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Canada

    February 05, 2018

    Open Letter to All Members of Parliament

    The Truth and Reconciliation Commission urged all governments to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as ‘the framework for reconciliation’ in Canada. Members of Parliament have a crucial opportunity to contribute to reconciliation by supporting Bill C-262 when it comes to a vote at second reading this month.

    Bill C-262 provides a framework for the federal government to collaborate with First Nations, Inuit and the Métis Nation in the important work of ensuring that Canada’s laws, policies and operational practices live up to the human rights commitments affirmed in the UN Declaration. As a legislative framework that integrates regular reporting to Parliament, Bill C-262 provides the means to hold this and future governments accountable for living up to the commitments that they have made to honour and respect the rights of Indigenous peoples.

    January 23, 2018

    In a strongly worded open letter to British Columbia Premier John Horgan, Amnesty International is urging the province not to fail the Indigenous peoples of the Peace River Valley a second time. The organization characterizes the Premier’s approval and rationale for the continued construction of the Site C dam as an abdication of his government’s fundamental responsibility to uphold the human rights of all without discrimination. Now that the Prophet River and West Moberly First Nations have launched a new legal challenge to the dam, Amnesty is calling on the province to ensure that its response is consistent with BC’s human rights obligations, including by ensuring irreversible construction activities are deferred or suspended until the legal challenge is resolved.

    January 17, 2018

    OTTAWA – The Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability (CNCA) is greatly encouraged by the Minister of International Trade’s announcement of the creation of a Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise. The human rights ombudsperson will investigate complaints concerning the overseas operations of Canadian companies and will issue public findings on allegations of harm. The office will make recommendations for redress; regarding corporate eligibility for government services; and with respect to policy and law reform.

    “Over the years, cases of real concern have mounted, involving worrying allegations that Canadian mining and other companies have been responsible for serious human rights abuses in countries around the world,” said Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada. “At long last there will be a body and process in place to hold Canadian companies accountable for human rights in their overseas operations.”

    January 16, 2018

    16 January 2018, Ottawa — Dr. Hassan Diab arrived in Canada and was reunited yesterday with his family in Ottawa. On January 12, two French investigative judges had dismissed the case against Diab and ordered his immediate and unconditional release, including the right to return to Canada. Hassan Diab, Don Bayne (Diab’s lawyer in Canada), Alex Neve (Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada), and the Hassan Diab support committee plan to hold a press conference on Wednesday, January 17.

    January 15, 2018

    Over the past year, women, transgender, and non-binary people around the world have posted online their personal stories of gender-based discrimination and violence, claiming their power by telling their stories in their own words. People have globally united against hatred and fear and in support of gender justice and equality through women’s marches. Discussions in feminist and social justice circles about how to create an inclusive, feminist future are now permeating everyday conversations in public, work places, and the corridors of political power.

    But not everyone has the privilege to safely share their story online. Not every survivor wants this burden placed upon them. And much work remains to create transformative societal, legislative, and judicial changes that address the multiple and intersecting root causes of gender inequality. How will Amnesty promote transformative change in support of gender equality on International Women's Day?

    January 12, 2018

    Amnesty International welcomes today’s long-overdue order for the release of Canadian-Lebanese dual citizen Hassan Diab from pre-trial detention in France, following a court ruling dismissing all allegations against him. In contravention of international human rights standards, Mr. Diab spent more than three years in pre-trial detention without being officially charged or brought to trial. He remained imprisoned despite eight consecutive orders from four separate French investigative judges that he be released on bail, all of which were summarily overturned on appeals perfunctorily lodged by French prosecutors.

    December 19, 2017

    On December 15, Amnesty International sent an open letter to the Ontario provincial government and Ontario’s donor transplant agency calling for the province to ensure non-discriminatory access to healthcare, including organ transplants, for all Ontario residents. This is the first time that Amnesty International has commented on access to organ transplant services in Canada, and we wanted to publicly respond to some of the questions we have received to help advance discussion on this issue.

    December 18, 2017
    Write for Rights event Toronto 2017

    By Sareema Husain

    #WriteForRights, Amnesty International’s biggest local event of the year, took over the Centre for Social Innovation Annex on December 10.

