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Joint Press Release

    July 05, 2019

    (Victoria/Vancouver, B.C., July 4, 2019) - As Taseko Mines once again attempts to force its way with an injunction to start drilling in Tŝilhqot’in ancestral territory at Fish Lake (Teztan Biny) without the consent of the Tŝilhqot’in Nation, a broad network of citizens, experts, and environmental organizations are calling for urgent reform of BC’s outdated mining laws. 

    The new network, launched in May 2019, is urging the B.C. government to reform the Mineral Tenure Act to respect no-go zones and decisions by local residents and First Nations, in line with best practices and international law.

    Need for Reforms

    June 26, 2019
    Indigenous human rights advocates horrified that handful of Senators blocked Bill C-262 Filibuster a blow to democracy and human rights but cannot turn back the clock on implementation of UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

    “There are and always have been obvious flaws in a governing system that is designed to maintain a status quo and deny rights to people who power rejects. The process of bringing C-262 along the legislative path has highlighted this for me... Let us rise with more energy. Let us stand with a greater determination.” 
                       – MP Romeo Saganash, author of Bill C-262 

    When the United Nations General Assembly adopted the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in September 2007, it established an obligation for all states to fully implement this crucial instrument as the minimum global standard to the protect the human rights of Indigenous peoples. The solemn commitment of all states to uphold the UN Declaration has since been reaffirmed by 10 consensus resolutions of the General Assembly. 

    June 24, 2019

    We Canadian civil society organizations, namely, Amnesty International Canada, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East, Oxfam Canada, Oxfam- Quebec, Project Ploughshares and the Rideau Institute, long active in the effort to strengthen Canadian controls on the export of military equipment, today applaud the Government of Canada’s formal announcement of this country’s accession to the global Arms Trade Treaty.

    As Minister Freeland herself stated, the ATT opened for signature in 2013 so this step by Canada is long overdue and most welcome. In particular we commend the Government of Canada for the legislative and regulatory changes to Canada’s export control regime to more effectively regulate Canada’s arms exports in accordance with the high global standards set out in the ATT.

    June 17, 2019

    With human rights defenders increasingly under attack around the world, civil society organizations today welcomed the Government of Canada’s new guidelines aimed at strengthening its approach to ensuring the safety and security of these courageous activists as part of its feminist foreign policy. 

    Human rights defenders are often criminalized, targeted with smear campaigns, discredited, threatened, arbitrarily arrested, and face violence because they advocate for human rights. According to Front Line Defenders Global Analysis 2018, 321 human rights defenders in 27 countries were targeted and killed for their work in 2018.  More than three-quarters of these were defending land, environmental or Indigenous peoples’ rights, often in the context of extractive industries and mega projects.  More than 80% of those killed had previously received a specific death threat.

    May 28, 2019

    OTTAWA – Today, a coalition of prominent women’s rights and equality-seeking organizations in Canada has called on all federal political party leaders to participate in a national debate on women’s rights and gender equality.

    With less than five months until the fall election, supporters of the 2019 Up for Debate campaign are also urging federal party leaders to make real commitments to end poverty, end gender-based violence, and support women’s rights and equality-seeking organizations.

    May 28, 2019

    In an open letter, Amnesty International Canada, the Council of Canadians and CUPE Ontario are urging Indigenous Services Minister Seamus O’Regan to use his visit to Grassy Narrows tomorrow to make good on his government’s promise to provide long-needed health services to a community devastated by a half century of mercury poisoning. 

    Maude Barlow, Honourary Chairperson of the Council of Canadians, said, “The people of Grassy Narrows have already had to wait decades too long for the medical care they need and deserve. It is unconscionable that they should continue to wait for the government to fulfill its promise while their family members die or languish without adequate care.”

    April 01, 2019
    Indigenous peoples’ organizations, human rights groups and faith communities urge Senate not to squander opportunity to pass UN Declaration implementation Bill

    Tomorrow, April 2, is the next crucial opportunity to advance the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples implementation Bill, private member’s Bill C-262, toward its eventual adoption into law.

    Indigenous peoples’ organizations, human rights groups and faith communities have all called on Senators to support an anticipated vote to send Bill C-262 to Committee in preparation for its final adoption so it can receive Royal Assent before the House rises.

    February 04, 2019

     The United Nations Human Rights Council should adopt a resolution establishing an international fact-finding mission to Xinjiang, the region of China where up to one million Turkic Muslims are being arbitrarily detained, a group of nongovernmental organizations said in a joint statement to UN member states today. During the next session of the Human Rights Council, from February 25 to March 22, 2019, the Council will consider the outcome report of China’s November 2018 Universal Periodic Review, at which Chinese officials denied allegations of grave human rights violations in Xinjiang.

