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    November 19, 2018

    Alisa Lombard is an associate with Maurice Law, Canada’s first national Indigenous-owned law firm, and the lead on a proposed class action law suit in Saskatchewan brought by two women who claim having been forcibly or coercively sterilized between 2000-2010. Over 60 women have reached out reporting they were sterilized without proper and informed consent, most from Saskatchewan, and also from Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, and Ontario.

    We spoke with Alisa the week the issue of the ongoing practice of forced and coerced sterilizations of Indigenous women and girls in Canada became headline news, prompting calls for urgent action to end this human rights violation and provide justice for the survivors.

    November 13, 2018
    TAKE ACTION to end sterilizations without consent

    Canadian and international media are reporting on the ongoing practice of coerced of forced sterilizations of Indigenous women in Canada. Here’s what you need to know.

    What is forced sterilization and coerced sterilization?

    November 13, 2018

    Amnesty International will intervene to argue for the right to challenge the legality of immigration detention

    Amnesty International, alongside other human rights organizations, will intervene at the Supreme Court of Canada on November 14, 2018, in a landmark case on immigration detention, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness v Chhina.

    This Supreme Court case is about the basic right of immigration detainees to challenge the lawfulness of their detention by way of habeas corpus – a constitutionally protected right derived from the common law to impose a check on the power of the State to deprive individuals of their liberty. Amnesty International will argue that Canada is under international legal obligations to guarantee immigration detainees this right.

    November 08, 2018

    In the wake of the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Amnesty International staged a public stunt outside the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Ottawa on November 8, highlighting the Saudi government’s brutal crackdown on critics and activists.

    Amnesty posted signs outside the embassy that read “Journalists: Proceed with Caution,” after Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on October 2.

    But this is only the latest atrocity in Saudi Arabia’s growing list of human rights violations. A Saudi-led coalition has shown no signs of backing down from its relentless war against Yemen, which has killed thousands of innocent civilians and left more than eight million on the brink of starvation. Canada remains complicit in this war, as the federal government has yet to announce it will halt a $15-billion arms trade deal with Saudi Arabia. Moreover, leading Saudi feminists remain detained without charge, and some continue to be held incommunicado, for speaking up for women’s rights, following a pattern of silencing dissent that is typical of the Saudi regime. 

    November 07, 2018

    In January 2018, the Government of Canada announced the creation of the Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise, the first of its kind in the world.

    We are deeply concerned however that, 10 months after the announcement, the ombudsperson is still not in place. Communities around the world who are looking to Canada for a credible process to protect their rights continue to wait. 

    There is an urgent need to turn promises into action. 

    It is time for all of us to call on the Government of Canada to urgently implement its commitments by naming an independent ombudsperson with the mandate and tools to conduct independent investigations.

    We need your help! Please phone, hand-deliver a letter, or meet in person with your Member of Parliament (MP). Next week (November 12 – 16) is an ideal time to do so, because MPs will be in their home ridings.

    We strongly encourage you to contact your MP about this important issue. It is particularly important to do so if you live in one of the following key ridings:

    November 02, 2018

    Over the past month, the story of journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance and subsequent death inside a Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, grabbed headlines around the world.  Renowned journalists have paid tribute to Khashoggi and his work, and Amnesty International is calling on UN Secretary General António Guterres to set up an independent investigation so that we may know the truth of what took place. Canadians from coast to coast have rightfully expressed their outrage over this brutal act, which is only the latest in series of troublesome developments coming out of the Saudi kingdom. Think of Raif Badawi, the Saudi blogger sentenced to 10 years imprisonment, a fine, a travel ban, and 1,000 lashes for exercising his freedom of expression. Think of Loujain al-Hathloul, Iman al-Nafjan, and Aziza al-Yousef, three women’s rights activists who remain imprisoned without charge.

    October 26, 2018

    Amnesty International Canada is renewing calls for a public inquiry into the extradition and imprisonment of academic Hassan Diab, after learning the French Court of Appeal has ordered a fresh review of his case.

    In response, Secretary General Alex Neve issued the following statement:

    “As has been the case for more than a decade, Hassan Diab and his family are not yet able to put these years of Kafkaesque injustice firmly in the past. Today’s news comes as deep frustration and disappointment.

    “The handwriting samples and analysis in this case have consistently been rejected by experts in both Canada and France. Yet French authorities continue to hold onto hope that they can keep this case alive by resurrecting evidence that has been roundly discredited as worthless.

    “In doing so, they continue to keep Hassan Diab and his family in a suspended state of uncertainty and anguish.

    "So while this case is protracted and extended yet one more time in France, it is vital that efforts to get to the bottom of Canada’s role in why and how this happened need to expand and deepen.

    October 25, 2018

    Amnesty International is deeply disappointed that the BC Supreme Court has decided to allow construction of the Site C dam to continue while an ongoing Treaty rights case proceeds.

    In a decision released yesterday Justice Warren Milman set out a plan to ensure that the Treaty rights case initiated by the West Moberly and Prophet River First Nations can be heard before the dam is completed and the Peace River Valley flooded.

    However, despite concluding that First Nations could face “irreparable harm” from forest clearing and other preparation activities planned to take place even before the trial begins, Justice Warren Milman turned down the application by the West Moberly First Nations for a temporary injunction to protect the Valley.

