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    April 03, 2018

    We all want to be good, responsible people, don't we? But sometimes doing the right thing in our daily lives is made next-to-impossible by forces well beyond us. At these times, we need to work together, creatively, to do what's right. 

    Amnesty International's palm oil campaign gives you a chance to help fix a serious problem hidden in your breakfast cereal and possibly in the toothpaste you used this morning. Palm oil and palm oil ingredients are now in half of all consumer products, yet the harvesting of this product is leading to the exploitation of children, and human rights abuses of women and workers. 

    We have a plan to stop these abuses, and it starts with your signature.

    April 03, 2018
    Urgent Action workshop participants participate in an exercise to get to now one another and the structure of the network

    By Maitri Gupta, Urgent Action member in the GTA.

    The Urgent Action Network (UAN) personifies the famous saying the pen is mightier than the sword. It connects a global community of human rights defenders that have, over the years, used their words in letters to protect individuals from human rights violations. In Canada alone, the UA Network writes thousand of letters a year, and I am proud to have joined this community recently. As a Canadian, I have a voice that can be heard. Writing personal letters allows me to convey my message with more effort and therefore, sincerity. Writing to authorities is a powerful tool for accountability. Each time I write, the stories of the people that I am trying to help become more memorable. This is what truly motivated me to take that additional step outside of just signing petitions that I would often forget I had even seen. 

    March 21, 2018

    “You look at the lake, it looks good, it looks clean, the fish look all right. How to believe that something like that could turn against you?” – former Grassy Narrows Chief Steve Fobister Sr. quoted in the Toronto Star

     

    Steve Fobister. Bill Fobister. Judy Da Silva. These are some of the leaders and activists from Grassy Narrows who have played a critical in shaping and informing Amnesty International’s longstanding campaign for justice for that First Nation.

    They are all, in every sense of the word, human rights champions.

    They also, all three, suffer from the devastating, debilitating impacts of mercury poisoning.

    And they are not alone.

    March 14, 2018

    This is part 1 of 6 of the blog series: 25 years working for human rights in the Niger Delta

    Written by Amnesty's Businses and Human Rights volunteer, Ian Heide

    On November 10, 1995, Amnesty International released this statement: “AI has learned with dismay that Ken Saro-Wiwa and the eight other Ogoni supporters were executed on 10 November 1995.”

    The world was shocked. The trial was widely criticized by human rights organizations and the governments of other states The Commonwealth of Nations, which had pleaded for clemency, suspended Nigeria's membership. The United States, the United Kingdom, and the EU all implemented sanctions—but not on petroleum.

    What was the role of Shell oil in this? And how has the situation evolved since then? This six-part blog series explores the human rights impact of oil pollution in the Niger Delta, the mounting evidence against Shell, the courageous activism of affected communities,  and the on-going fight for justice.

    March 07, 2018

    A feminist policy can guide all policymaking.

    Canada’s prime minister and government are openly feminist, and ‘feminist foreign policy’ is the new buzz phrase on Parliament Hill. Is a feminist foreign policy what Canada most needs?

    The answer is absolutely yes — one centred on addressing the historical and structural gender power imbalances at the root of gender inequality, and their intersection with race, ethnicity, and other identity factors. This implicitly involves alleviating symptoms of inequality such as violence, early and forced marriage, lack of access to sexual and reproductive health information and services, and barriers to participating in politics, peace processes, and the labour force.

    "Canada must be held to the same rigorous standards as other countries to address the root causes of persistent gender inequality here at home."

    March 07, 2018

    It’s March, and like many working parents, I’m making plans for the nine weeks when school is not in session this summer. Last year I naively thought that my child and I could have a chat, I’d book camps, and everything would be set. Oh, how I learned! I am more prepared this year and am in the midst of immense internet research and an intense series of complex negotiations involving myself, my child’s other parent, my child, my employer, organizations I work with (lest I book my vacation during a peak time on the human rights calendar), my family and close friends who live across the country, the parents of my child’s closest friends, my own playmates whom I want to go on camping adventures with, my bank account, and the weather forecaster.

