Friday, May 22, 2015

Omar Khadr released today in Canada!


Thank you for your support for human rights and for standing behind Amnesty International's critical human rights work! We have a few timely updates to share about cases you have helped Amnesty work on.

GOOD NEWS: Omar Khadr was finally released today in Canada!
It was just announced today by an Alberta court that Omar Khadr will be finally released from prison. Omar Khadr is to be released on strict bail conditions including electronic monitoring and a curfew.

Omar Khadr was imprisoned as a 15 year old following his capture by US forces in 2002, mostly in the notorious Guantanamo Bay facility and has spent over 12 years in prison.

Hear more about Omar's story.

One Year since Raif Badawi was sentenced to 1000 lashes and 10 years
Raif Badawi’s wife, Ensaf Haidar, has campaigned tirelessly on behalf of her husband.

“I am extremely grateful for the international support for my husband’s case which I believe has helped save him from further lashings, but the truth is, this achievement alone is not enough. Raif is still languishing in prison, each day not knowing what tomorrow will bring. It’s time for him to be free and to be reunited with his family once more.” 

Alex Neve heads to South Sudan to investigate human rights violations 
Amnesty International has sent a human rights research mission to South Sudan to investigate human rights violations associated with the ongoing conflict in the region, and report on the conditions of refugees and Internally Displaced People.

The mission is being led by Amnesty Canada's Secretary-General, Alex Neve.

Please make a financial contribution and follow updates from the field.


Take Action to protect human rights during Mining Week, May 11-15

Imagine that your drinking water supply is polluted because of an accident at a gold mine near your community. Where would you turn?

All over the world, individuals and communities experience human rights abuses resulting from corporate activity but are prevented from seeking justice.

Call on Canada's Minister of International Trade to ensure that people whose human rights have been abused by Canadian mining, oil and gas companies abroad are able to seek justice in Canada.


Every year women from Fort St. John travel to Ottawa with a banner listing the missing and murdered women and girls in their community—and every year the banner includes more names. This is why Amnesty International is currently carrying out a Fact-Finding mission to northeastern British Columbia from April 27-May 8. Follow our Researchers for updates.
Bodo, Nigeria: The Difference $100 Million Compensation from Shell Makes 
GOOD NEWS! Ever since two massive oil spills destroyed people’s lives in Bodo, Nigeria, our activists worldwide supported their fight for justice. 6 years later, we won! Find out what difference $100 million in compensation from Shell is making right now, and what needs to happen next.

The Mediterranean migrant crisis – The view from Senegal
Alain Roy - Deputy Director, Amnesty International Regional Office, Dakar, Senegal - shares testimonies gathered from relatives of the Senegalese men among the more than 800 who lost their lives in the Mediterranean Sea during the night of April 19th.

She's pregnant at 10 years old. Take action to help her.

She's pregnant at
10 years old.
Take action to help her.
Dear Tracy,

Last month, a 10-year-old girl arrived with her mother at a hospital in Paraguay, complaining of a stomachache.

On examination, doctors discovered she was pregnant — the result of being raped by her stepfather.

While the girl is in stable condition right now, the director of the hospital where she is staying has publicly acknowledged that her health is in danger if this pregnancy progresses. Take action now.

Health professionals worldwide agree that pregnancy poses specific risks to young girls whose bodies aren't yet fully developed. This means that all options, including safe abortion services, must be made available.

However, there are no signs that access to a safe abortion has been granted — despite the fact that it is legal in Paraguay when the mother's life is at-risk. Instead, Amnesty has heard that the girl has been sent to a center for young mothers.

Following pleas from activists like you, we learned recently that a panel to review the girl's case has been created. We must continue to call on this panel to act promptly to ensure her safety.

It's up to us to make sure no time is lost in protecting this girl's life. Stand with us in demanding that this life-saving medical procedure is granted.

In solidarity,

Tarah Demant
Senior Director, Identity and Discrimination Unit
Amnesty International USA

Barrel bombs bombard Syrians: Act now

What's a barrel bomb?
Find out and help.

Dear Tracy,

Aleppo, Syria was once a vibrant city, one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. But for the families who call it home, the year 2012 marked the beginning of a terrifying reality.

Since then, the people of Aleppo have been under siege - caught in violent clashes between government forces and opposition groups. The people who live there have been stranded for three years - bombarded by the government's barrel bombs, cut off from food supplies and electricity, and desperate for water.

Can you imagine this happening to your city? To your town? To your family?

We must call the world's attention to these deliberate attacks. That's why Amnesty is releasing a new in-depth report that investigates war crimes being committed against the people of Aleppo.

