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    September 21, 2018

    Human Rights Council adopts Universal Periodic Review outcome on Canada

    Amnesty International is disappointed that Canada’s response to its UPR, while containing welcome commitments, does not commit to substantial advances and primarily confirms initiatives already underway.

    Canada reiterates that a protocol and stakeholder engagement strategy are being developed to coordinate implementation of international human rights obligations across federal, provincial and territorial jurisdictions, but offers no concrete plans or timeline to ensure these urgent reforms advance.[1]

    Treaty ratification commitments appear to have weakened from previous announcements about moving to accede to the Optional Protocols to the Convention against Torture and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This response states there is no decision yet regarding accession.[2]

    September 20, 2018

    A coalition of women’s rights organizations is calling on women foreign ministers participating in a precedent-setting meeting in Montreal this week to make concrete and accountable commitments during the UN General Assembly to recognize, protect and support increasingly persecuted women human rights defenders around the world.

    In a statement released today, more than 160 women’s rights and civil society organizations warn that women who defend human rights are confronting a global and increasingly “heightened risk of experiencing human rights violations, including forms of gender-based and sexual violence, threats, harassment, and defamation campaigns linked to their status as women.”  In response, and in recognition of the vital contributions made by women human rights defenders in struggles of global significance, the coalition is calling on attendees at the Montreal Summit to commit before the UN General Assembly to:

    September 18, 2018

    More than one year after the United Nations' top anti-racism body raised serious concerns in its review of Canada’s track record, the Trudeau government has missed a key reporting deadline and has failed entirely to make any progress in implementing most of the recommendations that the Committee had prioritized for urgent action, warns Amnesty International Canada.

    “It is deeply concerning that not only has Canada missed a key deadline to report back on four urgent recommendations prioritized by the Committee, but little or nothing has been done to address these glaringly discriminatory areas of Canadian policy and practice highlighted by the Committee over a year ago. This includes continued construction of the Site C dam despite brazen violations of Indigenous rights; failure to ensure justice and accountability for the Mount Polley mining disaster; and continued refusal to suspend the Safe Third Country Agreement, jeopardizing the rights of refugees,” said Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada.     

    September 18, 2018

    Amnesty International is deeply disappointed by the adjournment of Abousfian Abdelrazik’s civil case against the federal government in which he is seeking remedy for Canada’s role in grave human rights abuses he endured while detained in Sudan from 2003-2006 and for obstruction of his return to Canada until 2009. The adjournment was granted following an indication, on the eve of the opening of the long-anticipated 8-week trial, that the government is making an application under Section 38 of the Canada Evidence Act, for documents which the government itself has already released to be reviewed for national security concerns.  

    Notably Federal Court Justice St. Louis agrees to grant the adjournment “reluctantly” and orders the government to immediately pay the costs of Mr. Abdelrazik’s legal team in preparing for trial, costs that she concludes have been “thrown away as a result of the adjournment”.

    September 17, 2018

    Amnesty International will observe the trial of eight people accused of the 2016 murder of Honduran human rights defender Berta Cáceres, beginning next Monday, 17 September at the Supreme Court of Justice in Tegucigalpa.

    “It’s crucial that the Honduran authorities ensure that this trial meets international standards of fairness and that justice prevails in one of the most emblematic crimes in the nation’s recent history,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    “In a country plagued by threats and attacks against land and environmental human rights defenders, Honduras’ justice system can set an important precedent by upholding Berta’s family’s rights to truth, justice and reparation, and by showing that the killing of human rights defenders will not go unpunished.”

    A representative of Amnesty International, Kathy Price, will attend the trial from 17 to 19 September, while other members of the organization will monitor the proceedings remotely and in person throughout the remainder of the trial. Price will be available for interviews in person, on Skype or by phone.

    September 12, 2018

    Amnesty International today condemned the Ontario government’s tabling of legislation, Bill 31, The Efficient Local Government Act, which invokes the “notwithstanding clause” in section 33 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

    “No government in Canada should take the contemptuous step of disregard for the Charter of Rights that the notwithstanding clause offers them,” said Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada. “To do so in a case involving the fundamental freedom of expression in a context in which core principles around elections and the underpinnings of our democracy are at stake is particularly disgraceful. This invocation of section 33 by Premier Ford’s government should be withdrawn immediately. Questions about the interpretation and application of the Charter should be pursued through appeals and left to judges to determine.”

    September 12, 2018

    Our Nations and organizations urge all Senators to support Bill C-262, a private members bill to ensure that the federal government implements the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

    The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada called the UN Declaration “the framework for reconciliation at all levels and across all sectors of Canadian society.” In its Calls to Action, the TRC urged the federal government to fully implement this global, consensus instrument for the protection and realization of the human rights of Indigenous peoples.

