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    February 12, 2019

    In advance of Saskatchewan Court of Appeal hearings on February 13 and 14, in a case brought by the provincial government of Saskatchewan challenging the constitutionality of the federal government’s carbon pricing system, Amnesty International underscores that regardless of constitutional disagreements, federal, provincial and territorial governments equally share binding international human rights obligations to take urgent and effective measures to address climate change. Constitutional arrangements are no excuse for inadequate or delayed action.

    February 07, 2019

    Across Canada, Amnesty International supporters remember and honour Paul Dewar today as a passionate and fiercely committed human rights champion with whom we worked closely on many cases and campaigns. In political life and since, Paul was always unswerving in his advocacy efforts, be it with respect to concerns about the rights of Indigenous peoples, national security laws and gender equality in Canada, or global determination to help free prisoners of conscience, push for effective measures to tackle major human rights challenges like the trade in conflict minerals, and respond to pressing human rights crises in all corners of our world.  And always, what was most important to Paul was to lift up and learn from individuals and communities at the frontlines of human rights struggle, in Canada and around the world. Paul is already deeply missed, but his legacy will live on in the many thousands of people whose lives he touched and whose activism he inspires. As he urged us in his farewell message, we will “keep building a more peaceful and better world for all.”

    February 07, 2019

    A report on staff well-being at the International Secretariat of Amnesty International was released on January 31, 2019.  The report had been commissioned by the movement’s previous international Secretary General in the wake of the tragic suicides of Amnesty International colleagues Gaëtan Mootoo and Rosalind McGregor in May and July of 2018.

    In the words of our current global Secretary General, Kumi Naidoo, the findings in the report are deeply troubling, particularly to hear employees “speak of a culture of secrecy and mistrust where discrimination, bullying and abuse of power have been condoned.”

    In responding to the report Kumi Naidoo has committed to moving Amnesty International’s organizational culture “towards more compassion and respect” as a priority. Under his leadership, and in consultation with staff at the International Secretariat, an implementation plan is being developed as a matter of urgency, to be presented by the end of March 2019.

    February 06, 2019

    By Rachel LaFortune, a legal fellow with Amnesty International Canada

    A shorter version of this article originally appeared on The Georgia Straight.

    When governments rely on court-granted injunctions to define the “rule of law” in respect to Indigenous land occupations, they risk breaching their Constitutional and international human rights obligations and undermining the profound public interest in meaningful reconciliation.

    Case in point: the injunction currently being enforced against Wet’suwet’en land and water defenders in British Columbia.

    When the BC Supreme Court granted Coastal Gaslink a temporary injunction against named and unnamed individuals “occupying, obstructing, blocking, physically impeding or delaying access” to a bridge and service road on Wet’suwet’en territory, the court set in motion events that led to the high-profile, forcible arrest and removal of land defenders on Jan. 7.

    January 30, 2019

    “...resource extraction and other major development projects in or near indigenous territories [are] one of the most significant sources of abuse of the rights of indigenous peoples worldwide. In its prevailing form, the model for advancing with natural resource extraction within the territories of indigenous peoples appears to run counter to the selfdetermination of indigenous peoples in the political, social and economic spheres.”
    - former United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, James Anaya, 2011.

      Selective approaches to free, prior and informed consent foster conflict when we need reconciliation

    The governments of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and BC Premier John Horgan have both made welcome and important commitments to upholding the rights of Indigenous peoples, including implementing the key international human rights instrument protecting the rights of Indigenous peoples, the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

    January 28, 2019

    January, 28, 2019 (Ottawa): First Nations advocates and leaders in northern Manitoba have shared very concerning accounts of violence and abuse associated with energy development with Amnesty International, some of which were documented in a report released last year by the Manitoba Clean Environment Commission.

    What Amnesty International is hearing from northern Manitoba directly parallels the pattern of systemic violence that Amnesty International documented in its 2016 report on the social impacts—and notably, the gender impacts—of work camps and other aspects of energy development in northeast British Columbia. The concerning allegations underscore just how important it is that the voices of Indigenous peoples – especially Indigenous women – are heard and listened to when decisions are made about large dams and other resource development projects.

    January 23, 2019

    Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Premier John Horgan can’t ignore recommendations of United Nations anti-racism committee

    A new statement from the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (UNCERD) has underlined the urgency of immediately suspending construction of the Site C dam.

    “The UN’s top anti-racism body has recognized that continued construction of the Site C dam is a serious threat to fundamental human rights,” said Chief Roland Willson of the West Moberly First Nations. “This latest statement from the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination makes it clear that the federal and provincial governments have no claim to being human rights champions so long as they continue to ignore the impacts of Site C on our Treaty rights.”

    January 23, 2019
    On January 23, an important legal case against Nevsun Resources will be heard before the Supreme Court of Canada.

