Canada: Prime Minister must commit to the full and effective participation of Indigenous peoples in all decisions affecting them

January 13, 2013

Amnesty International Canada: Petition

Send a message to Prime Minister Stephen Harper asking him to demonstrate a clear commitment to upholding the rights of Indigenous peoples affirmed in Treaties, and articulated in both domestic and international law.

Small victory for justice in Guatemala

February 29, 2008

Good news: President Alvaro Colóm announced on February 25 that he will open Guatemala’s military archives to the public. These archives will help bring Ríos Montt to justice.

Watch Amnesty International’s documentary “Justice without Borders” and get the full story on Ríos Montt and other international human rights criminals.

President Alvaro Colóm announced on February 25 that he will open Guatemala’s military archives to the public. These files are believed to contain crucial information on human rights abuses committed during Guatemala’s internal armed conflict (1960-1996).

The release of the files is the realization of a key objective in Amnesty’s campaign to bring to justice ex-president General Efraín Ríos Montt and other former officials accused of genocide, torture and other crimes against humanity. We believe that the files contain information that will eventually help to convict them.

Amnesty International welcomes the opening of the military archives as a very positive step, although the real test will be whether this development results in prosecutions. AI researchers are currently organizing a mission to Guatemalan for early March, during which they will be gathering information to determine next steps in our campaign.

THANK YOU to all who have sent messages to the Guatemalan government urging the release of the files. Thousands of you have taken action, and today we can see what is possible when we join forces with the brave human rights defenders in Guatemala who every day risk their lives just to demand justice.


Vienna Colucci
Director, Program for International Justice and Accountability
Amnesty International USA

Watch AIUA’s documentary film “Justice Without Borders”
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AIUA’s documentary film “Justice Without Borders” features a very powerful story segment on the long struggle to bring Efraín Ríos Montt to justice. ©ORLANDO SIERRA/AFP/Getty Images Take action!


Amnesty International re: jailing of Algonquin leader

February 22, 2008


February 18, 2008

Canada: Algonquin leader faces jail time while Ontario government ignores the law

Amnesty International expressed its concern today over the sentencing of Ardoch Algonquin First Nation negotiator Bob Lovelace to six months in jail and a fine of $25,000 for his role in a protest over uranium exploration on disputed land in eastern Ontario.

The Ontario government has licensed Frontenac Ventures to carry out exploratory drilling on land that is part of a 25-year-old Algonquin land claim. The Ardoch Algonquin and Shabot Obaadjiwan First Nations have said that they were not even notified about the plans before trees were cut and blasting began.

On June 29, 2007, members of the Ardoch Algonquin and Shabot Obaadjiwan First Nations moved to block Frontenac’s access to the site. The occupation ended after the province entered into talks about possible consultation processes, but these talks broke down earlier this month and the blockade was resumed.

On February 15, Lovelace and Ardoch co-chief Paula Sherman were convicted of contempt of court for failing to obey two injunctions against the occupation. While Sherman was able to reach an agreement to avoid jail time if she stays away from the protest, Lovelace has said he cannot make the same commitment.

A number of Algonquin supporters are also expected to be brought to trial in March accused of violating the same injunctions.

“The situation defies justice,” says Craig Benjamin, Amnesty International Canada’s Campaigner for the Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples. “Indigenous leaders and their supporters are facing stiff punishments for doing what they feel is necessary to protect rights that may one day be upheld in court or in the land claims process. Meanwhile the provincial government is ignoring its own legal obligations without any accountability.”

Canadian courts have clearly established that whenever the rights of Indigenous peoples may be affected, governments have a legal duty to ensure that there must always be meaningful consultation to identify and accommodate Indigenous concerns. Depending on the potential impacts, courts have found that this legal duty may include other more stringent measures “to avoid irreparable harm”, including in some cases agreeing to proceed only with the consent of the affected peoples.

Shortly before the blockade began last summer, a high level provincial inquiry into Indigenous land rights disputes in Ontario concluded that “the single biggest source of frustration, distrust, and ill- feeling among Aboriginal people in Ontario is our failure to deal in a just and expeditious way with breaches of treaty and other legal obligations to First Nations.” The Ipperwash Inquiry report went on to recommend that provincial laws, policies and practices must be reformed to ensure that they are consistent with the government’s legal obligations toward Indigenous peoples, including the duty of consultation, accommodation and consent.

