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    December 05, 2019

    In the coming weeks and months, Amnesty will be doing everything we can to support the people of Grassy Narrows to finally achieve the justice they deserve. The youth-led campaign for mercury justice is one of the focal cases of this year’s global Write for Rights campaign. But we’re not stopping there. Write for Rights will mark the beginning of a year-long campaign mobilizing Amnesty members and supporters in Canada and around the world. At stake is the right of every young person at Grassy Narrows to grow up in a healthy environment and a thriving community. Sign up for Write for Rights now.

    The people of Grassy Narrows First Nation in northwest Ontario have been hard-hit by mercury poisoning, after the government allowed a pulp mill to dump 10 tons of waste into a river in the 1960s. The damaging effects are still seen today.

    November 28, 2019

    The United Nations climate change negotiations start next week. It is vital that all governments make commitments to intensify their efforts to address the climate emergency, and that human rights are made central to this. Action taken to combat climate change must not come at the cost of human rights, including Indigenous rights, or deepen inequalities.

    The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has raised the alarm that in order to avoid the worst consequences of climate change, global greenhouse gas emissions must be halved by 2030. It is critical that rich countries, including Canada, which bear the greatest responsibility for causing the climate crisis and have the most resources, take swift and urgent action to: reduce their own greenhouse gas emissions in a fast and fair way that respects human rights; provide support to affected communities and individuals to address loss and damage caused by the climate crisis; and provide financial and technological resources to countries in the global south to facilitate their efforts to reduce emissions and adapt to the climate emergency.

    November 25, 2019
    The BC Government must do the right thing: pull the pipes from Quesnel Lake

    Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) commissioner Gay McDougall, Nuskmata Mack, June McCue, Kukpi7 Judy Wilson, and Chief Don Tom, June 2019, xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) ©Amnesty International Canada

    “Addressing the harms caused by the Mount Polley mine disaster is a small part of what the Province must do to safeguard the collective rights of Indigenous peoples to our lands and cultures,” Bev Sellars, acclaimed author and former Chief of the Xats’ull Indian Band.

    November 13, 2019

    After an inspiring, challenging and eventful week at the Federal Court in Toronto, it is worth taking a moment for some final reflections on the court challenge to the Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA) which took place from November 4-8, 2019. 

    November 08, 2019

    Jaya Bordeleau-Cass and André Capretti are the 2019-2020 Public Interest Articling Fellows at Amnesty International Canada. They will be posting updates about the Safe Third Country Agreement hearing throughout the week.

    The brief and frustrating answer: it’s unclear what it takes. 

    Submissions in the Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA) challenge continued to be delivered from November 4-8th at the Federal Court in Toronto. Earlier this week, counsel for the applicants – representing Amnesty International, the Canadian Council for Refugees and the Canadian Council of Churches, and other individual litigants – provided a general overview of the requirements for a safe third country designation, why it is unlawful, and why the operation of the agreement violates the security and equality rights of STCA returnees.

    November 06, 2019

    Jaya Bordeleau-Cass and André Capretti are the 2019-2020 Public Interest Articling Fellows at Amnesty International Canada. They will be posting updates about the Safe Third Country Agreement hearing throughout the week.

    Shame. Frustration. Rage. Disappointment.  

    Court hearings can be dry, but when we listen to the facts and stories presented over the past two days in the challenge to the Canada-US Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA), it is hard not to have an emotional reaction.

    On the second day of the hearings in Toronto, counsel for the applicants – Amnesty International, the Canadian Council for Refugees, the Canadian Council of Churches and individual refugee claimants – continued to present their legal arguments and reviewed how the STCA violates equality rights under section 15 of the Canadian Charter, and the rights to liberty and security of the person under section 7.

    November 05, 2019

    Today marked the first day of a week-long hearing, in which the applicants - Amnesty International, the Canadian Council for Refugees, the Canadian Council of Churches, and individual refugee claimants - are challenging the Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement (the STCA) in Federal Court before Justice Ann Marie McDonald.

    “Year after year, month after month, Canada willfully turns its back on refugee claimants at the border.”

    The applicants’ opening remarks, delivered by Mr. Andrew Brouwer, set the stage for the day’s arguments, which reviewed the facts, the evidence and administrative law issues.

    October 31, 2019

    The Canada-US Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA) encourages refugee claimants to cross the border unsafely and irregularly, putting lives at risk. With the arrival of winter, it’s important to take action now.

