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    September 09, 2017

    It’s been a week since we started the 30 days, and I hope you’re seeing the difference already. Hopefully, you understand the issues a bit more and now understand more the change that one person, like you, can make.

    Sometimes change takes time, and sometimes it feels like it happens before your eyes.

    Watch this video and see what happened when people met refugees face-to-face for the first time.

    You can share it with anyone you think might be interested too.

    September 08, 2017

    We told you yesterday about the story of Baraa , who we were able to help thanks to the support of people like you. We can’t thank you enough for all that you’re doing to help refugees.

    Today, we’re asking you to speak out about the treatment of refugees and asylum seekers in detention centres in Canada.

    Did you know that over the last 10 years over 800 children have been held in immigration detention in Canada? Children are placed in detention with or without their families for several weeks, and sometimes for up to a year. In February 2016 a 16 year old Syrian refugee boy was help in solitary confinement in immigration detention for 3 weeks.

    September 06, 2017

    Amnesty International welcomes the initiative of the Canadian government, and non-governmental partners Rainbow Railroad and Russian LGBT Network, which has brought dozens of gay men from the semi-autonomous Russian republic of Chechnya to Canada as government-assisted refugees. This unique government and civil society partnership comes in response to a coordinated campaign against men in Chechnya who are believed to be gay.

    In early April, the Russian independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta reported that over a hundred of men believed to be gay had been recently abducted, sent to undisclosed detention centres, tortured and otherwise ill-treated, and forced to disclose other LGBTI individuals known to them. Chechen officials have also supported ``honour killings`` of gay men by their families. Amnesty International documented the practice of extrajudicial executions of gay men in Chechnya and elsewhere in the region earlier this year.

    September 06, 2017

    You care about refugees – that’s clear from the fact that you’re reading this now.

    And because of that, we thought you might be interested in signing up for a free online course about the rights of refugees.

    This course will help you to understand, defend and promote the rights of refugees. You will also develop new skills and knowledge from experts and learn how to hold governments to account.

    You can do the course at your own pace, and you can also connect with other participants from across the world.  

    We really hope you enjoy it.

    And knowledge is power, so by doing this and sharing the course with others who might be interested, you will be helping to change people’s attitudes to refugees.

    Take the free online refugee rights course

    September 05, 2017
    Graphic of the refugee crisis by numbers

    To really make a difference to refugees, you need to understand the scale of the problem.

    But behind each and every number, behind every image of crowds of people waiting in refugee camps – behind each of these is a person, like Ahmed.

    He’d spent his life working in his 300-person capacity restaurant, which welcomed scores of tourist buses every day. He was well known where he lived, and much loved by tourists and locals alike.

    But the war in Syria changed everything. Both his home and his restaurant were destroyed by bombs so he fled to another city with his family, including his two young children, Aya and Read. But even there they weren’t safe, so Ahmed made the difficult decision to leave his beloved country to seek safety in Jordan. .

    Read outside his home in Toronto

    September 04, 2017

    We’re spending a month highlighting all the amazing ways you can help make a difference to refugees around the world.

    If you’ve ever felt helpless or hopeless hearing about the millions of people forced to flee their homes, we want to change all that so that you can do something you believe in.

    You’ve already taken the first step, probably without even realising it. As Mohamed,  a refugee from Somalia, explains:

    “There is a proverb in my culture which says an open heart is entered but not an open door. So if you see an open door you will not enter it, but you will enter it if the person who is there has an open heart. So I think having a great heart, it's the first thing.”

    So you’re off to an excellent start. 

    But if you are going to make a difference, you need to know the basics – what is a refugee?

    August 29, 2017

    Amnesty International urges the Canadian government to act on all the recommendations made for Canada by the UN Committee for the Elimination of Racism and Discrimination (CERD).

    The United Nations' top anti-racism body has strongly condemned the continued construction of the Site C dam as a clear violation of Treaty rights and Canada's international human rights obligations and has called for its immediate suspension.

    The UN committee said that it was unacceptable for governments in Canada to force Indigenous peoples to pursue long and costly legal challenges as the only way to uphold rights that the government is obligated to protect. It also noted that federal government support for the Site C dam contradicts the government's public commitments to uphold Indigenous rights, including the right to free, prior and informed consent.

    The committee is an independent, expert body with a mandate to promote compliance with the legally binding UN Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

    August 28, 2017
    Ranea and Danea from Iraq have been stranded in Lesvos for 16 months

    The thing refugees need above all is a lasting, long-term solution. Without this, they have no real hope of rebuilding their lives.

    Imagine: you’re forced to flee your home and escape to another country. There, you are recognized as a refugee by either the UN’s refugee agency, UNHCR, or the local authorities. But you still face threats, abuses like sexual violence, or problems getting life-saving medical treatment.

