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    May 10, 2019

    Why is a caribou protection plan needed in northeast BC?

    The BC government reported in 2018 that the six caribou herds in the southern Peace region “have undergone a dramatic decline in numbers” over the last decade and will disappear entirely if conditions do not change. All of the herds are currently listed as “threatened” under the Species at Risk Act, but the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada has recommended that five of the herds be classified under the even more urgent category of “endangered.”

    May 10, 2019
    Partnership Agreement on Caribou Protection in Northeast BC

    “When caribou disappear, a piece of our culture disappears and we lose a little bit of who we are as the Indigenous people of the area.” - Chief Roland Willson, West Moberly First Nations

    A Partnership Agreement between First Nations and the federal and provincial governments is an important opportunity to take practical steps to recover endangered caribou populations in British Columbia and take meaningful action on reconciliation.

    In the face of a public backlash characterized by racism and bigotry, Amnesty International is urging Premier John Horgan and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to be resolute in fulfilling their commitments and obligations, including recovery of endangered species, reconciliation with First Nations, and combatting racism, by seeing the Partnership Agreement on Caribou Recovery through to implementation.

    May 09, 2019

    This article was originally published in the Toronto Star.

    By Justin Mohammed

    Refugee claimants who cross the Canada-U.S. border irregularly do not reach that decision lightly. Upon doing so, they are arrested and temporarily detained until police establish their identity and ensure they aren’t a security threat. Possessions are restricted to those that they can carry. The route can be dangerous; frostbite has claimed fingers, and hypothermia has even claimed a life. After the refugee protection claim is launched, they remain in limbo for months or years without a guarantee they will be allowed to stay.

    This is what refugee claimants coming through the U.S. weigh when they decide to seek Canada’s protection.

    In spite of this, the federal government has decided to tighten its borders, further targeting refugee claimants who seek Canada’s protection by travelling through the U.S.

    May 03, 2019

    All around the world, Pride marches and events are held to celebrate hard won rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people and to continue demanding equality. But in many parts of the world, Prides are not allowed to take place or face backlash, repression and violence. And many of the activists working to ensure LGBTI rights are protected, respected, and upheld face harassment, criminalization, and violence.

    This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, the uprising that saw the mobilization of LGBTI people against police harassment and brutality in New York City. The Stonewall riots are now celebrated worldwide as a cornerstone of the liberation movements for LGBTI communities, and led to the founding of the first Pride marches in the United States.

    Join Amnesty International this summer as we participate in Pride festivals in Canada and around the world alongside LGBTI partner organizations to take action in support of LGBTI rights and demonstrate solidarity with LGBTI human rights defenders.

    May 02, 2019

    On Friday, May 3rd, students across Canada and around the world will strike for the climate and call on governments to take urgent action to stop climate change.

    Amnesty International is in solidarity with the climate strike and warns that the failure of governments to address climate change may amount to the greatest inter-generational human rights violation in history. Climate change affects the rights to life, health, housing, water and sanitation, among others, and it disproportionately affects those who are already marginalized or subject to discrimination.

    Amnesty’s 2019 Human Rights Agenda calls on Canada to address the human rights implications of climate change by, among other measures:

    Ending the dependence on fossil fuels by 2040 Ending fossil fuel subsidies Promoting a just transition to a zero-carbon economy Ensuring that the free, prior, and informed consent of Indigenous communities for any new energy projects is respected

    Climate change is a human rights issue. As Amnesty develops and deepens our work on climate justice, we need you to take action and call on Canada to stop climate change.

    May 01, 2019

    Amnesty International is pressing the Canadian government to take decisive action on human rights at home and on the world stage in 2018. The call comes as we release our annual Human Rights Agenda for Canada, pressing the federal government to build on progress seen in 2017 while addressing ongoing serious human rights shortcomings.

    April 25, 2019
    Earth defenders and garment workers are suffering staggering human rights abuses: so why has Canada's new corporate accountability watchdog been de-fanged? 

    On April 8, Canada's Minister for International Trade Diversification announced the appointment of the new Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise (CORE). The position was first announced to great fanfare 15 months ago, but sat vacant until Calgary lawyer Sheri Meyerhoffer was appointed. Unfortunately, we have learned that the Ombudsperson's mandate and powers are much weaker than promised.

    The most startling difference is that the Ombudsperson is not currently imbued with investigatory powers such as the ability to compel documents and testimony from parties to complaints. In order for the Ombudsperson to be effective and to prevent future human rights abuses in the context of Canadian extractives and garment projects, the office must have these powers.

    April 23, 2019

    Canada is on the brink of a breakthrough to protect the rights of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. But urgent action is needed to ensure that this historic opportunity isn’t lost.

    The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada called the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples “the framework for reconciliation.” Last year, the House of Commons passed Bill C-262, a private members bill requiring the federal government to finally move ahead with the work of implementing the Declaration.

    Good news: On May 16, the Senate voted to move the Bill to Committee for study. This is the next step on the path to a final vote. Public support for the Declaration and Bill C-262 is clearly having an effect. Thank you to everyone who has sent emails or made phone calls!

