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Canada

    April 15, 2021

    The Canadian Council for Refugees, Amnesty International and The Canadian Council of Churches responded with disappointment to the Federal Court of Appeal’s decision overturning the lower court’s ruling that the Canada-US Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA) is unconstitutional.

    Although it allowed the government’s appeal, the Court pointed to potential shortcomings in the review process for the Safe Third Country Agreement. The evidence is overwhelming that the US is unsafe for many refugees – yet Canada’s review process has not led the government to revoke its  designation of the US as a safe third country. We call on the government to recognize that the US is not safe and suspend the Agreement.

    April 08, 2021

    Amnesty International Canadian Section (English-Speaking) (AICES) respects the privacy of its employees’ personal information and will therefore not make any public comment on human resource matters.

    As human rights advocates, it is unacceptable that Amnesty supporters across our entire movement — from our governance, members, to our staff and volunteers have experienced or witnessed racism at AICES.

    It takes incredible courage to share these difficult experiences and we thank these individuals for coming forward. We take their accounts seriously and unreservedly apologize to all of our colleagues across our organization who have or continue to experience harm and pain. Our mission is to prevent and address racism and discrimination wherever it manifests.

    These issues are not new, and the Board takes full responsibility for our collective failure to hold ourselves accountable. There is more we could have done to address the different layers of individual, systemic and structural instances of racism.  

    March 25, 2021

    Unceded Algonquin Anishinaabe Territories [OTTAWA], 25 March 2021 :

    Today’s ruling from the Supreme Court of Canada on the Government of Canada’s Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act (GGPPA) confirms the constitutionality of the federal carbon pricing backstop. 

    March 22, 2021

    One year after enacting a measure to ban refugee claimants from crossing into Canada from the US in response to COVID-19, Amnesty International is disappointed that Canada continues to violate its international legal obligations by successively renewing anti-refugee measures. Canada’s Order in Council adopting the measure is contrary to the international obligation of non-refoulement, which prohibits states from transferring individuals to a place where they would be at real risk of serious human rights violations.

    On March 20, 2020, Canada adopted a general ban on entering Canada from the United States for the purpose of seeking asylum. The federal government subsequently introduced some limited exceptions to the general ban, including for US citizens, stateless persons and minor refugee claimants. In October 2020, Canada opened the border to broad categories of citizens, permanent residents, students, workers, and professional athletes, but continued to exclude refugee claimants entering from the US – a policy that remains in place to date.

    March 11, 2021

    Gladys Tolley, the mother of Bridget Tolley from Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation in Quebec, was struck and killed by a police officer’s vehicle on October 5, 2001. Ever since, Bridget has been advocating for police to be held accountable for her death. She runs Families of Sisters in Spirit, a volunteer-run, grassroots initiative supporting the loved ones of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit people across Canada. Since 2006, Bridget has been instrumental in organizing a vigil every October 4 on Parliament Hill, bringing together loved ones to honour their stolen mothers, aunties, sisters, and daughters.

    Bridget is one of the grassroots Indigenous advocates at the heart of the movement to end violence against First Nations, Inuit, and Métis women, girls, and two-spirit people in Canada. On February 18, 2021, Amnesty International spoke with Bridget about her many years of art, activism, and her guidance for Amnesty International’s supporters.

    March 10, 2021

    There is no doubt that humanity is facing an environmental crisis of unprecedented proportions. Climate change, biodiversity loss, ecosystems degradation and toxic pollution of air, water and soil are dramatic and interconnected processes that severely impact the enjoyment of human rights for billions of people, and particularly of those marginalized and facing discrimination.

    In the light of this emergency, it is imperative that the human right of all to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment is globally recognized.  The momentum for the global recognition of the right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment is growing.

    As pointed out by the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment, most countries have already incorporated the right to a healthy environment in their constitutions and laws. Numerous UN agencies have also called for the recognition of this right at the global level. Canada however has yet to do so.

    March 10, 2021

    This week, Amnesty International Canada and 46 other environmental, health and human rights organizations sent a letter opposing the creation of a new federal tax policy designed to subsidize increased oil production in the upcoming budget. 

    The Canadian government must make important decisions on the route to decarbonization. The path we take is a societal choice, with significant implications for intergenerational equity, social and economic justice, land use rights, access to energy, sustainable development, and our ultimate effectiveness in decarbonizing our economy. 

