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Human Rights

    August 23, 2019
    Black people in Toronto are 20 times more likely to be shot dead by the police.

    It has long been recognized that the Canadian justice system is fraught with racism that disproportionately impacts Black people and communities across the country, resulting in racial profiling, harsher sentencing, mistreatment in prison, denial of services, and other injustices which can be compounded for people with intersecting identities (e.g. Black Muslims, Black LGBTQ2S folks, etc.)The way that racism is institutionalized in the justice system, as well as in broader society, is connected to Canada’s long, sordid legacy of perpetrating anti-Black racism throughout history with enslavement, exclusionary immigration, and more. 

    July 23, 2019
    Key to the house of Mohammad Abu Nasser's family in the former village of Tel al-Saba.

    Amnesty International marked the 71st anniversary of the Nakba with “70 + Years of Suffocation”,  an online showcase of Palestinian refugees living in the OPT, Lebanon and Jordan who have shared their reality and experiences of being “stateless”. Award winning photographer, Tanya Habjouqa, has taken pictures that weave a relationship with the interviews, giving the reader visual context. 

    For over 50 years, Israel has been confiscating Palestinian land and bulldozing Palestinian homes with complete impunity. These lands are being used to build illegal settlements to house Israeli citizens, while Palestinians become homeless. 

    As Israel continues to suffocate the existence of Palestinians by controlling most aspects of their daily and private lives while attempting to present a reality void of its inhumane treatment of Palestinians, it’s more crucial than ever that Palestinians, the oldest and largest refugee group in the world, have platforms to be heard. 

    May 27, 2019

    By Alex Neve      May. 22, 2019

    With only five sitting weeks to go, Parliamentarians face high expectations on bills on Indigenous languages and rights, environmental protection, and more.

    NDP MP Romeo Saganash introduced Bill C-262 in 2016 and is still waiting for it to pass. It would set a framework for implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The Hill Times photograph by Andrew Meade

    There is an enormous amount of consequential human rights legislation approaching the parliamentary finish line. The time to get it across shrinks daily.

    May 14, 2019
    Nabi Saleh demonstrations, 2013

    Palestinians living in the occupied territories cannot get to work or school, or see their friends and family without feeling the disruptive effect of Israel’s military rule. It restricts the ability to farm their land, attend a protest, improve their homes, raise families, travel for medical purposes, or access essential services such as electricity and clean water.

    A Palestinian prisoner’s experience is even more dire: they must not only withstand all the above, but also arbitrary detention from Israeli and Palestinian forces, cruel and unlawful treatment, the repression of fundamental human rights, and the ongoing unlawful detention of children.

    For both, life is made all the more insufferable by Israel’s ever-expanding settlement operation.

    March 27, 2018

    Sadly, the United States has become somewhat infamous for school shootings, but there’s a crucial point missing from the gun violence debate: saving lives is not a policy choice for elected officials to consider or ignore. 

    It is a legal obligation on the US government under human rights treaties that the country has committed to abide by.

    Of course, a key challenge is how to enforce these obligations and that’s where activism – like the youth-led March for Our Lives on March 24 in Washington DC and across the world – plays a critical role.

    People must demand that elected officials respect, protect and fulfil our human rights –  including those of people most impacted by gun violence: youth, women and people of colour.

    There is plenty that can be done

    In that context, there are several steps that the US government can and should take to protect people’s lives from gun violence.

    No elected official should ever claim that there’s nothing that can be done to stop gun violence. It’s the opposite – there’s plenty.

    The US government can and should:

    October 06, 2017

    By Béatrice Fihn, Martin Butcher and Rasha Abdul Rahim (@Rasha_Abdul)

    October 05, 2017

    By Tirana Hassan, Crisis Response Director at Amnesty International.

    In her five young years, Buthaina has witnessed the type of violence and brutality that powerful people and governments often want to keep hidden.

    Pulled from the rubble of her family home in Yemen’s capital Sana’a, viral images show her sitting up in a hospital bed, clutching a teddy bear. Badly bruised, she struggles to pry open a swollen eye with her fingers, to look out on a world that has dealt her such cruelty. “She had five siblings to play with. Now she has none,”her uncle Ali al-Raymi told Amnesty International.

    September 29, 2017

    By Audrey Gaughran, Amnesty International’s Director of Global Issues.

    *This article was originally published in The Diplomat. 

    For the past month, the world has watched in horror as Myanmar’s army has carried out a brutal campaign of ethnic cleansing against members of the Rohingya minority in the west of the country. Almost 500,000 women, men and children have already crossed the border into Bangladesh, leaving behind dead family members, burned villages and a shattered homeland.

