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Open letters

    February 04, 2015

    The Right Honourable Stephen Harper
    Prime Minister of Canada
    Office of the Prime Minister
    80 Wellington Street
    Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2
    Fax: 613-941-6900

    Dear Prime Minister Harper,

    We are writing with a renewed sense of urgency about the case of Bashir Makhtal.  Mr. Makhtal, a Canadian citizen of Ethiopian Ogadeni origin, has been imprisoned in Ethiopia since January 2007 and is serving a life prison term after an unfair trial and appeal.  

    Credible and troubling allegations have now come to Amnesty International’s attention, indicating that he may have been subject to torture and ill-treatment, may have made a confession because of that torture, and is possibly facing a number of serious health problems. 

    Mr. Makhtal has authorized that this information be shared openly and publicly as he hopes it will generate wider understanding of his plight and generate renewed and increased action on his behalf.
    These very worrying reports require immediate attention and action from the Canadian government.  In particular:

    January 29, 2015

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

    January 28, 2015

     

    Dear Prime Minister,

    We are writing this Open Letter with an urgent request that you intervene in the case of Raif Badawi, the Saudi Arabian blogger and human rights defender who has been sentenced to 1,000 lashes, 10 years in prison and other penalties and restrictions, simply for exercising his right to freedom of expression.  As you will know, there is a strong Canadian connection to the case because Canada has, very commendably, welcomed his wife Ensaf Haidar and their three young children to this country as refugees.

    January 16, 2015

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

    Dear Prime Minister,

    We are writing this Open Letter to urge that you intervene in the case of Canadian citizen Mohamed Fahmy, who has been imprisoned for over one year in Egypt, with a direct request to the Egyptian government that he be released immediately and unconditionally and allowed to return to Canada.  We appreciate Minister Baird’s efforts to resolve the case during his visit to Cairo this week.  However, the fact that Mr. Fahmy remains imprisoned, with no clear commitment from Egyptian authorities to release him, points to the necessity of you now becoming involved.  We note that Mr. Fahmy himself made that request of you yesterday; and we very much agree with him that action from you personally is now urgently required.

    January 15, 2015

    The Honourable John Baird
    Minister of Foreign Affairs
    125 Sussex Drive
    Ottawa, Ontario
    K1A 0G2

    January 15, 2015

    Dear Minister Baird,

    Tomorrow, in front of the al-Jafali Mosque in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Raif Badawi will be lashed publicly fifty times for the second time in a week.  In Sherbrooke, Quebec his wife Ensah Haidar and their three children, who have been welcomed to Canada as refugees, await in fear and agony at the prospect of the torture their husband and father faces yet again.  And across Canada and around the world a growing chorus of hundreds of thousands of voices call on the Saudi government to end this terrible injustice and free Raif Badawi from prison rather than continue with his cruel and inhuman sentence of 1,000 lashes.

    December 05, 2014

    December 2, 2014

     

    The Honourable Chris Alexander
    Minister of Citizenship and Immigration
    Ottawa, ON   K1A 1L1

    Dear Minister Alexander,

    We are writing this Open Letter to you in regards to Canada’s response to the Syrian refugee crisis.  In advance of the UNHCR pledging conference in Geneva on December 9, 2014, we are urgently calling on the Government of Canada to substantially increase its response across all fronts, including higher levels of resettlement and greater financial assistance. 

    November 06, 2014

    November 5, 2014

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

    Re:  Visit to China

    Dear Prime Minister,

    We are a Coalition of Canadian organizations across the country concerned about human rights in China.   We are writing to urge that during your official visit to China over the coming days, in advance of next week’s APEC Leaders’ Meeting, you, and Ministers and other Canadian officials travelling with you, raise the issue of human rights during bilateral meetings with Chinese leaders and other events and opportunities.

    October 01, 2014

    To all members of the House of Commons and the Senate,

    Ten years ago, Amnesty International published its major report, Stolen Sisters: Discrimination and Violence against Indigenous Women in Canada. The report built on work that Indigenous women and communities had been doing for years, documenting and speaking out for the hundreds of sisters, daughters and mothers taken by violence.  At the time, all parties in the Canadian Parliament made statements affirming that urgent action was needed to stop this violence. Tragically, however, despite some positive initiatives by all levels of government, the response over the last decade has been primarily characterized by a piecemeal, inadequate and poorly coordinated government response to the dire threats facing Indigenous women and girls.

