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    September 01, 2020
    Protesters march on Hiawatha Avenue while decrying the killing of George Floyd on May 26, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota

    Amnesty International must honestly and openly confront concerns about anti-Black racism within our organization, historically and currently. We are moving towards meaningfully addressing systemic oppression, internally and externally, beginning with acknowledgment of allegations and harms. 

    Activists against anti-Black racism in the United States and Canada have raised troubling questions about the possible role of Luis Kutner — said to have had leadership roles in the early years of Amnesty International and/or Amnesty International USA — in events that led to 21-year-old Black Panther leader Fred Hampton being shot and killed in December 1969 by the FBI and local police in Chicago.  FBI documents, declassified in 2018, reveal information Kutner provided to the FBI prior to the raid that resulted in Fred Hampton’s murder at the hands of police. 

    September 01, 2020

    The Federal Court of Canada has found, for a second time, that the Canada-US Safe Third Country Agreement is unconstitutional. It violates section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which protects the right to life, liberty and security of the person. 

    Under the STCA, refugee claimants must claim protection in the first country in which they arrive in most cases.  The agreement assumes the US is a ‘safe’ country which upholds international human rights and the Refugee Convention.  

    However, Justice Ann Marie McDonald found that refugee claimants returned under the STCA often face arbitrary immigration detention in conditions that “shock the conscience.” She recalled the case of Ms. Mustefa, a refugee claimant who was turned away by Canada under the STCA, only to be locked in solitary confinement in a freezing cold cell and given meals that she could not eat due to her religious beliefs. When Canadian officials return claimants to such conditions, they are complicit in that mistreatment. 

    August 30, 2020

    Communities have been speaking out for decades about how Black people experience policing in Canada. It’s time to listen: racism is not up for debate – it’s systemic.

    Amnesty International unequivocally supports frontline groups and activists in communities across the country who work courageously and tirelessly to expose that systemic racism and demand justice for the growing number of BIPOC who have been wrongly arrested, mistreated or killed by police across Canada.  

    A Comprehensive reform agenda should:

    August 28, 2020

    The COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating existing gender inequalities as public health guidelines and lockdown measures lead to higher rates of gender-based violence and less access to sexual and reproductive information and health services including gender-affirming care. School and daycare closures and restrictions have substantially added to the unpaid care work disproportionately carried out by women. In a few short months, we have gone back to 1980s levels of women’s labour force participation, with fears the situation will become ever more dire as the pandemic wears on.

    Not all women, girls, and gender diverse people are experiencing the pandemic in the same way. Women, girls, and gender diverse people who are Black, Indigenous, and other people of colour; people with disabilities, LBTI folks, sex workers, refugees and migrants, and people living in poverty already faced heighted risks of violence, discrimination, and other human rights violations, and the pandemic has further heightened these risks.

    August 28, 2020

    The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls released its final report on June 3, 2019. The 1,200 page report included 231 Calls for Justice to end the staggering levels of violence experienced by First Nations, Métis, and Inuit women, girls, and two-spirit persons in Canada.

    The federal government accepted the report’s finding of genocide and committed to developing a National Action Plan to prevent and address the violence by June 2020. However, government delayed development of the National Action Plan, citing the pandemic as a cause for delay, and the timeline and process to develop the plan remains unknown. The federal government has also not provided an official response to the National Inquiry's Final Report.

    With levels of gender-based violence rising because of the COVID-19 pandemic, action cannot be delayed any longer.

    The UN Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) has said that the failure to provide a comprehensive, coordinated response to violence against Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit persons is a grave human rights violation.

    August 20, 2020

    In 2019 the Canadian government appointed an Ombudsperson to ensure justice and remedy for individuals and communities harmed by Canadian mining, oil, gas and garment companies operating overseas. However, the Canadian government failed to give the Ombudsperson the powers needed to conduct effective investigations (for example, the Ombudsperson cannot compel corporate disclosure). Without an effective Ombudsperson, the individuals and communities who seek justice for allegations of murder, sexual violence, dispossession from their land, dangerous and exploitative working conditions, poisoning of land and water, and other human rights abuses, will continue to be unable to have their voices heard in Canada.

    July 30, 2020
    Lake Quesnel - Not Forgotten

    In the six years since the Mount Polley tailings pond burst through its containment dam, a small group of committed community and Indigenous activists have inspired people across Canada to take action in solidarity with them. Their goal is to call everyone to justice who made decisions that led to the disaster on August 4, 2014. 

    They also want the Province of British Columbia to suspend the company’s permit to pipe mine waste-water directly into Quesnel Lake. Since April, thousands of Amnesty activists have signed our petition to the BC government calling on them to pull the discharge pipes from Quesnel Lake.  

    Scientists researching the impacts of the disaster on Quesnel Lake tell us the pressure is working: the province recently re-started a water testing group to investigate troubling reports of ongoing contamination of the lake. 

    But more than ever, pressure is needed to protect Quesnel Lake from further contamination. 

    July 30, 2020

    On July 22, 2020 the Federal Court ruled that sending refugee claimants back to the USA under the Safe Third Country Agreement violates their right to liberty and security protected by section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  The Court therefore determined that the Canadian legislation designating the US as a safe third country are of no force or effect. However, the Court ordered that its decision will only take effect after six months, in other words on January 22, 2021.