    Every year, people from more than 180 countries take part in the day-long marathon to write, tweet, email and sign petitions urging governments around the world to release prisoners of conscience and protect human rights defenders. Mary Macrae has been attending the event for years. “There’s always this question if it really works,” says Macrae. “It does.”

    December 18, 2017

    Amnesty International Canada is pleased to announce that the winners of its 23rd annual Media Awards are Nathan VanderKlippe of the Globe and Mail, Margaret Evans, Stephanie Jenzer and Richard Devey of the CBC, Sally Armstrong and Peter Bregg of the United Church Observer and Denise Ryan of the Vancouver Sun. These exceptional journalists are recognized for their powerful, front-line reporting on grave human rights crises in Myanmar, South Sudan, Vancouver’s East Side and Iraq.

    Nathan VanderKlippe receives the award in the National Print Category for his article “Myanmar’s Front Lines of Horror,” published in the Globe and Mail on September 23rd. As tens of thousands of Rohingya refugees fled into Bangladesh from Myanmar, fleeing the early days of a brutal, scorched-earth campaign of ethnic cleansing, burning of villages and indiscriminate killing, VanderKlippe was amongst the first Canadian journalists to visit the border points and share the tragic stories of people running for their lives.

    December 15, 2017

    In an Open Letter to Ontario Minister of Health and Long-Term Care Dr. Eric Hoskins and President and CEO of the Trillium Gift of Life Network Ronnie Gavsie, Amnesty International has called for Inuk activist Delilah Saunders to be deemed eligible for the liver transplant urgently needed to save her life.  Amnesty International has also urged that no one else be denied access to organ transplants in Ontario for reasons that would be considered discriminatory under international human rights standards. The Letter notes that “denying access to treatment based on unjustified restrictions or misconceptions about the use of alcohol would contravene Canada’s obligations under international human rights law.”

    December 12, 2017

    In a joint statement released today, a group of 26 Indigenous peoples’ organizations and civil society groups are calling on Ministers from the federal, provincial and territorial governments to initiate a process of reform to address long-standing shortcomings in Canada’s implementation of international human rights obligations.  For the first time in 29 years, Ministers have met to discuss cross-jurisdictional weaknesses and challenges in implementing Canada’s commitments under an array of binding international human rights instruments.

    December 12, 2017
    Yellow stakes expressing support for Treaty rights

    “The fundamental issue is First Nations in the region have entrenched constitutional rights. Not just the requirement for consultation and accommodation, which we always hear about when we’re talking about resource projects. But they have entrenched constitutional rights to practice hunting and fishing as before, And that’s going to be violated by this dam.” - John Horgan, May 8, 2014

    In announcing his government's decision to allow continued construction of a mega-project he once opposed, BC Premier John Horgan said that construction was already past "the point of no return." That's blatently false. Here's why:

    December 12, 2017

    The Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR), Amnesty International (AI) and the Canadian Council of Churches (CCC) welcomed the order made yesterday by the Federal Court granting the organizations public interest standing, in the legal challenge of the designation of the United States as a safe third country for refugees.

    December 11, 2017

    Amnesty International today expressed outrage over the decision by BC Premier John Horgan to allow continued construction of the Site C dam despite the devastating impact it will have on Indigenous peoples in the Peace River Valley.

    Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada, said today,  "Today's decision is appalling and indefensible. We are truly shocked at the callous disregard for the rights and well-being of Indigenous peoples, despite the Premier’s acknowledgement of what is at stake."

    Neve said, “The Premier knew coming into office that flooding the Peace River Valley would be profoundly destructive for the Dunne-Za and Cree peoples whose histories and cultures are inseparable from that land. He has even acknowledged that construction of the Site C dam would violate Canada’s legal obligations under Treaty 8. The fact that he would allow the destruction of the Peace River Valley despite such serious concerns is a blatant betrayal of his government’s commitments to uphold the rights of Indigenous peoples, including the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”

    December 08, 2017

    The upcoming ministerial meeting on human rights demonstrates that federal, provincial and territorial governments in Canada recognize that more must be done to fulfill Canada’s domestic and international commitments to recognize, respect and fulfill human rights. As a concrete and meaningful way to better address this need, our organizations are calling on the federal, provincial and territorial governments to work collaboratively with First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples as well as with African Canadians and other communities of colour, and engage with civil society to undertake a formal and systematic review of the most recent United Nations treaty body report on Canada.

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