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Canada

    July 17, 2018

    In an Open Letter, Amnesty International and the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) are calling on Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan for answers regarding possible Canadian complicity in grave human rights abuses in the course of a joint maritime anti-drug trafficking operation known as Operation Martillo undertaken by the Canadian Navy in cooperation with the US Coast Guard.

    In the Open Letter, the organizations cite a joint investigation by CBC’s The Current and the Investigative Fund, as well as court documents filed in the United States, outlining a well-corroborated and extensive pattern of human rights violations associated with Operation Martillo. Among the concerns raised in the report are potential breaches of international human rights law against people suspected of maritime drug trafficking, in particular concerns related to arrest, detention, torture and mistreatment while detained on board US Coast Guard Vessels, including after being transferred from Canadian Navy Ships.

    July 05, 2018

    A coalition of civil society organizations is calling on Canada to commit to an independent, external review following a flawed and inadequate internal investigation in the wake of media reports suggesting Canadian-built armoured vehicles may have been used by Saudi Arabian armed forces in violence directed at civilian populations in the Kingdom’s Eastern Province.

    In an Open Letter to Minister of Foreign Affairs Chystia Freeland, the coalition expressed grave concern that the internal government report, which was released publically in May 2018, revealed “major shortcomings” both in the investigation of the allegations and in interpretation of Canadian obligations under interna­tional law.

    July 04, 2018

    The Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR), Amnesty International (AI) and the Canadian Council of Churches (CCC) yesterday completed filing extensive evidence in Federal Court to support their legal challenge of the designation of the United States as a safe third country for refugees.

    “Canadians have seen over the last few weeks how refugees are treated heartlessly in the US under President Trump: children separated from their parents, long-term detention in horrific conditions, criminal prosecution of people just for crossing the border to seek safety, new policies closing the door on women fleeing gender-based violence,” said Claire Roque, CCR President. “The conclusion is clear: the US cannot be considered a safe country for refugees.”

    June 21, 2018

    Earlier today, I decided to mark Indigenous Peoples Day by making a donation to support the First Nations legal struggle to stop the massively destructive Site C dam in northeast BC.

    I’ve had the pleasure of travelling many times to Treaty 8 territory and I’ve become a passionate supporter of the efforts of First Nations and farmers to save the beautiful, irreplaceable Peace River Valley.

    But there was another reason I wanted to support this legal challenge. It has to do what Truth and Reconciliation Commission Chair, Senator Murray Sinclair has called “the War of Law.”

    To me this powerful phrase invokes not only laws that are harmful in their intent and purpose  - of which there have been many – but all the ways that the law is applied in a discriminatory and unequal manner, with often devastating impacts.

    June 12, 2018

    QUÉBEC and OTTAWA, June 10, 2018 - The Ligue des droits et libertés (LDL) and Amnesty International Canada (English-speaking and Francophone branches) concluded an independent monitoring mission today that focused on the respect of civil liberties in the context of the G7 summit. Although the organizations were relieved to note that there were no serious injuries, an impressive display of police force—both before and during the G7 summit and as much in La Malbaie as in Québec—contributed to creating a truly fearful atmosphere for anyone who wished to express themselves openly and peacefully during the summit.

    “Should a climate of fear and intimidation that hinders freedom of expression be considered a successful public security operation?” asked Geneviève Paul, Director General of Amnistie internationale Canada francophone.

    June 12, 2018

    The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, P.C., M.P.
    Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship House of Commons
    Ottawa ON K1A 0A6

    Dear Minister,

    Re: Independence of Canada’s refugee determination system

    An independent review of refugee determination procedures at the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) was established last spring to examine opportunities for enhanced efficiency and productivity.  To date, the results of this review have not been released. There are concerns that the government is considering undermining the role of the IRB as an independent quasi-judicial tribunal responsible for refugee determination in Canada. We are writing to insist that in any new scenario, the independence of the IRB and refugee determination system in Canada be preserved, and that the idea of eliminating the independent adjudication of refugee claims not be taken any further.

    June 08, 2018

    Quebec City, June 7, 2018 – On the eve of the G7 Summit in Quebec, Amnesty International Canada Francophone Branch (AICF) and the Quebec Civil Liberties Union (QCLU, known in French as the Ligue des droits et libertés) have issued a progress report on their mission to monitor respect for civil liberties at this event. The two organizations announced this mission on April 18, 2018 and have obtained certain assurances from the authorities since then, but remain concerned about a number of issues.

