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    August 23, 2018

    by Craig Benjamin and Jackie Hansen

    A new report describes the devastating impact that decades of hydroelectric development have had for First Nations in north-eastern Manitoba, including allegations of sexual assault and other violence by workers brought into the communities to build the dams.

    The publication of this report underlines just how important it is that the voices of Indigenous peoples – especially Indigenous women – are heard and listened to when decisions are made about large dams and other resource development projects.

    August 20, 2018
    Have you always wondered what Amnesty's Business and Human Rights work is all about?

    Or, have you wondered why, for example, Amnesty campaigned for almost a decade for an Ombudsperson for Responsible Canadian Enterprise? In fact, what exactly is the Ombudsperson's job and how does it relate to Amnesty's human rights work? 

    And really, what is supply chain management and what does it have to do with child labour in the Democratic Republic of Congo and that cell phone in your pocket? 

    Is the Mount Polley mine disaster in BC something all mining-affected communities in Canada should be concerned about? 

    If you are new to Amnesty International Canada's Business and Human Rights campaign, or want to brush up on key issues related to corporate accountability and human rights in Canada, we've created a new, downloadable information kit for you. The fact sheets in the Corporate Accountability Information Kit can be used to: 

    August 16, 2018
    UN Declaration booklets published by the Coalition

    In recent months, the federal government and a number of provinces and territories have made significant, welcome commitments to uphold the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

    The House of Commons has now passed Bill C-262, which would establish a legislative framework requiring the federal government to work collaboratively with Indigenous peoples to fully implement the Declaration. Bill C-262 will be debated in the Senate this Fall.

    With these important developments, the UN Declaration has become the subject of a welcome focus of public policy discussion. Unfortunately, opposition by the previous governing party left a legacy of confusion and misinformation about the Declaration and these misrepresentations continue to be repeated.

    August 14, 2018

    Amnesty International and ESCR-Net welcome a ground-breaking decision of the UN Human Rights Committee, which, in upholding a complaint against Canada for breaching the right to life and non-discrimination, ruled that protecting the right to life requires states to ensure that people who lack a regular immigration status – also known as irregular migrants – have access to essential health care services.

    “This is the first time a human rights body has affirmed that irregular migrants’ rights to life and equality include access to essential health care,” said Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada’s English Branch. “In recognizing our common humanity this case sends a strong signal that the right to life can never be compromised by one’s immigration status and that essential health care must be available to everyone who lives in a country – regardless of immigration status.”

    Life-saving treatment wrongly denied  

    August 14, 2018

    OTTAWA (August 14, 2018) - At a press conference in Ottawa today advocates released an open letter to Prime Minister Trudeau signed by over 170 organizations and prominent Canadians urging the Prime Minister to make good on his commitment to the right to housing by enshrining that right in upcoming National Housing Strategy legislation.

    August 09, 2018

     9 August 2018

    The Honourable David Eby
    Attorney General
    PO Box 9044 Stn Prov Govt
    Victoria, BC V8W 9E2
    By fax: 250 387-6411  and by email

    Dear Attorney General Eby,

    Amnesty International strongly agrees with and supports the Union of BC Indian Chiefs’ August 7th Open Letter in which their executive called on your government to denounce and formally apologize for the harmful and disrespectful arguments being made by BC Hydro in the current court hearings about the Site C dam.

    This massively destructive mega-project was approved without prior determination of whether flooding the Peace River Valley would violate rights protected in Treaty 8, as was consistently stated by First Nations throughout the review process. In such a context, it is unconscionable that First Nations have been forced to take on the onerous burden on launching a civil suit just to have their Constitutionally-protected rights properly addressed.

    August 09, 2018

    In a letter to Prime Minister Trudeau (attached), organizations from across Canada have laid out concerns and questions regarding the appointment of a new and unprecedented Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction.

    The key concerns outlined in the letter include:

    August 07, 2018

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Vancouver, August 7, 2018 – Canadian civil society organizations (CSOs), along with hundreds of LGBTI activists from around the world, came together over the last three days (Aug.

    August 03, 2018

    It’s been four long years since the Mount Polley copper mine breached its tailings pond, cutting a 9-kilometre path of destruction from the mine site to Quesnel Lake.

