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Canada

    May 17, 2019

    Amnesty International welcomes Canada’s decision to remove all countries from the Designated Countries of Origin (DCO) list. The DCO regime violates the rights of refugee protection claimants to a fair hearing by imposing shorter timelines and other measures for no reason other than the claimant’s country of origin. Furthermore, delays in accessing the Pre-Removal Risk Assessment (PRRA) for claimants from DCO countries have been found to be unconstitutional.

    In March 2019, the Federal Court struck down the distinction between the DCO and non-DCO claimants’ access to the PRRA. While DCO claimants were ineligible to apply for a PRRA for 36 months from the date of rejection of their claims, non-DCO refugee claimants were ineligible for 12 months after rejection of their claims. This difference in treatment was considered unconstitutional. Similarly, in July 2015, the Federal Court found that differential treatment in accessing the Refugee Appeal Division between DCO and non-DCO claimants was contrary to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

    May 16, 2019

    Amnesty International’s goal is to ensure that the human rights of everyone, everywhere are respected, protected, and upheld. We conduct research and generate action to prevent and halt human rights violations and demand justice for those whose rights have been violated.

    Amnesty International recognizes that lesbian, gay, transgender, queer, and two-spirit (LGBTQ2S), Indigenous, Black, and other people of colour in Canada and around the world disproportionately experience human rights violations perpetrated by the police, state actors, and non-state actors because of systems of oppression.

    State and police violence against LGBTQ2S, Indigenous, Black, and other people of colour violate the right to life; the rights to liberty and security of the person; the right to safety and to live free from violence  and discrimination; the rights to protest, freedom of expression, freedom of association, and peaceful assembly; and the right to live free from torture and other cruel and inhuman treatment.

    May 13, 2019

    This article was originally published by First Nations Drum 

    By Grand Chief Dr. Abel Bosum and Alex Neve

    In 2010, former prime minister Stephen Harper publicly reversed his government’s opposition to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. In a formal “statement of support,” the Harper government said that it had listened to Indigenous leaders in Canada and “learned from the experience of other countries” and was now “confident” that Canada could move ahead with implementation of the Declaration “in a manner that is consistent with our Constitution and legal framework.”

    So why wouldn’t Conservative Members of Parliament and Senators support legislation intended to finally move ahead with the work of implementing the Declaration in Canada?

    May 13, 2019
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    May 13, 2019

    Hon. Carolyn Bennett

    Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs

    Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada

    10 rue Wellington

    Gatineau, QC K1A 0H4

    CC: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau; Minister of Justice David Lametti; Minister of International Development and Minister for Women and Gender Equality Maryam Monsef; Minister of Indigenous Services Seamus O’Regan

    RE: Ending Sex Discrimination in the Indian Act

    Dear Minister Bennett,

    May 10, 2019

    Amnesty International welcomes today’s landmark decision in Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness v Chhina, finding that the statutory regime in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act does not provide for review that is “at least as broad and advantageous as habeas corpus.”

    This case was about the basic right of immigration detainees to challenge the lawfulness of their detention by way of habeas corpus – a constitutionally protected right rooted in centuries of common law protections limiting the power of the State to arbitrarily deprive individuals of their liberty. When the case was heard last fall, Amnesty International argued that Canada has an international legal obligation to guarantee immigration detainees are able to exercise this right.

    May 10, 2019

    Why is a caribou protection plan needed in northeast BC?

    The BC government reported in 2018 that the six caribou herds in the southern Peace region “have undergone a dramatic decline in numbers” over the last decade and will disappear entirely if conditions do not change. All of the herds are currently listed as “threatened” under the Species at Risk Act, but the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada has recommended that five of the herds be classified under the even more urgent category of “endangered.”

    May 10, 2019
    Partnership Agreement on Caribou Protection in Northeast BC

    “When caribou disappear, a piece of our culture disappears and we lose a little bit of who we are as the Indigenous people of the area.” - Chief Roland Willson, West Moberly First Nations

    A Partnership Agreement between First Nations and the federal and provincial governments is an important opportunity to take practical steps to recover endangered caribou populations in British Columbia and take meaningful action on reconciliation.

    In the face of a public backlash characterized by racism and bigotry, Amnesty International is urging Premier John Horgan and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to be resolute in fulfilling their commitments and obligations, including recovery of endangered species, reconciliation with First Nations, and combatting racism, by seeing the Partnership Agreement on Caribou Recovery through to implementation.

    May 09, 2019

    This article was originally published in the Toronto Star.

    By Justin Mohammed

    Refugee claimants who cross the Canada-U.S. border irregularly do not reach that decision lightly. Upon doing so, they are arrested and temporarily detained until police establish their identity and ensure they aren’t a security threat. Possessions are restricted to those that they can carry. The route can be dangerous; frostbite has claimed fingers, and hypothermia has even claimed a life. After the refugee protection claim is launched, they remain in limbo for months or years without a guarantee they will be allowed to stay.

