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    February 19, 2021

    “I am an example because the government’s suspicion that I was a criminal was totally and one hundred percent wrong. I was never charged, let alone convicted, of any crime. The only independent judge I ever faced during my ordeal had ordered my release after seeing the secret evidence that even I wasn’t allowed to see.”
    Former Guantánamo detainee Mohamedou Slahi, referred to as “The Mauritanian” by intelligence officials

    In early February 2021, the Biden administration launched a formal review of the future of the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay. Will there be a genuine commitment to truth, accountability and remedy?

    Almost 800 men have passed through the US detention facility at Guantánamo Bay. As the facility enters its 20th year, 40 Muslim men remain there facing indefinite detention. Two of them have been there since the facility opened on January 11, 2020, and fifteen since that first year. All 40 men have been held for over 12 years. At least 24 of them were held in secret CIA custody prior to their transfer to Guantánamo, some for over four years.

    January 29, 2021

    Climate change is not only the great environmental emergency of our time, but also an unprecedented human rights crisis. It threatens a wide range of human rights, including the rights to water, to health and to life itself. Unfortunately, some of our current technology-focused climate solutions, such as electric vehicles or solar power, threaten those rights. The shift to electric vehicles and renewable energy is essential for the fight against the climate crisis, but must not come at the cost of further human rights abuses or environmental harms. 

    This February, Amnesty International Canada embarks on a year-long project to bring awareness to these issues and to call on Canada to put human rights and Indigenous knowledges at the centre of climate justice and decarbonization initiatives.

    January 26, 2021

    Amnesty International is extremely concerned about human rights harms resulting from climate change and  we therefore urge governments and companies to cease investments that expand fossil fuel exploration and production, including the development of new infrastructure. Amnesty Canada has joined a coalition representing over 3.5 million Canadians calling on Prime Minister Trudeau to cancel the Trans Mountain pipeline project because it conflicts with Canada's climate policy goals. Amnesty further urges the Canadian government to ensure that the transition to a zero carbon economy is "just" and done in a way that reduces inequalities and protects the rights of workers and vulnerable communities.

    To the Right Honourable Justin Trudeau,
    Cc: Federal Cabinet Ministers

    January 14, 2021

    What’s this all about?

    Anti-Black racism is prejudice, attitudes, beliefs, stereotyping and discrimination that is directed at people of African descent and is rooted in their unique history and experience of enslavement and its legacy. Anti-Black racism is deeply entrenched in Canadian institutions, policies and practices, to the extent that anti-Black racism is either functionally normalized or rendered invisible to the larger White society. Anti-Black racism is manifest in the current social, economic, and political marginalization of African Canadians, which includes unequal opportunities, lower socio-economic status, higher unemployment, significant poverty rates and overrepresentation in the criminal justice system. [source: https://www.ontario.ca/document/data-standards-identification-and-monitoring-systemic-racism/glossary]

    Communities have been speaking out for decades about how Black people experience policing in Canada. It’s time to listen: racism is not up for debate – it’s systemic.

    January 13, 2021

    The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls finished its work a year and a half ago, and the issue has largely faded from news headlines during the pandemic. But this human rights crisis has not gone away. In fact, according to a survey conducted last Spring by the Native Women’s Association of Canada, violence against Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit people has increased during the pandemic.

    The federal government has still not issued a formal response to the National Inquiry’s Final Report. The much-anticipated National Action Plan to implement the National Inquiry’s 231 Calls for Justice, which was set to be released in June 2020, was delayed because of the pandemic. The government has stated that the plan is under development, but the timeline remains unknown.

    January 11, 2021

    As we came together to mark International Women’s Day last year, we had no idea that the world was about to shut down and that hard-won women’s rights were about to be put to the test during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Over the past year, because of the pandemic, we have seen the number of women experiencing gender-based violence go up, the hours women dedicate to unpaid care work skyrocket, threats faced by women human rights defenders increase, marginalized groups including sex workers become further marginalized, access to sexual and reproductive health services decrease, and the number of women in the paid labour force plummet.

    But we have also seen activists come together to demand that governments address the violence, ensure access to sexual and reproductive health services, protect activists, advocate for the rights of sex workers, and demand access to affordable and high-quality childcare.

    January 07, 2021

    Three years ago, in January 2018, the government announced that it would create an independent office with the power to investigate. Instead, in April 2019, it unveiled a powerless advisory post called the Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise (CORE). The CORE is little different from what has already existed for years and is ill-equipped to address human rights abuses linked to Canadian companies operating overseas.