    UNHCR will decide if you urgently need protection in another country. This is called resettlement. Canada, for example, opened its doors to 25,000 Syrian refugees between November 2015 and February 2016. Every single one reached their new home country in the only obvious way: by plane.

    But unfortunately, only a tiny fraction of refugees who qualify for resettlement have actually received that all-important call saying they can move abroad.

    August 28, 2017

    We’ve given you a global overview on refugees so far, but now it’s time to focus in on the situation local to you.

    Canada has been viewed as a global leader with respect to refugee protection. It has signed the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, and other human rights instruments which protect refugees. Canada was the first country to set out guidelines for considering the refugee claims of women, and has taken an active role globally in the resettlement of refugees through both government and private sponsorship programs. In recent years however, Canada like many other countries, is creating more barriers for people seeking safety and security.

    Your voice is important in showing there is public support for welcoming refugees and demanding Canada does more.

    Here Gloria Nafziger explains how refugee issues became an actual electoral issue in Canada due to the demands of people who wanted more refugees resettled.

    August 28, 2017
    Protesters walking with Amnesty signs

    So, when we’re talking about refugees around the world, you might be wondering: where does Amnesty fit in?

    Amnesty International addresses the biggest challenges in the world today - inequality on the rise, ongoing crises and conflicts, those in power clamping down on people’s freedoms and more people than ever before fleeing their homes and seeking safety elsewhere.

    But to do that, we need your help to make sure we are the first on the scene in any emerging crisis, gathering crucial evidence so we can hold governments to account. And to make sure we can provide guidance and support to refugees at all stages of their journey; to help them find a safe welcome, so they can start to rebuild their lives.

    But to really show you where we’re making a difference, you need to hear about how we helped Baraa and his family.

    August 25, 2017

    Today, it’s all about the things you can’t always see.

    Look at the pictures below and see if you can tell – which person is a refugee? Which person gave refugees from Syria a place to stay? Which person is a professor of maths and business-owner? Which person is nurturing future soccer star?

    August 24, 2017
    The Ali family in Toronto

    We’re spending the month of September highlighting all the amazing ways you can make a difference to refugees at home in Canada, and around the world. We’ll be posting a new blog every day in September; you can follow along on our blog and social media channels, and remember to share what actions you are taking by using the hashtags #IWelcome and #AmnestyCanada .

    September 4: What is a refugee? Get informed – knowledge is power.

    September 5: Refugees in numbers

    September 6: Do the MOOC on refugees

    September 7: Stories behind the numbers

    September 8: Help us keep fighting for refugee rights

    September 9: Your support makes a difference

    August 21, 2017

    Amnesty International Canada welcomes the efforts of the Canadian Medical Association to protect migrants and refugees, including children, within our borders. The CMA will discuss refugee protection when it meets for its annual meeting in Quebec City August 19-23.

    The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) has supported the motion to advocate that “concrete legislative change be made to protect migrants and refugees from being arbitrarily and indefinitely detained in jails and jail-like facilities in Canada”. The CMA has a longstanding mandate to advocate for health-related human rights issues.

    Dr. Shobana Ananth, volunteer Health Network Coordinator, Amnesty International Canada, made the motion stating “As health professionals, we know that detention impacts the mental health of both children and adults resulting in suicidal ideation, anxiety, depression, PTSD, and in children, the deterioration of developmental milestones.”

    August 16, 2017
    © REUTERS/Adriane Ohanesian/Alamy

    Uganda hosts over 900,000 refugees from South Sudan who are fleeing serious human rights abuses including targeted killings, torture, and sexual violence, including rape.

    Uganda has remained welcoming and generous to refugees at a time when many countries are closing their borders. But Uganda is under incredible strain as funds dry up and thousands continue to cross from South Sudan every day. The international community is failing to support Uganda. Basic needs, including access to food, water, sanitation, health care and shelter are not being met.

     

    SHOW SOLIDARITY WITH REFUGEES Send a solidarity message to South Sudanese refugees in Uganda:

    Create your message on a placard or banner. For example, “I wish you a future where your hopes and dreams are fulfilled.” Translations in some of the languages spoken by South Sudanese refugees in Uganda: 

    August 14, 2017
    Robyn Fuller


    by Robyn Fuller   Presentation to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, 14 August 2017   Good morning,    When I was a young girl the elders of my people the Dunne zatalked about a Prophecy.    A Prophecy of four dams that were to be built on the Peace River.   In the 1950’s the B.C government started looking at the Peace River as a potential site to build four Dams Site A, Site B, Site C, and Site D. In 1961 construction of Site A, now known as the W.A.C Bennett Dam was started. It was finished in 1968.  

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