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    October 26, 2018

    Amnesty International Canada is renewing calls for a public inquiry into the extradition and imprisonment of academic Hassan Diab, after learning the French Court of Appeal has ordered a fresh review of his case.

    In response, Secretary General Alex Neve issued the following statement:

    “As has been the case for more than a decade, Hassan Diab and his family are not yet able to put these years of Kafkaesque injustice firmly in the past. Today’s news comes as deep frustration and disappointment.

    “The handwriting samples and analysis in this case have consistently been rejected by experts in both Canada and France. Yet French authorities continue to hold onto hope that they can keep this case alive by resurrecting evidence that has been roundly discredited as worthless.

    “In doing so, they continue to keep Hassan Diab and his family in a suspended state of uncertainty and anguish.

    "So while this case is protracted and extended yet one more time in France, it is vital that efforts to get to the bottom of Canada’s role in why and how this happened need to expand and deepen.

    October 25, 2018

    Amnesty International is deeply disappointed that the BC Supreme Court has decided to allow construction of the Site C dam to continue while an ongoing Treaty rights case proceeds.

    In a decision released yesterday Justice Warren Milman set out a plan to ensure that the Treaty rights case initiated by the West Moberly and Prophet River First Nations can be heard before the dam is completed and the Peace River Valley flooded.

    However, despite concluding that First Nations could face “irreparable harm” from forest clearing and other preparation activities planned to take place even before the trial begins, Justice Warren Milman turned down the application by the West Moberly First Nations for a temporary injunction to protect the Valley.

    October 23, 2018

    By Alex Neve, Secretary-General of Amnesty International Canada

    Donald Trump has clearly decided that several thousand Honduran refugees and migrants who have formed a “caravan” that has been making its way through Guatemala and into Mexico over the past week, with the eventual intention to attempt to cross into the United States, offer a wedge political issue that may help Republicans in the mid-term elections.

    And so, he has been spewing toxic, hate-filled threats and untruths about the #CaravanaMigrante at a series of political rallies meant to boost the fortunes of various candidates for Congress.

    It is a display of contempt for the rule of law, for human rights and for international norms of refugee protection. It is laced with bigotry and devoid of compassion. And it is not only instructive as to the sorry state of affairs along the U.S.’s southern border, it has serious ramifications for the northern border with Canada as well.

    October 22, 2018

    As Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland meets with Mexican secretaries-designate today in Ottawa, Amnesty International Canada released the following statement from Secretary-General Alex Neve:

    “Mexico’s acute human rights crisis, with more than 37,000 reported disappearances and more every day, must be a top priority for the Canada-Mexico relationship. This horrendous situation can no longer take a back seat to other considerations. As thousands of desperate migrants from Honduras are now entering Mexico, it is imperative to resist pressure from President Trump to treat these people as a security threat and ignore international obligations. Instead, Mexican authorities must protect their human rights and ensure no one is deported back to situations of danger; and the Canadian government must reinforce those vital obligations in all exchanges with both Mexican and US counterparts.”

    For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

    Lucy Scholey, Amnesty International Canada (English):  +1 613-744-7667 ext. 236;

    October 19, 2018

    “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.

    Steve Fobister Sr. was a powerful and inspirational voice in the long struggle for justice for his community, the Grassy Narrows First Nation in northwestern Ontario. Mr. Fobister passed away on October 11 after many years of debilitating illness resulting from mercury poisoning.

    “Decades of government obstruction denied Steve Fobister the chance to see justice in his lifetime,” said Amnesty International Canada’s Secretary General Alex Neve. “We must, all of us, continue his struggle to ensure that all the members of his community receive full and fair compensation for the poisoning of their waters and access to the quality, specialized health care required by those suffering the devasting impacts of Minamata disease.”

    October 12, 2018

    The Supreme Court has issued a narrow and highly technical decision that, while disappointing to many Indigenous nations, critically does not in any way diminish the fundamental responsibility of legislators to respect and uphold the rights of Indigenous peoples.

    In a ruling released yesterday, a majority of five out of seven Supreme Court judges concluded that the specific duty to consult and accommodate does not apply to the work of the legislative branch of government. However, the entire court is in agreement that laws passed by federal, provincial and territorial governments must be consistent with their obligations to uphold the Treaty and other Constitutional rights of Indigenous peoples.

    The Supreme Court decision was based on the separation between the legislative and executive (decision-making) functions of government and the fact that the specific rights protection known as the duty to consult was developed in relation to the executive branch.

    October 10, 2018

    The Grassy Narrows First Nation has declared that it will exercise self-determination over its traditional territory and not allow any more industrial logging. Responding to today’s announcement, Amnesty International Canada said that the First Nation’s assertion of its inherent rights is an opportunity for the federal and provincial governments to finally treat the people of Grassy Narrows with justice and respect.

    “Federal and provincial management of the lands and territories of Grassy Narrows have left a legacy of extreme environmental contamination and a long-ignored community health crisis,” said Craig Benjamin, Amnesty International’s Campaigner for the Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples. “The federal and provincial governments owe the people of Grassy Narrows a debt of justice. One critical step toward making things right would be to respect the right of the First Nation to make its own decisions about its lands and resources.”

    September 21, 2018

    Human Rights Council adopts Universal Periodic Review outcome on Canada

    Amnesty International is disappointed that Canada’s response to its UPR, while containing welcome commitments, does not commit to substantial advances and primarily confirms initiatives already underway.

