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Canada

    August 09, 2018

    In a letter to Prime Minister Trudeau (attached), organizations from across Canada have laid out concerns and questions regarding the appointment of a new and unprecedented Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction.

    The key concerns outlined in the letter include:

    August 07, 2018

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Vancouver, August 7, 2018 – Canadian civil society organizations (CSOs), along with hundreds of LGBTI activists from around the world, came together over the last three days (Aug.

    August 03, 2018

    It’s been four long years since the Mount Polley copper mine breached its tailings pond, cutting a 9-kilometre path of destruction from the mine site to Quesnel Lake.

    Path of desctruction: tailing spill down Hazeltine Creek. Credit: Richard Holmes 

    In the days following the disaster, long-time area residents and Indigenous peoples mourned together for the many species of trout and salmon, insect and animal that lived along Hazeltine Creek and in Quesnel Lake.

    Day 5 of the Yuct Ne Senxiymetkwe Camp, established by Secwepemc women to bring together indigenous and settler commmunities in the wake of the August 2014 disaster. Credit: Kieran Oud 

    August 02, 2018

    The world will be watching as Vancouver hosts international conference next week

    July 27, 2018

    As a BC court considers whether to grant an injunction to halt construction of the Site C dam, arguments by BC government lawyers threaten far reaching negative consequences, warns Amnesty International.

    “The legal tactics being employed by the BC government amount to a complete disregard for the rights of Indigenous peoples in favour of building Site C at all costs,” said Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International. “Not only would these cynical legal tactics deny First Nations the opportunity for a just resolution of the still unaddressed question of Treaty rights violations, the province’s position is brazenly at odds with the Premier’s repeated public commitments to reconciliation and respect for the rights of Indigenous peoples.” 

    The application for the injunction was filed by the West Moberly First Nation. West Moberly and Prophet River First Nations have launched a civil suit arguing that flooding the Peace Valley will prevent the meaningful exercise of Treaty protected rights. Hearings with respect to that civil suit are not expected to get underway until the  fall.

    July 26, 2018

    The BC government has launched an Environmental Assessment Revitalization process as part of its commitment to reshape the way BC makes decisions about natural resource projects, industrial activities and more.

    YOU have an opportunity to help shape the future of environmental assessments in BC by providing your input.

    BC’s current environmental assessment law is failing British Columbians and the lands and waters we rely on. Amnesty International has joined 23 other environmental, social justice and community groups in putting forward a shared vision of what future environmental assessments should look like.

    July 26, 2018

    “A B.C. government, led by me, will officially adopt the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples…I will work with you to align the actions of my government with the Declaration.” – NDP leader John Horgan, prior to the 2017 provincial election

    “It is well established that statements by elected representatives do not fetter decision makers, nor do political speeches constitute legally enforceable promises against the Crown.” – the Government of British Columbia’s written submission to the Site C injunction hearing

    BC Premier John Horgan has said many fine words about upholding the rights of Indigenous peoples. He made these promises while running for office and he has repeatedly affirmed them since becoming Premier. But in the most significant test to date of the veracity and integrity of these commitments -- the arguments now being made in front of the crucially important Site C injunction hearing -- Premier Horgan’s government has done the very opposite of what it promised.

    July 24, 2018

    Amnesty International strongly welcomes the recent Ontario Superior Court judgement that restricting the ability of Canada Without Poverty, a registered charity, to engage in non-partisan political activities related to its charitable goals of relieving poverty in the country, violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

    The court case, which originates in a campaign of targeted audits against numerous charities under the previous federal government, challenged the so-called “ten percent” rule which only allowed charities to engage in a very minimal amount of public advocacy.  The distinction between what is permissible and what is prohibited has often been unclear and arbitrary.  For instance, while appearing before a parliamentary committee to advocate for reforms to address a charitable organization’s recommendations with respect to human rights, social justice or environmental protection has generally been considered to be permissible, efforts to encourage the public to reach out to their Members of Parliament with that same message are not.

    July 24, 2018

    As the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration holds hearings as part of its study related to the “Impact of Irregular Crossing of Canada's Southern Border”, a group of civil society leaders is calling for a measured response, focussed on avoiding alarmist rhetoric and ensuring the protection of the human rights of refugee claimants.

