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I Welcome Refugees

    July 24, 2018

    As the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration holds hearings as part of its study related to the “Impact of Irregular Crossing of Canada's Southern Border”, a group of civil society leaders is calling for a measured response, focussed on avoiding alarmist rhetoric and ensuring the protection of the human rights of refugee claimants.

    Among the Committee’s top priorities should be to avoid politicization of the topic by recognizing that Canada does not face a crisis along the Canada/US border and focusing on effective coordination between all levels of government in responding to the needs of refugee claimants. In addition, Canada must take the long overdue step of suspending the Safe Third Country Agreement with the United States, particularly as the Trump Administration continues to assail and strip away human rights protections for refugees and migrants.

    Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty international Canada said:

    June 28, 2018
      US authorities must put an immediate end to both the separation and detention of children and families who come to the US border with Mexico seeking asylum, while also immediately reuniting the thousands of families who remain separated as a result of the Trump administration’s unlawful and damaging policies, said Amnesty International ahead of the Global Day of Action against these practices planned for 30 June.   “Despite the executive order that President Trump signed last week, thousands of frightened children are still being kept apart from their distraught parents, who have no idea when they’ll see them again. By holding kids in cages or flying them to shelters thousands of miles away, the US authorities are deliberately inflicting deep and lasting mental suffering on them in a bid to deter desperate families from seeking asylum,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.  
    June 26, 2018

    Myanmar: Military top brass must face justice for crimes against humanity targeting Rohingya

    Report names 13 officials with a key role in murder, rape and deportation of Rohingya Myanmar’s security forces committed nine distinct types of crimes against humanity; responsibility goes to the top of the chain of command Calls for accountability, including a UN Security Council referral to the ICC

    Amnesty International has gathered extensive, credible evidence implicating Myanmar’s military Commander-in-Chief, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, and 12 other named individuals in crimes against humanity committed during the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya population in northern Rakhine State.

    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

    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.

    January 26, 2018

    Saúl* (we are not sharing his real name or his face because of ongoing risks for his family) fled to Mexico from Honduras after surviving an armed attack that caused him to fear for his life.

    He applied for asylum but Mexican authorities rejected his claim, arguing that Saul could find safety in Honduras. He was swiftly deported in violation of his right to appeal the decision.

    Amnesty International researchers interviewed Saúl in Honduras three weeks later. He expressed an acute fear for his life and had already suffered an attack in his house on arriving home. A few days later, Saúl was murdered.

    This is no isolated case.  

    Mexican migration authorities routinely turn back thousands of people from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala to their countries without considering the risk to their life and security upon return.

    January 23, 2018

    Mexican migration authorities are routinely turning back thousands of people from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala to their countries without considering the risk to their life and security upon return, in many cases violating international and domestic law by doing so, Amnesty International said in a new report.

    Based on a survey that captured 500 experiences of Central Americans travelling through Mexico, Amnesty International found that the National Institute of Migration (INM) is systematically violating the non-refoulement principle, a binding pillar of international and Mexican law that prohibits the return of people to a real risk of persecution or other serious human rights violations. This serious failure by the Mexican government can cost, in many cases, the lives or safety of those returned to the country from which they fled. 

    January 15, 2018
    A Mexican immigration officer prepares to deport a child and his mother to Guatemala  Photo credit: Jose CABEZAS/AFP/Getty Images

    Mexico is on the front lines of a massive refugee crisis, a crisis effectively hidden by our mass media’s single-minded focus on the plight of refugees seeking safe haven in Europe.

    Huge numbers of people are fleeing across the southern border from Guatemala into Mexico because they fear for their lives amidst skyrocketing violence in Guatemala, and neighbouring El Salvador and Honduras, countries with some of the highest murder rates on the planet. 

    Mexico has laws and systems to protect refugees in Mexico. Yet Mexican authorities are constantly failing to comply with their legal obligations. Instead, they are sending endangered people back to life-threatening situations.  

    Agents of the Mexican Immigration Service detain migrants in San Mateo, Chiapas Photo:ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP/Getty Images

     

    December 13, 2017

    by Alex Neve, Secretary General, Amnesty International Canada

    Last month CNN news footage caught on film what authorities in Libya and in Europe do not want you to see: migrants being bought and sold.

    A damning new Amnesty International report released this week paints a shocking picture of how this terrible degradation of human life has come to happen. “Libya’s Dark Web of Collusion” documents the systematic human rights abuse of 20,000 refugees and migrants from all over Africa and elsewhere, who are being held in detention Libya.

    Tortured. Deprived of food. Raped. Drowned at sea. Bought and sold.  

    October 20, 2017

    More countries need to step up and pledge their support for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh amid an unprecedented humanitarian crisis, Amnesty International said today.

    The meeting of high-level representatives of donor countries at the UN’s office in Geneva on Monday must include pledges of new money, including from countries in the region, to support rising numbers of Rohingya refugees who have sought shelter in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar district.

    The recent influx estimated to be nearly 600,000 people has brought the total Rohingya refugee community in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar district to more than 800,000.

    “This is an unprecedented crisis that needs an immediate and sustained response from the international community. This means that more countries, particularly those from the region, need to play a much bigger role and share the burden of responsibility. Bangladesh, a poor country which has shown extraordinary generosity, cannot be left to deal with this situation alone,” said Omar Waraich, Deputy South Asia Director at Amnesty International.

    October 16, 2017
    Refugee Camp in Uganda

    Moses Moini had such hope for his home and family in South Sudan.  In 2011 South Sudan gained its independence from Sudan, following years of conflict.  Resources began to pour into the country.  Moses was so pleased that he could help his mother build the best home she had ever had in their village in Kajo Kaji Country in Central Equatoria State. He believed she could live the rest of her life in comfort aided by the money he sent from Canada.  She would never need to flee again.  She was safe.

    Sadly the hope was short lived, by 2013 fighting had broken out between members of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) loyal to President Salva Kiir and those loyal to the then Vice-President Riek Machar.  The conflict took on an increasingly ethnic dimension, with the leaders of the two main opposing factions belonging to the two largest ethnic groups - President Kiir, a Dinka, and former Vice-President Machar, a Nuer.  They each drew much of their support from members of their own ethnic groups.  A peace deal, signed in August 2015 by President Kiir and Machar, which reinstated Machar as Vice-President, was never fully implemented and eventually collapsed in July 2016.

    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.

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