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    March 21, 2018

    “You look at the lake, it looks good, it looks clean, the fish look all right. How to believe that something like that could turn against you?” – former Grassy Narrows Chief Steve Fobister Sr. quoted in the Toronto Star

     

    Steve Fobister. Bill Fobister. Judy Da Silva. These are some of the leaders and activists from Grassy Narrows who have played a critical in shaping and informing Amnesty International’s longstanding campaign for justice for that First Nation.

    They are all, in every sense of the word, human rights champions.

    They also, all three, suffer from the devastating, debilitating impacts of mercury poisoning.

    And they are not alone.

    March 14, 2018

    This is part 1 of 6 of the blog series: 25 years working for human rights in the Niger Delta

    Written by Amnesty's Businses and Human Rights volunteer, Ian Heide

    On November 10, 1995, Amnesty International released this statement: “AI has learned with dismay that Ken Saro-Wiwa and the eight other Ogoni supporters were executed on 10 November 1995.”

    The world was shocked. The trial was widely criticized by human rights organizations and the governments of other states The Commonwealth of Nations, which had pleaded for clemency, suspended Nigeria's membership. The United States, the United Kingdom, and the EU all implemented sanctions—but not on petroleum.

    What was the role of Shell oil in this? And how has the situation evolved since then? This six-part blog series explores the human rights impact of oil pollution in the Niger Delta, the mounting evidence against Shell, the courageous activism of affected communities,  and the on-going fight for justice.

    March 08, 2018

    Five Ottawa-area feminist leaders recognized for contributions toward gender equality

    Ottawa, March 6, 2018 – Ottawa-Gatineau’s largest International Women’s Day celebration is marking its 10th anniversary while honouring five Ottawa-area feminist leaders for their tireless work advancing women’s human rights and gender equality.

    This year’s International Women’s Day Ottawa event theme is Hashtags & Beyond, encouraged by #MeToo, #TimesUp and other growing movements of people breaking the silence about discrimination, harassment, and violence in Canada and internationally.

    For ten years, the Femmy Awards have honoured Ottawa-area feminists for their outstanding contributions to feminism under the categories of frontline service provision, thought leadership, arts and media, advocacy and youth. Recipients of the 2018 Femmy Awards are:

    March 07, 2018

    A feminist policy can guide all policymaking.

    Canada’s prime minister and government are openly feminist, and ‘feminist foreign policy’ is the new buzz phrase on Parliament Hill. Is a feminist foreign policy what Canada most needs?

    The answer is absolutely yes — one centred on addressing the historical and structural gender power imbalances at the root of gender inequality, and their intersection with race, ethnicity, and other identity factors. This implicitly involves alleviating symptoms of inequality such as violence, early and forced marriage, lack of access to sexual and reproductive health information and services, and barriers to participating in politics, peace processes, and the labour force.

    "Canada must be held to the same rigorous standards as other countries to address the root causes of persistent gender inequality here at home."

    March 07, 2018

    It’s March, and like many working parents, I’m making plans for the nine weeks when school is not in session this summer. Last year I naively thought that my child and I could have a chat, I’d book camps, and everything would be set. Oh, how I learned! I am more prepared this year and am in the midst of immense internet research and an intense series of complex negotiations involving myself, my child’s other parent, my child, my employer, organizations I work with (lest I book my vacation during a peak time on the human rights calendar), my family and close friends who live across the country, the parents of my child’s closest friends, my own playmates whom I want to go on camping adventures with, my bank account, and the weather forecaster.

    March 06, 2018

    Amnesty International Canada is launching a new initiative to counter online underrepresentation of women, transgender and non-binary human rights defenders in Canada through a “Feminist Wikipedia Takeover,” launching in Ottawa on International Women’s Day, March 8, 2018.  The campaign aims to address gender bias in the open source encyclopaedia by crowdsourcing the creation of new biographies highlighting the work of women, transgender and non-binary people in Canada who peacefully advocate in support of human rights.

    “Gender bias online is well documented and too often renders invisible the enormous contributions of feminist activists in the online space, contributing to the marginalization of their work and presenting a gender-skewed and disempowering view of our world,” said Jacqueline Hansen, gender rights campaigner for Amnesty International Canada. “This International Women’s Day, we are launching a campaign for online equality by honouring the bravery and commitment of our sisters, transgender and non-binary activists who struggle for justice every day, often with little public awareness of their contributions and struggles.”

    March 06, 2018

    In January 2018, the Canadian Minister for International Trade announced the creation of an Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise. Now people who have been harmed by the overseas activities of Canadian mining, oil, gas and garment companies will be able to submit their complaints to an independent ombudsperson for investigation. The ombudsperson will make its findings public and provide recommendations for redress.