The fact that provincial mining laws and policies are out of step with the constitutional duty of meaningful consultation is acknowledged in a January 2007 discussion paper issued by the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines. Despite this, the province continues to allow companies to stake claims and initiate exploration with little or no consideration of Indigenous interests.

In addition to the conflict over uranium mining in eastern Ontario, leaders from the Kitchenuhmaykoosib First Nation in northern Ontario are awaiting sentencing for contempt of court after continuing to oppose drilling activities in the face of an injunction. In the initial ruling in that case, the court sharply criticized the Ontario government for not having “heard or comprehended” repeated court affirmation of the duty of meaningful consultation and accommodation.

Amnesty International is calling on the province to work with Indigenous peoples to undertake immediate reform of provincial laws and policies that fail to respect and uphold the duty of meaningful consultation, accommodation and consent.

The province must also take urgent measures to address conflicts arising from its past failures to uphold that duty including by:

· committing to a negotiated resolution of the dispute;
· entering those negotiations in good faith without prejudging or limiting in advance the form and extent of accommodation required to respect and protect the rights of the Algonquin people; and
· taking measures in collaboration with the Algonquin people to ensure that their rights are not harmed while such negotiations are under way.

In the event of an appeal, Amnesty International urges the province to ensure the court is made fully aware of the underlying rights issues at stake, including the province’s constitutional duty of consultation, accommodation and

For more information:
Craig Benjamin
Campaigner for the Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Amnesty International Canada
312 Laurier Ave. East,
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1N 1H9
1.613.744.7667 (ext. 235)

Gifts of Freedom – Share some good karma this holiday

December 15, 2007

With the countdown on until the holidays, many of us are scrambling to get some last minute gifts. Are you looking for gifts that truly make a difference?

Did you know you can give an Amnesty International Gift of Freedom? It’s an easy and convenient way to give a gift that celebrates and protects human rights around the world.

Please have a look at the selection of human rights gifts in Amnesty International Canada’s Gifts of Freedom catalogue, including this one — Amnesty’s most popular choice:

Click here for Instant Karma CD The Gift of Karma – Spread good karma by sending a loved one the new “Instant Karma” CD in time for the holidays if you order by Dec 17th. Instant Karma is a highly-acclaimed collection of John Lennon songs donated by Yoko Ono to help raise money for Amnesty International’s work in Darfur and around the world. Two of the songs have been nominated for Grammy awards.
** We only have 60 left so act quickly! **

When you buy a Gift of Freedom, you know that you are truly helping to bring peace on earth. Choose a gift that best suits your friend, relative or co-worker and send them a personalized e-card to accompany your gift. You’ll get a tax receipt, and we’ll ensure that your contribution is put to good use, helping to protect human rights around the world.

There’s still time if you click here today. I can’t think of a more meaningful way to celebrate this joyous time of year.

Thank you for your support and I wish you and your family the very best this holiday season.
Alex Neve
Alex Neve
Amnesty International Canada

P.S. The holidays are around the corner and you might be still scrambling for the right gift. Click here to visit our gift catalogue and give a Gift of Freedom this holiday season!

Integrate This! SPP Watch Update

November 27, 2007

SPP Watch

SPP WATCH makes the links between daily news items, new government initiatives and the ongoing Security and Prosperity Partnership talks between Canada, Mexico and the United States. As well as regular SPP updates, we will continue to post new reports, interviews and multimedia presentations critical of what is sometimes called the “deep integration” of North America. The site is updated regularly so visit often.

