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    November 06, 2009

    Amnesty International’s Brief in support of Bill C-300

    An Act respecting Corporate Accountability for the Activities of Mining, Oil or Gas in Developing Countries

    Presented to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development

    6 November 2009

    Amnesty strongly supports the important purpose of Bill C-300 -  ensuring “that corporations engaged in mining, oil or gas activities and receiving support from the Government of Canada act in a manner consistent with international environmental best practices and with Canada’s commitments to international human rights standards.” Amnesty ultimately believes not only that human rights can be good for business, but also that business can be good for human rights. For these reasons, Amnesty strongly supports Bill C-300 and urges all Members of Parliament to vote in favour of this important legislation.

    September 30, 2009

    ‘Families like mine all over Canada are wondering how many more sisters and daughters we have to lose before real government action is taken.’ Darlene Osborne whose relatives, Felicia Solomon and Helen Betty Osborne, were murdered.

    Indigenous women in Canada face much higher rates of violence than other women. In a 2004 Canadian government survey, Indigenous women reported rates of violence, including domestic violence and sexual assault, 3.5 times higher than non-Indigenous women. Studies suggest that assaults against Indigenous women are not only more frequent, they are also often particularly brutal. According to another government survey, young First Nations women are five times more likely than other women to die as a result of violence.

    September 09, 2009

    Indigenous Peoples in Canada experience much greater levels of poverty than the rest of the population. Unemployment is widespread, exceeding 80 percent in some Indigenous communities. Assistance payments from the government are insufficient to meet basic needs. An estimated one in four First Nations children live in poverty. In one survey, more than half the respondents from the predominantly Inuit Northern Territory of Nunavut said they often cannot afford decent food for their families. The failure of governments in Canada to respect and protect Indigenous Peoples' rights to their lands and territories has been a critical factor in their impoverishment.

    April 24, 2007

    Indigenous women in the USA experience high levels of sexual violence. According to the US Department of Justice, more than one in three American Indian and Alaska Native women will be raped during their lifetime. AI has documented many incidents of sexual violence against Indigenous women, but the great majority of stories remain untold. One of the factors that deter Indigenous women from reporting sexual violence is a lack of confidence that police will take reports seriously and investigate them effectively.

    May 09, 2006

    Serious and widespread violations of the basic rights of women, including violence, are longstanding and commonplace throughout the Americas.

    In 1979 the United Nations adopted a treaty which aims to end the discrimination at the heart of the human rights abuses that are the daily reality for women around the world.  The UN Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women optimistically notes that “the establishment of the new international economic order based on equity and justice will contribute significantly towards the promotion of equality between men and women.”  The UN has gone on to finalize a Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women.  The Organization of American States has adopted the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence against Women.  But serious human rights violations and pervasive violence against women continue in every corner of the Americas.

    October 04, 2004

    Violence against women, and certainly violence against Indigenous women, is rarely understood as a human rights issue. To the extent that governments, media and the general public do consider concerns about violence against women, it is more frequent for it to be described as a criminal concern or a social issue. It is both of those things of course. But it is also very much a human rights issue. 
     

    Indigenous women and girls have the right to be safe and free from violence. When a woman is targeted for violence because of her gender or because of her Indigenous identity, her fundamental rights have been abused. And when she is not offered an adequate level of protection by state authorities because or her gender or because of her Indigenous identity, those rights have been violated.

    Summary report

    Full report

     

     

        

    Over and over again, throughout the year, Amnesty activists stood up for human rights. Whether in campaigns that took place in schools, film festivals and music concerts, whether in small or in large places, we demanded human rights change. We took action sometimes alone, sometimes with partner organizations, and more and more frequently with the very people and communities whose rights are on the line. We were active in letter writing, internet petitions, social and traditional media, and in many other ways.

    We have done so much important human rights work together this year, and we’ve done it well. And having done all this work, we are prepared to do it all over again, and again, until  we see the change that is required.

    Aung San Suu Kyi has repeatedly told the Amnesty members who campaigned for her freedom that, just as we didn’t give up our work for her, we must not give up on our work for the many others whose freedom has been taken away. 

    Despite some disappointing setbacks in 2012, the global trend towards ending the death penalty continued, Amnesty International found in its annual review of death sentences and executions.

    2012 saw the resumption of executions in several countries that had not used the death penalty in some time, notably India, Japan, Pakistan and Gambia, as well as an alarming escalation in executions in Iraq.

    But the use of the death penalty continues to be restricted to an isolated group of countries, and progress towards its abolition was seen in all regions of the world.

    Only 21 of the world’s countries were recorded as having carried out executions in 2012 – the same number as in 2011, but down from 28 countries a decade earlier in 2003.

    In 2012, at least 682 executions were known to have been carried out worldwide, two more than in 2011. At least 1,722 newly imposed death sentences in 58 countries could be confirmed, compared to 1,923 in 63 countries the year before.

    But these figures do not include the thousands of executions that Amnesty International believes were carried out in China, where the numbers are kept secret.

    This briefing focuses on attacks against civilians in Southern Kordofan’s Nuba Mountain region, and the additional hardship they continue to face due to the lack of humanitarian
    assistance and displacement. It is based on research carried out by Amnesty International during a mission to Yida and Pariang refugee camps in Unity State, South Sudan, and to
    SPLA-N controlled areas of Southern Kordofan in January 2013. Interviews were carried out with scores of civilians in refugee camps in Unity State and in the SPLA-N controlled areas of Southern Kordofan. Meetings were also held with the UN refugee agency - UNHCR, international NGOs, members of the SPLA-N, and national human rights monitors in SPLA-N controlled areas.

    Amnesty International was unable to travel to government-controlled areas of Southern Kordofan, due to Sudan’s long-standing denial of access to international human rights
    organizations. Amnesty International has been denied access to Sudan since 2006.

    Amnesty International Submission to the UN Universal Periodic Review, April-May 2013

    In this submission, prepared for the UN Universal Periodic Review of Canada in April-May 2013, Amnesty International comments on Canada’s implementation of its human rights obligations and on its engagement with UPR principles, such as consultation with civil society. 

    Amnesty International notes Canada’s reluctance to ratify international human rights conventions or to adopt binding international standards on corporate accountability.

    The organization also comments on the human rights situation facing Indigenous Peoples, the rising inequality of women and troubling trends regarding sexual violence against women, arbitrary detention and refoulement of migrants, as well as concerns regarding torture, and excessive methods of policing during protests.

    May 2011 Report

    More so than other protests, Aboriginal land rights protests can create complex challenges for police and politicians. Such protests take place in a context of a long history of systemic discrimination against Aboriginal peoples in Canadian society as a whole that has led to a significant gulf in trust and understanding between police and Aboriginal people. Where Aboriginal protests inconvenience members of the general public through road closures and blockades, police and politicians may face considerable pressure to bring the protests to a quick and decisive end. It is important, however, that police functions remain politically neutral and do not favour, or appear to favour, the interests of governments that are parties to land claims disputes, or any other sector of society, over the rights and interests of Aboriginal peoples. This is especially important when land claims remain unresolved or where acknowledged violations of Aboriginal land rights have not been remedied.

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