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    April 02, 2020

    The global climate strikes that saw millions of people marching in the streets in 2019 are going online in response to the need for physical distancing to prevent the spread of covid-19.

    We encourage you to stay safe at home and join the climate strike online tomorrow, and every Friday until the end of April. To join the strike online here is what to do:

    1.    Make a climate strike sign
    2.    Take a photo of yourself holding the sign
    3.    Post to your favourite social media channel with the hashtag #climatestrikeonline.

    We would love it if you would also tag Amnesty Canada at @amnestynow so that we can see your posts.

    Although we are physically distant at the moment, we are more united than ever. We may be stuck inside, but we can continue advocating for human rights. After all, a focus on human rights is crucial to fight the covid crisis in a fast and fair way, and the same applies to the climate crisis.

    See you at the #climatestrikeonline!

    March 16, 2020

    Manitoba Hydro states that its operations are “good for Manitobans, good for our environment.” But good for which Manitobans?

    Decades of Manitoba Hydro operations in the north of the province are associated with harms to the land, water, and animals, as well as profound adverse impacts on the health, safety, and wellbeing of Indigenous peoples. The impacts include a heightened risk that Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit people will experience violence.

    Take action now calling on Manitoba Hydro to address the discrimination, harassement, and violence at Keeyask!

    March 11, 2020
    Quesnel Lake/Yuct Ne Senxiymetkwe: a Love Story 

    Christine McLean is ready to retire. After running a successful electrical business in Calgary for the last 20 years, the Kamloops, BC born and raised McLean planned to move back to BC with her husband, Eric. In 2014 they began laying plans to spend their retirement years living in what Christine describes as, “paradise” – a gorgeous log cabin on a large, treed lot perched above the stunningly beautiful Mitchell Bay on Quesnel Lake. For Christine, it is a place for the spirit to rest and the heart to soar.

    For Secwepemc and Nuxalk activist Nuskmata (Jacinda Mack), Quesnel Lake is part of her cultural heritage. Raised in the northern Secwepemc community of Xat’sull, Nuskamata spent her youth out on the land and eventually came to work for her Secwepemc community as the Natural Resources manager. Her mother taught her that for Indigenous peoples, “our economy walks on the land and swims in the waters.” She calls the relationship between her community and the land a ‘love story’. 

    March 04, 2020

    Hilda Anderson-Pyrz is from O-Pipon-Na-Piwin Cree Nation in northern Manitoba, a community located on South Indian Lake, which was once home to North America’s largest white fish industry, before being decimated by Manitoba Hydro activities. Hilda is the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Liaison Unit Manager with Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO) and she is based in Thompson, Manitoba.  MKO is a non-profit, political advocacy organization providing a collective voice on issues related to the rights of member First Nations in northern Manitoba. MKO was a Party with Standing to the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

    Amnesty International spoke with Hilda in advance of International Women’s Day 2020.

    March 01, 2020

    March 8th, International Women’s Day, is both a day of protest and celebration. It’s a time to reflect on feminist achievements over the past year as well as a time to take action to end the violence and discrimination that women, transgender, and non-binary people continue to experience across Canada and around the world because of who they are.

    Marches, film festivals, public events, and other activities are held on March 8th and throughout March to mark International Women’s Day. We encourage you to support feminist movements—particularly those led by Indigenous, Black, and other marginalized women, transgender, and non-binary people—by participating in International Women’s Day events. Ask organizers how Amnesty can support events, and consider having an Amnesty table with petitions and other actions.

    February 29, 2020

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    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 2SLGBTQ folks, etc.) On March 21, 2020 — the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination — Amnesty International Canada will raise awareness and advocate for the elimination of racial discrimination in policing.

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    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. 

    February 28, 2020

    In 2015, several Indigenous women in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, reported to the media that they had received tubal ligations without their consent, rendering them unable to have more children. This led to an independent investigation by the Saskatoon Health Region, where more women disclosed that they too had been coercively or forcibly sterilized.

    February 27, 2020

    Lise Martin is the Executive Director of Women’s Shelter’s Canada, a national network of shelters and transition houses whose motto is “shelters support women and children fleeing violence. We support the shelters.” The organization works to ensure that government actions to end gender-based violence and violence against women are rights-based and informed by the experiences and insights of their members from across Canada. They led a collaborative process to create a Blueprint for Canada’s National Action Plan on Violence against Women, which Amnesty International endorsed, and lead advocacy in support of a National Action Plan.

    Amnesty spoke with Lise in Ottawa in the lead-up to International Women’s Day 2020.

    February 14, 2020

    All eyes have been on Wet’suwet’en territory over the past week. The situation is changing rapidly, and solidarity actions have been taking place across the country to highlight the disturbing human rights violations.

