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Canada

    March 25, 2020
    Human rights organization recommends 10 guiding principles for pandemic response

    OTTAWA – Amnesty International is urging governments across Canada to establish oversight committees tasked with monitoring the human rights impact of decisions, policies and laws adopted to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

    “History has shown that, in times of crisis, governments often do not assess and redress human rights violations until after the fact,” said Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada’s English branch. “By taking proactive steps now, to put strong oversight in place, governments have an important opportunity to deliberately ensure that human rights concerns will be anticipated, identified and minimized from the outset.”

    March 20, 2020

    Today’s news that the Canadian government will turn back refugee claimants attempting to cross the Canada-U.S. border is a shameful breach of international law that risks further endangering lives during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Amnesty International. 

    “This is beyond disappointing and disgraceful,” said Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada. “Today’s news only serves to further inflame misconceptions and racism rather than offering reassurance and leadership. When it comes to refugees, Canada is stepping back at a time when we need to step forward.” 

    March 16, 2020

    Manitoba Hydro states that its operations are “good for Manitobans, good for our environment.” But good for which Manitobans?

    Decades of Manitoba Hydro operations in the north of the province are associated with harms to the land, water, and animals, as well as profound adverse impacts on the health, safety, and wellbeing of Indigenous peoples. The impacts include a heightened risk that Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit people will experience violence.

    Take action now calling on Manitoba Hydro to address the discrimination, harassement, and violence at Keeyask!

    March 11, 2020
    Quesnel Lake/Yuct Ne Senxiymetkwe: a Love Story 

    Christine McLean is ready to retire. After running a successful electrical business in Calgary for the last 20 years, the Kamloops, BC born and raised McLean planned to move back to BC with her husband, Eric. In 2014 they began laying plans to spend their retirement years living in what Christine describes as, “paradise” – a gorgeous log cabin on a large, treed lot perched above the stunningly beautiful Mitchell Bay on Quesnel Lake. For Christine, it is a place for the spirit to rest and the heart to soar.

    For Secwepemc and Nuxalk activist Nuskmata (Jacinda Mack), Quesnel Lake is part of her cultural heritage. Raised in the northern Secwepemc community of Xat’sull, Nuskamata spent her youth out on the land and eventually came to work for her Secwepemc community as the Natural Resources manager. Her mother taught her that for Indigenous peoples, “our economy walks on the land and swims in the waters.” She calls the relationship between her community and the land a ‘love story’. 

    March 11, 2020

    To: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Premier Dwight Ball, Premier Caroline Cochrane, Premier Doug Ford, Premier Blaine Higgs, Premier John Horgan, Premier Jason Kenney, Premier Dennis King, Premier François Legault, Premier Stephen McNeil, Premier Scott Moe, Premier Brian Pallister, Premier Joe Savikataaq, Premier Sandy Silver

    March 5, 2020

    Dear Prime Minister and Premiers,

    RE: Urgent need to respond to violence and hate directed at human rights defenders in Canada

    We are writing this Open Letter, in advance of next week’s First Ministers’ Meeting, to urge that you individually and collectively commit to measures that will ensure that human rights defenders across Canada, particularly women and Indigenous human rights defenders working on issues related to territory, land and the environment, are recognised for their human rights work and able to carry out that vital work free from threats and violence, in a safe and enabling environment.

    March 04, 2020

    Hilda Anderson-Pyrz is from O-Pipon-Na-Piwin Cree Nation in northern Manitoba, a community located on South Indian Lake, which was once home to North America’s largest white fish industry, before being decimated by Manitoba Hydro activities. Hilda is the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Liaison Unit Manager with Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO) and she is based in Thompson, Manitoba.  MKO is a non-profit, political advocacy organization providing a collective voice on issues related to the rights of member First Nations in northern Manitoba. MKO was a Party with Standing to the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

    Amnesty International spoke with Hilda in advance of International Women’s Day 2020.

    March 01, 2020

    March 8th, International Women’s Day, is both a day of protest and celebration. It’s a time to reflect on feminist achievements over the past year as well as a time to take action to end the violence and discrimination that women, transgender, and non-binary people continue to experience across Canada and around the world because of who they are.

    Marches, film festivals, public events, and other activities are held on March 8th and throughout March to mark International Women’s Day. We encourage you to support feminist movements—particularly those led by Indigenous, Black, and other marginalized women, transgender, and non-binary people—by participating in International Women’s Day events. Ask organizers how Amnesty can support events, and consider having an Amnesty table with petitions and other actions.

