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Canada

    April 27, 2020

    Honourable John Horgan                                              Deputy Commissioner Jennifer Strachan

    Premier of British Columbia                                         Royal Canadian Mounted Police

    Parliament Buildings                                                       “E” Division

    April 24, 2020

    Today marks the seven-year anniversary of the collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory building in Bangladesh, which tragically left more than 1,100 workers dead and thousands more injured. Covid-19 has created new threats to the lives and livelihoods of garment workers.

    Standing in solidarity with Bangladesh garment sector workers, and with garment sector workers in all countries, Amnesty International joins Canadian labour and civil society organizations in urging Canadian brands, retailers, and the Canadian government, to address workers rights.

    Here is our joint statement:

    Protect the women who make our clothes: Canada’s unions and civil society organizations call for action

    Seven years after the tragic Rana Plaza building collapse, Bangladesh garment sector workers now confront even more risk and vulnerability in the fight against Covid-19.

    Canada’s unions and civil society organizations are calling for immediate relief for workers and protection of rights in global supply chains.

    April 23, 2020

    Jenn Clamen is a powerful advocate for the rights of sex workers in Canada and around the world, and she is the Montreal-based National Coordinator for the Canadian Alliance for Sex Work Law Reform. The Alliance is a coalition of sex worker and allied organizations across Canada advocating for law and policy reform that respects and upholds the rights and safety of sex workers. Members of the Alliance have expertise, analysis and experience on the impact of criminal and other sex work-related prohibitions on the lives and wellbeing of those who sell or trade sex.

    Six weeks into COVID-related lockdowns across Canada, Jenn took time to speak with Amnesty about the devastating impacts that  responses to COVID-19 are having on sex workers in Canada.

    What’s changed for sex workers since the pandemic started? Has the pattern of human rights violations experienced by sex workers changed, and if so, how?

    The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the inequalities and human rights violations that the diversity of sex workers in our communities experience.

    April 19, 2020
    Earth Day 2020 #ClimateStrikeOnline

    Earth Day is an opportunity to celebrate the nature around us. It is also a chance to join others in calling attention to the urgency of protecting the place we all live.

    Our human rights are intertwined with the environment. People need a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment to fully enjoy their human rights, including the rights to life, health, food, and water. While other human rights, including the rights to information, freedom of expression, public participation in decision-making, and access to justice, are essential for protecting the environment.

    April 22nd is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Although many wonderful celebrations had been planned across Canada and around the world, many of these events have been cancelled or revised due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the need for physical distancing. The global climate strikes, for example, that saw millions of people marching in the streets in 2019, have moved online.

    We encourage you to stay safe at home and join the next big climate strike online this Earth Day (Wednesday, April 22, 2020). 

    To join the strike online here is what to do:

    April 17, 2020

    The Month of Action for Mining Justice is an opportunity to deepen your understanding of mining justice and to take action in solidarity with mining-affected communities.  

    Although we derive many benefits from mining, it is absolutely crucial that the mining industry adhere to international human rights standards. Too often, we hear of human rights abuses related to mining, including: forced labour; child labour; people threatened, harmed, raped or killed for opposing mining projects; unsafe working conditions; toxic contamination of water; people forcibly evicted from their homes; a lack of respect for Indigenous rights; and more.

    On May 14th  join us for a mining justice webinar and hear directly from people whose lives have been negatively impacted by Canadian-owned mines in Asia, Africa and South America and who are fighting for justice.

    During the webinar, we will also launch a parliamentary e-petition. By signing the petition and sharing it with your contacts you can help us convince the Canadian government to hold Canadian companies accountable for human rights abuses overseas.

    April 17, 2020

    OTTAWA – Amnesty International is pleased to announce the winners of the 25th annual Amnesty International Canada Media Awards:

    Long-Form Audio: Justin Ling, Jennifer Fowler, Erin Byrnes and Cesil Fernandes, CBC Podcasts, Uncover: The Village

    Mixed Media: Jillian Kestler-D’Amours and Megan O’Toole, Al Jazeera (freelance), Nations Divided: Mapping Canada's Pipeline Battle

    Long-Form Text: Shree Paradkar, Toronto Star, These Girls Were Powerless, Living On The Edge Of Society, But One School Is Turning Them Into Heroes, Feminists, And Resisters

    April 15, 2020

    OTTAWA – A total of 301 organizations, academics and former politicians from across the country are calling on all levels of government in Canada to take urgent steps to strengthen human rights oversight amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

    A total of 157 organizations and 144 individuals – including Indigenous organizations, civil society groups, unions, academics and former politicians– are urging federal, provincial, territorial and municipal governments to adopt robust oversight measures to strengthen human rights protection and guard against potential human rights violations during the current public health crisis.

    April 15, 2020

    During the extreme challenges caused by the current threat of the coronavirus, our Nations and organizations are profoundly concerned with ensuring respect for Indigenous peoples’ rights, particularly their rights to self-determination, health, security and well-being. Related Treaty rights of Indigenous peoples must also be fully considered.

