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Canada - Activists to hear from Canadian China reporter and march for Indigenous peoples in Colombia at AGM

    June 05, 2013

    Human rights violations in China and Colombia are on the agenda at two public events on Saturday June 8th as activists from across Canada meet at Saint Paul University for the Annual General Meeting of Amnesty International Canada’s English branch from June 7 - 9.

    The struggle to bring democracy and human rights protection in China will be the topic for a keynote address by Michel Cormier at the Annual General Meeting of Amnesty International Canada at Saint Paul University in Ottawa. Michel Cormier will give a talk in the auditorium of the university on Saturday morning at 10 a.m.

    Michel Cormier is a veteran former CBC foreign correspondent who has reported from Moscow, Paris and Beijing. He has covered war in Afghanistan and the Middle East and written four books. His latest, The Legacy of Tiananmen Square is about China. The book is based on historical research including transcripts of Communist Party meetings at the time of the 1989 uprising, plus interviews with dissidents in exile and those who live under constant observation in China. It tells the story of their efforts, up against an iron-fisted ruling machine, to bring respect for human rights and dignity to their country.

    “Michel Cormier provides a unique perspective as a reporter who has worked inside China,” says Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada’s English branch. “Amnesty International has been denied access to China for human rights missions. That is why it is so important for human rights activists to benefit from the insight of a reporter who witnessed the collapse of the hope that economic liberalization would lead to democracy and protection of human rights, not authoritarian control of a market economy.”

    Who:  Michel Cormier, Executive Director, News and Current Affairs, Radio-Canada
    What:  Public talk on human rights in China at Amnesty International Canada’s AGM
    Where: Saint Paul University Auditorium, 223 Main Street, Ottawa
    When:   10 a.m. Saturday June 8th

    On Saturday afternoon an event will be held in solidarity with the Indigenous peoples of Colombia. There are 102 distinct Indigenous nations in Colombia, enriching the South American country with diverse cultures, languages, social structures and ways of life. At least one third of them are threatened with “extermination”, according to Colombia’s highest court, and face an “emergency … as serious as it is invisible”.

    The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples states that Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain their traditions and their ways of life, including the right to live in peace on their traditional lands.

    Canadian resource and mining companies have secured government permits to operate in Colombia, amidst complaints by Indigenous peoples that their right to consultation and consent about projects that will impact their land and rights is routinely denied. Indeed expressing opposition to projects brings threats and attacks. Through the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement, the Canadian government is promoting further expansion of these operations without human rights guarantees.

    In an action to show their support for the Indigenous peoples of Colombia, Amnesty International Canada's activists will meet at 3 p.m in the amphitheatre in Guigues Hall at Saint Paul University. Led by Colombian drummer Ruben Esguerra, the marchers will leave the university at 3:30 p.m. and make their way down Elgin Street to the Human Rights Monument.

    Who:  Human rights activists from Amnesty International Canada
    What:  March in solidarity with the Indigenous peoples of Colombia
    Where:  Guigues Hall amphitheatre, Saint Paul University, 223 Main Street to Human Rights Monument, Elgin Street at Lisgar Street, Ottawa
    When:  3 p.m. start with a march from 3:30 p.m. to 4: 15 p.m. Saturday June 8th

     

    For further information contact John Tackaberry, Media Relations                (613)744-7667 #236 jtackaberry@amnesty.ca

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