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    July 03, 2019

    The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls released its final report on June 3, 2019. The 1,200 page report included 231 Calls for Justice to end the staggering levels of violence experienced by First Nations, Métis, and Inuit women, girls, and two-spirit persons in Canada.

    While the federal government accepted the report’s finding of genocide and committed to developing a National Action Plan to prevent and address the violence, there is no clarity about how this commitment will be turned into concrete, meaningful action.

    July 02, 2019

     “The Panel is convinced that the Tsilhqot’in cultural attachment to Fish Lake (Teztan Biny) and the Nabas areas is so profound that they cannot reasonably be expected to accept the conversion of that area into the proposed New Prosperity mine.” – from the 2013 federal environmental assessment of the last project proposed by Taseko Mines and ultimately rejected by the federal government 

    Amnesty International is urging the Province of British Columbia to suspend permits that could allow destructive mineral exploration to begin as early as this week on lands that the Tsilhqot’in National Government has long sought to protect.

    The Tsilhqot’in people describe Teẑtan Biny (Fish Lake) and Yanah Biny (Little Fish Lake) and the surrounding area as “a place of profound cultural and spiritual significance.” The destructive impacts of mining exploration cannot be justified, especially in light of the fact that exploration will almost certainly never lead to the actual opening of a mine. 

    July 02, 2019

    The Honourable Chrystia Freeland            The Honourable David Lametti

    Minister of Foreign Affairs                            Minister of Justice

    Ottawa, Ontario                                                Ottawa, Ontario

    June 30, 2019

    Dear Ministers Freeland and Lametti,

    June 26, 2019
    Indigenous human rights advocates horrified that handful of Senators blocked Bill C-262 Filibuster a blow to democracy and human rights but cannot turn back the clock on implementation of UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

    “There are and always have been obvious flaws in a governing system that is designed to maintain a status quo and deny rights to people who power rejects. The process of bringing C-262 along the legislative path has highlighted this for me... Let us rise with more energy. Let us stand with a greater determination.” 
                       – MP Romeo Saganash, author of Bill C-262 

    When the United Nations General Assembly adopted the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in September 2007, it established an obligation for all states to fully implement this crucial instrument as the minimum global standard to the protect the human rights of Indigenous peoples. The solemn commitment of all states to uphold the UN Declaration has since been reaffirmed by 10 consensus resolutions of the General Assembly. 

    June 24, 2019

    We Canadian civil society organizations, namely, Amnesty International Canada, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East, Oxfam Canada, Oxfam- Quebec, Project Ploughshares and the Rideau Institute, long active in the effort to strengthen Canadian controls on the export of military equipment, today applaud the Government of Canada’s formal announcement of this country’s accession to the global Arms Trade Treaty.

    As Minister Freeland herself stated, the ATT opened for signature in 2013 so this step by Canada is long overdue and most welcome. In particular we commend the Government of Canada for the legislative and regulatory changes to Canada’s export control regime to more effectively regulate Canada’s arms exports in accordance with the high global standards set out in the ATT.

    June 21, 2019

    Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit people in Canada experience staggeringly high levels of violence, and for decades, government failed to acknowledge and address this human rights crisis. Indigenous women’s organizations, grassroots activists, violence survivors, and the families and loved ones of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit people long called for a national inquiry to compel government to investigate and take urgent action to end the violence. Amnesty International advocated alongside Indigenous partners in calling for a national inquiry.

    June 20, 2019

    The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau
    Prime Minister of Canada
    80 Wellington Street
    Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A2

    June 20, 2019

    Dear Prime Minister,

    We are writing this Open Letter to you, as members of the Canadian Coalition on Human Rights in China,1 in advance of the 2019 G20 Summit, to be held in Osaka, Japan on June 28-29. We are writing in response to media reports that you are seeking a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Summit and to share with you nine crucial human rights recommendations to press with President Xi if such a meeting does occur. More broadly, these are points that we urge you, your Ministers and all Canadian government officials to raise in meetings and other exchanges with Chinese counterparts, be it in connection with the G20 Summit or other opportunities over the coming weeks and months.

    June 17, 2019

    With human rights defenders increasingly under attack around the world, civil society organizations today welcomed the Government of Canada’s new guidelines aimed at strengthening its approach to ensuring the safety and security of these courageous activists as part of its feminist foreign policy. 

    Human rights defenders are often criminalized, targeted with smear campaigns, discredited, threatened, arbitrarily arrested, and face violence because they advocate for human rights. According to Front Line Defenders Global Analysis 2018, 321 human rights defenders in 27 countries were targeted and killed for their work in 2018.  More than three-quarters of these were defending land, environmental or Indigenous peoples’ rights, often in the context of extractive industries and mega projects.  More than 80% of those killed had previously received a specific death threat.

    June 15, 2019

    Young people from Grassy Narrows are travelling to Toronto for a massive rally on June 20th to focus attention to urgency of addressing the crisis of mercury poisoning facing their First Nation.