    March 02, 2018

    Every single day, women human rights defenders in Canada and around the world advocate tirelessly for justice and equality. International Women’s Day is the ‘feminist new year’s celebration,’ a time to pause, take stock of achievements over the past year, reflect, and renew commitments to ensure the rights of women, transgender, and non-binary individuals are respected, protected, and fulfilled.

    February 26, 2018

    On behalf of Amnesty International, and all our members across Canada, we want to express our deepest sympathy to the family of Tina Fontaine, to her friends and to her community.

    Everyone who has lost a loved one to violence deserves justice. They deserve answers about what may have put their loved one in harm’s way. They deserve to know that police have done everything in their power to identify those responsible for taking their loved one from them. And they deserve to see the perpetrators brought to account.

    As the Manitoba Justice Inquiry so clearly set out almost 20 years ago, when justice is not achieved, the burden of suffering on families and friends is only increased.

    February 16, 2018

    Amnesty International is pleased to offer the acclaimed new Canadian documentary “A Better Man” to Amnesty supporters interested in organizing film screenings to further discussion and action to help end gender-based violence in Canada.

    The feature-length film documents the journey of Toronto-based activist and filmmaker Attiya Khan as she reconnects with the man she was in an intimate relationship with over 20 years prior. “A Better Man documents a personal experiment for me and my abusive ex-partner — a step towards understanding and accountability,” said Attiya. “By getting closer to the truth of what survivors experience, and of why men choose to use violence, we can help stop the abuse. I hope that sharing my personal search for justice and healing will contribute to the struggle to end domestic violence.”

     

    February 16, 2018

    AN OPEN LETTER TO AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL SUPPORTERS

    By Alex Neve, Secretary General, Amnesty International Canada

    February 12, 2018

    Amnesty International is pressing the Canadian government to take decisive action on human rights at home and on the world stage in 2018. The call comes as we release our annual Human Rights Agenda for Canada, pressing the federal government to build on progress seen in 2017 while addressing ongoing serious human rights shortcomings.

    February 06, 2018
    First Nations child holding message 'I want to grow up in my community'

    “…a broken system that is harming children and removing them from their communities.” - The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal describing the federally-funded child welfare system in First Nations communities, January 2018.

    Twelve years ago, a landmark federally-funded study concluded that persistent government underfunding was denying children and families in First Nations communities essential supports available in all other communities in Canada.

    Two years ago, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal concluded that the underfunding of services for First Nations children had directly contributed to shockingly large numbers of children being removed from their families and communities because less disruptive alternatives were not available. The Tribunal called for an immediate end to this discrimination.

    Last week, the Tribunal once again concluded that, despite much publicized increases in federal funding, the federal government has failed to end discrimination against First Nations children.

    January 15, 2018

    Over the past year, women, transgender, and non-binary people around the world have posted online their personal stories of gender-based discrimination and violence, claiming their power by telling their stories in their own words. People have globally united against hatred and fear and in support of gender justice and equality through women’s marches. Discussions in feminist and social justice circles about how to create an inclusive, feminist future are now permeating everyday conversations in public, work places, and the corridors of political power.

    But not everyone has the privilege to safely share their story online. Not every survivor wants this burden placed upon them. And much work remains to create transformative societal, legislative, and judicial changes that address the multiple and intersecting root causes of gender inequality. How will Amnesty promote transformative change in support of gender equality on International Women's Day?

    December 19, 2017

    On December 15, Amnesty International sent an open letter to the Ontario provincial government and Ontario’s donor transplant agency calling for the province to ensure non-discriminatory access to healthcare, including organ transplants, for all Ontario residents. This is the first time that Amnesty International has commented on access to organ transplant services in Canada, and we wanted to publicly respond to some of the questions we have received to help advance discussion on this issue.

    December 18, 2017
    Write for Rights event Toronto 2017

    By Sareema Husain

    #WriteForRights, Amnesty International’s biggest local event of the year, took over the Centre for Social Innovation Annex on December 10.

    Every year, people from more than 180 countries take part in the day-long marathon to write, tweet, email and sign petitions urging governments around the world to release prisoners of conscience and protect human rights defenders. Mary Macrae has been attending the event for years. “There’s always this question if it really works,” says Macrae. “It does.”

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