Please help us publicize this and other human rights atrocities. Make an emergency donation.

The Syrian government's barrel bombs are large devices that typically consist of oil barrels that have been packed with explosives and metal fragments. Government helicopters drop the bombs on schools, hospitals, mosques, and crowded markets. This has forced people underground, where they are taking shelter in bunkers and basements.

Amnesty is tackling this crisis from a variety of fronts:
  • Our investigators are conducting groundbreaking research - with photo and video documentation.
  • Our media team is publicizing these atrocities in major outlets like the New York Times, the Washington Post, the BBC and the Wall Street Journal.
  • Our government relations team is sharing our investigations with world leaders who can apply pressure on the Syrian government.
  • Our is advocating on behalf of refugees who are fleeing the country and encouraging governments -including those of th U.S., Canada, E.U. countries and others - to help resettle them.
  • Our grassroots actions provide solidarity and support for the Syrians to let them know they don't stand alone.
We rely on people like you to support our actions to provide hope for the people of Syria and people everywhere who face violence and government oppression. Please donate to support this work.


Sunjeev Bery
Advocacy Director, Middle East North Africa
Amnesty International USA

P.S. Here's a link to the full report.

Thank you for opposing Bill C-51 - please take one more action


Mass Surveillance - yet another reason why Bill C-51 needs more reflection 

Dear Tracy,

Thank you for signing Amnesty International's petition on the proposed Anti-Terrorism Act, Bill C-51.

Your voice has helped raise awareness across Canada that the serious shortcomings of this bill will undermine our human rights.

Public concern about this proposed bill helped broaden the debate, yet following Amnesty's appearance before the Standing Committee, I was struck by everything that the government had completely dodged and ignored during our session, especially concerns that:

-new CSIS threat-reduction powers violate international human rights law, show contempt for foreign law, and draw judges into human rights violations;   
-exempting only "lawful" demonstrations from new definitions of threats to the security of Canada is an assault on meaningful protests by Indigenous peoples, environmental groups, the labour movement and others.

The new criminal offence of promoting terrorism “in general” will violate and chill free expression in ways we will likely never be able to measure;  

You can read our longer list of grave concerns by reading my reflections following the Standing Committee or by reading Amnesty's Brief.

But what is the context of this new legislation?

Even as this legislation proposes new and worrying powers for CSIS, Amnesty has concerns about some of Canada’s other national security agencies and practices that are putting our human rights at risk.

We now know that Canada, together with its allies in the US, UK, Australia and New Zealand – known as the "Five Eyes" alliance – shares vast amounts of internet and phone communications collected illegally through mass surveillance of almost the entire world. Private emails, calls, texts, internet searches, contact lists, phone locations, webcam images and much more are being collected and stored.

These programs that snoop on everything we do online violate privacy on a massive scale and have a chilling effect on freedom of expression.

Please sign and share Amnesty's global petition to end mass surveillance
Share via TwitterShare on Facebook

Documents revealed by whistle-blower Edward Snowden demonstrate that surveilance is being undertaken indiscriminately, without clear rules subject to public scrutiny and with very limited - if any - oversight and safeguards against abuse.

Over-sight, safeguards, and respect for international human rights obligations - these are the same elements missing in the proposed Bill C-51.

Thank you for speaking up and help raise awareness in Canada of these vital human rights issues!


Alex Neve,
Secretary General, Amnesty International Canada 

Tell Morocco: End impunity for torture

Lend your voice.
Help Morocco's
torture survivors
be heard.
Dear Tracy,

Moroccan student activist Boubker Hadari was peacefully protesting on the roof of his campus science library when multiple security officers surrounded him, beat him with batons and threw him off the two-story roof.

He awoke in a pool of blood, surrounded by officers taking pictures and spitting insults at him and his mother. The attack left him with multiple fractures and broken vertebrae.

This is how Morocco takes a stand against torture?

Demand justice for torture survivors in Morocco and Western Sahara. Urge Moroccan authorities to commit to protecting survivors and bringing torturers to justice.

Boubker's harrowing tale is one of 173 cases of torture and ill-treatment at the hands of Moroccan authorities documented by Amnesty International in our new report "Shadow of Impunity: Torture in Morocco and Western Sahara."

Despite repeated declarations on eradicating torture, Moroccan authorities allow a shocking, brutal and systemic level of state-sponsored torture. The continuum of violence begins with brazen arrests in public spaces and extends to coercion and violence in custody.

