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    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.

    December 07, 2017

    Governments across Canada have an unprecedented opportunity to begin addressing long-standing deficiencies in the implementation of the country’s international human rights obligations by laying the groundwork for a coordinated approach to upholding rights across all levels of government, says Amnesty International Canada in a briefing paper submitted to federal, provincial and territorial Ministers.  For the first time in 29 years, Ministers will meet to discuss cross-jurisdictional weaknesses and challenges in implementing Canada’s commitments under an array of binding international human rights instruments. 

    December 05, 2017

    The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is a consensus international human rights instrument elaborating standards for the survival, dignity, security and well-being of Indigenous peoples of the world. Today, MP Romeo Saganash’s private members bill on implementation of the UN Declaration, Bill C-262, will begin debate at second reading in Parliament.

    Our Nations and organizations have been deeply involved in the development, promotion and implementation of the UN Declaration. As Grand Chief Abel Bosum of the Cree Nation of Eeyou Istchee (northern Quebec) underlines, “We are firmly convinced of the Declaration’s vital importance for achieving justice, reconciliation, healing and peace.”

    November 30, 2017

    We have some news! An important announcement may be imminent.

    The Canadian government may announce a human rights ombudsperson as soon as next week.

    A human rights ombudsperson is essential to ensure that people who have been harmed by Canadian mining, oil and gas companies overseas can have their cases heard in Canada.

    Amnesty International has been calling for the creation of a human rights ombudsperson for years. Thanks to you and over 100,000 other concerned Canadians who signed petitions and postcards, we are closer now than ever before.

    We have nearly convinced the government that Canada needs an ombudsperson. The final sticking point relates to the ombudsperson's investigatory powers.

    An ombudsperson needs to be able to review all the information related to a case in order to issue findings and recommendations. Unfortunately however, industry is pressuring the Canadian government to create a weak ombudsperson without effective investigatory powers. This will severely impair the ombudsperson’s ability to review evidence and make findings and recommendations.

    November 30, 2017

    Amnesty International welcomes the federal government’s commitment to support in the establishment of a specialized treatment centre for people suffering from mercury poisoning in Grassy Narrows. On November 29th, Minister of Indigenous Services Jane Philpott committed to support “in the development, planning, design and construction of the treatment centre in Grassy Narrows.”

    “We welcome this long-overdue commitment which comes after years of requests from the Grassy Narrows First Nation for effective measures to address mercury poisoning and contamination of their waters,” says Alex Neve, secretary general of Amnesty International Canada.  “All measures must be taken to ensure that this facility is established quickly, effectively and in collaboration with the people of Grassy Narrows in order to uphold the community’s right to much-needed health care resulting from years of grave human rights violations. We are also looking for the provincial government to fully assume their proper responsibilities in addressing human rights violations arising from mercury poisoning in Grassy Narrows.”

    Background:

    November 29, 2017
    No Life for a Child

    On 6 November 2017, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale released new directions aimed to keep children out of Canada's immigration detention system.

    “The key objective of the Ministerial Direction is to – as much as humanly possible – keep children out of detention, and keep families together. The Ministerial Direction makes it clear that the Best Interests of the Child must be given primary consideration. This will be achieved by actively and continuously seeking alternatives to detention when unconditional release is inappropriate.”

    The directive is welcome; detention is never in the best interests of children and it is shocking that children are detained for immigration purposes in Canada, even for short periods of time.

    Amnesty International and many other human rights groups in Canada have actively campaigned to keep children out of immigration detention. Several thousand Amnesty International members and supporters signed petitions and called on the Minister to stop detaining children for immigration purposes.

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