    In 2014, three Eritrean men filed a claim against Nevsun seeking accountability for disturbing human rights abuses -including allegations of torture and forced labour - during the construction of the company’s gold and copper mine in Bisha, Eritrea. According to documents filed in the BC court, the company had prior knowledge of the country’s National Service Program and understood the likelihood that its business relationships would involve the use of conscripted labour. The United Nations has said that the widespread use of forced labour in the country may constitute a crime against humanity.

    The plaintiffs are asking Canadian courts to hold Nevsun accountable for benefitting from violations of their human rights. Bringing these crimes to justice is vital because impunity only fuels the belief that those responsible for corporate crimes are untouchable.

    January 22, 2019

    Amnesty International, joined by the International Commission of Jurists, will intervene before the Supreme Court in a precedent-setting corporate accountability case on January 23, 2019. Vancouver-based mining company, Nevsun Resources, is being sued by Eritrean plaintiffs who allege that they suffered gross human rights abuses, including forced labour and torture, at a mine owned by the company in Eritrea. The zinc and copper mine in Bisha, Eritrea, is 60% owned by Nevsun and 40% by the Eritrean government.

    This marks the first time that a corporate accountability case of this kind has made it to the Supreme Court of Canada.

    January 16, 2019

    Have a Heart Day is an annual appeal for all First Nations kids to have the opportunity to have a healthy and safe childhood. Lead by the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society, Have a Heart Day calls on the federal government to end the widespread and systemic underfunding of basic services that First Nations children and families need and deserve, from safe, quality schools to culturally-appropriate family supports and services.

    Individual actions and community events take place on and around February 14th (Valentines Day). Last year at least 70 Have a Heart Day events were held across Canada and more than 10,000 Valentine`s cards and messages were sent to Parliamentarians to show that Canadians care about fairness and justice for First Nations children.

    Amnesty International is proud that our members have supported this appeal each year through events and individual letter-writing. Here's how you can get involved.

    January 09, 2019

    January 17th marks the one year anniversary of the Canadian government's announcement to create an independent Ombudsperson that would enable people harmed by Canadian companies overseas to have access to justice in Canada.

    We celebrated the announcement, thrilled that Canada would finally be "Open for Justice". Yet one whole year has passed, and the Ombudsperson is still not in place! Equally concerning is whether or not the office will be granted the powers it needs to be effective. The  Canadian government did promise a year ago that Canada's Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise would be independent, transparent, and have the power and tools necessary to conduct effective investigations. But we are still waiting to see whether they follow through on their word.

    We need your help! 

    January 09, 2019

    On Friday, March 8th, mark International Women’s Day by celebrating women human rights defenders and taking action to end gender-based discrimination and violence.

    January 09, 2019

    DROP PROJECT DRAGONFLY

    Google publicly exited the search engine market in China in 2010, citing restrictions to freedom of expression online. Since then, the Chinese government has strengthened its controls over the internet and intensified its crackdown on freedom of expression. 

    Indicating a reversal in strategy, Google is now preparing to re-enter the Chinese search engine market, and is developing a new, search engine app codenamed “Dragonfly” that would facilitate China’s online censorship and surveillance. This would represent an alarming capitulation by Google on human rights, and a dark day for internet freedom as it would legitimize China’s model of internet repression for other governments and set a precedent for tech companies compromising human rights in exchange for access to new markets.

    It has been reported in the media that Google is now planning to drop its Dragonfly project. While this is amazing news, it isn't confirmed yet, so we intend to keep the pressure on until it it official.

    January 09, 2019

    On Saturday, January 19th, be part of a global movement expressing outrage at ongoing gender-based rights violations and demonstrate solidarity with women human rights defenders by taking part in a Women’s March in your community.

    January 09, 2019
    Steve Fobister being interviewed by APTN at blockade cabin

    “You look at the lake, it looks good, it looks clean, the fish look all right. How to believe that something like that could turn against you?” – the late Steve Fobister Sr., former Chief of the Grassy Narrows First Nation, quoted in the Toronto Star

    “Steve always wanted the government to admit that he had been poisoned by mercury. Now we take up his fight to honour him.” – the family of Steve Fobister, Sr. 

    In October, Steve Fobister Sr., a leader and spokesperson for the Grassy Narrows First Nation in northwestern Ontario, died after a long struggle with mercury poisoning. He was only 66. His family and friends are clear that the struggle he helped lead is far from over.

    For more than five decades, the people of Grassy Narrows have been forced to live with the devastating consequences of a government policy that allowed massive amounts of mercury to be dumped into their river system. It’s no coincidence that Grassy Narrows, whose traditions and economy revolve around fishing, faces the worst community health crisis in Canada.

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