Security officers have raped women and men with batons and glass bottles in an attempt to force them to incriminate themselves. They have tortured peaceful political protesters and activists challenging poverty and inequality, as well as people suspected of terrorism or ordinary crimes.

Now Morocco's torture survivors are speaking out, and they need your help today to be heard.

Increase the power of Amnesty's explosive report on torture in Morocco and give survivors hope for justice. Add your name to our petition calling on Moroccan authorities to confront torture by investigating perpetrators and holding them accountable.

To make matters worse, Morocco's judicial system offers no redress.

In courts, prosecutors and judges alike turn a blind eye to visible injuries. Judges explicitly refuse medical examinations. In the rare cases where courts grant medical examinations, evidence often becomes "lost."

Moroccan officials claim this isn't torture, just "bad habits." But it's happening on their watch, in plain sight, with their knowledge.

Urge Moroccan authorities to listen, to see, and to act to stop torture.

Torture survivors have a right to justice. Take action today to help them get it.

Thank you for standing up for human rights today and every day.

Yours in peace,

Sunjeev Bery
Advocacy Director, Middle East/North Africa
Amnesty International USA

Help me collect evidence

Help me collect evidence
Dear Tracy,

I gather and analyze evidence that some people would like to keep hidden.

My name is Scott Edwards, and I'm an Amnesty human rights investigator.

When a human rights crisis breaks or when evidence of a crime is in danger of being lost or destroyed, I use technology to help document human rights abuses and get the world's attention.

Whether using space-based satellite imaging to document war crimes, unearthing and corroborating video evidence of grave abuses, or putting tools into the hands of front-line human rights defenders, technologies are dramatically redefining how Amnesty fulfills its mission.

When you donate to Amnesty, you are supporting my work deploying cutting-edge human rights technologies. Donate and be a lifeline to civilians at risk.

In Nigeria, my team unearthed video evidence of atrocities that left us almost at a loss for words. The images showed horrifying scenes of executions and other war crimes committed by the Nigerian military and the armed group Boko Haram.

In one, 16 boys and young men sit in a line. One by one, they are forced to lie down in front of a pit. The executions are systematic. A man slits each one's throat with a large knife, then dumps the bodies into a hole already half-filled filled with corpses.

Verifying such footage and extracting meaningful information is a hard job to do. But I do it because our watchdog function requires bearing witness; I do it because I know it will turn the world's attention to the plight of people facing abuses that no one should endure.

We are using this footage - and other evidence we've surfaced - to pressure the international community to take action in Nigeria - and our efforts are paying off.

Will you help? Be a lifeline by making a donation to support my work.

Scott EdwardsSincerely,
Scott Edwards
Crisis Response
Amnesty International

Earthquake in Nepal: This is just the beginning

One week ago, a devastating 7.8 earthquake struck central Nepal.

You’ve already heard the facts. Thousands are dead, thousands more are injured. Homes have toppled, children and their families are without food or water. Some villages have been destroyed altogether and many remote areas are still inaccessible. Nearly 3 million children are in need of help.

The situation on the ground is truly terrifying.

I was speaking with one of our colleagues in Nepal the other day, and he told me how difficult this has been. Many UNICEF staff in Nepal have also lost family and friends. They are traumatized but they are back at work, doing what they know needs to be done. My colleague told me that “the fact that we know you will do everything possible to help us gives us the courage to keep going”. It means so much to them to know they’re not alone. That’s why we at UNICEF Canada have been working hard to raise funds and awareness.

Because UNICEF has been working in Nepal for 50 years, we were able to respond immediately:

  • Within hours of the earthquake, UNICEF had already delivered water purification tablets, oral rehydration tablets, oral rehydration salts and hygiene kits to affected communities, thanks to pre-positioned stock in UNICEF warehouses in the area. These will help stave off water borne diseases for families who have little access to safe water as a result of the earthquake.
  • In the space of just two days, UNICEF delivered more than 29 metric tonnes of humanitarian supplies, including tents and tarpaulins, water purification tablets, first aid and hygiene kits, providing desperately needed shelter, clean water and medical aid.
  • In the coming days and weeks, UNICEF will continue shipping and distributing vital supplies, and will be leading the international response on water and sanitation, nutrition and education.

But this is just the beginning of our work in Nepal. The road ahead will be long and difficult. But we will keep going.

We will continue to keep you updated on UNICEF’s work in Nepal in the coming weeks and months.


David Morley
President & CEO, UNICEF Canada

P.S. If you haven’t already done so, please consider making a donation to support UNICEF’s relief efforts in Nepal. As you’ve read above, the need is great and any contribution will make a difference.
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