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Activism Guide

    June 15, 2019

    Young people from Grassy Narrows are travelling to Toronto for a massive rally on June 20th to focus attention to urgency of addressing the crisis of mercury poisoning facing their First Nation.

    Amnesty International is urging its members and supporters to do all they can to help this vital and timely campaign.

    The people of Grassy Narrows are living with the devastating consequences of a half century of mercury contamination of their rivers and lakes. The harm they’ve experienced, including erosion of culture, loss of livelihoods, and one of the worst community health crises anywhere in Canada, has been made so much worse by decades of government denial and inaction. 

    Last month, federal Indigenous Services Minister Seamus O’Regan visited Grassy Narrows but failed to deliver on a long promised treatment centre for mercury survivors. 

    This stalling and inaction is all the more shocking in light of the fact that two of the United Nations independent human rights advisors, the expert of health and the expert on toxic wastes, have now both urged Canada to take action on the mercury crisis.

    May 06, 2019

    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. 

    May 05, 2019

    Did you know that in 1995, Canada proclaimed that the second Monday of every May would kick off a national Mining Week in Canada? Industry associations, like the Mining Association of British Columbia, hold dozens of events to promote mining investment in Canada and abroad.

    But for corporate accountability activists, May is also Mining Justice Month.

    Amnesty activists will be well-aware that every May Amnesty joins more than 30 partner organizations from the Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability (CNCA) and grassroots groups across Canada to take action in solidarity with human rights defenders and communities harmed by Canadian oil, gas and mining operations abroad and in Canada.

    May 04, 2019

     

    PLEASE NOTE: This action is open until the first week of June.

    Throughout the month of May, we are collecting cards to echo the calls for action by mothers of the disappeared in Mexico.

    May 10 is Mother's Day in Mexico. Thousands of mothers marked the date by taking part in a huge Mother's Day March for Dignity (promoted in their poster, left), carrying the photos of sons and daughters who disappeared, never to be seen again. The mothers of the disappeared organize the march to make visible the massive dimensions of this heart-rending crisis and to call for action.

    Our solidarity is vital!

    More than 40,000 people are now reported missing in Mexico. It's a staggering number that only continues to grow. Some people were abducted by criminal gangs. In other cases, public officials were involved.

    May 03, 2019

    All around the world, Pride marches and events are held to celebrate hard won rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people and to continue demanding equality. But in many parts of the world, Prides are not allowed to take place or face backlash, repression and violence. And many of the activists working to ensure LGBTI rights are protected, respected, and upheld face harassment, criminalization, and violence.

    This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, the uprising that saw the mobilization of LGBTI people against police harassment and brutality in New York City. The Stonewall riots are now celebrated worldwide as a cornerstone of the liberation movements for LGBTI communities, and led to the founding of the first Pride marches in the United States.

    Join Amnesty International this summer as we participate in Pride festivals in Canada and around the world alongside LGBTI partner organizations to take action in support of LGBTI rights and demonstrate solidarity with LGBTI human rights defenders.

    May 02, 2019

    On 20 June, people around the world celebrate World Refugee Day. It commemorates the strength and resilience of refugees around the world, as well as the important contributions they make in their new communities. It is also a time to reflect on the 24.4 million refugees and 3.1 million refugee protection claimants globally.

    Here in Canada, there are a number of recent developments that are threatening the rights of refugee claimants, and it is important for provincial and federal governments to know that these changes will not go unnoticed. The omnibus Bill C-97 threatens to create a two-tier system of refugee status determination by removing access of some refugee claimants to the independent Immigration and Refugee Board. In Ontario, it appears almost certain that legal aid will be practically eliminated for refugee protection claimants in that province, despite the fact that people depend on such services to navigate the complex legal system.

    When it comes to refugee rights, there are many things you can do to demonstrate your solidarity with refugees. To get you started, here are some ideas: 

    May 02, 2019

    On Friday, May 3rd, students across Canada and around the world will strike for the climate and call on governments to take urgent action to stop climate change.

    Amnesty International is in solidarity with the climate strike and warns that the failure of governments to address climate change may amount to the greatest inter-generational human rights violation in history. Climate change affects the rights to life, health, housing, water and sanitation, among others, and it disproportionately affects those who are already marginalized or subject to discrimination.

    Amnesty’s 2019 Human Rights Agenda calls on Canada to address the human rights implications of climate change by, among other measures:

    Ending the dependence on fossil fuels by 2040 Ending fossil fuel subsidies Promoting a just transition to a zero-carbon economy Ensuring that the free, prior, and informed consent of Indigenous communities for any new energy projects is respected

    Climate change is a human rights issue. As Amnesty develops and deepens our work on climate justice, we need you to take action and call on Canada to stop climate change.

    May 01, 2019

    Amnesty International is pressing the Canadian government to take decisive action on human rights at home and on the world stage in 2018. The call comes as we release our annual Human Rights Agenda for Canada, pressing the federal government to build on progress seen in 2017 while addressing ongoing serious human rights shortcomings.