    Canada reiterates that a protocol and stakeholder engagement strategy are being developed to coordinate implementation of international human rights obligations across federal, provincial and territorial jurisdictions, but offers no concrete plans or timeline to ensure these urgent reforms advance.[1]

    Treaty ratification commitments appear to have weakened from previous announcements about moving to accede to the Optional Protocols to the Convention against Torture and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This response states there is no decision yet regarding accession.[2]

    September 20, 2018

    A coalition of women’s rights organizations is calling on women foreign ministers participating in a precedent-setting meeting in Montreal this week to make concrete and accountable commitments during the UN General Assembly to recognize, protect and support increasingly persecuted women human rights defenders around the world.

    In a statement released today, more than 160 women’s rights and civil society organizations warn that women who defend human rights are confronting a global and increasingly “heightened risk of experiencing human rights violations, including forms of gender-based and sexual violence, threats, harassment, and defamation campaigns linked to their status as women.”  In response, and in recognition of the vital contributions made by women human rights defenders in struggles of global significance, the coalition is calling on attendees at the Montreal Summit to commit before the UN General Assembly to:

    September 18, 2018

    More than one year after the United Nations' top anti-racism body raised serious concerns in its review of Canada’s track record, the Trudeau government has missed a key reporting deadline and has failed entirely to make any progress in implementing most of the recommendations that the Committee had prioritized for urgent action, warns Amnesty International Canada.

    “It is deeply concerning that not only has Canada missed a key deadline to report back on four urgent recommendations prioritized by the Committee, but little or nothing has been done to address these glaringly discriminatory areas of Canadian policy and practice highlighted by the Committee over a year ago. This includes continued construction of the Site C dam despite brazen violations of Indigenous rights; failure to ensure justice and accountability for the Mount Polley mining disaster; and continued refusal to suspend the Safe Third Country Agreement, jeopardizing the rights of refugees,” said Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada.     

    September 18, 2018

    Amnesty International is deeply disappointed by the adjournment of Abousfian Abdelrazik’s civil case against the federal government in which he is seeking remedy for Canada’s role in grave human rights abuses he endured while detained in Sudan from 2003-2006 and for obstruction of his return to Canada until 2009. The adjournment was granted following an indication, on the eve of the opening of the long-anticipated 8-week trial, that the government is making an application under Section 38 of the Canada Evidence Act, for documents which the government itself has already released to be reviewed for national security concerns.  

    Notably Federal Court Justice St. Louis agrees to grant the adjournment “reluctantly” and orders the government to immediately pay the costs of Mr. Abdelrazik’s legal team in preparing for trial, costs that she concludes have been “thrown away as a result of the adjournment”.

    September 17, 2018

    Amnesty International will observe the trial of eight people accused of the 2016 murder of Honduran human rights defender Berta Cáceres, beginning next Monday, 17 September at the Supreme Court of Justice in Tegucigalpa.

    “It’s crucial that the Honduran authorities ensure that this trial meets international standards of fairness and that justice prevails in one of the most emblematic crimes in the nation’s recent history,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    “In a country plagued by threats and attacks against land and environmental human rights defenders, Honduras’ justice system can set an important precedent by upholding Berta’s family’s rights to truth, justice and reparation, and by showing that the killing of human rights defenders will not go unpunished.”

    A representative of Amnesty International, Kathy Price, will attend the trial from 17 to 19 September, while other members of the organization will monitor the proceedings remotely and in person throughout the remainder of the trial. Price will be available for interviews in person, on Skype or by phone.

    September 12, 2018

    Amnesty International today condemned the Ontario government’s tabling of legislation, Bill 31, The Efficient Local Government Act, which invokes the “notwithstanding clause” in section 33 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

    “No government in Canada should take the contemptuous step of disregard for the Charter of Rights that the notwithstanding clause offers them,” said Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada. “To do so in a case involving the fundamental freedom of expression in a context in which core principles around elections and the underpinnings of our democracy are at stake is particularly disgraceful. This invocation of section 33 by Premier Ford’s government should be withdrawn immediately. Questions about the interpretation and application of the Charter should be pursued through appeals and left to judges to determine.”

    September 12, 2018

    Our Nations and organizations urge all Senators to support Bill C-262, a private members bill to ensure that the federal government implements the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

    The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada called the UN Declaration “the framework for reconciliation at all levels and across all sectors of Canadian society.” In its Calls to Action, the TRC urged the federal government to fully implement this global, consensus instrument for the protection and realization of the human rights of Indigenous peoples.

    Bill C-262 provides a principled and pragmatic framework for achieving this goal.

    Passage of Bill C-262 will establish a legislative framework requiring the federal government to work in consultation and cooperation with First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples to develop a national action plan for implementation of the Declaration. The Bill also includes a collaborative process to reform federal laws and policies, and to report regularly to Parliament on the progress made.

    This Bill deserves the support of all Senators.

    September 10, 2018

    Take ACTION to help us make an IMPACT during the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence Campaign in November-December!

    Amnesty International Canada has long been campaigning alongside organizations like Women's Shelters Canada for a National Action Plan to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence. Read this to learn more about why Canada so badly needs a national action plan.

    We are trying to collect as many petition signatures as possible in 2018, to let the federal government know that people across Canada are outraged about the inconsistency in the supports and services available to survivors of gender-based violence! These inconsistencies can be addressed if municipal, provincial, territorial, First Nations, and federal leaders come together with people with lived experience and other relevant expertise to develop a national action plan. Signatures will be handed over to the federal government in 2019.


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