    Amnesty International is urging its members and supporters to do all they can to help this vital and timely campaign.

    The people of Grassy Narrows are living with the devastating consequences of a half century of mercury contamination of their rivers and lakes. The harm they’ve experienced, including erosion of culture, loss of livelihoods, and one of the worst community health crises anywhere in Canada, has been made so much worse by decades of government denial and inaction. 

    Last month, federal Indigenous Services Minister Seamus O’Regan visited Grassy Narrows but failed to deliver on a long promised treatment centre for mercury survivors. 

    This stalling and inaction is all the more shocking in light of the fact that two of the United Nations independent human rights advisors, the expert of health and the expert on toxic wastes, have now both urged Canada to take action on the mercury crisis.

    June 14, 2019

    Quebec Native Women was founded in 1974 to fight sex-based discrimination in the Indian Act. Forty-five years later, this discrimination persists. Amnesty International spoke with Quebec Native Women’s Legal and Policy analyst Éloïse Décoste to learn more about steps her organization is taking to end sex-based discrimination in the Indian Act once and for all. Here’s what she had to say.

    TAKE ACTION NOW For people who aren’t familiar with the issue, can you please tell me how the Indian Act discriminates against Indigenous women?

    The Indian Act determines who is consider an Indian in the eyes of the government. Historically, an Indian* would be defined as a man, his wife, and his children. When an Indian woman married a man without Indian status, she lost her own status and could not pass her status on to her children. This was the situation until 1985.

    June 11, 2019

    We are hopeful that in a matter of days the Senate will vote to adopt a private member’s bill that would require the federal government to begin in earnest the work of implementing global human rights standards to protect the cultures, lives and well-being of Indigenous peoples.

    Bill C-262, a Bill to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, is a vital and necessary step for reconciliation in Canada, consistent with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s recognition of the UN Declaration as “the framework” for reconciliation.

    However, some Conservative Senators have already used stalling tactics to delay the Bill’s passage through the Senate and there is concern that they might use such tactics again to prevent a final vote.

    These Senators have claimed to support the UN Declaration and the rights of Indigenous peoples while asserting that Bill C-262 is “rushed” and that Parliament has not had the opportunity to understand the “far-reaching” implications of implementing the UN Declaration.

    June 07, 2019

    June 2019 marks the 52nd anniversary of Israel’s capture of the West Bank and Gaza Strip during a war with its neighbours, and the beginning of its occupation of Palestinian territory. Today, over 600,000 Jewish-Israeli settlers are living on occupied Palestinian land and are afforded protections and benefits, of which over 4.9 million Palestinians living in the same territory do not have access to. This is the direct result of a discriminatory system of laws and policies that ensure that Palestinians are not afforded the same rights or services as Israeli settlers.

    For 52 years, hundreds of thousands of hectares of Palestinian land have been appropriated and exploited by Israel. For 52 years, tens of thousands of Palestinian homes and structures have been demolished in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), resulting in the displacement of thousands of Palestinians. The wanton destruction of property and the forcible transfer of civilians in the occupied territory are both war crimes under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. 

    June 06, 2019

    Today, Baskut Tuncak, the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and toxics, said the government has “failed” to answer why it has not remediated massive levels of mercury contamination in a river near Grassy Narrows First Nation. Tuncak made his preliminary observations – which will be followed by a report about the government’s steps to protect human rights implicated by the management of hazardous wastes – following an eight-stop trip across Canada that included a visit with those who have been impacted by mercury poisoning in Grassy Narrows First Nation.  

    In response, Craig Benjamin, Amnesty International Canada’s Indigenous Rights Campaigner, said:

    June 03, 2019

    OTTAWA, June 3, 2019 – Responding to “Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls,” Amnesty International urges all governments in Canada to move beyond the piecemeal approach to ending the violence that has tragically failed First Nations, Inuit, and Métis women, girls, two-spirit people, families, and communities.

    The National Inquiry’s final report states, “Colonial violence, as well as racism, sexism, homophobia, and transphobia against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people, has become embedded in everyday life – whether this is through interpersonal forms of violence, through institutions like the health care system and the justice system, or in the laws, policies and structures of Canadian society. The result has been that many Indigenous people have grown up normalized to violence, while Canadian society shows an appalling apathy to addressing the issue.”

    May 30, 2019

    Statement of Amnesty International Canada,  Council of Canadians,  CUPE Ontario

    Our organizations are deeply disappointed that the federal government has failed to take decisive action to guarantee that survivors of mercury poisoning at Grassy Narrows will get the medical care they need and deserve. 

    Although the federal Indigenous Services department had announced that Minister Seamus O’Regan would sign a memorandum of understanding with Grassy Narrows when he visited the northwestern Ontario First Nation yesterday, no such agreement was reached.

    According to a statement released by the Grassy Narrows Chief and Council, negotiations are continuing around key needs of the community. This includes a call for the federal government to put the necessary funds for the construction and operation of a treatment centre into trust so that health of mercury survivors will be protected from shifting political winds.

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