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Canada

    March 25, 2019

    TORONTO, March 25, 2019 /CNW Telbec/ - This evening a plane carrying Vanessa Rodel and her 7-year-old daughter Keana will land at Toronto's Pearson airport. It is the partial culmination of a saga that began in 2013 when Rodel, her daughter and five other asylum seekers sheltered Edward Snowden, at the time the most wanted man in the world.

    Rodel's application to come to Canada as a privately sponsored refugee was filed in 2016 by non-profit For the Refugees. That application was finally approved by the Canadian government in January, but the decision was kept secret until now for security reasons. The other five refugees, whose applications were submitted at the same time, remain in limbo in Hong Kong as they wait for their approvals. These vulnerable refugees face documented threats of torture and death if returned to their home countries, according to Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and other human rights organizations.

    March 25, 2019

    Amnesty International welcomes today’s Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench decision that Omar Khadr’s sentence has been served. The decision gives Mr. Khadr, whose ordeal has spanned 17 years and three unanimous Canadian Supreme Court decisions in his favour, his long-awaited full freedom.

    Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada noted: “The litany of serious human rights violations Mr. Khadr has endured since the beginning of this ordeal – particularly during 10 years of detention at Guantánamo Bay – include torture and ill-treatment, discrimination, arbitrary imprisonment, unfair trial, denial of consular rights and refusal to recognize his status as a child soldier.”

    March 21, 2019

    Amnesty International welcomes the Federal Court decision on 20 March 2019 striking down the 36-month Pre-Removal Risk Assessment (PRRA) bar for refugee claimants from Designated Countries of Origin (DCO) on constitutional grounds. The court found that the bar violated Section 15 of the Charter, the right to equality and non-discrimination.

    DCO claimants are those whose country of origin is designated by the Minister as a country that is less likely to produce refugees. There are currently 42 countries designated as a DCO, including Mexico, which continues to face an unrelenting human rights crisis in such areas as violence against women, disappearances and torture, and Hungary, where there are well-documented cases, including by Amnesty, of persecution of Roma people.

    March 21, 2019

    AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL
    NEWSFLASH

    March 21, 2019

    OTTAWA – Whether it’s the devastating legacy of mercury contamination at Grassy Narrows, ongoing pollution from the Mount Polley mining disaster, or the looming threat of the Site C dam construction, Amnesty International says government decisions that ignore the health and well-being of Indigenous peoples must be recognized as a form of environmental racism.

    “It’s no coincidence that three of our highest priority human rights cases in Canada all revolve around contamination and threats to the rivers and lakes on which Indigenous peoples depend for their livelihoods and ways of life,” says Tara Scurr, business and human rights campaigner with Amnesty International Canada. “Far too often, governments in Canada have demonstrated that they place little value on the health and well-being of Indigenous peoples and the revitalization of their cultures and traditions. That’s why we are marking World Water Day by renewing our commitment to support the Indigenous water defenders leading these crucial and inspiring human rights struggles.”

    March 10, 2019

    Water defenders living in the shadow of the Mount Polley mine say their fight to protect the waters in and around Quesnel Lake is not over, despite Imperial Metals’ announcement that it will suspend operations at the mine in May, 2019 until global copper prices improve. This is why:

    March 04, 2019

    A Coalition of Canadian civil society organizations have written an open letter to PM Justin Trudeau expressing their concern about Canada’s export of Light Armoured Vehicles (LAVs) to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

    The Coalition calls on all states, including Canada, to ban the sale or transfer of weapons to any government where there is risk that those weapons might be used in this conflict.

    Since October 2018, the Canadian government has said that it would be difficult to suspend the contract selling the LAVs to Saudi Arabia.

    As the humanitarian situation in Yemen continues to deteriorate, almost two thirds of the Yemeni population require humanitarian aid.

    Canada provides humanitarian assistance to Yemen and  at the same time, is helping arming one of the parties in the conflict. Other countries, including Denmark, Finland, Germany, Switzerland, Greece and Austria, have either suspended or terminated arms transfers to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

    February 26, 2019

    Across Canada and as recently as 2017, Indigenous women report being forcibly or coercively sterilized. Some women were incorrectly told the procedure is reversible. Others were separated from their babies until they consented to a tubal ligation.

    Forced and coerced sterilizations of Indigenous women are a result of systemic bias and discrimination against Indigenous peoples in the provision of public services in Canada, a pattern well known and acknowledged by government. They are an assault on the cultural integrity of societies that have already endured grave human rights violations including forced assimilation.

    Sterilizing women without their free, full, and informed consent is a form of violence and torture. Measures to prevent births within ethnic or racial groups is explicitly prohibited by the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

    All women have the human right to make decisions around if, when, and how to create a family. All women have a right to live free from violence and discrimination. All women have a right to health.

    February 22, 2019

    Send a message to women in Canada who have been sterilized without consent, expressing your support and solidarity.

