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Open letters

    December 08, 2017

    The upcoming ministerial meeting on human rights demonstrates that federal, provincial and territorial governments in Canada recognize that more must be done to fulfill Canada’s domestic and international commitments to recognize, respect and fulfill human rights. As a concrete and meaningful way to better address this need, our organizations are calling on the federal, provincial and territorial governments to work collaboratively with First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples as well as with African Canadians and other communities of colour, and engage with civil society to undertake a formal and systematic review of the most recent United Nations treaty body report on Canada.

    September 28, 2017

    UPDATE 28 September 2017: Scroll down for an open letter to the UN from 87 civil society organizations urging immediate action on the crisis in Myanmar.

    The UN Security Council must do everything it can to end the crimes against humanity and ongoing ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya civilian population in Myanmar, including by imposing a comprehensive arms embargo on the country, Amnesty International said.

    The Council is holding a public session on the situation in Myanmar on Thursday, when Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will brief members on the current crisis in Rakhine state.

    “The Myanmar military is forcibly displacing and killing Rohingya, a campaign of crimes against humanity that amounts to ethnic cleansing. When they meet on Thursday, UN member states must ask themselves what side of history they want to be on and do everything they can do end this nightmare. Together, they do have the power to pressure Myanmar to end the violence,” said Tirana Hassan, Amnesty International’s Crisis Response Director.

    June 22, 2017

    Dear Ministers Freeland and Wilson-Raybould, and Mr. Alghabra,

    Amnesty International is alarmed at the continued detention of Lebanese-Canadian dual national Hassan Diab in Fleury-Mérogis Prison in France in the face of six orders from investigating judges that he be released on bail. We urge you to call on your French counterparts to take immediate steps to secure his release on bail.

    August 30, 2016

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

    Dear Prime Minister,

    We write this Open Letter to you as members of the Canadian Coalition on Human Rights in China,[1]  urging that you make a determined effort to raise key human rights cases and recommendations at every opening during your upcoming visit to China. 

    This trip – your first as Prime Minister – comes at a critical time, as China faces serious human rights challenges throughout the country.  There has been a concerted, deepening clampdown on human rights lawyers and activists and intensified measures to curtail freedoms of expression, association and assembly.  These are worrying indications of a deteriorating climate for human rights protection in the country. 

    March 18, 2016

    On the occasion of President Barack Obama´s upcoming historic visit to Cuba, followed by a two-day visit to Argentina, Amnesty International would like to take this opportunity to highlight to the three Presidents a number of major human rights concerns which we hope will be prioritized as part of your discussions.


    Detentions at Guantánamo Bay

    While we recognize the current administration’s commitment to end the detentions in the US naval base at Guantánamo Bay, the fact that dozens of detainees remain there more than six years after President Obama’s original deadline for closure of the detention facility is a cause for huge international concern. We reiterate that any Guantánamo detainee the USA does not intend to charge for prosecution in proceedings that fully comply with international fair trial standards should be immediately released.

    March 10, 2016

    The Honourable Ralph Goodale
    Minister of Public Safety

    Dear Minister:

    Re:       The necessary components of an effective and integrated national security accountability framework for Canada

    March 10, 2016

    The Honourable Ralph Goodale 
    Minister of Public Safety

    March 10, 2016

    Dear Minister,

    We are writing this Open Letter to offer a set of recommended principles to guide the anticipated consultations you will soon be launching further to the government’s commitment to review and revise Bill C-51, the Anti-Terrorism Act 2015. We urge you to take an approach that demonstrates a commitment to protect national security by upholding human rights and rejecting the false dichotomy of rights or security.

    Our organizations all have serious concerns about the numerous human rights problems associated with this new law.  As a result, over the past year we have appeared before parliamentary committees, raised concerns with UN bodies, turned to the courts, spoken to audiences across the country, launched campaigns and carried out media interviews, pressing for the concerns to be addressed.  We therefore welcome the prospect of reform.

    March 01, 2016

    The Honourable Stéphane Dion
    Minister of Foreign Affairs

    March 1, 2016

    Dear Minister Dion,

    We are writing this Open Letter to you further to ongoing correspondence we have had with the Canadian government over the past year with respect to the sale of Light Armoured Vehicles (LAVs), manufactured in Canada, to Saudi Arabia. In particular, thank you for your letter of February 11th in response to our letter of January 15th which had been sent jointly with Cesar Jaramillo, the Executive Director of Project Ploughshares.

    Minister, as you are aware Amnesty International has been deeply concerned about the potential human rights impact of the sale of LAVs, reported to be in the range of $15 billion. Since news of the deal first came to our attention, over one year ago, we have consistently pressed the government to ensure that a full and comprehensive human rights assessment be conducted and that the results of that assessment be released publicly. No such information has yet to be made public.

    February 11, 2016

    Open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau:
    Canadian organizations condemn Peace River hydroelectric mega-project for human rights violations

    Dear Prime Minister,

    Our organizations are profoundly concerned that construction of the Site C dam is being pushed ahead despite the conclusion of a joint federal-provincial environmental assessment that it would severely and permanently undermine Indigenous peoples’ use of the land; harm rare plants and other biodiversity; make fishing unsafe for at least a generation; and submerge burial grounds and other crucial cultural and historical sites.


