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    January 15, 2021

    OTTAWA – Canadian journalists have an extra week to submit their stories to Amnesty International’s Media Awards in Canada, the human rights organization announced today.

    The English-speaking branch of Amnesty International’s Canadian section will now accept submissions up to 11:59 p.m. EST on Jan. 22, 2021.

    These awards honour outstanding reporting on human rights issues by journalists in Canada and Canadian journalists abroad, while also increasing awareness and understanding of human rights issues for all in Canada.

    If you are a Canadian journalist or working as a journalist in Canada, we invite you to review the judging criteria below and submit your 2020 human rights stories with the link provided. We look forward to hearing from you.

    All entries must be published or broadcast in Canada between Jan. 1, 2020 and Dec. 31, 2020. Unfortunately, we can only accept English submissions at this time.

    For more information, please contact: Lucy Scholey, Media Relations, Amnesty International Canada, 613-853-2142, lscholey@amnesty.ca

    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 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 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 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

    December 04, 2020

    Canada’s announcement of a climate accountability bill (Bill C-12: Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act) is a step in the right direction but is insufficient to ensure human rights protection in the face of climate change.

    To meet its international human rights obligations, Canada must ensure that the shift towards a zero-carbon economy and a more resilient society: addresses systemic inequalities, combats discrimination, and promotes gender, class, racial, disability and intergenerational justice; ensures a just transition for workers and communities impacted by the shift from a fossil fuel economy; and respects, protects and fulfils human rights. These principles should be clearly set out in the bill’s preamble.

    December 03, 2020

    Responding to news that the federal government introduced legislation to implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Ana Collins, Amnesty International's Indigenous Rights Campaign Advisor, said:

    November 23, 2020

    In response to the police intervention early in the morning of November 21, 2020 to disperse the occupation of a downtown intersection in Ottawa and arrest activists and allies with the Ottawa Black Diaspora Coalition, Anishinabe Land Protectors, and the Justice for Abdi Abdirahman Coalition, Amnesty International Canada Secretary General Ketty Nivyabandi said:

    “We express our solidarity with communities calling for long overdue action to address systemic racism and transformative approaches to public safety.

    “Peaceful protests are a fundamental part of a vibrant society. The right to freedom of peaceful assembly is a vital means of political engagement, with a long history of being a valid and effective means of bringing issues and grievances to light. Facilitating and protecting the right to freedom of assembly contributes to the protection of other human rights.

    November 20, 2020

    We, members of the Canadian Coalition on Human Rights in China, represent groups across the country who are deeply concerned by systemic and unrelenting violations of human rights by the Government of China. We are also deeply troubled by the longstanding and worsening efforts, carried out by individuals and organizations that are led, backed or encouraged by the Chinese government, to harass and intimidate human rights defenders from our communities here in Canada. We reiterate our calls for the Canadian government to prioritize concern for human rights in our relationship with China. 

    We welcome the recent statement by Prime Minister Trudeau calling attention to the intensification of intimidation and harassment, here in Canada, by agents and proxies of the Chinese government, in an effort to silence and intimidate voices raised against wholesale intimidation, cultural genocide, linguistic suppression and curtailing the freedom of conscience and religion. 

    November 12, 2020

    Following the conclusion of a meeting of Federal, Provincial and Territorial Ministers responsible for human rights, 26 of the civil society groups that took part in a discussion session with ministers during the meeting condemned the obstructive attitude of some governments and expressed disappointment that, overall, governments continue to fall far short of advancing the collaborative agenda that is so sorely needed to ensure consistent and effective implementation of the country’s international human rights obligations.

    The meeting, two consecutive half-days over the course of November 9 and 10, marks only the third time in the past 32 years that ministers from across the country have come together to discuss human rights protection in Canada. Previous meetings were held in 1988 and 2017. This sporadic political attention to an intergovernmental human rights agenda in Canada is disgraceful and has long been a source of serious concern among civil society groups, Indigenous organizations, United Nations human rights bodies and parliamentary committees.

    November 09, 2020

    Civil society groups are outraged and deeply disappointed that the governments of Quebec and Alberta are not participating in the Federal-Provincial-Territorial ministerial human rights meeting November 9-10.

    The organizations, including Amnesty International Canada’s English- and French-speaking sections, learned late last week that the Alberta and Quebec governments will send observers to the meeting, instead of their ministers responsible for human rights. The Quebec government has made it clear that it opposes plans to reference “systemic racism” in a joint media release that will be issued following the meeting, while the Alberta government refuses to recognize that Canada’s international human rights obligations are binding on the province.

    The Federal, Provincial and Territorial ministers responsible for human rights will be meeting, virtually, to discuss their collective responsibility to ensure that the human rights of all people are protected across the country. This is only the third meeting of its kind in the past 32 years, with the other meetings having taken place in 1988 and 2017.

    November 06, 2020

    OTTAWA – Amnesty International is pleased to announce that its first-ever online human rights conference in Canada will feature an array of high-profile activists, Indigenous rights advocates, and award-winning authors. 

    Sparking Connections is an online, nation-wide gathering of Amnesty International Canada’s English-speaking membership and wider community. Organized by Amnesty International’s members, the conference will take place over two weeks from Nov. 7-21. 

    Everyone is invited to participate in skill-building workshops, attend community events and tune into the incredible keynote speeches. 

    Dr. Pam Palmater, a Mi’kmaw lawyer, scholar and social justice advocate, will launch the conference on Nov. 7 on 1 p.m. EST with a keynote address on what it means to do human rights work on stolen, Indigenous lands. The general public can live stream the keynote here.  

    November 05, 2020

     

    Workers in the home delivery business were already facing precarious labor conditions before the COVID-19 pandemic. A lack of basic protections for ‘gig economy’ workers in warehouses and home delivery roles has taken on a new urgency as the very workers who ensure that food, medicines, and other essential goods are shipped out on time and delivered to your door are exposed to greater risks to their own health and safety.  

    Amnesty’s new global campaign calls on the most powerful companies in the home delivery sector, starting with Amazon, to guarantee the rights of workers, including health, safety, and labor rights, such as the right to join a union.  

    Why Amazon?  

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