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    February 14, 2019

    In collaboration with the Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability, we are launching a daily tweet-your-MP campaign that will continue until an effective ombudsperson is in place with the #Power2Investigate. Please join us!

    We’re in a stand-off. Signs show that an ombudsperson may be appointed soon, but we are worried about the government delivering on its promise of real investigatory powers. 

    We need everyone’s voice to help convince the Government of Canada to stand strong and to keep its promise to respect international human rights!

    It all comes down to the #Power2Investigate. Companies alleged to have committed human rights abuses are unlikely to voluntarily participate in a robust investigation needed to hold them accountable. Canada must immediately appoint an effective ombudspersonwith the #Power2Investigate.
     
    Join us online for a daily twitter storm!  

    January 30, 2019

    “...resource extraction and other major development projects in or near indigenous territories [are] one of the most significant sources of abuse of the rights of indigenous peoples worldwide. In its prevailing form, the model for advancing with natural resource extraction within the territories of indigenous peoples appears to run counter to the selfdetermination of indigenous peoples in the political, social and economic spheres.”
    - former United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, James Anaya, 2011.

      Selective approaches to free, prior and informed consent foster conflict when we need reconciliation

    The governments of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and BC Premier John Horgan have both made welcome and important commitments to upholding the rights of Indigenous peoples, including implementing the key international human rights instrument protecting the rights of Indigenous peoples, the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

    January 23, 2019
    On January 23, an important legal case against Nevsun Resources will be heard before the Supreme Court of Canada.

    In 2014, three Eritrean men filed a claim against Nevsun seeking accountability for disturbing human rights abuses -including allegations of torture and forced labour - during the construction of the company’s gold and copper mine in Bisha, Eritrea. According to documents filed in the BC court, the company had prior knowledge of the country’s National Service Program and understood the likelihood that its business relationships would involve the use of conscripted labour. The United Nations has said that the widespread use of forced labour in the country may constitute a crime against humanity.

    The plaintiffs are asking Canadian courts to hold Nevsun accountable for benefitting from violations of their human rights. Bringing these crimes to justice is vital because impunity only fuels the belief that those responsible for corporate crimes are untouchable.

    January 16, 2019

    Have a Heart Day is an annual appeal for all First Nations kids to have the opportunity to have a healthy and safe childhood. Lead by the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society, Have a Heart Day calls on the federal government to end the widespread and systemic underfunding of basic services that First Nations children and families need and deserve, from safe, quality schools to culturally-appropriate family supports and services.

    Individual actions and community events take place on and around February 14th (Valentines Day). Last year at least 70 Have a Heart Day events were held across Canada and more than 10,000 Valentine`s cards and messages were sent to Parliamentarians to show that Canadians care about fairness and justice for First Nations children.

    Amnesty International is proud that our members have supported this appeal each year through events and individual letter-writing. Here's how you can get involved.

    January 09, 2019

    January 17th marks the one year anniversary of the Canadian government's announcement to create an independent Ombudsperson that would enable people harmed by Canadian companies overseas to have access to justice in Canada.

    We celebrated the announcement, thrilled that Canada would finally be "Open for Justice". Yet one whole year has passed, and the Ombudsperson is still not in place! Equally concerning is whether or not the office will be granted the powers it needs to be effective. The  Canadian government did promise a year ago that Canada's Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise would be independent, transparent, and have the power and tools necessary to conduct effective investigations. But we are still waiting to see whether they follow through on their word.

    We need your help! 

    January 09, 2019

    On Friday, March 8th, mark International Women’s Day by celebrating women human rights defenders and taking action to end gender-based discrimination and violence.

    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.

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