    By lowering the cost of production for the oil industry, the tax credit increases oil company profits and promotes the expansion of fossil fuel production. Canada is already falling short on its commitment to eliminate inefficient fossil fuel subsidies. This policy would add yet another taxpayer subsidy for the oil and gas industry.

    Read the full letter.

     

    March 10, 2021

    OTTAWA – As governments around the world prepare for World Trade Organization (WTO) meetings on intellectual property rights March 10-11, civil society groups are urging Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to support a landmark waiver that would help boost global access to COVID-19 vaccines, treatments and PPE.

    In a letter sent to the Prime Minister on Wednesday, more than 30 organizations called on Trudeau to support a proposed temporary waiver of certain obligations under the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).  

    The waiver – jointly proposed by India and South Africa – would mean WTO members would not have to grant or enforce patents and other intellectual property rights covering COVID-19 drugs, vaccines, diagnostics, and other technologies such as masks and ventilators.

    While the Canadian government has not rejected this proposal, importantly, it also has not agreed to it. This puts Canada in line with Australia, Brazil, the EU, Japan, Norway, Switzerland, the U.K., and the U.S. in obstructing the waiver.

    March 05, 2021

    Ottawa, ON – Amnesty International welcomes Canada’s decision to request formal negotiations on Syria under the Convention against Torture. 

    “Holding the Syrian government accountable for war crimes, crimes against humanity and torture is a critical step to end a culture of impunity that has plagued the country for years and provides a glimpse of justice for Syrian victims,” said Amnesty International (Canada) Secretary General Ketty Nivyabandi. 

    Amnesty International previously called on Canada to pursue formal negotiations against Syria through the International Court of Justice (ICJ). While the International Court of Justice does not have jurisdiction to try individuals accused of war crimes or crimes against humanity, it can hold states responsible for failing to ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice. 

    March 01, 2021
    Irma Leticia Mendez, from the Hamlet of Agel, San Miguel Ixtahuacán, Guatemala, had been living in her home for 13 years when suddenly, in 2006, the walls began to crack. She states: “The mining company says the fissures are due to the corn grinder I have. But it is due to the explosions underneath the ground.”

    On March 2 the Federal Court of Canada will hear a case alleging that the Canadian government is improperly withholding information about its diplomatic interventions on behalf of a Canadian company accused of human rights abuse at its mine in Guatemala.  

    The lawsuit, filed by Shin Imai, York University law professor and co-founder of the Justice & Corporate Accountability Project (JCAP), is supported by several civil society organizations including Amnesty International Canada.

    It asks the court to order Global Affairs Canada to remove the redactions on 20 pages of documents detailing Canadian officials’ communications with the Guatemalan government and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) after the commission called for Goldcorp’s Marlin mine to be shut down in 2010. 

    February 27, 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.

    February 27, 2021

    DOWNLOAD THE CAMPAIGN GUIDE

    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.

    February 23, 2021

    February 23rd, 2021 – Montréal, QC – A youth-led environmental group is appearing before the Quebec Court of Appeal today seeking to proceed with their class action lawsuit against the Canadian government for failing to act on the climate crisis. Amnesty International is intervening in the appeal. It will argue that the Court must consider Canada’s international human rights law obligation to provide effective remedies for human rights violations, such as those caused by the failure to take appropriate actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

    February 22, 2021

    On 23 and 24 February, the Federal Court of Appeal will hear the Canadian government’s appeal of a decision finding that the Canada-US Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA) is unconstitutional. Amnesty International (AI), the Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR), and The Canadian Council of Churches (CCC) will once again join individual refugee claimants as their lawyers reiterate to the court that the STCA violates the right to life, liberty, and security of the person, as well as equality rights guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

    February 19, 2021

    “I am an example because the government’s suspicion that I was a criminal was totally and one hundred percent wrong. I was never charged, let alone convicted, of any crime. The only independent judge I ever faced during my ordeal had ordered my release after seeing the secret evidence that even I wasn’t allowed to see.”
    Former Guantánamo detainee Mohamedou Slahi, referred to as “The Mauritanian” by intelligence officials

    In early February 2021, the Biden administration launched a formal review of the future of the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay. Will there be a genuine commitment to truth, accountability and remedy?

    Almost 800 men have passed through the US detention facility at Guantánamo Bay. As the facility enters its 20th year, 40 Muslim men remain there facing indefinite detention. Two of them have been there since the facility opened on January 11, 2020, and fifteen since that first year. All 40 men have been held for over 12 years. At least 24 of them were held in secret CIA custody prior to their transfer to Guantánamo, some for over four years.

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