    May 16, 2018

    AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL & PEN AMERICA JOINT PRESS RELEASE

    Troubling Reports of Liu Xia’s Worsening Health Condition Stir Immediate Action from Artists and Activists

    NEW YORK—Dozens of celebrated writers, poets, and artists have called for the lifting of all restrictions on Chinese poet and artist Liu Xia, held under illegal house arrest without charge since October 2010.

    This show of literary solidarity comes following revelations about Liu Xia’s declining health, which she revealed in April during a harrowing phone conversation with friend and exiled writer Liao Yiwu.

    Rita Dove, Paul Auster, JM Coetzee, Khaled Hosseini, Hu Ping, and Michael Chabon are among the group of writers who have read excerpts of Liu Xia’s poetry as part of a video campaign advocating for her freedom.

    Khaled Hosseini, author of the Kite Runner, said: [I support this campaign for Liu Xia] as artists who are free to speak must do so on behalf of other artists whose voices are being stifled.”

    March 13, 2018

    The Iranian authorities should end their cruel campaign of harassment and intimidation against the families of detainees who have died in detention under suspicious circumstances, Amnesty International, the Centre for Human Rights in Iran, Human Rights Watch and Justice for Iran said today. The human rights organizations expressed concerns that the bereaved families are facing reprisals for seeking truth and justice and renewed their calls on the authorities to establish an independent commission of inquiry and invite the UN Special Rapporteurs on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions to visit. The authorities should ensure that if there is sufficient evidence of unlawful deaths in detention, the perpetrators responsible will be prosecuted and punished.

    The authorities should also immediately lift the travel ban against Maryam Mombeini, the wife of Iranian-Canadian environmentalist Kavous Seyed-Emami who died in detention in early 2018, and allow her to reunite with her family in Canada.

    January 17, 2018

    OTTAWA – The Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability (CNCA) is greatly encouraged by the Minister of International Trade’s announcement of the creation of a Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise. The human rights ombudsperson will investigate complaints concerning the overseas operations of Canadian companies and will issue public findings on allegations of harm. The office will make recommendations for redress; regarding corporate eligibility for government services; and with respect to policy and law reform.

    “Over the years, cases of real concern have mounted, involving worrying allegations that Canadian mining and other companies have been responsible for serious human rights abuses in countries around the world,” said Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada. “At long last there will be a body and process in place to hold Canadian companies accountable for human rights in their overseas operations.”

    August 15, 2017
      Amnesty International and 63 other organizations are demanding the release of the Cambodian human rights defender Tep Vanny today on the one-year anniversary of her arrest on trumped up charges.   “Tep Vanny has now languished in prison for one year for doing nothing but peacefully defending her community. The charges against her have always been spurious at best – she must be released immediately and unconditionally,” said Josef Benedict, Amnesty International’s Deputy Campaigns Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific.  
    August 04, 2017

    Three years after Canada’s largest mine waste disaster, communities in the Cariboo-Central Interior of British Columbia learned that the Province will not lay any charges under the BC Environmental Management Act. Instead, residents will have to wait for the Federal government to decide whether to lay charges under the Fisheries Act. In the meantime, the Mount Polley disaster continues to put peoples’ rights at risk.

    “There has been serious trauma experienced by the communities who today are afraid to eat the salmon and other fish from the lakes, rivers and creeks contaminated by the mine disaster. Our lives and livelihoods have been put at risk and the company continues to pump waste into these already fragile watersheds,” says Kanahus Manuel, from the Secwepemc Women Warriors.

    On August 4, people and communities from Tofino to the Arctic to Labrador will participate in solidarity actions to remember the Mount Polley mine disaster and the watersheds at risk using the hashtag #SisterStreams.

    July 28, 2017
      Iranian lawmakers must not miss a historic opportunity to reject the use of the death penalty for drug-related offences and save the lives of thousands of people across the country, said Amnesty International and Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation today.   In the coming weeks, Iran’s parliament is expected to vote on a bill that amends Iran’s anti-narcotics law, but fails to abolish the death penalty for non-lethal drug-related offences as is required by international law. “Instead of abolishing the death penalty for drug-related offences, the Iranian authorities are preparing to adopt a deeply disappointing piece of legislation, which will continue to fuel Iran’s execution machine and help maintain its position as one of the world’s top executioners,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International. The two organizations are calling on Iran’s parliament to urgently amend the proposed legislation to bring it into line with Iran’s obligations under international human rights law, which absolutely prohibits use of the death penalty for non-lethal crimes.
    July 17, 2017
    Verdict Awaited for Sahrawis Charged in Fatal 2010 Clashes   The Moroccan judicial authorities should ensure that upcoming verdicts in a mass trial are not based on confessions or statements implicating other defendants obtained under torture or other ill-treatment during police interrogations, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International said today.  

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