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Canada

    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.”

    December 12, 2017
    Yellow stakes expressing support for Treaty rights

    “The fundamental issue is First Nations in the region have entrenched constitutional rights. Not just the requirement for consultation and accommodation, which we always hear about when we’re talking about resource projects. But they have entrenched constitutional rights to practice hunting and fishing as before, And that’s going to be violated by this dam.” - John Horgan, May 8, 2014

    In announcing his government's decision to allow continued construction of a mega-project he once opposed, BC Premier John Horgan said that construction was already past "the point of no return." That's blatently false. Here's why:

    November 29, 2017
    No Life for a Child

    On 6 November 2017, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale released new directions aimed to keep children out of Canada's immigration detention system.

    “The key objective of the Ministerial Direction is to – as much as humanly possible – keep children out of detention, and keep families together. The Ministerial Direction makes it clear that the Best Interests of the Child must be given primary consideration. This will be achieved by actively and continuously seeking alternatives to detention when unconditional release is inappropriate.”

    The directive is welcome; detention is never in the best interests of children and it is shocking that children are detained for immigration purposes in Canada, even for short periods of time.

    Amnesty International and many other human rights groups in Canada have actively campaigned to keep children out of immigration detention. Several thousand Amnesty International members and supporters signed petitions and called on the Minister to stop detaining children for immigration purposes.

    October 27, 2017

    One of the first acts of the recently elected provincial government of British Columbia was to order an independent review of the economic case for and against the massive Site C hydro-electric project. After releasing an interim report in September, the BC Utilities Commission held a series of public meetings across the province. The final report is due November 1 after which the decision on the fate of the project - and the Peace River Valley - will rest with the provincial government.

    Gary Ockenden, the Vice President of Amnesty International Canada shared this note from a hearing that he attended:

    The Chair and three Commissioners of the BC Utilities Commission came to Nelson, BC on September 26th and held a public hearing on the Site C project. I was fortunate enough to get a five minute slot to present to them as a BC ratepayer.

    October 27, 2017
    Letters to a Prisoner (Owlkids 2017) is a wordless children’s book inspired by the Write for Rights campaign - created by Montreal author Jacques Goldstyn. The book illustrates the power of hope and the written word. The Youth and Activism Team has been actively collaborating in partnership with Owlkids Books to make this book available to the Amnesty Canada community.

    Letters to a Prisoner will provide a fun and engaging way for young people (ages 6 and up) to participate with and promote human rights and the Write for Rights campaign. 

    October 11, 2017

    “Our economy walks on the land and swims in the waters”

    In a one-room, circular building, modelled on a traditional Secwepemc winter pit house, water defender Jacinda Mack stands before the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights and describes the effects of colonialism on her people, the Secwepemc of British Columbia. The consequences of more than 150 years of government assault on Indigenous identity and self-determination are personally exhausting, she says. However, her love of her people and the waters of her territory motivate her to keep fighting for justice.

    October 11, 2017
    Alex Neve (left), Alex Xavier (centre), and Jackie Hansen (right) in Parliament when Bill C-16 on gender identity was tabled in June 2016.

    In Conversation with Amnesty International’s LGBTI Rights Coordinator Alexander Xavier

    Ottawa-based Alexander Xavier is one of Amnesty International Canada’s two LGBTI Coordinators. He has served on Amnesty’s board of directors, and has been an Amnesty supporter since he was in high school. In October 2017, we had a chat with Alexander about his long history with Amnesty and what motivates him to continue so fervantly advocating for LGBTI rights in Canada and around the world.

    Alex, how did you first get involved with Amnesty?

    In high school I became acquainted with Amnesty as I learned about the death penalty. I joined an Amnesty student group, later attended Amnesty’s Human Rights College, and got involved with Amnesty’s student and youth program.

    September 29, 2017
    Implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is too important to take place in a piecemeal or haphazard way. 

    That’s why Amnesty International has joined with Indigenous Peoples' organizations and other partners to call on the federal government to embrace and build on the framework offered by a private members bill, Bill C-262, that is now before Parliament.

    September 28, 2017
    Amnesty members marching

    Today, we want to hear from you. We’ve told you people’s stories and shared lots of ideas on how you can make a difference.

    But you’re the expert - you’re the one with the interest in and knowledge of your own community. So tell us, what do you think you, or others, could do to welcome refugees?

    Are there things we haven’t thought of that you think could work? Have you seen an initiative in your local community that you think is interesting or different?

    Please share these ideas and thoughts with us. We definitely don’t have all the answers, and to make this work, we need action and input from people like you.

    Thank you once again for all your support.

    September 27, 2017

    We’re coming to the last few days left in the 30 days, but your efforts don’t have to stop here.

    Keep following us on Facebook, like and share any and all posts you agree with from anyone anywhere that talk about refugees, and above all, keep talking about refugee issues any time you get the chance.

    You’ve come a long way over this past month, perhaps without realising it. You’ve taken in a lot of knowledge and done a lot of research into your own situation.

    Share that expertise and passion with anyone you can at all opportunities. Slowly but surely, as more and more people come to understand and empathise with refugee issues, you will see a real change to your society as a whole.

    Here’s a reminder of what Gloria Nafziger from Amnesty International says about how you can make change happen. Don’t stop now!

    September 26, 2017
    I Welcome Refugees door hanger on a door

    Today it’s time to show the world that you welcome refugees.

    You have read and heard so many stories, and seen the many different, simple ways you can help refugees. But if you feel happy to do so, telling people you welcome refugees could well inspire others to join you.

    You can make it a post on social media, or you can order I Welcome doorhangers and buttons from the online shop.

    Show the world that you are someone who welcomes refugees and see if others follow your lead.

    September 25, 2017

    Families that are fleeing conflict are often separated along the way, and sometimes they have to make difficult decisions about where to stay. This can be a huge source of stress for refugees when they are resettled, as they are constantly thinking about the family members they have left behind. Louai’s story here shows just how important connections to family elsewhere are.

    Some countries allow for families to reunited, which means that refugees can bring over family members if they can help support them.

    Today, find out what your government’s policy is on family reunification. See if there is any way you can tell your politicians to allow more families to be reunited.

    To see why this is important, here is Randa and Sham’s story.

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