    October 23, 2018

    By Alex Neve, Secretary-General of Amnesty International Canada

    Donald Trump has clearly decided that several thousand Honduran refugees and migrants who have formed a “caravan” that has been making its way through Guatemala and into Mexico over the past week, with the eventual intention to attempt to cross into the United States, offer a wedge political issue that may help Republicans in the mid-term elections.

    And so, he has been spewing toxic, hate-filled threats and untruths about the #CaravanaMigrante at a series of political rallies meant to boost the fortunes of various candidates for Congress.

    It is a display of contempt for the rule of law, for human rights and for international norms of refugee protection. It is laced with bigotry and devoid of compassion. And it is not only instructive as to the sorry state of affairs along the U.S.’s southern border, it has serious ramifications for the northern border with Canada as well.

    October 22, 2018

    As Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland meets with Mexican secretaries-designate today in Ottawa, Amnesty International Canada released the following statement from Secretary-General Alex Neve:

    “Mexico’s acute human rights crisis, with more than 37,000 reported disappearances and more every day, must be a top priority for the Canada-Mexico relationship. This horrendous situation can no longer take a back seat to other considerations. As thousands of desperate migrants from Honduras are now entering Mexico, it is imperative to resist pressure from President Trump to treat these people as a security threat and ignore international obligations. Instead, Mexican authorities must protect their human rights and ensure no one is deported back to situations of danger; and the Canadian government must reinforce those vital obligations in all exchanges with both Mexican and US counterparts.”

    For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

    Lucy Scholey, Amnesty International Canada (English):  +1 613-744-7667 ext. 236; lscholey@amnesty.ca

    October 19, 2018

    “Steve always wanted the government to admit that he had been poisoned by mercury. Now we take up his fight to honour him.”  - the family of Steve Fobister, Sr.

    Steve Fobister Sr. was a powerful and inspirational voice in the long struggle for justice for his community, the Grassy Narrows First Nation in northwestern Ontario. Mr. Fobister passed away on October 11 after many years of debilitating illness resulting from mercury poisoning.

    “Decades of government obstruction denied Steve Fobister the chance to see justice in his lifetime,” said Amnesty International Canada’s Secretary General Alex Neve. “We must, all of us, continue his struggle to ensure that all the members of his community receive full and fair compensation for the poisoning of their waters and access to the quality, specialized health care required by those suffering the devasting impacts of Minamata disease.”

    October 12, 2018

    The Supreme Court has issued a narrow and highly technical decision that, while disappointing to many Indigenous nations, critically does not in any way diminish the fundamental responsibility of legislators to respect and uphold the rights of Indigenous peoples.

    In a ruling released yesterday, a majority of five out of seven Supreme Court judges concluded that the specific duty to consult and accommodate does not apply to the work of the legislative branch of government. However, the entire court is in agreement that laws passed by federal, provincial and territorial governments must be consistent with their obligations to uphold the Treaty and other Constitutional rights of Indigenous peoples.

    The Supreme Court decision was based on the separation between the legislative and executive (decision-making) functions of government and the fact that the specific rights protection known as the duty to consult was developed in relation to the executive branch.

    October 10, 2018

    The Grassy Narrows First Nation has declared that it will exercise self-determination over its traditional territory and not allow any more industrial logging. Responding to today’s announcement, Amnesty International Canada said that the First Nation’s assertion of its inherent rights is an opportunity for the federal and provincial governments to finally treat the people of Grassy Narrows with justice and respect.

    “Federal and provincial management of the lands and territories of Grassy Narrows have left a legacy of extreme environmental contamination and a long-ignored community health crisis,” said Craig Benjamin, Amnesty International’s Campaigner for the Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples. “The federal and provincial governments owe the people of Grassy Narrows a debt of justice. One critical step toward making things right would be to respect the right of the First Nation to make its own decisions about its lands and resources.”

    September 21, 2018

    Human Rights Council adopts Universal Periodic Review outcome on Canada

    Amnesty International is disappointed that Canada’s response to its UPR, while containing welcome commitments, does not commit to substantial advances and primarily confirms initiatives already underway.

    Canada reiterates that a protocol and stakeholder engagement strategy are being developed to coordinate implementation of international human rights obligations across federal, provincial and territorial jurisdictions, but offers no concrete plans or timeline to ensure these urgent reforms advance.[1]

    Treaty ratification commitments appear to have weakened from previous announcements about moving to accede to the Optional Protocols to the Convention against Torture and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This response states there is no decision yet regarding accession.[2]

    September 20, 2018

    A coalition of women’s rights organizations is calling on women foreign ministers participating in a precedent-setting meeting in Montreal this week to make concrete and accountable commitments during the UN General Assembly to recognize, protect and support increasingly persecuted women human rights defenders around the world.

    In a statement released today, more than 160 women’s rights and civil society organizations warn that women who defend human rights are confronting a global and increasingly “heightened risk of experiencing human rights violations, including forms of gender-based and sexual violence, threats, harassment, and defamation campaigns linked to their status as women.”  In response, and in recognition of the vital contributions made by women human rights defenders in struggles of global significance, the coalition is calling on attendees at the Montreal Summit to commit before the UN General Assembly to:

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