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Amnesty International welcomes the release today of the Concluding Observations of the UN Committee Against Torture, following last month’s review of Canada’s record of compliance with the United Nations Convention against Torture, the first such review since 2012.
(OTTAWA, ON, December 7, 2018) – In a report released today, the United Nations Committee Against Torture officially recognized that sterilizing Indigenous women without consent is a form of torture, and called on Canada to “ensure that all allegations of forced or coerced sterilization are impartially investigated, that the persons responsible are held accountable and that adequate redress is provided to the victims.”
The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC), Amnesty International Canada, and Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights strongly support the recommendations of the UN Committee Against Torture, and call on Canada to:
Today Grassy Narrows released a ground-breaking new report by renowned mercury expert Dr. Donna Mergler. The authoritative report is the first study to link higher rates of health and wellbeing challenges in Grassy Narrows’ children with exposure to mercury, a potent neurotoxin, from local fish. Grassy Narrows has long asserted that the mercury poisoning of the English and Wabigoon rivers in Northwestern Ontario continues to impact new generations of their children, and are in Ottawa to call upon Prime Minister Trudeau to take action.
The report finds that the “health and well-being of children and youth have been affected directly by prenatal exposure to mercury and indirectly by the intergenerational consequences of mercury contamination of the fish resources in their community.”
“We are proud of our kids. They amaze me every day with their humour, their pride, and their strength. They should not have to fight again and again for basic justice that others in Canada take for granted. They should not have to overcome hunger, poverty, and poison in order to succeed.” Judy Da Silva, Grassy Narrows, quoted today in The Toronto Star
One of the things that has stayed with me with from Amnesty’s first official research mission to Grassy Narrows, almost 15 years ago, was the story shared by a young mother who had only recently learned about the dangers of mercury contamination of their river system. Throughout her pregnancy she had eaten a lot of fish caught in the local rivers because she knew that wild food is part of a healthy diet and that eating fish is part of what has always connected generation after generation to their culture. But when we spoke she was very worried about whether she might have inadvertently harmed her child.
A new study released today documents the very cost of ignoring the mercury crisis at Grassy Narrows.
Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada, said, “The latest community health study on the Grassy Narrows First Nation is an indictment of the appalling history of government inaction and indifference. The young people in this study were born and grew up after the federal and provincial governments had already washed their hands of the mercury crisis at Grassy Narrows. Imagine the difference it could have made if, instead of denying that mercury was even a threat, these governments had shouldered their responsibilities and worked with the community from the outset to ensure that young people could practice their rights and traditions in a safe and healthy environment.”
Thanks you so much to those of you who sent letters and postcards to the President of Microsoft Canada urging the company to investigate whether child labour and other human rights abuses are found in their cobalt supply chain.
Thanks to you and our supporters around the world Microsoft is beginning to bow to pressure.
The company released a report in October 2018 setting out the steps they’ve taken to map their cobalt supply chain. While this is progress, Microsoft has a long way to go to meet our concerns and international standards.
The company has yet to tell us exactly how they’re identifying, preventing and addressing potential human rights abuses in their cobalt supply chain.
We’re halting our action for the moment, but we won’t let Microsoft rest until they follow up on their commitments, and there is real evidence of change on the ground in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
In response to Minister Chrystia Freeland’s announcement today that the Canadian government will place sanctions on 17 Saudi nationals believed to be involved in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Amnesty International Human Rights Law and Policy Campaigner, Justin Mohammed, said:
Whether they face vitriolic harassment online, intimidation for demanding equal services or death threats for protecting their land, women around the world are increasingly under attack for peacefully advocating for human rights.
That’s why Amnesty International is focusing this year’s Write for Rights campaign on women who are fearlessly working to improve the lives of those living in vulnerable, marginalized communities.
Every year, around International Human Rights Day on December 10, Amnesty International supporters across the globe write millions of letters and take action for people whose rights are under attack, in what has become the world’s biggest human rights campaign.
Write for Rights participants send messages of solidarity to those fighting for human rights. They also send letters to government officials responsible for or complicit in human rights violations, urging them to take action.
This weekend, CBC-TV will broadcast a special documentary about courageous Guatemalan villagers who are taking a Canadian mining company to court.
Watch the 3 minute trailer
Airs: Friday, November 30 at 9 p.m. (9:30 NT) on CBC, the CBC TV streaming app, and https://watch.cbc.ca/. Repeating on News Network Sunday, December 2nd at 8 p.m. ET/PT, and Thursday, December 6th at 10 p.m. ET/PT.
On December 10, 2018, the world will celebrate the 70th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In 1948, this historic moment signalled the beginning of new era founded on respect for human dignity and the belief that all people worldwide should be able to exercise their rights in full equality. Seventy years later, the increasing impacts of climate change are undermining these values.
Preserving the vision of a shared future where all people can live in peace and dignity now requires decisive action by all governments. To remain true to their commitment to protect human rights for all, governments must urgently tackle the disastrous impacts of the fossil fuel industry on our planet; protect those speaking up for the rights of their communities and for their supporting ecosystems; promote gender equality; provide adequate support to vulnerable countries and impacted communities; and guarantee that projects implemented in the name of climate action do not reinforce existing abuses or create new ones.
The government of Canada must establish parliamentary oversight to ensure Canadian-made weapons will not be transferred to countries like Saudi Arabia, where there is a serious risk they will be used to commit war crimes, crimes against humanity and other grave human rights violations, say a group of arms control and human rights advocates.
Project Ploughshares, the Rideau Institute, Oxfam-Québec, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East and Amnesty International will testify before the Senate on Bill C-47, legislation that prepares Canada for accession to the UN Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), starting Wednesday, November 21.
While joining the ATT is a positive step for Canada, Bill C-47 is deeply flawed and fails to comply with the treaty’s essential objective to “establish the highest possible common international standards” for regulating the arms trade.
The numerous shortcomings under Bill C-47 leave glaring loopholes in the country’s export permit process, as outlined in a briefing document that has been presented to Senators. Those include:
On November 20, Amnesty International will appear before the United Nations Committee Against Torture (CAT) in Geneva, highlighting ongoing and new concerns that Canada is falling short of its international obligations to prevent and address torture and ill-treatment.
While the Canadian government has taken a number of positive steps since its last review before the UN CAT in May 2012, there is still much to be done to strengthen laws, policies and other measures so as to fully implement the prohibition against torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
In a written submission and oral presentation to the Committee, Amnesty International is highlighting numerous concerns regarding Canada’s shortcomings with respect to torture and ill-treatment, including violence against Indigenous women and girls, coerced or forced sterilization of Indigenous women, policing of Indigenous protests, redress for survivors of torture, refugee protection, immigration detention and solitary confinement.
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.
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?