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    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.

    June 29, 2012

    Amnesty International today called on Egypt’s new president to rise to the challenge of breaking the cycle of abuse perpetuated under Hosni Mubarak and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF). The organization urged him to take decisive action in his first 100 days to put Egypt firmly on the path of the rule of law and respect for human rights.

    Amnesty International will be closely monitoring whether he is serious about delivering human rights change, and will take stock of his human rights achievements during this critical time for reform.

    Ahead of President Mohamed Morsi’s swearing-in ceremony, the organization has presented him with a memorandum detailing what it considers the key human rights priorities for Egypt.

    “Since the uprising in January  last year, Egyptians have heard many promises that their demands would be listened to and that things would change, but so far their hopes have largely been frustrated,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General. “We hope, as they do, that this stage of the transition might herald a turning of the corner.”

    May 30, 2012

    Alongside dozens of well-known and respected Canadians  such as Ed Broadbent, Flora Macdonald, Warren Allmand, Lois Wilson and  Laure Waridel, representatives of  over 100 organizations from across the country have written today to Prime Minister Stephen Harper expressing deep concern about the government’s treatment of a United Nations human rights expert at the end of his mission to Canada earlier this month.

    Professor Olivier De Schutter, the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food, was undiplomatically dismissed by several Government ministers at the end of his official mission to Canada between 6 and  16 May after he expressed concerns about the government’s failure to address widespread hunger in so affluent a country as Canada.  He was castigated for wasting time and resources looking into challenges in upholding the right to food in a developed democracy such as Canada and was publicly labelled as “ill-informed” and “patronizing.”

    May 02, 2012


    March 2, 2012

    Chairman Michael E. McKee
    Montana Board of Pardons and Parole
    1002 Hollenbeck Road
    Deer Lodge, MT 59722

    RE: Ronald Allen Smith– Application For Clemency

    Dear Chairman McKee and Board members,

    March 06, 2012

    The Honourable Vic Toews   
    Minister of Public Safety   
    Ottawa, Ontario    
    K1A 0P8  
    Mr. Richard Fadden
    Canadian Security Intelligence Service
    1941 Ogilvie Road
    Ottawa, Ontario
    K1J 1B7

    March 5, 2012

    Dear Minister Toews and Mr. Fadden,

    We are writing with respect to the Ministerial Direction to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service: Information Sharing with Foreign Entities that has recently become publicly available as a result of an Access to Information Request pursued by media.  We are urgently calling on Minister Toews to withdraw this Ministerial Direction, as it violates Canada’s international human rights obligations to prevent and not be complicit in or contribute to torture.

    February 02, 2012

    The Right Honourable Stephen Harper
    Prime Minister of Canada
    80 Wellington Street
    Ottawa, Ontario    K1A 0A2
    by fax:  613 941 6900

    2 February 2012

    Dear Prime Minister,

    We are writing to you, as members of the Canadian Coalition on Human Rights in China,  in advance of your upcoming visit to China.  We view your visit as a valuable opportunity to advance human rights as a key priority in Canada’s relationship with China and in particular to highlight a number of critical issues, including the plight of prisoners of conscience.    We recognize that you face competing pressures regarding issues to prioritize, including trade considerations at a time of economic uncertainty.  We trust that you will agree with us that human rights cannot be sold short to these interests.  The rights of the many millions of people who face injustices at the hands of Chinese authorities on a daily basis matter too much to be given secondary attention.  And ultimately, the relationship between Canada and China will be stronger if it is grounded in mutual respect for key international human rights principles.

    A critical moment

    January 23, 2012

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

    January 23, 2012

    Dear Minister,

    Amnesty International has followed with interest the announcement of the government’s intention to open an Office of Religious Freedom within your Ministry, as well as the subsequent process of developing and establishing the Office.  As I have been quoted recently in various media articles about the Office, I am writing to clarify Amnesty International’s views and to make a number of recommendations.  I would welcome an opportunity to meet with you to discuss these points further.

    Amnesty International most certainly welcomes the initiative as one that stands to make an important contribution to dealing with a very serious global human rights problem, violations of the fundamental right to freedom of religion.  Violations of that right have figured prominently within Amnesty International’s human rights research and campaigning since 1961, the year the organization was founded. 

    October 26, 2011

    The Honourable Diane Ablonczy
    Minister of State for Foreign Affairs (Americas and Consular Affairs)
    House of Commons
    Ottawa, Ontario

    October 26, 2011

    Dear Minister of State Ablonczy,

    URGENT: Naser Bader Al-Raas Sentenced in Bahrain

    I am writing this open letter to you further to our letters of October 3 and 25, 2011 regarding the case of Canadian citizen Naser Bader Al-Raas, who faces a five year prison term in Bahrain.Amnesty International has now had an opportunity to review his case fully, including the verdict delivered yesterday. Our concerns have only mounted.

