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    February 23, 2021

    February 23rd, 2021 – Montréal, QC – A youth-led environmental group is appearing before the Quebec Court of Appeal today seeking to proceed with their class action lawsuit against the Canadian government for failing to act on the climate crisis. Amnesty International is intervening in the appeal. It will argue that the Court must consider Canada’s international human rights law obligation to provide effective remedies for human rights violations, such as those caused by the failure to take appropriate actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

    February 22, 2021

    On 23 and 24 February, the Federal Court of Appeal will hear the Canadian government’s appeal of a decision finding that the Canada-US Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA) is unconstitutional. Amnesty International (AI), the Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR), and The Canadian Council of Churches (CCC) will once again join individual refugee claimants as their lawyers reiterate to the court that the STCA violates the right to life, liberty, and security of the person, as well as equality rights guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

    February 19, 2021

    “I am an example because the government’s suspicion that I was a criminal was totally and one hundred percent wrong. I was never charged, let alone convicted, of any crime. The only independent judge I ever faced during my ordeal had ordered my release after seeing the secret evidence that even I wasn’t allowed to see.”
    Former Guantánamo detainee Mohamedou Slahi, referred to as “The Mauritanian” by intelligence officials

    In early February 2021, the Biden administration launched a formal review of the future of the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay. Will there be a genuine commitment to truth, accountability and remedy?

    Almost 800 men have passed through the US detention facility at Guantánamo Bay. As the facility enters its 20th year, 40 Muslim men remain there facing indefinite detention. Two of them have been there since the facility opened on January 11, 2020, and fifteen since that first year. All 40 men have been held for over 12 years. At least 24 of them were held in secret CIA custody prior to their transfer to Guantánamo, some for over four years.

    February 17, 2021

    OTTAWA – The Safe Third Country Agreement will be back in court on Feb. 23 and 24, as the Canadian government seeks to overturn a decision that the US-Canada refugee pact is unconstitutional.

    Amnesty International, the Canadian Council for Refugees, and the Canadian Council of Churches, will once again join individual litigants in arguing the agreement is harmful to those seeking protection north of the US-Canada border.

    In July 2020, the Federal Court ruled that the Safe Third Country Agreement is unconstitutional, as it violates the s. 7 Charter right to life, liberty and security of the person. Civil society groups and refugees have long maintained that the agreement violates human rights, because many refugee claimants returned to the US are arbitrarily held in appalling conditions in immigration detention centres or county jails, and are not eligible for the same legal protections that are available in Canada.

    February 17, 2021

    Wednesday, February 17, 2021 - Amnesty International welcomes the Canadian government’s initiative endorsed by 57 countries to condemn the arbitrary detention of foreign nationals —including those with dual citizenship— for political purposes. We hope the implementation of this new declaration, announced by Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau on Monday, will be followed by a binding implementation plan.  

    January 29, 2021

    Climate change is not only the great environmental emergency of our time, but also an unprecedented human rights crisis. It threatens a wide range of human rights, including the rights to water, to health and to life itself. Unfortunately, some of our current technology-focused climate solutions, such as electric vehicles or solar power, threaten those rights. The shift to electric vehicles and renewable energy is essential for the fight against the climate crisis, but must not come at the cost of further human rights abuses or environmental harms. 

    This February, Amnesty International Canada embarks on a year-long project to bring awareness to these issues and to call on Canada to put human rights and Indigenous knowledges at the centre of climate justice and decarbonization initiatives.

    January 28, 2021

    OTTAWA – Thousands of people have joined a group of Sixties Scoop survivors in signing a petition urging Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to formally apologize for the racist child welfare policies that separated more than 20,000 children from their families.

    Colleen Hele Cardinal and Elaine Kicknosway, co-founders of the Sixties Scoop Network, launched the e-petition calling for a national apology for the decades-long harmful practice of “scooping up” Indigenous children and adopting them out to mostly white families. The petition, which was presented in the House of Commons today, has garnered 4,862 signatures.

    January 27, 2021

    OTTAWA – Amnesty International is urging Canadian authorities to intervene on the case of Hassan Diab, after a French court ruled that the Ottawa academic must stand trial on groundless terrorism charges stemming from a 1980 synagogue bombing.

    On Wednesday, France’s court of appeal ordered Diab to face trial for the 40-year-old Paris bombing, even after a lower court cleared his name three years ago due to a lack of evidence. It is possible that such a trial could be held in absentia, or in his absence.

    “The French court’s decision to keep pursuing this prolonged injustice against Hassan Diab is unacceptable,” said Ketty Nivyabandi, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada. “His family has been through so much over the past 12 years, only to learn that this painful saga is not over. The Canadian government must do everything in its power to have these charges dropped so Hassan and his family can move forward.”

