast BC, Canada, an area with massive hydroelectric, oil, gas, and coal projects, is not #OutofSightOutofMind! 

     

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