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Activism Guide

    January 15, 2021

    There are countless opportunities to get involved with Amnesty International. This guide is your resource for the latest campaigns and actions. 

    Learn about upcomng events and new actions you can take to get involved. 

    January 14, 2021

    What’s this all about?

    Anti-Black racism is prejudice, attitudes, beliefs, stereotyping and discrimination that is directed at people of African descent and is rooted in their unique history and experience of enslavement and its legacy. Anti-Black racism is deeply entrenched in Canadian institutions, policies and practices, to the extent that anti-Black racism is either functionally normalized or rendered invisible to the larger White society. Anti-Black racism is manifest in the current social, economic, and political marginalization of African Canadians, which includes unequal opportunities, lower socio-economic status, higher unemployment, significant poverty rates and overrepresentation in the criminal justice system. [source: https://www.ontario.ca/document/data-standards-identification-and-monitoring-systemic-racism/glossary]

    Communities have been speaking out for decades about how Black people experience policing in Canada. It’s time to listen: racism is not up for debate – it’s systemic.

    January 14, 2021

    Have a Heart Day is a child and youth-led reconciliation event that brings together caring Canadians to help ensure First Nations children have the services they need to grow up safely at home, get a good education, be healthy, and be proud of who they are. 

    This year, to prevent spreading COVID-19, Spirit Bear is #hibernating4health. So you may not see him out and about as often as in previous years. This doesn’t mean he isn’t still working hard to defend the rights and futures of First Nations kids.

    But he does want help: kids who are also staying safe at home can make Snow Spirit Bears outside with families and share pictures of your snow bears and valentines on social media. Remember to use the hashtag #HaveaHeartDay and tag the Prime Minister and MPs; this way, Spirit Bear and the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society can find your sculptures and art.

    There are many other ways, both big and small, that you can celebrate Have a Heart Day in COVID-19 safe ways. Here are some ideas: 

    January 13, 2021

    The first week of January, Amnesty met with its legal counsel to discuss intervening again at the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal regarding the ongoing discrimination of First Nations children by the federal government in their provision of services. Once again, Canada contests the Tribunal orders and rulings and has filed for legal review. This time, Canada disputes the Tribunal definition of a First Nation child.

    January 13, 2021

    The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls finished its work a year and a half ago, and the issue has largely faded from news headlines during the pandemic. But this human rights crisis has not gone away. In fact, according to a survey conducted last Spring by the Native Women’s Association of Canada, violence against Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit people has increased during the pandemic.

    The federal government has still not issued a formal response to the National Inquiry’s Final Report. The much-anticipated National Action Plan to implement the National Inquiry’s 231 Calls for Justice, which was set to be released in June 2020, was delayed because of the pandemic. The government has stated that the plan is under development, but the timeline remains unknown.

    January 12, 2021

    March 2nd marks 5 years since the assassination of beloved indigenous rights and river defender Berta Cáceres in Honduras.

    The inspiring Lenca leader was internationally recognized for her determined efforts to stop construction of a dam on the Gualcarque River that Indigenous communities opposed for violating their rights. Berta was awarded the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize, known as the ‘Green Nobel’, for her leadership of this struggle. To learn more, watch a 5-minute video about why Berta was awarded the prize and listen to Berta's inspiring words at the acceptance ceremony.

    The anniversary is an important moment to make visible international support for the courageous defenders who risk their lives to continue the vital human rights work for which Berta was killed.

    January 12, 2021

    The Safe Third Country Agreement will be back in court early on February 23rd and 24th. The Federal Court has ruled that the agreement between the United States and Canada is unconstitutional and violates rights, but now the federal government is appealing that decision. 

    Your voice is needed to let our Members of Parliament know that our communities include refugees and we care about refugee rights. 

    This legal challenge dates back to July 2017, when Amnesty International, the Canadian Council of Refugees and the Canadian Council of Churches sought to challenge the STCA’s constitutionality as public interest parties, alongside refugee protection claimants from Ethiopia, Syria and El Salvador. All of the claimants had been denied entry into Canada and returned to the US because of the STCA.

    Under the STCA, refugee claimants must claim protection in the first country in which they arrive in most cases. The agreement assumes the US is a ‘safe’ country which upholds international human rights and the Refugee Convention.