    January 26, 2021

    Amnesty International is extremely concerned about human rights harms resulting from climate change and  we therefore urge governments and companies to cease investments that expand fossil fuel exploration and production, including the development of new infrastructure. Amnesty Canada has joined a coalition representing over 3.5 million Canadians calling on Prime Minister Trudeau to cancel the Trans Mountain pipeline project because it conflicts with Canada's climate policy goals. Amnesty further urges the Canadian government to ensure that the transition to a zero carbon economy is "just" and done in a way that reduces inequalities and protects the rights of workers and vulnerable communities.

    To the Right Honourable Justin Trudeau,
    Cc: Federal Cabinet Ministers

    January 15, 2021

    OTTAWA – Canadian journalists have an extra week to submit their stories to Amnesty International’s Media Awards in Canada, the human rights organization announced today.

    The English-speaking branch of Amnesty International’s Canadian section will now accept submissions up to 11:59 p.m. EST on Jan. 22, 2021.

    These awards honour outstanding reporting on human rights issues by journalists in Canada and Canadian journalists abroad, while also increasing awareness and understanding of human rights issues for all in Canada.

    If you are a Canadian journalist or working as a journalist in Canada, we invite you to review the judging criteria below and submit your 2020 human rights stories with the link provided. We look forward to hearing from you.

    All entries must be published or broadcast in Canada between Jan. 1, 2020 and Dec. 31, 2020. Unfortunately, we can only accept English submissions at this time.

    For more information, please contact: Lucy Scholey, Media Relations, Amnesty International Canada, 613-853-2142, lscholey@amnesty.ca

    January 14, 2021

    What’s this all about?

    Anti-Black racism is prejudice, attitudes, beliefs, stereotyping and discrimination that is directed at people of African descent and is rooted in their unique history and experience of enslavement and its legacy. Anti-Black racism is deeply entrenched in Canadian institutions, policies and practices, to the extent that anti-Black racism is either functionally normalized or rendered invisible to the larger White society. Anti-Black racism is manifest in the current social, economic, and political marginalization of African Canadians, which includes unequal opportunities, lower socio-economic status, higher unemployment, significant poverty rates and overrepresentation in the criminal justice system. [source: https://www.ontario.ca/document/data-standards-identification-and-monitoring-systemic-racism/glossary]

    Communities have been speaking out for decades about how Black people experience policing in Canada. It’s time to listen: racism is not up for debate – it’s systemic.

    January 14, 2021

    Have a Heart Day is a child and youth-led reconciliation event that brings together caring Canadians to help ensure First Nations children have the services they need to grow up safely at home, get a good education, be healthy, and be proud of who they are. 

    This year, to prevent spreading COVID-19, Spirit Bear is #hibernating4health. So you may not see him out and about as often as in previous years. This doesn’t mean he isn’t still working hard to defend the rights and futures of First Nations kids.

    But he does want help: kids who are also staying safe at home can make Snow Spirit Bears outside with families and share pictures of your snow bears and valentines on social media. Remember to use the hashtag #HaveaHeartDay and tag the Prime Minister and MPs; this way, Spirit Bear and the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society can find your sculptures and art.

    There are many other ways, both big and small, that you can celebrate Have a Heart Day in COVID-19 safe ways. Here are some ideas: 

    January 07, 2021

    Three years ago, in January 2018, the government announced that it would create an independent office with the power to investigate. Instead, in April 2019, it unveiled a powerless advisory post called the Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise (CORE). The CORE is little different from what has already existed for years and is ill-equipped to address human rights abuses linked to Canadian companies operating overseas.

    At the time, the Canadian government said that the promised powers to independently investigate would need to wait a little longer – until the results of an external legal review were made public, in just a few weeks’ time. Fast forward more than 18 months later and the report remains buried and the office of the CORE remains powerless.

    Then in late November 2020, the office of the Minister of Small Business, Export Development and International Trade cemented the CORE’s fate, informing our coalition (the Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability) that Canada will not give the CORE the promised powers to compel documents and testimony after all. This is outrageous!

    January 05, 2021

    In addition to the pandemic, the world is simultaneously facing another emergency– the climate crisis. And while the climate crisis might seem abstract and far off to some, it is already gravely impacting the lives of millions of people around the world, and will get worse with time if urgent action is not taken now.

    It’s high time the Canadian government and Canada’s provincial governments started treating the climate crisis like the emergency it is. Amnesty International urges Canada’s federal and provincial governments to take urgent action to reduce emissions quickly, while ensuring that human rights are always protected.

    Sign e-petition to Canadian government

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