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    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.

    January 09, 2019
    Petitions being delivered to the BC legislature

    Last Fall, the BC government was able to convince a provincial judge to allow construction of the Site C dam to continue even though a fundamental Treaty rights challenge is still before the courts.

    The United Nations’ top anti-racism body has now responded to the injunction decision by calling on the federal and provincial governments to immediately suspend construction of Site C. The letter from the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is absolutely clear that, despite the injunction decision, a halt to construction is absolutely necessary to prevent permanent harm to the human rights of Indigenous peoples in the Peace River region.

    The Committee also called on the federal and provincial governments to seek independent, expert advice on how to fulfill their human rights obligations, including the right of free, prior and informed consent.

    January 09, 2019
    Palais Wilson where the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination meets

    The United Nations’ top anti-racism body has stepped up its calls for an immediate halt to construction of the Site C dam.

    In a letter to Canada’s ambassador to the UN, dated December 14 and now posted online,  the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination calls for the massive dam project on the Peace River to be halted unless the free, prior and informed consent of the affected First Nations is obtained.

    The Committee is an independent, expert body appointed to monitor state compliance with their human rights obligations under a core international human rights instrument, the binding Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

    The Committee’s call for an immediate halt to construction of the Site C dam was made under a special procedure intended to “prevent or limit the scale or number of serious violations of the Convention.”

    December 18, 2018

    Senator Pamela Wallin, one of the most outspoken opponents of the federal government’s proposed new legislation on assessing the impacts of large-scale resource development projects, has been particularly critical of the federal government’s commitment to gender-based analysis. Perhaps surprisingly, however, the Senator has chosen to illustrate her concerns with some gender-based analysis of her own.

    December 18, 2018

    Amnesty International is joining more than 1,500 members of the health care community in calling on the federal government to address a landmark United Nations decision condemning Canada for denying health care access to Ms. Nell Toussaint on the basis of her immigration status.

    This remarkable group of medical professionals – including doctors, nurses, midwives, social workers, psychologists, allied health specialists, public health workers, researchers, educators and students – have signed an open letter urging Canada to review existing laws and policies regarding health care coverage for irregular migrants, and to provide Ms. Toussaint with adequate compensation for the violation of her human rights.

    Amnesty International, one of more than 80 organizations that have signed the letter, welcomes this initiative and urges the government to act without delay to ensure that people with irregular immigration status have access to essential health care services.

    Background:

    December 17, 2018

    Amnesty International Canada is pleased to announce the six winners of the 24th annual Media Awards for 2018:

    Print Long Form:  Stephanie Nolen, “Colombia's peace deal brings a new season of fear”, The Globe and Mail, June 17, 2018

    Print Short Form: Nathan VanderKlippe, "‘It is about Xi as the leader of the world’: Former detainees recount abuse in Chinese re-education centres", The Globe and Mail, July 3, 2018

    Video: Holly Moore, “The Cure was Worse”, APTN Investigates, October 27, 2018

    December 14, 2018

    Reacting to news that Bill C-47 has been passed by Parliament and received Royal Assent, Amnesty International today welcomed this important step towards accession to the UN Arms Trade Treaty, but reminded the government that significant reforms to Canada’s arms control regime are still urgently needed in order to fully comply with the object and purpose of the treaty.

    Bill C-47 enacts important changes to Canada’s Export and Import Permits Act consistent with provisions in the Arms Trade Treaty, which prohibit the transfer of arms to another country when they would be used to commit genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes. 

    December 11, 2018

    Yesterday was International Human Rights Day - and the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. To mark this date, over 200 organizations from 56 countries sent a letter to Prime Minister Trudeau asking, “Where is Canada’s Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise?”

    December 11, 2018

    The Human Rights and Climate Change working group, together with other coalitions working on gender, just transition, Indigenous peoples, and youth, have been working hard at the international climate change negotiations in Poland to make sure that human rights and other principles referred to in the preamble of the Paris climate agreement are also explicitly referenced in the Paris rule book that will guide countries in the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

    Unfortunately the outcome is not looking good, as references to human rights have now been reduced compared to the initial negotiated text. 

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