    The STCA requires that refugee claimants who arrive in Canada or the US request protection in the first country in which they arrive. However, it does not bar refugee claimants from seeking protection in Canada if they do not enter Canada at an official border crossing. 

    In response to the harsh, xenophobic immigration polices of President Donald Trump’s administration, many refugee claimants have turned to Canada for protection. Because they would be sent back to the United States if they make a claim for refugee protection at an official border crossing, many have resorted to crossing the border between official border posts. During the winter months, this is particularly dangerous: people have had amputations due to frostbite, and at least one woman believed to have been attempting to cross the border has died.

    October 18, 2019

    The Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability (which Amnesty Canada is a member of) asked all federal political parties to detail their commitments aimed at ensuring a greater respect for human rights by Canadian companies operating abroad. In a questionnaire, we asked parties to outline their positions on three key measures to increase corporate accountability:

    1.  Will your party support comprehensive mandatory human rights due diligence legislation? Such legislation requires companies to identify, prevent and mitigate human rights abuses and provides for liability when companies cause harm in their global operations (subsidiaries and supply chains).

    2. Will you make the Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise (CORE) independent and provide it with the power to compel documents and testimony so it can effectively investigate human rights abuse allegations linked to Canadian corporations operating overseas?

    October 10, 2019
    Andrew Scheer standing behind a podium labelled 'Fair Immigration Equitable'

    On 10 October 2019, Andrew Scheer, leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, went to Roxham Road in Quebec to announce a revised “immigration policy,” including closing the “loophole” in the Safe Third Country Agreement. The news release continuously uses the disparaging and inaccurate term “illegal” to describe people who are exercising their legal and human rights to seek refugee protection in Canada, and irresponsibly conflates Canada’s refugee protection system with it’s immigration system.

    Alongside a number of courageous refugee protection claimants, Amnesty International, the Canadian Council of Refugees and the Canadian Council of Churches are challenging the Safe Third Country Agreement in Federal Court on 4-8 November 2019.  These organizations will argue that the United States is not safe for many refugees, particularly under the harsh policies adopted by President Donald Trump’s administration.

    We’ve made some notes to help Andrew Scheer better communicate about refugees, and perhaps reconsider some of the policy proposals included in this press release.

    September 30, 2019

    Because of persistently high levels of gender-based violence, because women are still being sterilized without their consent, because of the gender wage gap and lack of economic security for women and non-binary people… we need all candidates in the October federal election to discuss women’s rights and gender equality issues.

    In 2015, Amnesty International was part of a coalition that advocated for such a debate. But not all parties were willing to participate in a debate on issues directly impacting half of Canada’s population. In fact, the last federal leader’s debate on women’s rights and gender equality issues was 35 years ago!

    When you engage with federal election candidates in your riding, let them know what gender equality is not yet a reality and we demand that the issues impacting women and non-binary people in Canada be directly addressed in the federal election campaign.

    What are the three key things we’re asking for?

    September 11, 2019

    Today, Amnesty International Canada wrote to hundreds of school boards across the country urging their support for student climate strikers. Around the world we wrote to over 30,000 schools, urging educators to allow children to take part in the unprecedented wave of global climate strikes planned for 20 and 27 September. There are more than 2,400 events planned in 1,000 cities around the world.

    The full text of the letter is below.

    11th September 2019

    To school leaders around the world,

    My name is Kumi Naidoo and I am the Secretary General of Amnesty International, the world’s largest human rights organisation. I am writing to you today about what I believe to be the single most important issue facing our current generation of children and how you can play a key role in enabling them to take action.

    September 04, 2019

    Carding is when police officers stop, question, and document individuals without any evidence that they have been involved in, or have knowledge of, an offence. Bias and stereotyping play into the officers’ decisions of who to stop and why, which affects many racialized groups, but especially Black people. 

    Here are 5 reasons why carding should be banned:  1. It's racist 

    Carding is a form of systemic police racism that disproportionately impacts Black people in Canada. Carding can often be the first point of contact that can lead to further mistreatment, violence, and racism within other segments of the justice system as well as negative mental and physiological health outcomes. 

    August 30, 2019

    This week, new legislation entered in force overhauling the federal government’s system to assess and approve large-scale resource development projects like mines and dams. How does the new legislation affect 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. 

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