    January 11, 2021

    As we came together to mark International Women’s Day last year, we had no idea that the world was about to shut down and that hard-won women’s rights were about to be put to the test during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Over the past year, because of the pandemic, we have seen the number of women experiencing gender-based violence go up, the hours women dedicate to unpaid care work skyrocket, threats faced by women human rights defenders increase, marginalized groups including sex workers become further marginalized, access to sexual and reproductive health services decrease, and the number of women in the paid labour force plummet.

    But we have also seen activists come together to demand that governments address the violence, ensure access to sexual and reproductive health services, protect activists, advocate for the rights of sex workers, and demand access to affordable and high-quality childcare.

    January 10, 2021

    Mark your calendars for action in March on behalf of unjustly imprisoned indigenous river defender Bernardo Caal Xol and other water defenders under attack.

    WHEN 

    International Day of Action for Rivers on March 14 is a celebrated around the world as a day for solidarity action with communities defending access to the water of clean, flowing rivers. World Water Day, which is celebrated each year on March 22, will focus this year on the value of water for all of us, especially amid the climate crisis. 

    WHAT

    On and around these key dates, we are organizing Days of Action in solidarity with unjustly imprisoned indigenous river defender Bernardo Caal Xol in Guatemala and other threatened water defenders.

    January 09, 2021
      “We want to raise awareness about the importance of our land, water, trees and all the animals that live there … We are threatened and persecuted for protecting something that benefits all humanity…But we won’t give up.” 

    These are the words that Jani Silva, a courageous woman environment defender in the Amazon region of Colombia, shared at Amnesty Canada’s Sparking Connections online conference in November (watch a video of what Jani said at the conference on our YouTube channel here). Not long after we talked with her, Jani had to flee her home and go into hiding because of dangerous new threats that put her life in danger and reduced state protection. 

    During December’s Write for Rights campaign, more than 9,000 Amnesty Canada supporters raised their voices to demand strengthened, not reduced, protection for Jani and other threatened defenders of her organization, ADISPA.

    January 08, 2021
    New: Close Guantanamo!

    The incoming administration in the US represents a fresh opportunity to press for closure of the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. Forty men continue to be held there, with their lives in limbo despite court orders for many of them to be released. Some have been held for almost 20 years.

    Amnesty has released new research on the ongoing human rights violations at Guantanamo Bay.

    WHAT YOU CAN DO

    Sign and share the online petition to incoming President Joe Biden. 

    Share the slides and graphics featured on Amnesty Canada’s social media feeds

    January 07, 2021

    Three years ago, in January 2018, the government announced that it would create an independent office with the power to investigate. Instead, in April 2019, it unveiled a powerless advisory post called the Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise (CORE). The CORE is little different from what has already existed for years and is ill-equipped to address human rights abuses linked to Canadian companies operating overseas.

    At the time, the Canadian government said that the promised powers to independently investigate would need to wait a little longer – until the results of an external legal review were made public, in just a few weeks’ time. Fast forward more than 18 months later and the report remains buried and the office of the CORE remains powerless.

    Then in late November 2020, the office of the Minister of Small Business, Export Development and International Trade cemented the CORE’s fate, informing our coalition (the Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability) that Canada will not give the CORE the promised powers to compel documents and testimony after all. This is outrageous!

    January 05, 2021

    In addition to the pandemic, the world is simultaneously facing another emergency– the climate crisis. And while the climate crisis might seem abstract and far off to some, it is already gravely impacting the lives of millions of people around the world, and will get worse with time if urgent action is not taken now.

    It’s high time the Canadian government and Canada’s provincial governments started treating the climate crisis like the emergency it is. Amnesty International urges Canada’s federal and provincial governments to take urgent action to reduce emissions quickly, while ensuring that human rights are always protected.

    Sign e-petition to Canadian government

    November 02, 2020

    The end of October is a time of traumatic memories for the Indigenous Rarámuri community of Coloradas de la Virgen in the Tarahumara mountains of northern Mexico. It was on October 24, 2018 that community leader and forest defender Julián Carrillo was shot dead. The assassination came just a week after Julian spoke out against the environmental impacts of a mining concession awarded by authorities to a Canadian mining company without the free, prior and informed consent of the Indigenous people whose lands would be impacted.

    The killing of Julián Carrillo is no isolated case. A shocking number of defenders of land, Indigenous territory and the environment have been killed in Mexico. Many others have received death threats and must decide whether to abandon their efforts to protect rights and the environment, or live in constant fear of being gunned down.

    This crisis is largely invisible, despite the election of President López Obrador, who promised to bring human rights change to Mexico. Violence and injustice continue, especially when communities speak out against resource extraction projects they say will damage their land and the environment.

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