    This weekend, here are three ways you demonstrate solidarity: 

    Donate to the RAVEN Trust fund in support of the Wet’suwet’en’s legal actions. Find a solidarity rally near you and let governments know that they need to respect the law and Indigenous rights. Check out the Wet’suwet’en Supporter Toolkit for other creative solidarity actions, educational materials and more! 

    Learn more: 

    January 20, 2020

    By Ana Collins and Alex Neve

    Any society, whether Canadian, British, or Wet’suwet’en, is made up of people who have shared territory, interaction, and culture; this doesn’t mean that members of a society will always agree with one another. A fundamental liberal democratic value is to honour and respect the right to disagree. The challenge in any society is how to reconcile differing opinions in order to live together well. Indigenous nations have historically been excluded from this social discussion in the Canadian state, and their traditional teachings and values have not merely been disregarded within social and political discourse but have been entirely supressed by the attempt to eradicate these other ways of being and thinking.

    January 13, 2020

    When it comes to human rights there is much relief leaving the turbulent 2010s behind. But we face enormous challenges in the decade ahead. Here are eight ways that Canada can champion human rights in the 2020s.

    First step is to adopt overdue legislation making the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Canada’s framework for rights and reconciliation. And to show we truly mean it: address mercury poisoning at Grassy Narrows First Nation, halt construction of the Site C dam in NE British Columbia and redress years of discrimination against First Nations children.

    January 03, 2020

    As 2020 dawns, we face consequential times for human-rights protection around the world. If ever there was a need for a resolution for a new decade, this is it: put human rights first.

    A tumultuous decade of widespread conflict and demonizing politics is wrapping up; far too much war, alongside the rise of politicians everywhere peddling bigotry and fear.

    These past 10 years have witnessed the unforgivable and unending agony of Syria, Yemen, South Sudan, Gaza, Venezuela, Libya, Ukraine, the Rohingya crisis, the mass incarceration of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in China, and so many other corners of our world racked by turmoil and violence.

    It has also been the decade of Donald Trump, Viktor Orban, Vladimir Putin, Narendra Modi, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Jair Bolsonaro, Matteo Salvini, Rodrigo Duterte, Xi Jinping and an increasing cadre of world leaders who have deliberately set out to undermine human rights. They unapologetically stoke hate, racism and misogyny, rising to and wielding power on the backs of women, refugees, racial and religious minorities, Indigenous peoples, LGBTQ people and human-rights defenders.

    December 27, 2019

    The youth of Asubpeeschoseewagong (Grassy Narrows) First Nation are demanding the Canadian government keep its promises to finally address the mercury crisis in their community. Because of government inaction for 50 years, generations of young Indigenous people have grown up with devastating health problems and the loss of their cultural traditions like fishing and time on the land.

    To help amplify their urgent call, the youth-led campaign for mercury justice was one of the focal cases of last month's global Write for Rights campaign, marking the beginning of a year-long campaign to mobilize Amnesty members and supporters in Canada and around the world. Grassy Narrows youth were one of ten global cases focused on young human rights defenders leading the charge for change in their communities.

    Highlights from the Write for Rights 2019 campaign:

    December 17, 2019

    My name is Nora Sneaky. I’m 15 years old and I’m from Grassy Narrows. Grassy is the only home I've ever known, and it’s a home I love. Grassy teaches me so much: it teaches me about the land, animals, and our Anishinaabe culture. But being from Grassy Narrows has also taught me that life can be unfair at times.

    From 1962 until 1970, a pulp mill dumped 10 tonnes of mercury into the Wabigoon-English river upstream from my community. That mercury still sits in the river to this day and it has come with many health effects like numbness, difficulties breathing and standing, inability to feel in areas in the body, muscle weakness. The list goes on and on. Most often it affects people physically, but it also affects people emotionally and mentally. I myself suffer from migraines, depression, anxiety, and other things that come with the effects of the poisoning.

    Because of mercury, I grew up with a lot of fear in my life, and this fear only grew as I got older and learned more about the impacts of mercury.

    December 05, 2019
    On June 20, 2019, members of the Grassy Narrows First Nation travelled 1,700 km from their homes in northwest Ontario to Toronto to protest against the devastating mercury crisis that has persisted for decades in their lands.

    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, marking the beginning of a year-long campaign mobilizing Amnesty members and supporters in Canada and around the world. 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.

    Next year marks 50 years since the public first became aware of mercury poisoning at Asubpeeschoseewagong (Grassy Narrows). In all this time, the people of the Grassy Narrows First Nation have never received the help they need to deal with the devastating, and still ongoing, consequences of the poisoning of their river system and the fish on which they depend.

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