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    May 01, 2018

    Every May, people across Canada take action for mining justice.

    This year, we will continue to push for greater corporate accountability, while we celebrate some progress. 

    The Canadian government announced in January 2018 that Canada will be the first country in the world to have an independent Ombudsperson for responsible business enterprise.

    This means that people who have been harmed by the overseas activities of Canadian mining, oil, gas and garment companies will be able to submit their complaints to an independent ombudsperson for investigation. Effectively implemented, this could be a game-changer -however, the Ombudsperson office is not in place yet and some of the elements that will determine how the Ombudsperson’s office will operate have yet to be defined. Communities continue to experience human rights violations, even after mines are closed. 

    In order to be credible and effective, it is vital that the ombudsperson be free from political and corporate interference. It is also essential that the Ombudsperson be empowered to conduct effective investigations and gather evidence that may be in a company’s possession.

    April 26, 2018

    "People shouldn’t have to go to court to claim their rights" – federal Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Carolyn Bennett, speaking at the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, April 2018

    In the coming weeks, two governments that have repeatedly promised to uphold the rights of Indigenous peoples will be in court to defend a massively destructive resource development project that they approved without ever once considering whether it would violate Canada’s Treaty obligations to the affected First Nations.

    The West Moberly and Prophet River First Nations are asking the court to halt construction of the Site C dam which would flood more than 100 km of the Peace River Valley and its tributaries. 

    The environmental assessment of the project found that its impacts on First Nations cultural sites and way of life would be serve, permanent and irreversible. The United Nations’ top anti-racism body, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, has called for a halt to the project as a violation of the rights of Indigenous peoples.

    April 23, 2018

     

    As the UN’s expert on violence against women prepares to deliver preliminary conclusions from a 12-day official visit to Canada, a coalition of legal experts, Indigenous peoples’ organizations and women's human rights organizations are warning that continued government failure to address the systemic bias in Canada’s justice system, and the profound social and economic disadvantage of Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit people, is fuelling the crisis of murders and disappearances.

    April 23, 2018

    Whether you identify as LGBTI or as an ally, you can help bring Amnesty’s human rights message to a Pride festival near you this Summer. Pride is an excellent opportunity to show your solidarity with LGBTI communities in Canada and around the world, and take action towards creating a world where people of all sexual orientations and gender identities can live in dignity and safety.

    Here are just a few ways to get involved in Pride activities in your community this Summer.

    MARCH WITH AMNESTY IN YOUR LOCAL PRIDE PARADE

    Reach out to other Amnesty supporters in your community and organize a Pride marching contingent. Contact Amnesty’s LGBTI coordinators for information on swag to distribute, resources to use, and support in registering to march. To have maximum impact, try to have at least 5 people march with you.

    April 23, 2018

    Finally! The Canadian citizen Bashir Makhtal returned home on April 21 after being released from prison in Ethiopia, where he had been wrongly imprisoned for more than 11 years. We are thrilled to welcome Bashir, who is now reunited with his loved ones.

    Reacting to the good news, Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada, said: “On behalf of the thousands of Amnesty International supporters who have campaigned for justice on his behalf, we wish Bashir a warm welcome home to Canada. Our thoughts are with him and his family as they reunite after such a long and indescribably difficult ordeal.”

    April 23, 2018

    In the midst of a global crackdown on LGBTI rights, your action is needed more than ever this Pride season to help ensure the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people in Canada and around the world are respected, protected, and fulfilled.

    Pride festivals are held in communities large and small across Canada from May through September, and Pride season unofficially starts on May 17, the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia (IDAHOT). The Pride movement traces its origins to a riot at New York City’s Stonewall Inn in response to years of police harassment, raids, and violence against members of the LGBTI community. Pride remains a call to action to ensure that LGBTI people can live free from violence and discrimination.

    Take action with Amnesty at Pride festivals across Canada this summer.

    April 21, 2018

    Amnesty International welcomes the return home today of Canadian Citizen Bashir Makhtal following his release from prison in Ethiopia on April 18, where he had been unjustly imprisoned for more than 11 years.

    “Bashir’s long-overdue release is a triumph of human rights following an 11-year saga of grave injustice,” said Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada. “On behalf of the thousands of Amnesty International supporters who have campaigned for justice on his behalf, we wish Bashir a warm welcome home to Canada. Our thoughts are with him and his family as they reunite after such a long and indescribably difficult ordeal.”

    April 19, 2018

    On August 4, 2014, a section of the Mount Polley copper mine tailing pond blew out, releasing 25 million cubic metres of mine tailings and waste water into pristine Quesnel Lake in central British Columbia. As a result, parts of the crystal clear lake filled with thick, grey mining sludge and Hazeltine Creek was destroyed. Mine tailings, which contain arsenic, cadmium, mercury and selenium, cannot be safely removed and currently sit at the bottom of Quesnel Lake and along Hazeltine Creek. 

    April 17, 2018

    In an Open Letter, Amnesty International Canada is calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to take “direct and personal” action to ensure justice is served for Canadian citizen Abousfian Abdelrazik, after the federal government abruptly refused to pursue mediated negotiations toward settlement of his case.