    February 29, 2020

    _______

    The Canadian justice system is fraught with racism that disproportionately impacts Black people and communities across the country, resulting in racial profiling, harsher sentencing, mistreatment in prison, denial of services, and other injustices which can be compounded for people with intersecting identities (e.g. Black Muslims, Black 2SLGBTQ folks, etc.) On March 21, 2020 — the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination — Amnesty International Canada will raise awareness and advocate for the elimination of racial discrimination in policing.

    _______

    Carding is when police officers stop, question, and document individuals without any evidence that they have been involved in, or have knowledge of, an offence. Bias and stereotyping play into the officers’ decisions of who to stop and why, which affects many racialized groups, but especially Black people. 

    February 28, 2020

    In 2015, several Indigenous women in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, reported to the media that they had received tubal ligations without their consent, rendering them unable to have more children. This led to an independent investigation by the Saskatoon Health Region, where more women disclosed that they too had been coercively or forcibly sterilized.

    February 28, 2020

    The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau                      The Honourable Francois-Philippe Champagne
    Prime Minister of Canada                                         Minister of Foreign Affairs
    Office of the Prime Minister                                     125 Sussex Drive
    80 Wellington Street                                                Ottawa, Ontario

    February 28, 2020
    Amnesty International says Nevsun ruling ‘sends clear message’ that Canadian companies must be held accountable for alleged human rights abuses abroad 

    In a landmark ruling, the Supreme Court of Canada has decided that a human rights lawsuit against a Vancouver-based mining company can be heard in British Columbia, and not Eritrea where the human rights abuses allegedly occurred.   

    The Eritrean plaintiffs say they were forced to work in a gold, copper and zinc mine largely owned by Nevsun Resources. The employees allege they suffered gross human rights abuses while working for the Canadian mining company, including forced labour and torture. Nevsun argued that the case should be heard in Eritrea, not Canada. 

    February 27, 2020

    Lise Martin is the Executive Director of Women’s Shelter’s Canada, a national network of shelters and transition houses whose motto is “shelters support women and children fleeing violence. We support the shelters.” The organization works to ensure that government actions to end gender-based violence and violence against women are rights-based and informed by the experiences and insights of their members from across Canada. They led a collaborative process to create a Blueprint for Canada’s National Action Plan on Violence against Women, which Amnesty International endorsed, and lead advocacy in support of a National Action Plan.

    Amnesty spoke with Lise in Ottawa in the lead-up to International Women’s Day 2020.

    February 25, 2020

    The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau
    Prime Minister of Canada
    80 Wellington Street
    Ottawa, Ontario
    K1A 0A2

    February 24, 2020

    Dear Prime Minister,

    The past several weeks have brought the deeply disappointing state of reconciliation and regard for the rights of Indigenous peoples in Canada to the fore with a degree of urgency rarely witnessed. Right across the country, protests of resistance and of solidarity by Indigenous peoples and non-Indigenous communities, sparked by deep concern about the construction of the Coastal GasLink Pipeline through Wet’suwet’en Territory in British Columbia, have led to a national conversation about rights, reconciliation, the economy and the environment, that has been both troubling and encouraging.

    February 14, 2020

    All eyes have been on Wet’suwet’en territory over the past week. The situation is changing rapidly, and solidarity actions have been taking place across the country to highlight the disturbing human rights violations.

    This weekend, here are three ways you demonstrate solidarity: 

    Donate to the RAVEN Trust fund in support of the Wet’suwet’en’s legal actions. Find a solidarity rally near you and let governments know that they need to respect the law and Indigenous rights. Check out the Wet’suwet’en Supporter Toolkit for other creative solidarity actions, educational materials and more! 

    Learn more: 

    February 07, 2020

    Amnesty International is deeply concerned about reports that RCMP officers threatened to arrest journalists for taking photographs and documenting police activity in the Wet’suwet’en territory. 

    In the early hours of Thursday, Feb. 6, RCMP officers conducted a raid on land defense camps in the Wet’suwet’en territory. They arrested six people in the course of enforcing a court injunction against blockades along access roads related to the construction of Coastal GasLink’s 670-kilometre pipeline from northeastern B.C. to the Kitimat area. 

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