    This is what refugee claimants coming through the U.S. weigh when they decide to seek Canada’s protection.

    In spite of this, the federal government has decided to tighten its borders, further targeting refugee claimants who seek Canada’s protection by travelling through the U.S.

    May 03, 2019

    All around the world, Pride marches and events are held to celebrate hard won rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people and to continue demanding equality. But in many parts of the world, Prides are not allowed to take place or face backlash, repression and violence. And many of the activists working to ensure LGBTI rights are protected, respected, and upheld face harassment, criminalization, and violence.

    This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, the uprising that saw the mobilization of LGBTI people against police harassment and brutality in New York City. The Stonewall riots are now celebrated worldwide as a cornerstone of the liberation movements for LGBTI communities, and led to the founding of the first Pride marches in the United States.

    Join Amnesty International this summer as we participate in Pride festivals in Canada and around the world alongside LGBTI partner organizations to take action in support of LGBTI rights and demonstrate solidarity with LGBTI human rights defenders.

    May 02, 2019

    On Friday, May 3rd, students across Canada and around the world will strike for the climate and call on governments to take urgent action to stop climate change.

    Amnesty International is in solidarity with the climate strike and warns that the failure of governments to address climate change may amount to the greatest inter-generational human rights violation in history. Climate change affects the rights to life, health, housing, water and sanitation, among others, and it disproportionately affects those who are already marginalized or subject to discrimination.

    Amnesty’s 2019 Human Rights Agenda calls on Canada to address the human rights implications of climate change by, among other measures:

    Ending the dependence on fossil fuels by 2040 Ending fossil fuel subsidies Promoting a just transition to a zero-carbon economy Ensuring that the free, prior, and informed consent of Indigenous communities for any new energy projects is respected

    Climate change is a human rights issue. As Amnesty develops and deepens our work on climate justice, we need you to take action and call on Canada to stop climate change.

    May 01, 2019

    Amnesty International is pressing the Canadian government to take decisive action on human rights at home and on the world stage in 2018. The call comes as we release our annual Human Rights Agenda for Canada, pressing the federal government to build on progress seen in 2017 while addressing ongoing serious human rights shortcomings.

    April 25, 2019
    Earth defenders and garment workers are suffering staggering human rights abuses: so why has Canada's new corporate accountability watchdog been de-fanged? 

    On April 8, Canada's Minister for International Trade Diversification announced the appointment of the new Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise (CORE). The position was first announced to great fanfare 15 months ago, but sat vacant until Calgary lawyer Sheri Meyerhoffer was appointed. Unfortunately, we have learned that the Ombudsperson's mandate and powers are much weaker than promised.

    The most startling difference is that the Ombudsperson is not currently imbued with investigatory powers such as the ability to compel documents and testimony from parties to complaints. In order for the Ombudsperson to be effective and to prevent future human rights abuses in the context of Canadian extractives and garment projects, the office must have these powers.

    April 23, 2019

    Canada is on the brink of a breakthrough to protect the rights of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. But urgent action is needed to ensure that this historic opportunity isn’t lost.

    The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada called the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples “the framework for reconciliation.” Last year, the House of Commons passed Bill C-262, a private members bill requiring the federal government to finally move ahead with the work of implementing the Declaration.

    Good news: On May 16, the Senate voted to move the Bill to Committee for study. This is the next step on the path to a final vote. Public support for the Declaration and Bill C-262 is clearly having an effect. Thank you to everyone who has sent emails or made phone calls!

    Unfortunately, however, passage of the Bill is still far from certain. Time is running out in this session of Parliament. And private members bills are particularly vulnerable to delaying tactics. If Bill C-262 isn’t passed by the Senate before this session of Parliament concludes, this crucial opportunity to advance the work of reconciliation will be lost.

    April 23, 2019

    By Grand Chief Edward John and Sheryl Lightfoot

    The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UN Declaration) was developed through more than two decades of intensive engagement between states and Indigenous peoples from around the world. Every provision was elaborated on a foundation of international law standards that already existed at the time, whether in the provisions of human rights treaties or in the body of interpretation that emerged around them. Extensive balancing provisions were added to ensure that the UN Declaration would be interpreted consistent with such core principles as justice, democracy, equality, and respect for human rights.

    Canada played an active, and at times crucial, role in that process. We recall key times in the negotiations when Canadian officials raised Canadian law and policies as examples to support provisions of the UN Declaration. To date, the UN Declaration has been reaffirmed ten times by the UN General Assembly by consensus. No country in the world formally opposes the Declaration.

    April 17, 2019
    Amnesty Launches New "Call the Minister" Action for Justice for Mount Polley Mine Disaster

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