    Path of desctruction: tailing spill down Hazeltine Creek. Credit: Richard Holmes 

    In the days following the disaster, long-time area residents and Indigenous peoples mourned together for the many species of trout and salmon, insect and animal that lived along Hazeltine Creek and in Quesnel Lake.

    Day 5 of the Yuct Ne Senxiymetkwe Camp, established by Secwepemc women to bring together indigenous and settler commmunities in the wake of the August 2014 disaster. Credit: Kieran Oud 

    August 02, 2018

    The world will be watching as Vancouver hosts international conference next week

    July 27, 2018

    As a BC court considers whether to grant an injunction to halt construction of the Site C dam, arguments by BC government lawyers threaten far reaching negative consequences, warns Amnesty International.

    “The legal tactics being employed by the BC government amount to a complete disregard for the rights of Indigenous peoples in favour of building Site C at all costs,” said Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International. “Not only would these cynical legal tactics deny First Nations the opportunity for a just resolution of the still unaddressed question of Treaty rights violations, the province’s position is brazenly at odds with the Premier’s repeated public commitments to reconciliation and respect for the rights of Indigenous peoples.” 

    The application for the injunction was filed by the West Moberly First Nation. West Moberly and Prophet River First Nations have launched a civil suit arguing that flooding the Peace Valley will prevent the meaningful exercise of Treaty protected rights. Hearings with respect to that civil suit are not expected to get underway until the  fall.

    July 26, 2018

    The BC government has launched an Environmental Assessment Revitalization process as part of its commitment to reshape the way BC makes decisions about natural resource projects, industrial activities and more.

    YOU have an opportunity to help shape the future of environmental assessments in BC by providing your input.

    BC’s current environmental assessment law is failing British Columbians and the lands and waters we rely on. Amnesty International has joined 23 other environmental, social justice and community groups in putting forward a shared vision of what future environmental assessments should look like.

    July 26, 2018

    “A B.C. government, led by me, will officially adopt the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples…I will work with you to align the actions of my government with the Declaration.” – NDP leader John Horgan, prior to the 2017 provincial election

    “It is well established that statements by elected representatives do not fetter decision makers, nor do political speeches constitute legally enforceable promises against the Crown.” – the Government of British Columbia’s written submission to the Site C injunction hearing

    BC Premier John Horgan has said many fine words about upholding the rights of Indigenous peoples. He made these promises while running for office and he has repeatedly affirmed them since becoming Premier. But in the most significant test to date of the veracity and integrity of these commitments -- the arguments now being made in front of the crucially important Site C injunction hearing -- Premier Horgan’s government has done the very opposite of what it promised.

    July 24, 2018

    Amnesty International strongly welcomes the recent Ontario Superior Court judgement that restricting the ability of Canada Without Poverty, a registered charity, to engage in non-partisan political activities related to its charitable goals of relieving poverty in the country, violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

    The court case, which originates in a campaign of targeted audits against numerous charities under the previous federal government, challenged the so-called “ten percent” rule which only allowed charities to engage in a very minimal amount of public advocacy.  The distinction between what is permissible and what is prohibited has often been unclear and arbitrary.  For instance, while appearing before a parliamentary committee to advocate for reforms to address a charitable organization’s recommendations with respect to human rights, social justice or environmental protection has generally been considered to be permissible, efforts to encourage the public to reach out to their Members of Parliament with that same message are not.

    July 24, 2018

    As the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration holds hearings as part of its study related to the “Impact of Irregular Crossing of Canada's Southern Border”, a group of civil society leaders is calling for a measured response, focussed on avoiding alarmist rhetoric and ensuring the protection of the human rights of refugee claimants.

    Among the Committee’s top priorities should be to avoid politicization of the topic by recognizing that Canada does not face a crisis along the Canada/US border and focusing on effective coordination between all levels of government in responding to the needs of refugee claimants. In addition, Canada must take the long overdue step of suspending the Safe Third Country Agreement with the United States, particularly as the Trump Administration continues to assail and strip away human rights protections for refugees and migrants.

    Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty international Canada said:

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