    April 23, 2019

    Canada is on the brink of a breakthrough to protect the rights of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. But urgent action is needed to ensure that this historic opportunity isn’t lost.

    The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada called the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples “the framework for reconciliation.” Last year, the House of Commons passed Bill C-262, a private members bill requiring the federal government to finally move ahead with the work of implementing the Declaration.

    Good news: On May 16, the Senate voted to move the Bill to Committee for study. This is the next step on the path to a final vote. Public support for the Declaration and Bill C-262 is clearly having an effect. Thank you to everyone who has sent emails or made phone calls!

    Unfortunately, however, passage of the Bill is still far from certain. Time is running out in this session of Parliament. And private members bills are particularly vulnerable to delaying tactics. If Bill C-262 isn’t passed by the Senate before this session of Parliament concludes, this crucial opportunity to advance the work of reconciliation will be lost.

    April 23, 2019

    People who speak out to defend land, water and forests in Latin America are seeking to protect the human rights and well-being of their communities. Yet, they face unprecedented attacks and killings in return. Indigenous people and racial minorities experience the greatest danger, while women defenders face gender-specific forms of aggression including sexual violence and threats against their children.

    It's a terrifying situation, emblemized by the murder of Lenca Indigenous water defender, Berta Cáceres in Honduras. But the killing of Berta is no isolated case. The toll of earth defenders lost to deadly violence continues to grow in Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, Colombia, Brazil and other countries in Latin America. It's the most deadly region in the world to speak out about irresponsible logging, mining and dam projects that threaten the environment on which so many depend. 

    Despite the danger, earth defenders and their communities throughout Latin America are not giving up. There is too much on the line. They continue to speak out in defence of environmental human rights and to seek solidarity in countries like ours.

    March 15, 2019

    It’s no coincidence that three of Amnesty’s highest priority, ongoing cases in Canada all revolve around the industrial contamination and destruction of rivers, lakes and streams. 

    The struggle over mercury contamination at Grassy Narrows. The risks to water and fish from the Mount Polley mining disaster. The threatened destruction of the Peace River Valley by the Site C dam. 

     Each of these cases is a powerful illustration of the continued importance of healthy rivers and lakes to the well-being of the Indigenous peoples who rely on them -- and the terrible consequences when federal and provincial governments ignore their rights. 

     Bringing these three cases together is a way to highlight common themes and engage more people in speaking out for justice. 

     Our campaign on water defenders and human rights launches on World Water Day (March 22) and will continue through the summer. We’re offering a variety of tools and techniques to focus on these three cases at public events, whether you have a table at an event already planned in your community or you host your own water rights event. 

     Look for the following: 

    March 10, 2019

    Water defenders living in the shadow of the Mount Polley mine say their fight to protect the waters in and around Quesnel Lake is not over, despite Imperial Metals’ announcement that it will suspend operations at the mine in May, 2019 until global copper prices improve. This is why:

    February 04, 2019

    Since 1967 when it captured the occupied Palestinian territories (OPT), it has been Israeli government policy to promote the creation and expansion of Israeli settlements in the OPT.  This is a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law and is one of the main driving forces behind the mass human rights violations resulting from the occupation.

    Meanwhile, companies from all over the world are conducting business activities in settlements and, in doing so, are helping sustain and expand Israel’s settlements in the OPT.  

    Digital tourism companies, like Airbnb, Booking.com, Expedia and TripAdvisor, are profiting from war crimes by listing properties and attractions in Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territories.

    January 17, 2019

    Fieldworkers are trained Amnesty volunteer leaders who work across Canada to promote human rights activism at the grassroots level.  They help and support individuals and Amnesty groups to carry out their human rights work as well as are the go to persons for any resources and information specific to Amnesty issues and campaigns. Need a fieldworker to help your group?  Need a guest speaker for your school class or at a community event?  Contact the Fieldworker closest to you! Go to https://www.amnesty.ca/get-involved/volunteer-leadership/fieldworkers.

    Love mobilising masses for human rights? Interested in taking your human rights work one step further by becoming a leader in Amnesty Canada at local, regional, and national levels? Interested in becoming one of the faces of Amnesty through public speaking? We would love to hear from you.

    January 17, 2019

    By Cassandra DeFreitas

    The York University Community was eagerly waiting for the most anticipated event of the year; Write for Rights.

    The executive team had been brainstorming, taking notes, and discussing how to make Write for Rights ‘Bigger and Better’. The team went through the post-event notes last year, discussed what could be improved and how to improve them. The biggest challenge was getting more students to be aware and be engaged in addressing human rights abuses or issues and actively advocating for the rights of human rights defenders. 

    The entire team decided on the game plan, from promotions to outreach, booking tablings to preparing the incentives for the event. We had agreed on November 21st to be the date of our Write for Rights event. We had contacted our Student Community and Leadership Development coordinator to reserve the entire ‘Bear Pit’ as we were aiming for a high turn out this year. We were able to secure the maximum amount of tables and space as the whole from 10-4pm.

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