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Activism Guide

    June 30, 2020

    There are countless opportunities to get involved with Amnesty International. This guide is your resource for the latest campaigns and actions. 

    Learn about upcomng events and new actions you can take to get involved. 

    June 30, 2020

    The first ever national Day of Action to stop the sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia took place on June 11, 2020. Hundreds of people came together from across Canada – both virtually and in-person – to show their support for an immediate end to the Saudi arms deal and to raise this issue yet again with the government. The coalition that came together to make this important day a reality is broad and includes human rights activists, arms control advocates, labour groups, and feminist and humanitarian organizations. 

    If you missed it, you can watch the recording of the virtual protest here>>

    Our work can't stop there. There are more ways for you to take action and share your concerns with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne, asking them to #StopArmingSaudi. 

    1. Take Action Now 

    Sign the petitions from organizations in our coalition: 

    Amnesty International>>

    June 29, 2020

    Here’s how you can learn more and take action in support of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and two-spirit rights while practicing social distancing.

    Check out what’s happening in your community

    With public events being cancelled around the world, most Pride organizing committees are cancelling in-person activities, but many are taking the protest for equality and LGBTQ2S liberation online!

    Join Amnesty International in marking Pride 2020 by attending an online protest or organizing a watch party or your own online protest for your community. Find or register an event in your community >>> 

    Check out the website or Facebook page for your local Pride organizing committee to see if they are moving any of their activities online. Fierte Pride Canada has a list of cancelled or postponed Pride festivals.

    June 28, 2020
    The Right to a Healthy Environment: An Update on Quesnel Lake and the Mount Polley Disaster

    Many of us are looking forward to the late summer when physical distancing measures may ease and we can begin to venture out again to our favorite campsites, cabins, and fishing spots. Last August, I spent a week in British Columbia’s Cariboo region when I led a caravan of kids and adults from Vancouver’s lower mainland to the shores of Quesnel Lake in Secwepemc traditional territory.

    Over that August long weekend, we joined dozens of residents and their supporters to celebrate the community’s resilience over the five long years since the Mount Polley mine disaster of August 2014. 

    June 01, 2020

    June 20th is World Refugee Day and this year celebrations are going to be a bit different.

    Although there are typically gatherings – large and small – which take place across Canada and around the world to celebrate the important contributions that refugees make to our communities, the spread of COVID-19 is challenging us to think of new and different ways to mark this special occasion. The pandemic may keep us physically apart, but we will be sure to honour the contributions of refugee this year, and every year!

    Join a Virtual Event

    Join Amnesty International for a virtual World Refugee Day Celebration with Nazik Kabalo, a passionate Sudanese human rights defender and founder of the Sudanese Women Human Rights Project. 

    When: Saturday, June 20th at 7:00 pm EST 

    Register now! >> 

    In the place of in-person gatherings, many organizations are hosting virtual events for World Refugee Day. Join one that works for you:

    May 29, 2020

    Women human rights defenders help make sure we have access to sexual and reproductive health information and services. They help run women’s shelters and sexual assault crisis centres and drop-in centres. They call out discrimination and work to overturn unjust structures, systems, and policies. All incredibly valuable work that’s needed now more than ever during a global pandemic, right?

    But too many women human rights defenders around the world remain in prison, jailed for peacefully promoting women’s rights, and at increased risk as COVID-19 spreads through prisons in some countries. Too many activists and journalists are being threatened for their reporting on COVID-19. And too many women human rights defenders who are socially distancing at home are being targeted for harassment and violence because those who want to harm them now where they can find them at all times—home.

    Now more than ever we need to ramp up our activism in solidarity with women human rights defenders around the world. Below are a few actions you can take now. We will add more actions in the coming weeks and months.

    May 28, 2020

    Since March 14, some 9,000 activists and supporters of Amnesty Canada sent email messages to Export Development Canada’s CEO and Canada’s International Trade Minister demanding remedy for the harm caused by a disastrous big dam project that Canada helped finance in Colombia. This action was developed in coordination with Rios Vivos (Spanish for Living Rivers), a coalition whose members have been threatened and attacked – with six leaders killed – as they continue to speak out against the impacts of the dam on the environment vital to their health and livelihoods. 

    "How heartening it is to learn that there has been so much action in Canada,” said Rios Vivos spokesperson Isabel Zuleta, pictured above giving a presentation during last November's visit to Canada. “I will share your activism with our members so they can take strength from it in these hard times.”

    April 19, 2020
    Earth Day 2020 #ClimateStrikeOnline

    Earth Day is an opportunity to celebrate the nature around us. It is also a chance to join others in calling attention to the urgency of protecting the place we all live.

