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    January 09, 2019

    DROP PROJECT DRAGONFLY

    Google publicly exited the search engine market in China in 2010, citing restrictions to freedom of expression online. Since then, the Chinese government has strengthened its controls over the internet and intensified its crackdown on freedom of expression. 

    Indicating a reversal in strategy, Google is now preparing to re-enter the Chinese search engine market, and is developing a new, search engine app codenamed “Dragonfly” that would facilitate China’s online censorship and surveillance. This would represent an alarming capitulation by Google on human rights, and a dark day for internet freedom as it would legitimize China’s model of internet repression for other governments and set a precedent for tech companies compromising human rights in exchange for access to new markets.

    It has been reported in the media that Google is now planning to drop its Dragonfly project. While this is amazing news, it isn't confirmed yet, so we intend to keep the pressure on until it it official.

    January 09, 2019

    On Saturday, January 19th, be part of a global movement expressing outrage at ongoing gender-based rights violations and demonstrate solidarity with women human rights defenders by taking part in a Women’s March in your community.

    January 09, 2019
    Steve Fobister being interviewed by APTN at blockade cabin

    “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?” – the late Steve Fobister Sr., former Chief of the Grassy Narrows First Nation, quoted in the Toronto Star

    “Steve always wanted the government to admit that he had been poisoned by mercury. Now we take up his fight to honour him.” – the family of Steve Fobister, Sr. 

    In October, Steve Fobister Sr., a leader and spokesperson for the Grassy Narrows First Nation in northwestern Ontario, died after a long struggle with mercury poisoning. He was only 66. His family and friends are clear that the struggle he helped lead is far from over.

    For more than five decades, the people of Grassy Narrows have been forced to live with the devastating consequences of a government policy that allowed massive amounts of mercury to be dumped into their river system. It’s no coincidence that Grassy Narrows, whose traditions and economy revolve around fishing, faces the worst community health crisis in Canada.

    January 09, 2019
    Petitions being delivered to the BC legislature

    Last Fall, the BC government was able to convince a provincial judge to allow construction of the Site C dam to continue even though a fundamental Treaty rights challenge is still before the courts.

    The United Nations’ top anti-racism body has now responded to the injunction decision by calling on the federal and provincial governments to immediately suspend construction of Site C. The letter from the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is absolutely clear that, despite the injunction decision, a halt to construction is absolutely necessary to prevent permanent harm to the human rights of Indigenous peoples in the Peace River region.

    The Committee also called on the federal and provincial governments to seek independent, expert advice on how to fulfill their human rights obligations, including the right of free, prior and informed consent.

    January 09, 2019
    Palais Wilson where the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination meets

    The United Nations’ top anti-racism body has stepped up its calls for an immediate halt to construction of the Site C dam.

    In a letter to Canada’s ambassador to the UN, dated December 14 and now posted online,  the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination calls for the massive dam project on the Peace River to be halted unless the free, prior and informed consent of the affected First Nations is obtained.

    The Committee is an independent, expert body appointed to monitor state compliance with their human rights obligations under a core international human rights instrument, the binding Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

    The Committee’s call for an immediate halt to construction of the Site C dam was made under a special procedure intended to “prevent or limit the scale or number of serious violations of the Convention.”

    December 18, 2018

    Senator Pamela Wallin, one of the most outspoken opponents of the federal government’s proposed new legislation on assessing the impacts of large-scale resource development projects, has been particularly critical of the federal government’s commitment to gender-based analysis. Perhaps surprisingly, however, the Senator has chosen to illustrate her concerns with some gender-based analysis of her own.

    December 11, 2018

    Yesterday was International Human Rights Day - and the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. To mark this date, over 200 organizations from 56 countries sent a letter to Prime Minister Trudeau asking, “Where is Canada’s Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise?”

    December 11, 2018

    The Human Rights and Climate Change working group, together with other coalitions working on gender, just transition, Indigenous peoples, and youth, have been working hard at the international climate change negotiations in Poland to make sure that human rights and other principles referred to in the preamble of the Paris climate agreement are also explicitly referenced in the Paris rule book that will guide countries in the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

    Unfortunately the outcome is not looking good, as references to human rights have now been reduced compared to the initial negotiated text. 

