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Members Take Action

    Amnesty International members are gathering somewhere across Canada every day of the year!

    Check out our events listing for upcoming events in a community near you.

    Were you inspired by a recent Amnesty event? Tell us about it by sending an event summary and photo to members@amnesty.ca, and we'll feature some of the best below. 

     

    Raif Badawi: Unfaltering Hope and Determination for Freedom

     

    Over 30 000. That’s the number of cards of solidarity written for Raif Badawi with urgent calls for his freedom. Written by supporters from around the world, sentiments of solidarity came from around 20 countries altogether. Along with Ensaf Haidar, Raif Badawi’s wife, we brought 17 boxes filled with these cards to the Saudi Arabian Embassy. They refused to accept any of them.

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    Toronto members mark 30th anniversary of Bhopal disaster

    To mark the 30th anniversary of the world’s worst industrial disaster in Bhopal, India, members of the Business & Human Rights Team in Toronto organized multiple ways to remind the public of the tragedy: speaking to passersby outside City Hall, gathering signatures on a petition and a banner, and holding a vigil downtown. Here’s a brief video of the day. 

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    Colombian priest, Father Franco, visits Peterborough

    By Rosemary Ganley, Group 46

    Three lively community groups came together in Peterborough on March 22 to meet Father Alberto Franco, a Redemptorist priest and dedicated human rights defender from Bogota, Colombia.
    Father Franco leads the Colombian Justice and Peace Commission in a dangerous and unstable atmosphere. He is known to Amnesty International as the subject of an Urgent Action appeal two years ago. He was threatened many time and shot at once. He smiles as he admits that, at the behest of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, he now travels with guards.

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    Supporters "Dance for Rights" to raise awareness for Amnesty's global letter-writing event Write for Rights

    This past Saturday on December 6th, supporters of Amnesty International took to the streets in Montreal to be a part of the largest grassroots human rights campaign in the world, Write for Rights! The new flagship event, dubbed “Dance for Rights” brought community members out to dance in solidarity with people fighting injustices all over the world, and to promote and protect human rights. With our music devices in our pockets and headphones in our ears we became a SILENT DISCO, using a flash mob style of street activism to garner attention!

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    Barrie turns out to mark International Human Rights Day during Write for Rights!

    For the very first time, the Amnesty International Flag was raised at Barrie City Hall and will continue to wave to mark International Human Rights Day on December 10th. Mayor Jeff Lehman, students from Barrie Central, Maple Grove E.S., residents of Barrie and members of our local Barrie Amnesty International Action Circle were in attendance.

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    In loving memory of Joan Francis: Amnesty's Teddy Bear Lady


     

    Joan Francis, one of Amnesty International's longest-serving volunteers, passed away on September 3 at the age of 97. Joan was well known for her support of Amnesty International, and for encouraging others to sign Amnesty letters and petitions. Her knitted Teddy Bears have inspired a new generation to knit and raise money for Amnesty. An incredible 1,800 Teddy Bears have been lovingly made by Joan, and now by the Sisters of St. John's, who have carried on her work. 

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    Canen sings her heart out for human rights on her twelfth birthday


     

    Do you remember how you celebrated your 12th birthday? This summer, rather than just throw a party for her birthday, Canen decided to use her voice in a creative way to raise money and awareness for human rights.

    I started singing last year, and my teacher encouraged me to record an album. I wanted to use my singing to make people happy and make other kids who aren't free happy through my fundraising. I was really affected by the story of Malala and the film ‘Half the Sky’, and that is how I chose to raise funds for human rights at Amnesty International.” - Canen

    She created a web page exclusively to promote her songs, and request donations for Amnesty International, and has raised more than $2,500!

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    We marched with you at World Pride!

    by Jacqueline Hansen, Major Campaigns and Women's Rights Campaigner

    Amnesty International joined 12,000 marchers in the World Pride parade in Toronto.

    Our biggest concerns were sunburn, dehydration, and blistered feet. Why did we march? Because we can.

    Because we couldn’t not so long ago in Canadian history.

    Because the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) community in many countries continues to march in the face of discrimination, threats, and violence. 

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    Toronto regional meeting inspires Amnesty members

    by Elena Dumitu, Regional Activism Coordinator

    On Saturday June 14th Amnesty International Toronto Organization (AITO) had its Regional Meeting and the day was a special one in very many ways!