    Our human rights are intertwined with the environment. People need a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment to fully enjoy their human rights, including the rights to life, health, food, and water. While other human rights, including the rights to information, freedom of expression, public participation in decision-making, and access to justice, are essential for protecting the environment.

    April 22nd is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Although many wonderful celebrations had been planned across Canada and around the world, many of these events have been cancelled or revised due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the need for physical distancing. The global climate strikes, for example, that saw millions of people marching in the streets in 2019, have moved online.

    We encourage you to stay safe at home and join the next big climate strike online this Earth Day (Wednesday, April 22, 2020). 

    To join the strike online here is what to do:

    April 19, 2020

    The world can feel overwhelming right now. As we strive to create a more just and equitable future, we can struggle at this time to know where to start.

    While we are engaged in physical distancing, we will find new and creative ways to care for ourselves, our loved ones, and our local and global communities.

    Here are some simple things you can do to help out:

    April 19, 2020

    COVID-19 has adjusted many of the tactics that we typically use in advocating for the protection of human rights. Despite this hurdle, the movement pushes forward and the mandatory switch to digital activism has opened up a key space where youth are already the leaders. As we collectively make this shift, following the lead of young people whose experience with making the most of the internet, and in particular, social media, is imperative. As schools close and we head into summer, here are some key areas where youth can leverage our years of online expertise in order to defend human rights across the globe amid these unprecedented circumstances.


    On April 22 “Earth Day” turns 50! 

    Participate in the Earth Day online climate strike as we observe this important anniversary in the fight against climate change.


    April 18, 2020

    May 3 marks World Press Freedom Day around the world. During a global health emergency, a robust media environment doesn’t just mean reporting on the nature and spread of COVID-19, it makes life saving information broadly accessible. And as emergency measures are increasingly used, journalists help hold authorities to account by documenting overreach, providing analysis, engaging in debate about government actions, and sparking dialogue about the different future we all hope to see.

    April 14, 2020

    Indigenous communities are working to ensure the safety of their members in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Different communities face different threats and challenges and they are developing effective solutions based on the needs of the people and the resources at hand. Many are in need of better healthcare equipment and services, many have concerns about over-crowded housing, while people are checking-in with elders, sharing food and traditional medicines, and creating emergency plans. 

    Amnesty will be featuring different communities, their worries, and the solutions they have developed in the face of COVID-19. We will also connect activists with opportunities to advocate for Indigenous rights to ensure that everyone gets the help they need during the pandemic. 

    We begin with an introduction to Kelly Lake Cree Nation, a community of 800 people on the border between northern British Columbia and Alberta. 

    April 12, 2020

    “Thank you Amnesty Canada! We thank you with all our hearts on behalf of Amazonian Women. We will continue to defend our forests, our territory, our rivers. By gathering all those signatures on petitions you have supported us.”

    This is the message that Kichwa Indigenous leader Salomé Aranda, Sarayaku leader Patricia Gualinga and Margoth Escobar sent us in a video (see below).

    Salomé, Patricia and Margoth are leaders of a collective of more than 100 mostly Indigenous women human rights defenders called Mujeres Amazónicas, Spanish for Amazonian Women. They face threats and armed attacks against themselves and their families as they seek to stop destructive oil and mining projects in the Amazon region of Ecuador.

    April 11, 2020
    Activists from St. Mary's and Stratford hold a banner they created to attract attention and help them gather signatures for Justice for Berta. Learn more in this blog about other 'art builds' during our Day of Action for Berta

    Indigenous rights defender Berta Cáceres inspired many in her home country of Honduras, and around the world, as she courageously led efforts to stop construction of the Agua Zarca dam on a river not only sacred to the Lenca People, but vital to their survival. Berta was gunned down by contract killers on March 2, 2016.

    Bringing to justice everyone responsible for the killing of Berta is vitally important to end the impunity that fuels more killings of forest and water defenders. Front Line Defenders Global Analysis 2019 reports that 31 other defenders were killed in Honduras last year.

    Pressure from inside and outside Honduras is making a difference but more is needed! 

    April 10, 2020

    Amnesty International is partnering with the National Indigenous Survivors of Child Welfare Network to raise awareness about the Sixties Scoop. We will be advocating for the continued need to connect survivors who were taken with their families and raising awareness about the ongoing human rights fight, the class action lawsuits and the settlement.

    From the late 1950's to the 1980's, many children were adopted not just out of their Indigenous community, or out of province, but some were sent as far away as Germany, Britain, and Australia. The Provincial, Territorial and Canadian governments gravely violated the rights of these families: to belong to their Indigenous nation, to learn their culture and language, to not be subjected to assimilation, and to not be subjected to genocide.

    To learn more about the work being done to reconnect and support families, please read Colleen Hele-Cardinal’s introduction below and look for more information and ways to support the Network of Survivors coming soon. 


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