    December 05, 2018

    “We are proud of our kids. They amaze me every day with their humour, their pride, and their strength. They should not have to fight again and again for basic justice that others in Canada take for granted. They should not have to overcome hunger, poverty, and poison in order to succeed.”  Judy Da Silva, Grassy Narrows, quoted today in The Toronto Star

    One of the things that has stayed with me with from Amnesty’s first official research mission to Grassy  Narrows, almost 15 years ago, was the story shared by a young mother who had only recently learned about the dangers of mercury contamination of their river system. Throughout her pregnancy she had eaten a lot of fish caught in the local rivers because she knew that wild food is part of a healthy diet and that eating fish is part of what has always connected generation after generation to their culture. But when we spoke she was very worried about whether she might have inadvertently harmed her child.

    November 30, 2018

    Thanks you so much to those of you who sent letters and postcards to the President of Microsoft Canada urging the company to investigate whether child labour and other human rights abuses are found in their cobalt supply chain. 

    Thanks to you and our supporters around the world Microsoft is beginning to bow to pressure. 

    The company released a report in October 2018 setting out the steps they’ve taken to map their cobalt supply chain. While this is progress, Microsoft has a long way to go to meet our concerns and international standards.

    The company has yet to tell us exactly how they’re identifying, preventing and addressing potential human rights abuses in their cobalt supply chain.

    We’re halting our action for the moment, but we won’t let Microsoft rest until they follow up on their commitments, and there is real evidence of change on the ground in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

    November 28, 2018

    This weekend, CBC-TV will broadcast a special documentary about courageous Guatemalan villagers who are taking a Canadian mining company to court. 
    Watch the 3 minute trailer
     
    Airs: Friday, November 30 at 9 p.m. (9:30 NT) on CBC, the CBC TV streaming app, and https://watch.cbc.ca/. Repeating on News Network Sunday, December 2nd at 8 p.m. ET/PT, and Thursday, December 6th at 10 p.m. ET/PT.

    November 28, 2018

    On December 10, 2018, the world will celebrate the 70th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In 1948, this historic moment signalled the beginning of new era founded on respect for human dignity and the belief that all people worldwide should be able to exercise their rights in full equality. Seventy years later, the increasing impacts of climate change are undermining these values.

    Preserving the vision of a shared future where all people can live in peace and dignity now requires decisive action by all governments. To remain true to their commitment to protect human rights for all, governments must urgently tackle the disastrous impacts of the fossil fuel industry on our planet; protect those speaking up for the rights of their communities and for their supporting ecosystems; promote gender equality; provide adequate support to vulnerable countries and impacted communities; and guarantee that projects implemented in the name of climate action do not reinforce existing abuses or create new ones.

    November 19, 2018

    Alisa Lombard is an associate with Maurice Law, Canada’s first national Indigenous-owned law firm, and the lead on a proposed class action law suit in Saskatchewan brought by two women who claim having been forcibly or coercively sterilized between 2000-2010. Over 60 women have reached out reporting they were sterilized without proper and informed consent, most from Saskatchewan, and also from Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, and Ontario.

    We spoke with Alisa the week the issue of the ongoing practice of forced and coerced sterilizations of Indigenous women and girls in Canada became headline news, prompting calls for urgent action to end this human rights violation and provide justice for the survivors.

    November 13, 2018
    TAKE ACTION to end sterilizations without consent

    Canadian and international media are reporting on the ongoing practice of coerced of forced sterilizations of Indigenous women in Canada. Here’s what you need to know.

    What is forced sterilization and coerced sterilization?

    November 07, 2018

    In January 2018, the Government of Canada announced the creation of the Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise, the first of its kind in the world.

    We are deeply concerned however that, 10 months after the announcement, the ombudsperson is still not in place. Communities around the world who are looking to Canada for a credible process to protect their rights continue to wait. 

    There is an urgent need to turn promises into action. 

    It is time for all of us to call on the Government of Canada to urgently implement its commitments by naming an independent ombudsperson with the mandate and tools to conduct independent investigations.

    We need your help! Please phone, hand-deliver a letter, or meet in person with your Member of Parliament (MP). Next week (November 12 – 16) is an ideal time to do so, because MPs will be in their home ridings.

    We strongly encourage you to contact your MP about this important issue. It is particularly important to do so if you live in one of the following key ridings:

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