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    September 19, 2019

    Film director Oleg Sentsov, who was released on the 7th of September as part of a prisoner exchange between Ukraine and Russia, has thanked activists from Amnesty International for writing letters of support during his time in the remand centre and the penal colony.  Sentsov, who was arrested in 2014 and whose release was achieved through the many efforts of Amnesty International and other human rights organisations, gave a press conference alongside Alexander Kolchenko in Kiev.

    “Of course, I received many letters from Amnesty International. Thank you very much”, said Sentsov. According to him, the activists from Amnesty have contributed greatly to the international campaign for his release.

    September 19, 2019

    In reaction to the public statement by Under Secretary for Human Rights Alejandro Encinas announcing Mexico's intention to promptly accept the competence of the Committee against Enforced Disappearances to receive and consider cases of disappeared persons in Mexico, Erika Guevara Rosas, Amnesty International's Americas Director, stated:

    "The Mexican government's announcement is an important sign of its willingness to achieve justice, truth, and reparation in cases of enforced disappearance in the country. This issue, which for years has cast a shadow over human rights in Mexico, requires all available efforts and resources to find a solution. Amnesty International looks forward to the prompt implementation of this decision and will continue to monitor the situation of disappeared persons in the country, aware that it will only change with a strong commitment from all authorities."

    September 17, 2019

    Alejandra Barrera, a transgender Salvadorian activist who had been held in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention since November 2017, was released September 6, 2019, as a result of international advocacy efforts, spearheaded by Amnesty International, the Translatin@ Coalition, National Immigrant Justice Center, and dozens of members of the United States Congress.

    August 21, 2019

    In response to a ruling by a court today in El Salvador under which Evelyn Hernández was acquitted of charges for aggravated homicide, Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International, said:

    “This is a resounding victory for the rights of women in El Salvador. It reaffirms that no woman should be wrongly accused of homicide for the simple fact of suffering an obstetric emergency. Now that Evelyn has been acquitted, Amnesty International calls on El Salvador to end the shameful and discriminatory practice of criminalizing women once and for all by immediately revoking the nation’s draconian anti-abortion laws.”

    Background information

    On 6 April 2016, Evelyn Hernández, 21, suffered an obstetric emergency in her home in El Salvador which resulted in the loss of her pregnancy. Once at hospital, attending staff reported her to the police. She was arrested, tried, and sentenced to 30 years in jail for aggravated homicide. In 2018, a higher court overturned this ruling and ordered a re-trial.

    August 15, 2019
    January

    As a tribute to Julián Carrillo, an environmental rights defender killed in October 2018, we launched Caught between bullets and neglect, a digest on Mexico’s failure to protect environmental human rights defenders. Just a few hours after the launch, two suspects in Julián’s murder were arrested, showing the immediate impact Amnesty can have on justice.

    August 14, 2019

    My name is John Edward Henry Sato. I am 95 years old. What brought me here? Well, they tell me it was the stork.

    My mother was born in Scotland and my father is from Japan. They both served in the First World War – my mother was a nurse; my father was in the Japanese navy – and eventually settled in New Zealand.

    As a child, I remember people of two different races were called half-breeds and I’d hear people referring to people of Italian descent as “daegos” [a derogatory term for Italian immigrants]. But I never heard an unkind word spoken about me.

    I was quite a sickly child and I suffered from bad asthma, but I didn’t let it deter me from going to school. I loved school. When I was 14 or 15, I studied comparative religion. I wanted to discover the essence behind it all. People get the wrong impression of religion - if they don’t understand something, they are quite often afraid of it.

    July 22, 2019

    In 2010, Google, the largest search engine in the world, made a promise not to support China’s censorship of the internet. But in 2018 it was revealed that Google was preparing to break its promise.

    Google started working on a secretive program to re-launch its search engine in China code-named “Google Dragonfly”. People using Google in China would be blocked from accessing banned websites like Wikipedia and Facebook. Content from search terms like ‘human rights’ would be banned. The Chinese government would also be able to spy on Google’s users – and this is a government that routinely sends people to prison for simply sharing their views online.

    To raise attention about the issue, Amnesty produced a couple of spoof videos that were widely circulated online. To increase pressure on Google to “drop Dragonfly”, we launched a global petition and Amnesty volunteers held demonstrations outside of Google’s offices around the world - including in Toronto.

    Even many of Google’s employees were appalled by the Google Dragonfly project and spoke out against it.

    July 19, 2018

    Share your story of human rights activism! 

    July 03, 2018

    Regina member Nathan Bauche descibes how he became involved in Amnesty International through letter-writing. 

    On June 24th, 2003 I sat down to write my first Amnesty International appeal letter. It was addressed to the Canadian government about the reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan. I received a reply to this letter from the Minister for International Cooperation at the time.

    I had been acquainted with the movement earlier that spring in an education class. Our professor had invited the community AI group to speak to us. Through skits and discussion they explained Amnesty’s mission and role. During the presentation, I realized how easy it was to make a difference simply by writing a letter.

    Afterwards I became heavy involved with AI. I joined the university’s Amnesty chapter, volunteered at many events, attended the Human Rights College in 2005, served on Amnesty Group 91’s board, and participated in twelve annual Write For Rights events.

    June 08, 2018

    By Jasmiha Ganeshanathan & Kishanaha Piratheepan, on behalf of the GTA Youth Leaders

    On May 26th, 2018 Youth Leaders of Amnesty International in the GTA put together their 2nd Youth Café and it was a fantastic event!

    This year’s Cafe incorporated learning and actions on three key human rights issues: Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women of Canada, Refugees and Water Defenders. We made the event unique by using participatory discussions and games as tools for learning and sharing information. One of the highlights of the day was the creation of a solidarity banner for water defenders in Guatemala that all participants got to paint ( and is now with our partners in Guatemala). We got inspired by youth author Stephanie Woodworth who talked about water and her experience growing up in a small rural community and were moved by the words of spoken word artist Frishta ‘Fresh’ Bastan.

    May 28, 2018
    Saeed Malekpour

    By: Nazila Nik

    On June 5, web programmer Saeed Malekpour will turn 43 behind bars in Iran. This will be the 10th birthday he has spent in Evin Prison. He was 33 when arrested and has now spent almost a decade in prison.  Almost a decade. Let it sink in for a minute: A decade without even a single day of furlough.

    Saeed Malekpour was an ordinary immigrant in Canada. He came here, just like thousands of others. Just like me.

    In 2008 he was a permanent resident of Canada, in the prime of his life, with a seemingly bright future in front of him. Then he went back to Iran to see his dying father. It was not the first time that he had travelled back to Iran. But this time, unlike others, he was arrested on street and taken for questioning. That was the beginning of a surreal nightmare that still haunts Saeed and his family a decade later.

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