    July 23, 2014

    The Honourable John Baird
    Minister of Foreign Affairs
    125 Sussex Drive
    Ottawa, Ontario
    K1A 0G2

    22 July, 2014

    Dear Minister Baird,

    Amnesty International has repeatedly spoken out about widespread violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights standards since the most recent crisis in Gaza and Israel erupted on 8 July.   We are writing this Open Letter to you, on behalf of more than 80,000 Amnesty International members across Canada, with an urgent request that the Canadian government similarly speak out and insist that these rapidly mounting violations – by both sides of this conflict – must end immediately. 

    We have of course noted the frequent comments made by the Prime Minister, you personally and other members of the government, criticizing Hamas for the indiscriminate firing of rockets into Israel.  Amnesty International has similarly consistently condemned those actions, underscoring that such actions constitute violations of international humanitarian law.

    June 10, 2014

    June 10, 2014

    The Honourable Peter MacKay
    Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
    House of Commons
    Ottawa, Ontario
    Canada K1A 0A6

    RE: Implementation of existing recommendations needed to address violence against Indigenous women

    Dear Minister MacKay,

    The shocking rate of violence faced by First Nations, Inuit and Métis women and girls in Canada is nothing less than a national human rights crisis.

    Responding to the growing demand for a National Public Inquiry into this crisis, you have repeatedly stated that Canada needs action, not more studies. To support this position you have distributed a list of 40 reports that previously examined the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls or related factors that put Indigenous women and girls at risk.

    Minister MacKay, as an organization that wrote two of the reports on your list, Amnesty International strongly objects to our work being used as a justification for not calling a National Public Inquiry into violence against Indigenous women.

    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.
     

    April 16, 2014

    The Honourable John Baird
    Minister of Foreign Affairs
    125 Sussex Drive
    Ottawa, Ontario
    K1A 0G2

    April 15, 2014

    Dear Minister Baird,

    We are writing this Open Letter to you in advance of your trip to Egypt later this week.  In the face of a deeply troubling human rights crisis in Egypt, your visit offers a crucial opportunity to convey a clear message that Canada looks to the Egyptian government to take immediate and meaningful steps to address the continuing deterioration in the country’s human rights situation.  Amnesty International members across Canada are calling on you to make it clear that Canada expects the Egyptian government to commit to a program of action to protect the human rights of all Egyptians.

    In addition to raising these very serious overarching concerns about the state of human rights protection in Egypt, we are calling on you to press for action with respect to three particular situations:

    February 26, 2014

    The Honourable Peter MacKay 
    Minister of Justice and Attorney General
    284 Wellington Street   
    Ottawa, Ontario   
    K1A 0H8    

    July 24, 2013

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

    July 24, 2013

    Dear Prime Minister,

    We are writing to you on behalf of Voices-Voix, a coalition of more than 200 national and local civil society organizations across the country.  We are seriously concerned about recent reports that your office had instructed government officials to compile “friend and enemy stakeholder” lists as part of the process of preparing briefing materials for new members of Cabinet. 

    March 22, 2013

    The Honourable Vic Toews
    Minister of Public Safety
    House of Commons
    Ottawa, ON, K1A 0A6

    March 21, 2013

    Dear Minister,

    We are writing to you regarding decisions made by the Ministry of Public Safety with respect to the recent Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) raids at construction sites in Vancouver. According to federal access to information documents, on June 7, 2011 your signature and approval were given to Force Four Entertainment’s proposal to produce a reality television series focused on the work of the CBSA. On March 13, 2013, the arrest of several undocumented workers in Vancouver was filmed and broadcast.

    December 28, 2012

    28 December 2012

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

    Open Letter Urging a Meeting with Chief Theresa Spence

    Dear Prime Minister:
    Amnesty International is increasingly concerned over the health and well-being of Chief Theresa Spence of Attawapiskat. As you are aware, Chief Spence has said that she will continue her hunger strike until you meet with her. She is now in her third week without food.
    We note that Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Minister John Duncan has offered to meet with Chief Spence. This, however, is not what Chief Spence has requested.

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