    The construction of the Site C dam would severely affect Indigenous families.

    Tell the Trudeau government to honour its promises and respect the Treaties.

    December 17, 2015

    Released 17 December 2015 at 00.01 GMT 

    The devastating response of the Pakistani government in the wake of the sickening Peshawar school massacre has set the country on a relentless and reprehensible course of executions, said Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.
    In an open letter to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif today, the organizations urge the Pakistani government to immediately establish an official moratorium on all executions with a view to the eventual abolition of the death penalty. Over the past 12 months, more than 300 people have been put to death in the country.

    “In the space of one year, Pakistan has become one of the world’s top three executioners – a dark and shameful development. The authorities must ensure that the relentless push to send death row prisoners to the gallows ends now before more lives are lost,” said David Griffiths, Amnesty International’s South Asia Research Director.

    November 19, 2015

    Released 00.01 GMT, 20 November 2015

    Doctors and health professionals from every region of the world today added their voices to the growing pressure for the decriminalization of abortion, with 838 from 44 countries signing an open letter to governments published today by Amnesty International.

    The letter calls on governments to stop interfering with health professionals’ ability to provide care, warning that criminalizing abortion puts women and girls’ health and lives at risk.

    “The criminalization of abortion prevents healthcare providers from delivering timely, medically indicated care in accordance with their patients' wishes,” said the letter.

    “It impedes and disregards sound medical judgment and can undermine the professional duty of care and confidentiality that doctors bear towards their patients.”

    The letter was signed by health professionals from institutions around the world including Ghent University Hospital in Belgium, Universidad Nacional del Comahue in Argentina, Harvard Medical School in the USA and the University of Cape Town in South Africa.

    November 09, 2015

    House of Assembly
    Confederation Building, East Block
    P.O. Box 8700
    St. John's, NL A1B 4J6


    RE: Inuit rights and downstream impacts of the planned Muskrat Falls dam

    Dear Premier Paul Davis, Mr. Dwight Ball, and Mr. Earle McCurdy,

    Amnesty International is deeply concerned that the potential for the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric dam to cause serious harm to downstream Inuit communities has not been properly dealt with, as required both by Canadian law and international human rights standards.  We are writing this letter to you in your capacities as party leaders because we believe this is a pressing human rights concern that, regardless of the outcome of the upcoming provincial election, requires action and vigilance from both the government and the entire legislative assembly.

    October 02, 2015

    The Right Honourable Stephen Harper;
    Leader of the Opposition, Thomas Mulcair;
    Justin Trudeau;
    Elizabeth May; and
    Gilles Duceppe

    Dear Prime Minister Harper, Mr. Mulclair, Mr. Trudeau, Ms. May, and Mr. Duceppe:

    We are writing to you regarding Canada’s human rights record in light of the July 2015 release of the United Nations Human Rights Committee’s Concluding Observations on the country’s implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. This was the first time the Committee has examined Canada’s record in a decade. As in other reviews of Canada by UN bodies, including the Human Rights Council, these Concluding Observations raise numerous serious concerns about critical violations of human rights in this country.

    May 28, 2015

    The Honourable Rob Nicholson
    Minister of Foreign Affairs

    May 28, 2015

    Dear Minister Nicholson,

    Over the past several months, Amnesty International has – in letters to the government and in comments in the media – highlighted our serious concerns about the human rights implications of the $15 billion deal reached between London, Ontario-based General Dynamics and the Saudi Arabian government for the sale of potentially hundreds of armored vehicles over the next decade.

    The Canadian government, as you know, has an obligation to carry out a human rights assessment of the deal to ensure that, among other things, “there is no reasonable risk that the good might be used against the civilian population.”  Given the very serious and widespread human rights violations regularly committed by Saudi officials, and given the nature of and potential uses of the vehicles that are the subject of this lucrative deal, a thorough and transparent human rights assessment is urgently required. 

    April 14, 2015

    The Honourable Chris Alexander 
    Minister of Citizenship and Immigration 
    House of Commons      
    Ottawa, Ontario
    K1A 0A6    

    The Honourable Rob Nicholson
    Minister of Foreign Affairs
    House of Commons
    Ottawa, Ontario   
    K1A 0A6 

    April 13, 2015

    Dear Minister Alexander and Minister Nicholson,

    We are writing this Open Letter to reiterate and update Amnesty International’s concerns with respect to the case of Mohamed Fahmy.  We have written frequently to the Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of State (Consular Affairs), ever since Mr. Fahmy was first arrested in December 2013.  We are including Minister Alexander at this time because we have specific concerns with respect to the challenges Mr. Fahmy faces in obtaining a replacement for his Canadian passport.  Consistent with the critical importance of taking a strong stand in defence of Mr. Fahmy’s internationally protected human rights, we are calling on the government to ensure that he receives a passport without delay.


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