    Unfortunately, however, passage of the Bill is still far from certain. Time is running out in this session of Parliament. And private members bills are particularly vulnerable to delaying tactics. If Bill C-262 isn’t passed by the Senate before this session of Parliament concludes, this crucial opportunity to advance the work of reconciliation will be lost.

    April 23, 2019

    By Grand Chief Edward John and Sheryl Lightfoot

    The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UN Declaration) was developed through more than two decades of intensive engagement between states and Indigenous peoples from around the world. Every provision was elaborated on a foundation of international law standards that already existed at the time, whether in the provisions of human rights treaties or in the body of interpretation that emerged around them. Extensive balancing provisions were added to ensure that the UN Declaration would be interpreted consistent with such core principles as justice, democracy, equality, and respect for human rights.

    Canada played an active, and at times crucial, role in that process. We recall key times in the negotiations when Canadian officials raised Canadian law and policies as examples to support provisions of the UN Declaration. To date, the UN Declaration has been reaffirmed ten times by the UN General Assembly by consensus. No country in the world formally opposes the Declaration.

    April 17, 2019
    Amnesty Launches New "Call the Minister" Action for Justice for Mount Polley Mine Disaster

    April 12, 2019

    By Rachel LaFortune

    Many Canadians have heard of the Site C dam: a hydro-electric megaproject in northeast British Columbia that has been backed by successive federal and provincial governments despite its unlawful impact on Indigenous rights. What fewer people may know is that three years ago, in a hearing that received scant media attention, Department of Justice lawyers successfully argued that the federal Cabinet’s decision to sign off on Site C—one of the largest, most expensive, and most destructive energy projects in Canadian history—should be shielded from judicial scrutiny. It’s a story worth revisiting in light of recent revelations and allegations about how other high-stakes decisions balancing the law and corporate interests have reportedly been handled in the Trudeau Cabinet.

    April 11, 2019

    TREATY 1 TERRITORY, WINNIPEG, MB – On April 11, 2019, Indigenous women from northern Manitoba and northeastern BC will be hosting a panel discussion on the harmful social impacts of large-scale resource development on the health and wellbeing of Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit people.

    The public event is being held on the eve of a special hearing being conducted by the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources. The one-day hearing in Winnipeg has been organized as part of the Committee’s study of Bill C-69, proposed federal impact assessment legislation for resource development projects. Amnesty International will be testifying before the Committee.

    Troubling reports of gender-based violence in communities surrounding resource development projects in northern Manitoba and northeastern BC highlight why it is important to consider the experiences of Indigenous women and girls when planning large-scale resource development projects like hydroelectric dams. 

    Date: Thursday, April 11, 2019

    Location: Ukrainian Labour Temple, 591 Pritchard Ave, Winnipeg, Manitoba

    April 11, 2019

    The US is not safe for all refugees. The Canadian government should suspend the US/Canada border pact and allow those in need of refugee protection to access it in Canada.

    Amnesty International is deeply concerned that the US government, at the request of the Canadian government, is considering altering an agreement that would make it more likely that refugees seeking asylum in Canada would be returned to the United States. This week, the Canadian government also introduced a bill that includes provisions that would bar individuals from making a refugee claim in Canada if they have made a prior asylum claim in certain countries, particularly the United States.

    The request to renegotiate concerns a possible expansion of the Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA) between the two countries, which currently applies only at official ports of entry along the U.S.-Canada border. It requires individuals who arrive in Canada or the US to request protection in the first country in which they arrive. There are only limited exceptions.

    April 10, 2019
    Indigenous peoples’ organizations and human rights groups condemn partisan efforts to prevent debate on bill to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

    Proposed legislation crucial to reconciliation is being threatened by partisan stalling tactics in the Senate.

    Conservative Senators yesterday prevented Bill C-262 being sent to Committee for review.

    “This is a shameful moment for Canada,” said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, Union of BC Indian Chiefs. “It’s profoundly troubling that a crucial opportunity to now move ahead with the urgent work of reconciliation could be jeopardized by Conservative Senators resorting to procedural dirty tricks.”

    Passage of Bill C-262 would establish a legislative framework for future governments to work collaboratively with Indigenous peoples to interpret and apply the global human rights standards set out in the 2007 UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

    April 08, 2019

    A Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability Press Release

    Canadian Network on Corporate AccountabilityThe Government of Canada failed today to appoint an independent Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise (CORE) with real powers to investigate abuses and redress the harm caused by Canadian companies operating abroad.

    Canadian companies operating overseas have been associated with widespread and egregious human rights abuses including forced labour, rape and murder.

    Fifteen months ago, the government announced that it would create an independent office with the power to investigate. Instead, it unveiled a powerless advisory post, little different from what has already existed for years. It is clear that Canada needs an ombudsperson to help prevent Canadian complicity in corporate abuse and help ensure Canadian mining and garment supply chains respect human rights.

    An ombudsperson operates at arms-length from government and has the power to order those under investigation to produce documents and testimony under oath. The advisory position created today does neither.

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