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Open letters

    August 10, 2011

    Dear Minister Kenney,

    The Open Letter that you wrote on 9 August and posted on your personal website, in response to the Open Letter we wrote and sent to you and Minister Toews on 2 August, has been brought to our attention by journalists.  We are writing to respond and clarify to some of the points you raise.

    You begin by chastising Amnesty International for raising these concerns when we should instead be focusing on human rights concerns in countries like Iran and North Korea.  Minister, we most certainly do.  A casual review of our most recent reports, actions and news releases covers such countries as Iran, Syria, Bahrain, China, Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Colombia, Georgia, Saudi Arabia and Nigeria.  We do regularly point to areas where we believe Canada’s own human rights laws, policy and practice are in need of reform.  Universal human rights principles apply as equally to Canada as they do to other countries.  Furthermore, the stronger Canada’s domestic human rights record is; the greater our leadership on the world stage. 

    August 02, 2011

    The Honourable Vic Toews , Minister of Public Safety 

     The Honourable Jason Kenney,  Minister of Citizenship and and  Immigration                                                                 

    August 2, 2011

    Dear Ministers,

    We are writing this open letter to express Amnesty International’s concern about the approach the government has adopted to dealing with the cases of thirty individuals who have been accused of having committed war crimes or crimes against humanity and who are believed to be residing in Canada.   Their cases, including their names and photos, have been widely publicized on a government web-site, “Wanted by the CBSA”.  Five of the thirty men have since been arrested.  Amnesty International is concerned that the initiative does not conform to Canada’s obligations with respect to human rights and international justice. 

    May 25, 2011

    The Honourable John Baird
    Minister of Foreign Affairs
    125 Sussex Drive
    Ottawa, Ontario
    K1A 0G2

    May 25, 2011

    Dear Minister Baird,

    Today, around the world, Amnesty International will be delivering to Syrian Embassies copies of a recent petition, signed by more than 100,000 people, calling on the Syrian government to bring the current human rights crisis in the country to an end.  Most immediately and urgently the petition calls on the Syrian government to rein in the country’s security forces and end unlawful killings and other gross human rights violations including arbitrary arrest and torture.

    At the same time, we are turning to the international community and urging all governments to intensify pressure on Syrian authorities to end the abuses.  To that end, Amnesty International has called on the UN Security Council to:

    February 22, 2011

    His Excellency Dr. Abdulrahman Mohamed Ali Abututa
    81 Metcalfe Street, Suite 1000
    Ottawa, Ontario
    K1P 6K7

    February 21, 2011

    Your Excellency,

    We are writing to you on behalf of more than 80,000 members of Amnesty International across Canada to express our grave concern about disturbing reports that a rapidly mounting number of Libyans involved in peaceful protests in the country have been killed in the face of a harsh crackdown and use of alarming levels of lethal force over the past several days.  There have been reports that as many as 500 may have been killed.

    Amnesty International has received troubling reports of unwarranted lethal force being used on many occasions including when security forces opened fire with live ammunition on thousands of mourners who gathered outside a Revolutionary Guards building in Benghazi on their way back from the cemetery; and also when they opened fire on hundreds of people holding a sit-in in front of Benghazi's North Court.  There have been reports of many other incidents as well.

    February 22, 2011

    The Right Honourable Stephen Harper
    Prime Minister of Canada
    80 Wellington Street
    Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2

    February 22, 2011

    Dear Prime Minister Harper,

    I am writing to you about the case of Canadian citizen Hamid Ghassemi-Shall, who has been imprisoned in Iran for close to three years.  Recent developments, in particular credible reports that a death sentence against him has now been confirmed, mean that his situation has become one of urgent concern.  Amnesty International is calling on you to become personally involved in efforts to ensure that he is not executed and that other human rights violations in his case are addressed.

    Hamid Ghassemi-Shall has reportedly been charged with espionage-related offences.  He has flatly denied the accusations against him and was not provided a fair opportunity to defend himself in proceedings that meet international fair trial standards.  We are gravely concerned that he has been subject to torture and ill-treatment which Amnesty International has documented to be widespread in Iranian prisons.

    December 01, 2010

    The Directors of Amnesty International Canada wrote today to the Minister of Public Safety and the Director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Agency to seek assurances that human rights violations will not be tolerated in the name of security after examining the comments attributed to former CSIS Director Jim Judd released by Wikileaks this week.

    Read the Open Letter

    John Tackaberry,
    Media Relations,
    Amnesty International Canada
    613-744-7667, ext 236


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