    Negotiations were set to begin last month to provide redress for Canada’s role in the grave human rights violations Abdelrazik endured in Sudan from 2003-2009, including torture, unlawful detention and forced exile, when Abdelrazik’s legal team was suddenly notified of the government’s withdrawal. Amnesty is calling on the Prime Minister to order that decision to be reversed so that long-overdue steps toward an apology and redress can and will go forward without further delay.

    April 13, 2018

    Amnesty International Canada is proud to announce that Ashley Hyshka has won its annual Youth Media Award. Her story “No More Stolen Sisters”, won the national award and was published on February 15, 2018 in "The Runner," a student-owned newspaper with Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) in Surrey, B.C. She is the third national youth media award winner and the first to be awarded from British Columbia.

    "Stolen Sisters examines the plight of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls in B.C., and the institutional errors that may have contributed to some of their deaths. The author has personalized the piece in compelling fashion with interlinked profiles of a frustrated cop and Lorelei Williams, whose family has known only violence,” said Rick MacInnes-Rae, renowned former journalist and volunteer Amnesty Media Award judge. "The story is harrowing in addressing the frequent errors made by police when confronted with probable causes for actions they subsequently did not take. Had some of the leads been followed, it seems clear some of the tragic history might not have occurred."

    April 11, 2018

    Amnesty International Canada is calling on the BC government to avoid unjustified criminalization of individuals defying an injunction against protests in the proximity of two worksites on the proposed route of Kinder-Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

    According to media reports, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Affleck has called on the BC Attorney General to take over prosecution of pipeline protesters.

    Individuals arrested for allegedly defying the current injunction currently face prosecution as a civil action. Justice Affleck, who issued the injunction against the protests, has reportedly called for criminal prosecution.

    “We share Justice Affleck’s concerns that an important public policy issue -- how to respond to individuals who deliberately violate the protest injunction – should not be determined solely by whether or not a private corporation pursues enforcement. However, unnecessary criminalization of protesters is quite simply not the answer,” said Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada.

    April 10, 2018

    This is part 5 of 6 of the blog series: 25 years working for human rights in the Niger Delta

    Written by Amnesty's Businses and Human Rights volunteer, Ian Heide

    Confronting Shell Oil … Again!

    Three years after the ground-breaking report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) on oil pollution in Ogoniland, the people of Ogoniland continued to suffer the effects of fifty years of an oil industry that has polluted their land, air and water. The oil company Shell and the Nigerian Government both failed to implement recommendations made in the UNEP report and put an end to the abuse of the communities’ rights to food, water and a life free of pollution.

    The 2011 UNEP Report made 27 recommendations, including the establishment of a $1 billion fund for the clean-up and compensation. In August 2014, Amnesty issued a report titled “No Progress”, with Amnesty's assessment that NONE of the recommendations had been completed. The Government of Nigeria and Shell had taken almost no meaningful action to implement any of the recommendations.

    April 06, 2018
    Amnesty Media Award Winners 2018

    Amnesty International Canada was thrilled to host its 23rd annual Media Awards event on April 4, honouring eight Canadian journalists for their exceptional reporting on profoundly important human rights issues of our time. We are so grateful to Gillian Findlay, past Amnesty Media Award winner and co-host of the CBC’s premier investigative programme The Fifth Estate, for hosting the packed event in Toronto’s Gardiner Museum.

    This year’s event came at a critical moment for journalism, as reporters and news outlets in Canada and further afield find themselves increasingly under pressure in a world of “fake news,” changing media landscapes and outright attempts to harass, intimidate or suppress journalists in many countries. So we were especially honoured to take this important occasion to express our deep appreciation to these exceptional journalists who have gone to tremendous lengths to tell stories which matter so very, very much. These are some highlights from the remarkable evening.

    April 04, 2018

    This is part 4 of 6 of the blog series: 25 years working for human rights in the Niger Delta

    Written by Amnesty's Businses and Human Rights volunteer, Ian Heide

    United Nations Confirms Massive Pollution

    In 2011-2012, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) confirmed the massive scale of pollution in its landmark report based on a scientific assessment of one region, Ogoniland. The report particularly highlighted how pollution has created a public health emergency in the Niger Delta as a result of high levels of contamination of people’s sources of water.

    According to UNEP, oil seeped below the surface layers of soil and contaminated the groundwater in Ogoniland. The report also referred to increased concentrations of petroleum hydrocarbons in the air and drinking water, which could lead to long-term health issues.

    April 03, 2018

    We all want to be good, responsible people, don't we? But sometimes doing the right thing in our daily lives is made next-to-impossible by forces well beyond us. At these times, we need to work together, creatively, to do what's right. 

    Amnesty International's palm oil campaign gives you a chance to help fix a serious problem hidden in your breakfast cereal and possibly in the toothpaste you used this morning. Palm oil and palm oil ingredients are now in half of all consumer products, yet the harvesting of this product is leading to the exploitation of children, and human rights abuses of women and workers. 

    We have a plan to stop these abuses, and it starts with your signature.

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