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    September 19, 2019

     

    Climate change activist Greta Thunberg and the Fridays for Future movement of school-children have been honoured with Amnesty International’s Ambassador of Conscience Award for 2019.

    The awards ceremony took place in Washington D.C., USA, while further events were held in cities around the world, honouring Fridays for Future activists who represent the movement.

    Upon receiving the award, Greta Thunberg said:

    “This award is for all of those millions of people, young people, around the world who together make up the movement called Fridays for Future. All these fearless youth, fighting for their future. A future they should be able to take for granted. But as it looks now, they cannot.

    September 19, 2019

    Responding to news that Google has agreed to pay a record US$170 million to settle a complaint filed by US regulators, alleging that Google illegally harvested personal data of children on its YouTube platform, Joe Westby, Big Data and AI Researcher at Amnesty Tech, said:

    “Today’s record fine exposes the rotten core at the heart of Google’s business model, which relies on the harvesting and monetisation of personal data, in brazen contempt for privacy. A major problem is that online advertising practices are complex and secretive, so people are not able to give meaningful consent as to how their personal data is used. 

    September 17, 2019

    Alejandra Barrera, a transgender Salvadorian activist who had been held in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention since November 2017, was released September 6, 2019, as a result of international advocacy efforts, spearheaded by Amnesty International, the Translatin@ Coalition, National Immigrant Justice Center, and dozens of members of the United States Congress.

    January 31, 2019
    Mexico USA border wall with barbed wire at top

    Amnesty International Canada Secretary General Alex Neve is currently part of a delegation of senior Amnesty leadership who are visiting the Mexico/USA border to witness the impacts of US policy on migrants and asylum seekers.|

    El Paso, Texas

    So many times over the past two years, since Donald Trump’s presidency and assault on the rights of refugees and migrants began, I have asked myself: what more will it take for the Canadian government to agree that the United States is not “safe” when it comes to refugee protection?

    And while I do not have the answer yet, as the accounts of utter contempt for international obligations and the lack of even a minimal sense of compassion mounted during our visit to Tijuana, El Paso and Ciudad Juárez this week, as a Canadian I felt a deepening sense of shame that this remains an open question.

    What more will it take?

    January 28, 2019

    Amnesty International Canada Secretary General Alex Neve is currently part of a delegation of senior Amnesty leadership who are visiting the Mexico/USA border to witness the impacts of US policy on migrants and asylum seekers. 

    Tijuana, Mexico

    We began the day walking across the border between the United States and Mexico, separating San Ysidro, California and Tijuana. We ended the day back at that exact same border post, accompanying three courageous LGBTQ teens from Honduras as they sought, against considerable odds, to lodge their asylum claims with US officials.

    In between we had ample occasion to see and hear firsthand that despite Donald Trump’s toxic rhetoric, the only crisis that is playing out along this frontier is a politically-driven one that spreads distortions and fear on the backs of people – mainly, but not only, from Mexico and Central America – who are fleeing terrifying persecution, endemic violence and grinding poverty.

    It is a crisis of conscience, compassion and justice.

    January 11, 2019
    Protester dressed in prison uniforms outside the White House

    I remember that ever-present day that is seared in my memory forever as if it was yesterday. It was more than 17 years ago when secret police officers led me to my old car parked outside my mother’s house in Mauritania, and asked me to follow them in their unmarked, inconspicuous vehicle. There was a visibly ashamed agent waiting to sit beside me in my car.

    As I emerged from my mother's door, she stopped me. She suspected these were agents just from the way they looked. She was afraid for me. Even an apolitical person like my mother could spot them every time.

    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.

    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.

    June 20, 2018

    Nuri Mohammed is just like other boys his age: he likes spending time with friends and family and dreams of what life will be like when he grows up. He hopes to one day buy a store and run his own business. But Nuri’s life changed completely when he came home one day to find the military in his village, killing his neighbors. The military killed his parents and eight of his siblings. His last memory of his mother was of her pleas for him to flee. Nuri ran to a nearby lake, where a bullet struck him and injured his leg. He continued on, walking for three days until he escaped from Myanmar to Cox’s Bazaar, Bangladesh, where he reunited with his remaining two sisters.

    May 26, 2018

    A group of Amnesty volunteers will deliver a big box of letters to Microsoft Canada's headquarters at the end of May.

    Help them fill the box with letters to Microsoft! Continue reading for more information. 

    Amnesty is concerned about the strong possibility that there is child labour in Microsoft’s supply chain. Amnesty researchers have discovered that cobalt, a metal used in the rechargeable batteries of portable electronics such as laptops, tablets and cell phones, is being mined by children and adults under hazardous condvolunitions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

    Amnesty researchers traced the cobalt supply chain and determined that the cobalt is very likely used in batteries in products sold by Microsoft, Samsung, Apple and others. We urged these companies, and others, to investigate their cobalt supply chains, publish the names of their smelters, and address any human rights issues, in accordance with international business and human rights guidelines.

    April 10, 2018
    Don't Let Children Grow Up in Jail

    Kids and their parents are stuck in what are known as “baby jails.” Their so-called crime? Fleeing violence and dreaming of safety in the United States.

    Every year, tens of thousands of people come to the U.S. southern border seeking safety. They are trying to escape horrific violence and persecution, and going there to ask for asylum, a form of protection recognized under U.S. and international law.

    The Problem

    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.

    March 27, 2018

    Sadly, the United States has become somewhat infamous for school shootings, but there’s a crucial point missing from the gun violence debate: saving lives is not a policy choice for elected officials to consider or ignore. 

    It is a legal obligation on the US government under human rights treaties that the country has committed to abide by.

    Of course, a key challenge is how to enforce these obligations and that’s where activism – like the youth-led March for Our Lives on March 24 in Washington DC and across the world – plays a critical role.

    People must demand that elected officials respect, protect and fulfil our human rights –  including those of people most impacted by gun violence: youth, women and people of colour.

    There is plenty that can be done

    In that context, there are several steps that the US government can and should take to protect people’s lives from gun violence.

    No elected official should ever claim that there’s nothing that can be done to stop gun violence. It’s the opposite – there’s plenty.

    The US government can and should:

    March 14, 2018

    By Rebecca Ma, Associate Campaigner, Amnesty International USA

    For the past three years, fourteen-year-old Astrid and her father Arturo were living an ordinary life in Easton, Pennsylvania. She was in the eighth grade, studying at Easton Area Middle School, where her favorite subject is Math.

    Less than a month before the much anticipated quinceañera celebration of her fifteenth birthday, life as Astrid knew it was turned upside down.

    On February 20, at approximately 5:00 AM, Astrid was asleep in her room when she was awoken by six male Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) armed agents standing before her bed and yelling: “IMMIGRATION — GET UP!” They ordered everyone in the house into a room and asked them for identification. The ICE agents did not show a warrant or say why they were there.

    August 28, 2017

    By Anna Neistat, Senior Director for Research, Amnesty International 

    Winter is coming. 

    Even if you haven’t seen Game of Thrones, you know the iconic, sinister saying. In the TV show, it is muttered meaningfully as a warning not only that after a long summer a harsh winter is ahead, but that winter brings with it an existential threat to the world—an army of the dead. This threat makes all the vicious scheming, treachery and feuding look insignificant and petty. 

    As a human rights defender watching leaders around the world scapegoating and dividing to score political points, I can’t help thinking that winter may be coming for all of us—a dark future where protection of human rights won’t mean much anymore. 

    The “summer” was long and fruitful. Seventy years ago the world came together in 1948 and adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which stated for the first time that human rights must be protected across “all peoples and all nations.”  

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