Here’s what went up on Integrate This! in the past week:

Finance Department opposes common currency
November 23, 2007
Posted by Brent Patterson
Why is Finance Minister Jim Flaherty requesting advice on a common currency? (more…)

Harper government opposes U.S. Secure Flight program
November 23, 2007
Posted by Brent Patterson
The Globe and Mail is reporting today that: “Ottawa has belatedly joined the airline industry in opposing U.S. plans to obtain passenger lists from Canadian flights headed for holiday sun destinations (through their Secure Flight program). Canada is concerned about privacy issues related to turning over personal information, federal Transport Minister Lawrence Cannon said yesterday after Ottawa filed its objections to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Transportation Security Administration.” (more…)

Help save the SPP, Prentice tells CCCE meeting
November 23, 2007
Posted by Stuart Trew
A few weeks after praising the Security and Prosperity Partnership at a meeting of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, Industry Minister Jim Prentice is now begging the architects of the continental agreement — Tom d’Aquino and the Canadian Council of Chief Executives — to help him keep the White House interested. (more…)

How to find the SPP in the House of Commons
November 22, 2007
Posted by Brent Patterson
The ACTivist magazine has set up a search and browse tool for Hansard, the traditional name for the printed transcripts of parliamentary debates. The keyword search function has been set for ‘Security and Prosperity Partnership’ and so it notes anytime the SPP has been mentioned in the House of Commons or in parliamentary committees. (more…)

New gas pipeline to feed the tar sands
November 22, 2007
Posted by Brent Patterson
The Globe and Mail reported today that, “TransCanada said yesterday that it has filed a regulatory application to build (a $1-billion) 300-kilometre… (North Central Corridor) pipeline to traverse northern Alberta, moving natural gas to ‘feed’ increasing oil sand production around Fort McMurray. It is expected to be in service by 2010…” (more…)

Harper to succumb to U.S. bullying on copyright law
November 22, 2007
Posted by Stuart Trew
According to an entry on the news website, and a recent article from CanWest columnist Deirdre McMurdy, Canada is about to announce a revised Copyright Act to bring its intellectual property regime in line with stricter (and some say unreasonable) U.S. standards. (more…)

Harper takes Canada’s international reputation for a nosedive
November 21, 2007
Posted by Stuart Trew
It has been an embarrassing week for Canada. But even more embarrassing for Prime Minister Harper, who is not getting off easy for his government’s tacit support for the death penalty and for the U.S. version of the Soviet show trial. (more…)

Amnesty International launches campaign to bring Omar Khadr home
November 15, 2007
Posted by Stuart Trew
Amnesty International is asking people to send letters to Prime Minister Harper demanding that he “immediately request the repatriation of Omar Khadr and, if there is sufficient and admissible evidence, arrange for a fair trial before a Canadian court.” (more…)

“Special Advocates” will not improve security certificate process, says coalition
November 14, 2007
Posted by Stuart Trew
On October 22, the Conservative government tabled Bill C-3, an act that would re-introduce the security certificate process for detaining and deporting non-citizens suspected of posing a threat to national security. This fundamentally unjust process was knocked down by the Supreme Court of Canada in February on the grounds that it discriminates between citizens and non-citizens in the application of Canadian law. (more…)

For more information on the SPP, please visit

AIUSA: Be a champion of women’s rights worldwide

August 29, 2007

This action alert comes from Amnesty International USA, and is mainly for my American readers:

Join delegations across the country this September to press your US Senators to support the Treaty for the Rights of Women.

The U.S. Government has failed to ratify the Treaty for Women, an international agreement that women across the world have used to reduce discrimination and violence and gain basic rights like the right to vote, the right to inheritance, and the right to education.

Despite the Treaty’s utility and broad support for it in this country and around the world, a few organizations have managed to generate significant numbers of calls and appeals to Senate offices in opposition to the Treaty. That’s why we need your help.

With your help, Amnesty International members across the United States will meet with the offices of US Senators during the last week of September — September 24-28th.

What you can do to help:

Amnesty International will provide the materials, background, and training you need to help you effectively press your Senators to stand for the rights of women!
Get involved today!


Chris McGraw
Government Relations
Amnesty International USA

Amnesty to defy Catholic church over rape victims’ abortion rights

August 14, 2007

Amnesty International is set to defy the Vatican and risk the wrath of Catholics around the world over its decision to back abortion for rape victims.

Leaders of the international human rights group meeting in Mexico are expected to reaffirm the policy adopted by its executive board in April after two years of soul-searching within the organisation.

[…] Read more of this Independent UK article here.