     

    Indigenous women in Canada have been sterilized without their free, full, and informed consent, a practice the United Nations has affirmed is a form of torture. Why? Because of systemic bias and deep-rooted discrimination against Indigenous peoples in the provision of public services in Canada, a pattern well known and acknowledged by government. It is possible that other women facing discrimination have also been sterilized without consent.

     

    February 14, 2019

    In collaboration with the Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability, we are launching a daily tweet-your-MP campaign that will continue until an effective ombudsperson is in place with the #Power2Investigate. Please join us!

    We’re in a stand-off. Signs show that an ombudsperson may be appointed soon, but we are worried about the government delivering on its promise of real investigatory powers. 

    We need everyone’s voice to help convince the Government of Canada to stand strong and to keep its promise to respect international human rights!

    It all comes down to the #Power2Investigate. Companies alleged to have committed human rights abuses are unlikely to voluntarily participate in a robust investigation needed to hold them accountable. Canada must immediately appoint an effective ombudspersonwith the #Power2Investigate.
     
    Join us online for a daily twitter storm!  

    February 12, 2019

    In advance of Saskatchewan Court of Appeal hearings on February 13 and 14, in a case brought by the provincial government of Saskatchewan challenging the constitutionality of the federal government’s carbon pricing system, Amnesty International underscores that regardless of constitutional disagreements, federal, provincial and territorial governments equally share binding international human rights obligations to take urgent and effective measures to address climate change. Constitutional arrangements are no excuse for inadequate or delayed action.

    February 07, 2019

    Across Canada, Amnesty International supporters remember and honour Paul Dewar today as a passionate and fiercely committed human rights champion with whom we worked closely on many cases and campaigns. In political life and since, Paul was always unswerving in his advocacy efforts, be it with respect to concerns about the rights of Indigenous peoples, national security laws and gender equality in Canada, or global determination to help free prisoners of conscience, push for effective measures to tackle major human rights challenges like the trade in conflict minerals, and respond to pressing human rights crises in all corners of our world.  And always, what was most important to Paul was to lift up and learn from individuals and communities at the frontlines of human rights struggle, in Canada and around the world. Paul is already deeply missed, but his legacy will live on in the many thousands of people whose lives he touched and whose activism he inspires. As he urged us in his farewell message, we will “keep building a more peaceful and better world for all.”

    February 07, 2019

    A report on staff well-being at the International Secretariat of Amnesty International was released on January 31, 2019.  The report had been commissioned by the movement’s previous international Secretary General in the wake of the tragic suicides of Amnesty International colleagues Gaëtan Mootoo and Rosalind McGregor in May and July of 2018.

    In the words of our current global Secretary General, Kumi Naidoo, the findings in the report are deeply troubling, particularly to hear employees “speak of a culture of secrecy and mistrust where discrimination, bullying and abuse of power have been condoned.”

    In responding to the report Kumi Naidoo has committed to moving Amnesty International’s organizational culture “towards more compassion and respect” as a priority. Under his leadership, and in consultation with staff at the International Secretariat, an implementation plan is being developed as a matter of urgency, to be presented by the end of March 2019.

    February 06, 2019

    By Rachel LaFortune, a legal fellow with Amnesty International Canada

    A shorter version of this article originally appeared on The Georgia Straight.

    When governments rely on court-granted injunctions to define the “rule of law” in respect to Indigenous land occupations, they risk breaching their Constitutional and international human rights obligations and undermining the profound public interest in meaningful reconciliation.

    Case in point: the injunction currently being enforced against Wet’suwet’en land and water defenders in British Columbia.

    When the BC Supreme Court granted Coastal Gaslink a temporary injunction against named and unnamed individuals “occupying, obstructing, blocking, physically impeding or delaying access” to a bridge and service road on Wet’suwet’en territory, the court set in motion events that led to the high-profile, forcible arrest and removal of land defenders on Jan. 7.

    January 30, 2019

    “...resource extraction and other major development projects in or near indigenous territories [are] one of the most significant sources of abuse of the rights of indigenous peoples worldwide. In its prevailing form, the model for advancing with natural resource extraction within the territories of indigenous peoples appears to run counter to the selfdetermination of indigenous peoples in the political, social and economic spheres.”
    - former United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, James Anaya, 2011.

      Selective approaches to free, prior and informed consent foster conflict when we need reconciliation

    The governments of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and BC Premier John Horgan have both made welcome and important commitments to upholding the rights of Indigenous peoples, including implementing the key international human rights instrument protecting the rights of Indigenous peoples, the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

    January 28, 2019

    January, 28, 2019 (Ottawa): First Nations advocates and leaders in northern Manitoba have shared very concerning accounts of violence and abuse associated with energy development with Amnesty International, some of which were documented in a report released last year by the Manitoba Clean Environment Commission.

    What Amnesty International is hearing from northern Manitoba directly parallels the pattern of systemic violence that Amnesty International documented in its 2016 report on the social impacts—and notably, the gender impacts—of work camps and other aspects of energy development in northeast British Columbia. The concerning allegations underscore 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.

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