    The creation of ombudsperson will help ensure that Canada is finally “Open for Justice”.

    Some elements of the ombudsperson have yet to be defined however. Amnesty will continue to work with the Canadian government to ensure that the ombudsperson office will be credible and effective. In order to be credible and effective, we believe it is vital that the ombudsperson be free from political and corporate interference, and be empowered to conduct effective investigations, including the ability to gather evidence that may be in a company’s possession.

    March 02, 2018

    Every single day, women human rights defenders in Canada and around the world advocate tirelessly for justice and equality. International Women’s Day is the ‘feminist new year’s celebration,’ a time to pause, take stock of achievements over the past year, reflect, and renew commitments to ensure the rights of women, transgender, and non-binary individuals are respected, protected, and fulfilled.

    February 26, 2018

    On behalf of Amnesty International, and all our members across Canada, we want to express our deepest sympathy to the family of Tina Fontaine, to her friends and to her community.

    Everyone who has lost a loved one to violence deserves justice. They deserve answers about what may have put their loved one in harm’s way. They deserve to know that police have done everything in their power to identify those responsible for taking their loved one from them. And they deserve to see the perpetrators brought to account.

    As the Manitoba Justice Inquiry so clearly set out almost 20 years ago, when justice is not achieved, the burden of suffering on families and friends is only increased.

    February 22, 2018
    Amnesty International publishes State of the World’s Human Rights report for 2017 to 2018 “Last year our world was immersed in crises, with prominent leaders offering us a nightmarish vision of a society blinded by hatred and fear. This emboldened those who promote bigotry, but it inspired far more people to campaign for a more hopeful future,” says Salil Shetty, head of Amnesty International

    The world is reaping the terrifying consequences of hate-filled rhetoric that threatens to normalize massive discrimination against marginalized groups, Amnesty International warned today as it launched its annual assessment of human rights.

    Nevertheless, the organization found that a growing movement of both first-time and seasoned activists campaigning for social justice provides real hope of reversing the slide towards oppression.

    The report, The State of the World’s Human Rights, covers 159 countries and delivers the most comprehensive analysis of the state of human rights in the world today.

    February 16, 2018

    Amnesty International is pleased to offer the acclaimed new Canadian documentary “A Better Man” to Amnesty supporters interested in organizing film screenings to further discussion and action to help end gender-based violence in Canada.

    The feature-length film documents the journey of Toronto-based activist and filmmaker Attiya Khan as she reconnects with the man she was in an intimate relationship with over 20 years prior. “A Better Man documents a personal experiment for me and my abusive ex-partner — a step towards understanding and accountability,” said Attiya. “By getting closer to the truth of what survivors experience, and of why men choose to use violence, we can help stop the abuse. I hope that sharing my personal search for justice and healing will contribute to the struggle to end domestic violence.”

     

    February 16, 2018

    AN OPEN LETTER TO AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL SUPPORTERS

    By Alex Neve, Secretary General, Amnesty International Canada

    February 15, 2018

    As Prime Minister Justin Trudeau prepares for an official visit to India, Amnesty International has issued Open Letters to both Trudeau and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi calling on the leaders to raise pressing human rights concerns in India, Canada, and on the world stage.  The Open Letters note the strong linkages between the two countries, and call on both leaders to recognize that progress toward the enjoyment of human rights for all must be at the core of our bilateral relationship. Substantive engagement on human rights during Prime Minister Trudeau’s visit offers an opportunity to demonstrate that commitment.

    February 14, 2018

    Every woman and girl has the right to live in safety without threat of violence, intimidation, or harassment.

    Canadian government statistics show that First Nations, Inuit, and Métis women and girls face much higher rates of violence than all other women and girls in Canada. Large gaps in government support for services to First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities deny Indigenous women and girls supports they need to escape and recover from this violence.

    There are roughly 15 shelters and transition houses serving 53 Inuit communities across the Arctic. Some of these shelters are extremely small and most communities are accessible only by air.

    The federal department of Indigenous and Northern Affairs reports that it provides funding for only 41 shelters to serve the 634 recognized First Nations communities in Canada. According to the National Aboriginal Circle Against Family Violence, as of January 2018 only 38 shelters were operational.They do not provide funding to shelters in Inuit communities.

    February 13, 2018

    Canadian-Egyptian journalist Mohamed Fahmy and Amnesty International Canada Secretary General Alex Neve will appear before the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development on Tuesday, February 13th at 3:30 p.m. to call for continued progress toward improved assistance and protection for Canadians requiring consular assistance when imprisoned abroad.

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