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Canada

    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

    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.

    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 die from an encounter with 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. 

    August 20, 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.

    August 13, 2019

    The climate crisis is not ‘just’ an environmental issue – it is also one of the greatest human rights challenges of our time. Climate change impacts the rights to life, health, food, water, housing and more, and disproportionately affects those who are already vulnerable, disadvantaged or facing discrimination.

    July 10, 2019
    	The Israeli government forcibly evicted hundreds of Palestinians to develop the ancient ruins of Susya/Susiya in the south of the West bank into a tourist attraction and settlement.

    Dear TripAdvisor employees,

    We are writing to ask you to join us in speaking out against TripAdvisor’s role in driving human rights violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

    Amnesty International is the world’s largest human rights organization, with more than seven million supporters and members globally. Through research and campaigning, we help ensure respect for people’s human rights and that those who violate them are held accountable. We also campaign for a world in which companies respect human rights and don’t contribute to, or profit from, human rights violations wherever they operate in the world.

    July 08, 2019

    “There are and always have been obvious flaws in a governing system that is designed to maintain a status quo and deny rights to people who power rejects. The process of bringing C-262 along the legislative path has highlighted this for me.” 
                       – MP Romeo Saganash, author of Bill C-262 

    Amnesty International is appalled by the fact that a crucial piece of human rights legislation will not become law in Canada because of the procedural tactics of a few Senators.

    Bill C-262, a bill setting out a framework to implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, was passed by the House of Commons more than a year ago.

    We are confident that if Bill C-262 had come to a vote in the Senate, it would have been adopted into law. However, a handful of Conservative Senators were able use delaying tactics to prevent such a vote taking place before the Senate adjourned last month.

    This happened despite the fact that all parties in the House of Commons supported a unanimous motion calling Bill C-262 a critical piece of legislation and urging the Senate to pass the Bill into law.

    June 21, 2019

    Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit people in Canada experience staggeringly high levels of violence, and for decades, government failed to acknowledge and address this human rights crisis. Indigenous women’s organizations, grassroots activists, violence survivors, and the families and loved ones of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit people long called for a national inquiry to compel government to investigate and take urgent action to end the violence. Amnesty International advocated alongside Indigenous partners in calling for a national inquiry.

    June 15, 2019

    Young people from Grassy Narrows are travelling to Toronto for a massive rally on June 20th to focus attention to urgency of addressing the crisis of mercury poisoning facing their First Nation.

    Amnesty International is urging its members and supporters to do all they can to help this vital and timely campaign.

    The people of Grassy Narrows are living with the devastating consequences of a half century of mercury contamination of their rivers and lakes. The harm they’ve experienced, including erosion of culture, loss of livelihoods, and one of the worst community health crises anywhere in Canada, has been made so much worse by decades of government denial and inaction. 

    Last month, federal Indigenous Services Minister Seamus O’Regan visited Grassy Narrows but failed to deliver on a long promised treatment centre for mercury survivors. 

    This stalling and inaction is all the more shocking in light of the fact that two of the United Nations independent human rights advisors, the expert of health and the expert on toxic wastes, have now both urged Canada to take action on the mercury crisis.

    June 14, 2019

    Quebec Native Women was founded in 1974 to fight sex-based discrimination in the Indian Act. Forty-five years later, this discrimination persists. Amnesty International spoke with Quebec Native Women’s Legal and Policy analyst Éloïse Décoste to learn more about steps her organization is taking to end sex-based discrimination in the Indian Act once and for all. Here’s what she had to say.

    TAKE ACTION NOW For people who aren’t familiar with the issue, can you please tell me how the Indian Act discriminates against Indigenous women?

    The Indian Act determines who is consider an Indian in the eyes of the government. Historically, an Indian* would be defined as a man, his wife, and his children. When an Indian woman married a man without Indian status, she lost her own status and could not pass her status on to her children. This was the situation until 1985.

    June 07, 2019

    June 2019 marks the 52nd anniversary of Israel’s capture of the West Bank and Gaza Strip during a war with its neighbours, and the beginning of its occupation of Palestinian territory. Today, over 600,000 Jewish-Israeli settlers are living on occupied Palestinian land and are afforded protections and benefits, of which over 4.9 million Palestinians living in the same territory do not have access to. This is the direct result of a discriminatory system of laws and policies that ensure that Palestinians are not afforded the same rights or services as Israeli settlers.

    For 52 years, hundreds of thousands of hectares of Palestinian land have been appropriated and exploited by Israel. For 52 years, tens of thousands of Palestinian homes and structures have been demolished in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), resulting in the displacement of thousands of Palestinians. The wanton destruction of property and the forcible transfer of civilians in the occupied territory are both war crimes under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. 

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