    Among the Committee’s top priorities should be to avoid politicization of the topic by recognizing that Canada does not face a crisis along the Canada/US border and focusing on effective coordination between all levels of government in responding to the needs of refugee claimants. In addition, Canada must take the long overdue step of suspending the Safe Third Country Agreement with the United States, particularly as the Trump Administration continues to assail and strip away human rights protections for refugees and migrants.

    Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty international Canada said:

    July 19, 2018

    OTTAWA – Amnesty International and the BC Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) have written to Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould to express their disappointment with her decision to create an “independent external review” into the extradition case of Dr. Hassan Diab, instead of the public inquiry that was sought by Dr. Diab and numerous human rights organizations. In their letter, they stated that the external review is too narrow, and risks leaving out a number of important issues that must be investigated in order to ensure that Dr. Diab’s ordeal is not repeated. 

    July 17, 2018

    In an Open Letter, Amnesty International and the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) are calling on Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan for answers regarding possible Canadian complicity in grave human rights abuses in the course of a joint maritime anti-drug trafficking operation known as Operation Martillo undertaken by the Canadian Navy in cooperation with the US Coast Guard.

    In the Open Letter, the organizations cite a joint investigation by CBC’s The Current and the Investigative Fund, as well as court documents filed in the United States, outlining a well-corroborated and extensive pattern of human rights violations associated with Operation Martillo. Among the concerns raised in the report are potential breaches of international human rights law against people suspected of maritime drug trafficking, in particular concerns related to arrest, detention, torture and mistreatment while detained on board US Coast Guard Vessels, including after being transferred from Canadian Navy Ships.

    July 11, 2018

    An appeal for action from Maude Barlow, Alex Neve and Grand Chief Stewart Phillip from Witness for the Peace 

    In just a few days, a B.C. court will begin hearings on one of the most important legal challenges of our time.

    The court case — initiated by the West Moberly and Prophet River First Nations — may be British Columbia’s best hope for stopping the massively destructive and wasteful Site C dam.

    A vital, irreplaceable cultural and ecological landscape is at stake. But the legal challenge to Site C is about more than the fate of the Peace River Valley. Fundamental issues of human rights and reconciliation are also at stake.

    The federal and provincial governments have already admitted that they deliberately ignored their Treaty rights obligations when they decided to flood the Peace Valley. Such blatant disregard for the rights of Indigenous peoples has no place in any country genuinely committed to reconciliation.

    July 05, 2018

    A coalition of civil society organizations is calling on Canada to commit to an independent, external review following a flawed and inadequate internal investigation in the wake of media reports suggesting Canadian-built armoured vehicles may have been used by Saudi Arabian armed forces in violence directed at civilian populations in the Kingdom’s Eastern Province.

    In an Open Letter to Minister of Foreign Affairs Chystia Freeland, the coalition expressed grave concern that the internal government report, which was released publically in May 2018, revealed “major shortcomings” both in the investigation of the allegations and in interpretation of Canadian obligations under interna­tional law.

    July 04, 2018

    The Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR), Amnesty International (AI) and the Canadian Council of Churches (CCC) yesterday completed filing extensive evidence in Federal Court to support their legal challenge of the designation of the United States as a safe third country for refugees.

    “Canadians have seen over the last few weeks how refugees are treated heartlessly in the US under President Trump: children separated from their parents, long-term detention in horrific conditions, criminal prosecution of people just for crossing the border to seek safety, new policies closing the door on women fleeing gender-based violence,” said Claire Roque, CCR President. “The conclusion is clear: the US cannot be considered a safe country for refugees.”

    June 21, 2018

    Earlier today, I decided to mark Indigenous Peoples Day by making a donation to support the First Nations legal struggle to stop the massively destructive Site C dam in northeast BC.

    I’ve had the pleasure of travelling many times to Treaty 8 territory and I’ve become a passionate supporter of the efforts of First Nations and farmers to save the beautiful, irreplaceable Peace River Valley.

    But there was another reason I wanted to support this legal challenge. It has to do what Truth and Reconciliation Commission Chair, Senator Murray Sinclair has called “the War of Law.”

    To me this powerful phrase invokes not only laws that are harmful in their intent and purpose  - of which there have been many – but all the ways that the law is applied in a discriminatory and unequal manner, with often devastating impacts.

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