    Discussions with Quebec government officials

    June 05, 2018

    Ottawa, June 5, 2018 – Amnesty International is alarmed at the government of Canada’s failure to act on a recommendation by the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls’ to establish a national task force to review and reopen cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit people.

    At a press conference today responding to recommendations in the Inquiry’s Interim Report and request for an extension, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Carolyn Bennett said it was premature for a national task force to be struck before the National Inquiry’s final report is issued on April 30, 2019.

    June 01, 2018

    In the coming weeks, the Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador will make a decision that could have profound consequences for the health and safety of Inuit people for generations to come.

    The Muskrat Falls dam is nearly complete but a crucial concern remains unaddressed. The best and most reliable studies of the downstream impacts of the dam warn that filling the reservoir will generate dangerous levels of methyl mercury which will then contaminate the fish and seals on which Inuit people on Lake Melville depend.

    Scientists from Harvard University have called for all vegetation and topsoil to be removed from the reservoir area - a recommendation that has been taken up by the majority of members of a provincial advisory body.

    There are outstanding questions about how this can be done. What is clear is that the province must not gamble with the lives of Inuit people. The ability of Inuit people to live off the fish and seals of Lake Melville must be protected. The Muskrat Falls dam must not be completed until these concerns have been properly addressed.

    May 31, 2018

    The Coalition for the Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples – made up of Indigenous Nations, Indigenous peoples’ organizations, civil society groups and individual experts and advocates - is commending Members of Parliament on the adoption of Bill C-262, a private members bill to implement the UN Declaration.  

    Grand Chief Wilton Littlechild, who served as Commissioner with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, said today, “The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is a crucial and indispensable tool for the urgent work of reconciliation. Romeo Saganash deserves the thanks of all Canadians for bringing this Bill forward, as do all the other Members of Parliament who supported it. With Bill C-262 now moving to the Senate, we have cleared an important hurdle in bringing the UN Declaration to life in Canada.”

    May 29, 2018

    Premier Dwight Ball
    Government of Newfoundland and Labrador

    Dear Premier Ball,

    The Muskrat Falls Dam was approved on the assumption that it would have “no measurable effects” on Inuit people living in the downstream Lake Melville Estuary. We now know that this is not a safe assumption.

    A Harvard University led team of scientists has warned that completion of the Muskrat Fall dam will result in a dramatic increase in exposure to methyl mercury among hundreds of Inuit people who rely on fish, seal, and other wild foods from the downstream Lake Melville Estuary.

    No one should be forced to choose between eating meat contaminated with dangerously high levels of mercury or abandoning a way of life central to who they are.

    May 28, 2018

    Open Letter to All Members of Parliament

    Bill C-262 provides principled framework for implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

    Our nations and organizations are urging all Members of Parliament to support Bill C-262 in a non-partisan manner when it comes to a vote at third reading.

    The government of Stephen Harper endorsed the UN Declaration in 2010 and expressed “confidence” that the Declaration is consistent with Canada’s Constitution and legal framework. The government of Justin Trudeau has repeatedly pledged to fully implement the Declaration. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission, whose Calls to Action have been widely endorsed by a wide range of political parties at the federal, provincial and territorial levels, urged all governments to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as ‘the framework for reconciliation’ in Canada.  

    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.

    May 25, 2018
    Campaign and Local Organizing Committee of the 2018 Canadian Council for Refugees National Youth Action Gathering

    Brought together by shared passion and commitment for inclusivity, youth empowerment and human rights, the Local Organizing Committee for the 2018 Canadian Council for Refugees’ Youth Action Gathering (YAG) is working to bring together immigrant and refugee youth from across Canada to share, learn and network on strategies to address common challenges. The Local Organizing Committee consists of a partnership between York University’s  Centre for Refugee Studies (CRS) and Syria Response and Refugee Initiative, Amnesty International at York and the World University Service of Canada’s (WUSC)  Keele Campus Committee. All of them have been active long term participants in the York U Refugees Welcome Here! Campaign.

    May 25, 2018
    Chief Rudy Turtle, Dr. Donna Mergler and Judy Da Silva outside Queen's Park

    Chief Rudy Turtle of the Grassy Narrows First Nation describes a community that was once able to thrive from living on the land. But all that changed in the 1960s when the waterways flowing through this northern Ontario community were poisoned by mercury dumped by an upstream pulp mill. 

    Now, after decades of struggle to draw attention to their situation, a new report released by the First Nation conclusively demonstrates just how devastating that harm has been.

    The report, based on an extensive household survey of community members, compares key dimensions of health at Grassy Narrows to other First Nations and to the general population.

    What the report depicts is one of the worst community health crises in Canada.

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