    In a letter to Prime Minister Trudeau, Deputy Prime Minister Freeland, Public Safety Minister Blair, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Mendicino, and Minister of Justice and Attorney General Lametti, the Canadian Council for Refugees, Amnesty International and the Canadian Council of Churches have implored the government to:

    July 24, 2020

    By Daniella Barreto

    WHAT IS PRIDE?

    Pride is a celebration of 2SLGBTQ+ communities. Every year these communities host events to centre identities that are often pushed to the margins of society by creating spaces by and for themselves.

    Usually, there are events around the world from large public parades and parties to smaller community gatherings. COVID-19 has forced many Pride organizers to cancel this year’s in-person events and look to alternative ways of celebrating. Regardless of its form, what remains at the foundation of the Pride movement is protest and a fight for human rights.

    July 22, 2020

    The Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR), Amnesty International (AI) and The Canadian Council of Churches (CCC) welcomed today’s Federal Court of Canada ruling that sending refugee claimants back to the US under the Safe Third Country Agreement violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

    “We asked the Court to look at the impact of the Safe Third Country Agreement on women, men and children who can’t find safety in the U.S. and to assess the legality of Canada sending them back to detention and potential deportation to persecution,” said Dorota Blumczynska, CCR President. “The Court could hardly fail to be moved by the testimonies of the appalling experiences of people in the US immigration detention system, after Canada closed the doors on them. Their experiences show us – and convinced the Court – that the U.S. cannot be considered a safe country for refugees.”

    July 13, 2020

    OTTAWA – Today, on the anniversary of the death of Liu Xiaobo, human rights groups commemorated the incredible life of the Nobel Laureate, writer, philosopher, and lifelong advocate for human rights in China.

    Amnesty International, the Toronto Association for Democracy in China, and the Alliance Canada Hong Kong laid a commemorative wreath on the Liu Xiaobo Empty Chair Memorial, which sits in Ottawa on the front lawn of the Canadian offices of Amnesty International.

    “We must honour Liu Xiaobo’s legacy and remember that his fight for a free, democratic China is far from over,” said Cheuk Kwan, of the Toronto Association for Democracy in China (TADC). “This small gesture of remembrance serves to remind us that his spirit will never fade, even as we witness the horrifying deterioration of human-rights in Hong Kong.”

    On June 30, almost two weeks before the anniversary of Liu Xiaobo’s death, Chinese authorities approved the passage of the national security law, banning all individuals, institutions, and organizations in Hong Kong from “engaging in activities that endanger national security”.

    July 08, 2020
    Group of 77 privacy, human rights and civil liberties advocates call on Public Safety Minister Bill Blair to act

    July 8, 2020, Ottawa – The Canadian government must enact an immediate ban on the use of facial recognition surveillance for all federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies, says a group of 31 Canadian and international organizations and 46 individuals active in protecting privacy, human rights and civil liberties. The call came in an open letter sent this morning to Public Safety Minister Bill Blair.

    “Facial recognition surveillance is invasive and inaccurate. This unregulated technology poses a threat to the fundamental rights of people in Canada,” said Tim McSorley, National Coordinator of the Ottawa-based International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group (ICLMG), which, along with OpenMedia, initiated the campaign. 

    July 06, 2020

    As Israel steps up construction of illegal settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), in brazen defiance of international law, Amnesty International is calling on TripAdvisor to urgently remove its listings in settlements and send a clear message that it will no longer contribute to human rights violations.

    On June 25, Amnesty International submitted a petition to TripAdvisor’s CEO Stephen Kaufer, signed by more than 300,000 people from around the world, calling on the company to pull out of illegal settlements. The company has not responded to Amnesty International’s requests for comment.

    “Israeli settlements violate international law and amount to war crimes. Companies which operate in the settlements are contributing to human rights violations and tacitly supporting Israel’s policy of forcing Palestinians out of their homes and crushing their basic rights,” said Saleh Higazi, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

    July 06, 2020

    We Need a Ban on Police Street Checks!

    “Indigenous people continue to experience institutionalized discrimination in the justice system and a disproportionately high level of interaction with police, which is furthered by the practice of street checks. In an era of reconciliation, this is simply unacceptable.”

    – Chief Don Tom, Vice President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs

    We are urgently calling on the Vancouver Police Board and the Province of BC to immediately ban police street checks.

    The BC Civil Liberties Association, Black Lives Matter-Vancouver, Hogan’s Alley Society, Union of BC Indian Chiefs, and WISH Drop-In Society are releasing an open letter, co-signed by 68 organizations, including Amnesty International, as well as a petition for an immediate municipal and provincial ban on police street checks.

    Sign the petition to the Province of BC, Vancouver Police Board, and Vancouver City Council calling for an immediate ban on street checks:

    June 28, 2020
    The Right to a Healthy Environment: An Update on Quesnel Lake and the Mount Polley Disaster

    Many of us are looking forward to the late summer when physical distancing measures may ease and we can begin to venture out again to our favorite campsites, cabins, and fishing spots. Last August, I spent a week in British Columbia’s Cariboo region when I led a caravan of kids and adults from Vancouver’s lower mainland to the shores of Quesnel Lake in Secwepemc traditional territory.

    Over that August long weekend, we joined dozens of residents and their supporters to celebrate the community’s resilience over the five long years since the Mount Polley mine disaster of August 2014. 

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