    The Coalition for the Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples is a network of Indigenous Nations, national and regional Indigenous Peoples is a network of Indigenous Nations, national and regional Indigenous peoples’ organizations, human rights groups, and individual experts and advocates. The Coalition works to promote understanding and implementation of international standards for advancing the human rights of Indigenous peoples, in particular, the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

    April 15, 2020

    Indigenous Peoples is a network of Indigenous Nations, national and regional Indigenous peoples’ organizations, human rights groups, and individual experts and advocates. The Coalition works to promote understanding and implementation of international standards for advancing the human rights of Indigenous peoples, in particular, the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

    In light of the highly infectious nature of COVID-19, and the particular threat that it poses to vulnerable communities with inadequate access to health care, housing, water and other essential services, it is imperative that federal, provincial and territorial governments respect the right of Indigenous peoples to set conditions of entry into their territories. Indigenous communities must be able to restrict access of industry workers, tourists, cottagers, and others. Where Indigenous communities have required suspension of certain activities in their territories, this must be respected.

    April 14, 2020

    Indigenous Peoples is a network of Indigenous Nations, national and regional Indigenous peoples’ organizations, human rights groups, and individual experts and advocates. The Coalition works to promote understanding and implementation of international standards for advancing the human rights of Indigenous peoples, in particular, the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

    In light of the highly infectious nature of COVID-19, and the particular threat that it poses to vulnerable communities with inadequate access to health care, housing, water and other essential services, it is imperative that federal, provincial and territorial governments respect the right of Indigenous peoples to set conditions of entry into their territories. Indigenous communities must be able to restrict access of industry workers, tourists, cottagers, and others. Where Indigenous communities have required suspension of certain activities in their territories, this must be respected.

    April 11, 2020
    Protecting communities, supporting workers and their families should be Canada's priority

    The global pandemic is a frightening time for humanity. Yet all around us, people are working hard to adapt to our current reality, support one another, protect the vulnerable, and together dream of a better future. In urging all levels of government to respect human rights and protect essential workers and their families, frontline healthcare workers, and communities, we are speaking together with one, unified voice. 

    People across Canada living in remote, rural and Indigenous communities with lesser access to health services, hospital beds and crucially, ventilators to help the critically ill, are calling on all of us to help them shut down the known pathways of infection into their communities.  They are asking us to help them stay healthy by staying away. 

    April 02, 2020

    The global climate strikes that saw millions of people marching in the streets in 2019 are going online in response to the need for physical distancing to prevent the spread of covid-19.

    We encourage you to stay safe at home and join the climate strike online tomorrow, and every Friday until the end of April. To join the strike online here is what to do:

    1.    Make a climate strike sign
    2.    Take a photo of yourself holding the sign
    3.    Post to your favourite social media channel with the hashtag #climatestrikeonline.

    We would love it if you would also tag Amnesty Canada at @amnestynow so that we can see your posts.

    Although we are physically distant at the moment, we are more united than ever. We may be stuck inside, but we can continue advocating for human rights. After all, a focus on human rights is crucial to fight the covid crisis in a fast and fair way, and the same applies to the climate crisis.

    See you at the #climatestrikeonline!

    April 02, 2020

    April 2, 2020 – In the lead up to Refugee Rights Day, refugee, human rights, legal and civil liberties organizations are renewing their call for the Government of Canada to reopen the Canada-US border to refugee claims. Effective March 21, 2020, an Order-In-Council prohibits refugee claimants arriving from the United States to enter Canada for the purposes of refugee protection.

    The Canadian Council for Refugees, Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers, Amnesty International, and BC Civil Liberties Association jointly call on the government to reconsider its closure of the Canada-US border to refugees. This closure violates international law. With Refugee Rights Day being marked across Canada on April 4, these organizations are calling attention to the grave threat to refugee rights with the prohibition on refugee arrivals at the land border.

    March 30, 2020

    Toronto, March 30, 2020 — Canada’s decision to shut the border to refugee claimants puts those individuals in danger, is out of step with public health measures designed to curb the spread of COVID-19, and runs counter to our international legal obligations. From moral, public health and legal perspectives, closing the border to refugee claimants is wrong.

    On March 19, 2020, in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Canada announced new border entry restrictions that preserved the right to seek refugee protection while also protecting public health through non-discriminatory screening and self-isolation measures. Then, on March 20, the government abandoned this sensible and humane approach, and announced a new decision made with the US government to shut the border almost entirely to people seeking refugee protection in Canada when entering from the US.

    March 25, 2020
    Human rights organization recommends 10 guiding principles for pandemic response

    OTTAWA – Amnesty International is urging governments across Canada to establish oversight committees tasked with monitoring the human rights impact of decisions, policies and laws adopted to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

    “History has shown that, in times of crisis, governments often do not assess and redress human rights violations until after the fact,” said Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada’s English branch. “By taking proactive steps now, to put strong oversight in place, governments have an important opportunity to deliberately ensure that human rights concerns will be anticipated, identified and minimized from the outset.”

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