    September 08, 2011

    A dozen experts on inquiries in Canada and on human rights sent a letter yesterday to the Attorney General of British Columbia, Shirley Bond expressing their "shock and concern" about the government's decision not provide funding for legal counsel to the groups granted standing at the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry. In their joint letter, the authors state:

    "We can identify no other case in Canada where a government, having appointed a Commission of Inquiry, then, in effect, overturned a Commissioner’s decision on standing by refusing funding for participation. It is illogical, and it damages irreparably the ability of the Commissioner to do the very work that was assigned to him.... Unfortunately... the Commission now cannot proceed fairly or credibly."

    The authors state that the appointment by the Commission of "independent" counsel to represent Aboriginal women and women from the Downtown Eastside does not remedy the preferential treatment being given to the police and Crown, who have publicly funded legal counsel. Instead it introduces a new form of discrimination. 

    August 10, 2011

    Dear Minister Kenney,

    The Open Letter that you wrote on 9 August and posted on your personal website, in response to the Open Letter we wrote and sent to you and Minister Toews on 2 August, has been brought to our attention by journalists.  We are writing to respond and clarify to some of the points you raise.

    You begin by chastising Amnesty International for raising these concerns when we should instead be focusing on human rights concerns in countries like Iran and North Korea.  Minister, we most certainly do.  A casual review of our most recent reports, actions and news releases covers such countries as Iran, Syria, Bahrain, China, Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Colombia, Georgia, Saudi Arabia and Nigeria.  We do regularly point to areas where we believe Canada’s own human rights laws, policy and practice are in need of reform.  Universal human rights principles apply as equally to Canada as they do to other countries.  Furthermore, the stronger Canada’s domestic human rights record is; the greater our leadership on the world stage. 

    August 02, 2011

    The Honourable Vic Toews , Minister of Public Safety 

     The Honourable Jason Kenney,  Minister of Citizenship and and  Immigration                                                                 

    August 2, 2011

    Dear Ministers,

    We are writing this open letter to express Amnesty International’s concern about the approach the government has adopted to dealing with the cases of thirty individuals who have been accused of having committed war crimes or crimes against humanity and who are believed to be residing in Canada.   Their cases, including their names and photos, have been widely publicized on a government web-site, “Wanted by the CBSA”.  Five of the thirty men have since been arrested.  Amnesty International is concerned that the initiative does not conform to Canada’s obligations with respect to human rights and international justice. 

    May 25, 2011

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

    May 25, 2011

    Dear Minister Baird,

    Today, around the world, Amnesty International will be delivering to Syrian Embassies copies of a recent petition, signed by more than 100,000 people, calling on the Syrian government to bring the current human rights crisis in the country to an end.  Most immediately and urgently the petition calls on the Syrian government to rein in the country’s security forces and end unlawful killings and other gross human rights violations including arbitrary arrest and torture.

    At the same time, we are turning to the international community and urging all governments to intensify pressure on Syrian authorities to end the abuses.  To that end, Amnesty International has called on the UN Security Council to:

    February 22, 2011

    His Excellency Dr. Abdulrahman Mohamed Ali Abututa
    81 Metcalfe Street, Suite 1000
    Ottawa, Ontario
    K1P 6K7

    February 21, 2011

    Your Excellency,

    We are writing to you on behalf of more than 80,000 members of Amnesty International across Canada to express our grave concern about disturbing reports that a rapidly mounting number of Libyans involved in peaceful protests in the country have been killed in the face of a harsh crackdown and use of alarming levels of lethal force over the past several days.  There have been reports that as many as 500 may have been killed.

    Amnesty International has received troubling reports of unwarranted lethal force being used on many occasions including when security forces opened fire with live ammunition on thousands of mourners who gathered outside a Revolutionary Guards building in Benghazi on their way back from the cemetery; and also when they opened fire on hundreds of people holding a sit-in in front of Benghazi's North Court.  There have been reports of many other incidents as well.

    February 22, 2011

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

    February 22, 2011

    Dear Prime Minister Harper,

    I am writing to you about the case of Canadian citizen Hamid Ghassemi-Shall, who has been imprisoned in Iran for close to three years.  Recent developments, in particular credible reports that a death sentence against him has now been confirmed, mean that his situation has become one of urgent concern.  Amnesty International is calling on you to become personally involved in efforts to ensure that he is not executed and that other human rights violations in his case are addressed.

    Hamid Ghassemi-Shall has reportedly been charged with espionage-related offences.  He has flatly denied the accusations against him and was not provided a fair opportunity to defend himself in proceedings that meet international fair trial standards.  We are gravely concerned that he has been subject to torture and ill-treatment which Amnesty International has documented to be widespread in Iranian prisons.

    December 01, 2010

    The Directors of Amnesty International Canada wrote today to the Minister of Public Safety and the Director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Agency to seek assurances that human rights violations will not be tolerated in the name of security after examining the comments attributed to former CSIS Director Jim Judd released by Wikileaks this week.

    Read the Open Letter

    John Tackaberry,
    Media Relations,
    Amnesty International Canada
    613-744-7667, ext 236


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