    At the time, the Canadian government said that the promised powers to independently investigate would need to wait a little longer – until the results of an external legal review were made public, in just a few weeks’ time. Fast forward more than 18 months later and the report remains buried and the office of the CORE remains powerless.

    Then in late November 2020, the office of the Minister of Small Business, Export Development and International Trade cemented the CORE’s fate, informing our coalition (the Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability) that Canada will not give the CORE the promised powers to compel documents and testimony after all. This is outrageous!

    January 05, 2021

    In addition to the pandemic, the world is simultaneously facing another emergency– the climate crisis. And while the climate crisis might seem abstract and far off to some, it is already gravely impacting the lives of millions of people around the world, and will get worse with time if urgent action is not taken now.

    It’s high time the Canadian government and Canada’s provincial governments started treating the climate crisis like the emergency it is. Amnesty International urges Canada’s federal and provincial governments to take urgent action to reduce emissions quickly, while ensuring that human rights are always protected.

    Sign e-petition to Canadian government

    December 04, 2020

    Canada’s announcement of a climate accountability bill (Bill C-12: Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act) is a step in the right direction but is insufficient to ensure human rights protection in the face of climate change.

    To meet its international human rights obligations, Canada must ensure that the shift towards a zero-carbon economy and a more resilient society: addresses systemic inequalities, combats discrimination, and promotes gender, class, racial, disability and intergenerational justice; ensures a just transition for workers and communities impacted by the shift from a fossil fuel economy; and respects, protects and fulfils human rights. These principles should be clearly set out in the bill’s preamble.

    November 05, 2020

     

    Workers in the home delivery business were already facing precarious labor conditions before the COVID-19 pandemic. A lack of basic protections for ‘gig economy’ workers in warehouses and home delivery roles has taken on a new urgency as the very workers who ensure that food, medicines, and other essential goods are shipped out on time and delivered to your door are exposed to greater risks to their own health and safety.  

    Amnesty’s new global campaign calls on the most powerful companies in the home delivery sector, starting with Amazon, to guarantee the rights of workers, including health, safety, and labor rights, such as the right to join a union.  

    Why Amazon?  

    November 05, 2020

    By Charlene Scharf, Health Network Co-Coordinator

    As we follow the crest of the second wave, and on the eve of the annual flu season, concerns are rising over the new pressures that will come to bear on the health care system. The vital healthcare workers across the health systems from long term care homes to hospitals and all in between have already faced unprecedented pressures and risks since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. This was clearly outlined in the International Council of Nurses (ICN) Report highlighting the alarming burden of disease and deaths from COVID-19 which discussed collected data globally in mid-August, 2020. It found that of the 52 national nursing associations in 50 countries, the infection rates for healthcare workers ranged from 1% to 30 % of all COVID-19 cases. The average rate was 10%. An alarming statistic from the study revealed “across 44 countries, there were 1097 deaths among nurses with the possibility of the actual deaths being much higher.”

    October 15, 2020

    Amnesty’s legal team after presenting at the Supreme Court . From left to right: Jennifer Klink, Paul Champ, Penelope Simons

     

    This October, Eritrean plaintiffs reached an out of court settlement in their major corporate accountability lawsuit against Canadian mining company Nevsun Resources. The confidential agreement was reached after years of legal wrangling that spanned three continents.

    The case, filed in British Columbia in November 2014 by former mine workers Gize Yebeyo Araya, Kesete Tekle Fshazion and Mihretab Yemane Tekle, alleged that Nevsun was responsible for benefitting from gross human rights abuses such as slavery and forced labour, torture, and crimes against humanity during the construction of its copper, zinc and gold mine in Eritrea.

    October 02, 2020
    An image of Alex Neve sitting on a large concrete sign that say's "Amnesty International"

    35 years ago, on a wintry evening in early 1985, I attended my first Amnesty International meeting.   

    I had just begun studying law at Dalhousie University in Halifax, with an entirely unformed notion of becoming a lawyer pursuing social change. I had seen an intriguing notice on a bulletin board giving details about the monthly meeting of the Halifax Amnesty group. I went, and never looked back.   

    I remember three things about that evening. First, the inspiring and welcoming Amnesty members I met were of all ages, backgrounds and interests, and from many different corners of the world; but were all united in a common sense of purpose and possibility. It was the evening I first heard of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and our shared responsibility to uphold it.   

    September 29, 2020

    On September 23rd, a new session of Parliament will begin and the government will deliver a Throne Speech, outlining their priorities. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has indicated this Throne Speech will be a 'roadmap out of the pandemic towards a society that is fairer and more welcoming.' 

    Amnesty International has sent an open letter to the Prime Minister and his cabinet, urging them to implement a genuinely transformative human rights agenda. 

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