    The day featured a packed and varied agenda from workshops on a variety of Amnesty International (AI) topics and issues, including a powerful panel on torture with guest speakers Abdullah Almalki, Marina Nemat and Alex Neve, the staging of the play “Last walk of Adolfo Ich” ...

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    Canadians stand up for Indigenous Peoples in Colombia

    by Kathy Price, Campaigner for the Americas, Amnesty International Canada

    Today, we took the voices and images of Canadians to Parliament Hill.

    Tens of thousands of Canadians have spoken up to defend the rights of Indigenous people in Colombia who are at risk of “extermination” as a result of violence and pressure on the land.

    Amnesty supporters delivered over 65,000 messages of concerns -- petition signatures, photos, emails, actions -- to urge Canada to use its special relationship with Colombia to help stop the risk and violence.

    When Canada entered into Free Trade agreement, Parliament agreed that an annual human rights impact assessment would be produced, as a result of the known risks of working in a Colombia. Yet since the deal was signed that obligation has not been met. In 2011 “human rights” were not even mentioned in the report! And in 2012 the report made no mention of indigenous peoples. 

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    Celebrating Nowruz

    By Gloria Nafziger, Refugee, Migrants and Country Campaigner

    “Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand was in the bed to my right, Hossein Ronaghi Maleki was in the bed to my left; Saeed Malekpour became my friend and Abdolfattah Soltani taught me about human rights.”

    With these words, human rights lawyer and former prisoner in Iran, Mohammad Olyaeifard brought to life four of the people whose pictures stood on the Amnesty International Haft Seen table.

    Nowruz is a celebration of the coming of the spring and beginning of the New Year, in the Persian calendar. At the heart of the celebration is the Haft Seen table with seven items which represent love, rebirth, affluence, medicine, beauty, sunrise and patience. The Amnesty International Haft Seen table includes seven prisoners in Iran who remind us that while this is a time of celebration there are many prisoners who remain in a dark winter.

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    Remembering Loretta Saunders

    Family and friends of Loretta hold signs at Grand Parad ©Jeff Harper/Metro Halifax

    By, Kim Irving Cahill, Maritimes Regional Activism Coordinator

    Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Loretta Saunders, a young Inuk women who went missing in Halifax on February 13th and whose body was found in New Brunswick on February 26th. Loretta was from Labrador, attending Saint Mary’s University in Halifax and working on her honors thesis on the subject of missing and murdered aboriginal women.

    I had the privilege of meeting several of Loretta’s family members and friends. In the days following the tragic news of her death, her family gracefully reached out to the community in gratitude and to ensure that the issue close to Loretta’s heart isn’t forgotten.  Efforts have now turned to carrying on the light of Loretta’s legacy by raising awareness, working to prevent violence against Indigenous women and by drawing attention to the higher risks they face.

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    Members celebrate Have a Heart Day

    by Alanna Smith, member of AI Toronto and Action Network on Women's Human Rights

    On Wednesday February 12th the Amnesty's Action Network on Women’s Human Rights and fellow Amnesty supporters met at the AITO office in Toronto to create Valentine cards for Prime Minister Harper, in support of the Have a Heart Campaign by First Nations Child and Family Services. The campaign aims to raise awareness and promote change regarding the basic human rights of First Nations children and this is the third year in a row the event is being organized in the AI Toronto offices.

    A lot of colourful and creative cards were made by participants (for many of them this was their first AI event!) and here are some of the heartfelt messages:

    “Roses are red/ Dahlias are black/First Nations children/Need you to have their back!”

    “This Canadian heart has a safe home, a good education, is healthy, is proud of our culture. But not all Canadian hearts enjoy such services. Give First Nations children the same chance to grow up safely at home, get a good education, be healthy and proud of their cultures.”

    “Dear PM Harper, Have a Heart! Don’t make First Nations children fight for services all other Canadians enjoy!”

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    "Making the invisible, visible." - Weaving Hope Colombian Event:Toronto

    By Duncan Garrow, Amnesty International Toronto (AITO) Board member, member of AI Toronto Speakers Bureau, member Church of the Redeemer Action Circle.

    By any account the evening had already been a great success. Upwards of 100 people braved the elements on a chilly Friday night to fill all of the available seats for Weaving Hope, a night in support of Indigenous people in Colombia. Many were attending their first Amnesty event, and enthusiastically joined in the many creative actions. Painted hand prints were made, photos of solidarity were taken, and petitions were signed. The audience listened attentively to the poetry of Ojibway writer Art Solomon and shared in the smudging and blessing ceremony conducted by Clayton Shirt. 

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