    Bill C-262 provides a principled and pragmatic framework for achieving this goal.

    Passage of Bill C-262 will establish a legislative framework requiring the federal government to work in consultation and cooperation with First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples to develop a national action plan for implementation of the Declaration. The Bill also includes a collaborative process to reform federal laws and policies, and to report regularly to Parliament on the progress made.

    This Bill deserves the support of all Senators.

    September 10, 2018

    Take ACTION in September-October to help us make an IMPACT during the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence Campaign in November-December!

    Amnesty International Canada has long been campaigning alongside organizations like Women's Shelters Canada for a National Action Plan to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence. Read this to learn more about why Canada so badly needs a national action plan.

    August 30, 2018

    October 2018 marks 14 years since Amnesty International released our “Stolen Sisters” report. In 2004, our report was ground breaking and helped to shine a light on a little known Canadian human rights crisis, and it promoted solutions identified by the Native Women’s Association of Canada and other partners in the Indigenous community.

    August 23, 2018

    by Craig Benjamin and Jackie Hansen

    A new report describes the devastating impact that decades of hydroelectric development have had for First Nations in north-eastern Manitoba, including allegations of sexual assault and other violence by workers brought into the communities to build the dams.

    The publication of this report underlines just how important it is that the voices of Indigenous peoples – especially Indigenous women – are heard and listened to when decisions are made about large dams and other resource development projects.

    August 20, 2018
    Have you always wondered what Amnesty's Business and Human Rights work is all about?

    Or, have you wondered why, for example, Amnesty campaigned for almost a decade for an Ombudsperson for Responsible Canadian Enterprise? In fact, what exactly is the Ombudsperson's job and how does it relate to Amnesty's human rights work? 

    And really, what is supply chain management and what does it have to do with child labour in the Democratic Republic of Congo and that cell phone in your pocket? 

    Is the Mount Polley mine disaster in BC something all mining-affected communities in Canada should be concerned about? 

    If you are new to Amnesty International Canada's Business and Human Rights campaign, or want to brush up on key issues related to corporate accountability and human rights in Canada, we've created a new, downloadable information kit for you. The fact sheets in the Corporate Accountability Information Kit can be used to: 

    August 16, 2018
    UN Declaration booklets published by the Coalition

    In recent months, the federal government and a number of provinces and territories have made significant, welcome commitments to uphold the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

    The House of Commons has now passed Bill C-262, which would establish a legislative framework requiring the federal government to work collaboratively with Indigenous peoples to fully implement the Declaration. Bill C-262 will be debated in the Senate this Fall.

    With these important developments, the UN Declaration has become the subject of a welcome focus of public policy discussion. Unfortunately, opposition by the previous governing party left a legacy of confusion and misinformation about the Declaration and these misrepresentations continue to be repeated.

    August 14, 2018

    Amnesty International and ESCR-Net welcome a ground-breaking decision of the UN Human Rights Committee, which, in upholding a complaint against Canada for breaching the right to life and non-discrimination, ruled that protecting the right to life requires states to ensure that people who lack a regular immigration status – also known as irregular migrants – have access to essential health care services.

    “This is the first time a human rights body has affirmed that irregular migrants’ rights to life and equality include access to essential health care,” said Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada’s English Branch. “In recognizing our common humanity this case sends a strong signal that the right to life can never be compromised by one’s immigration status and that essential health care must be available to everyone who lives in a country – regardless of immigration status.”

    Life-saving treatment wrongly denied  

    August 14, 2018

    OTTAWA (August 14, 2018) - At a press conference in Ottawa today advocates released an open letter to Prime Minister Trudeau signed by over 170 organizations and prominent Canadians urging the Prime Minister to make good on his commitment to the right to housing by enshrining that right in upcoming National Housing Strategy legislation.

    August 09, 2018

     9 August 2018

    The Honourable David Eby
    Attorney General
    PO Box 9044 Stn Prov Govt
    Victoria, BC V8W 9E2
    By fax: 250 387-6411  and by email

    Dear Attorney General Eby,

    Amnesty International strongly agrees with and supports the Union of BC Indian Chiefs’ August 7th Open Letter in which their executive called on your government to denounce and formally apologize for the harmful and disrespectful arguments being made by BC Hydro in the current court hearings about the Site C dam.

    This massively destructive mega-project was approved without prior determination of whether flooding the Peace River Valley would violate rights protected in Treaty 8, as was consistently stated by First Nations throughout the review process. In such a context, it is unconscionable that First Nations have been forced to take on the onerous burden on launching a civil suit just to have their Constitutionally-protected rights properly addressed.

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