    While the international community has rightly focused on the horrors precipitating the mass exodus of Rohingya from Myanmar, Myanmar’s neighbors remain woefully unprepared to handle the spillover effects of the crisis.

    September 18, 2017

    By Olof Blomqvist, Amnesty International

    The stories I heard from Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar, the south-eastern tip of Bangladesh, are haunting. Almost 400,000 people have fled across the border from Myanmar in less than three weeks, and many of them tell you they have seen their family members shot dead or their villages burned to the ground by Myanmar security forces just days before. There is no question that ethnic cleansing is unfolding across the border.

    But amid the tales of horror, there is also incredible humanity on display.

    August 30, 2017
    Nathan VanderKlippe

    By Nathan VanderKlippe

    Amnesty note: On August 23 Nathan VanderKlippe called Amnesty in Toronto to contact a member of the Uighur Society in Canada. A few minutes later he was arrested.

    Late in the evening of Aug. 23, I drove a rented car to Elishku township in Yarkand County. Within 15 minutes of arrival, police began to arrive. Local villagers, I believe, had reported my presence. I was escorted to a local government office, where I was questioned by the local party secretary, police chief, officials from the propaganda department and local waiban, as well as agents from the Ministry of State Security. When police demanded to look through my photographs, I called my contact at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who after a lengthy phone call said the local officials would only heed his intervention if he sent a formal document. As it was midnight by this time, this was not a feasible option. My MFA contact, however, said the local officials had agreed to only look at and not delete photographs. I showed them my pictures. They did not delete any, largely because there were none to delete.

    February 10, 2017

    After days of speculation and rumours, the first official meeting between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Donald Trump has been scheduled. To say there is much anticipation would be understatement. The meeting comes in a moment of great uncertainty for the relationship between the two countries, as the new US administration has called into question some of the very underpinnings of Canada’s deepest partnership.

    Of particularly grave concern is the fact that President Trump has rapidly undertaken to translate some of his most toxic campaign rhetoric into official policy. Some of those policies and positions blatantly undermine fundamental human rights. Others go further, directly violating of international law.  Canadians have been aghast at these developments and have taken to the streets and social media in unprecedented numbers.

    January 30, 2017

    By Salil Shetty, Secretary General at Amnesty International

    The gloves are off. With today’s Executive Order on “Protecting the Nation from Terrorist Attacks by Foreign Nationals,” President Donald J. Trump has declared war on Muslim refugees around the world.    

    With the stroke of a pen, the President has – among other actions – banned Syrian refugees from the USA and has also effectively prevented anyone (including refugees) from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen from entering the USA. These seven countries have two main things in common: they are predominantly Muslim, and they are the countries from where the majority of people seeking asylum from serious human rights violations like persecution or torture are trying to escape.

    Were it not so disturbing and dangerous, this Executive Order would be pathetic in its absurdity.

    November 24, 2016
    By Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General

    That which unites us is always greater than that which divides us. Yet, around the world, the forces of division seem to be gathering momentum. Walls rising up along borders, hatred and fear welling up within and between populations, repressive laws assailing basic freedoms.

    The US election campaign, the latest development in this deeply troubling trend, caused global shockwaves. After campaigning with a constant refrain of misogyny and xenophobia, Donald J. Trump will be the next US President. Since the election, the world has been coming to terms with this fact, though its implications have yet to be fathomed fully.

    For human rights activists in particular, who already find themselves embattled and “undesirable” in many countries, it raises the stakes immensely that the President-elect of one of the world’s most powerful nations put forward a political platform that championed hate, threatening to disavow many basic human rights protections.

    July 08, 2016

    By Anna Neistat, Senior Director for Research at Amnesty's International Secretariat

    NATO leaders meet for their summit in Warsaw Friday buffeted by crises and conflicts on all sides. Many of them could have been averted. Much of today’s global instability stems from the failure to adequately respond to human rights violations, especially if other political or economic interests are at stake.

    From the global refugee crisis to conflicts across the world, much of today’s global instability stems from world leaders’ failure to adequately respond to human rights violations, especially if other political or economic interests are at stake. Instead, when a crisis breaks out, the bodies start piling up, and refugees flee in thousands, leaders say they didn’t know and start yet another discussion about the necessity of new, more advanced early warning systems.

    July 05, 2016

    By Rebeca Lerer, Campaigner at Amnesty International Brazil

    Several promises and thousands of nice words fill the three volumes of the candidacy dossier for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Since 2009, when the country won the Olympic bidding process, Brazilians have been living with high expectations for hosting the world’s largest mega-event.

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