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    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. More than 400,000 letters of support from around the world called for justice for Grassy Narrows and contributed to the successful signing of an agreement to build a mercury care home. 

    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.

    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.

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