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    November 08, 2019

    Jaya Bordeleau-Cass and André Capretti are the 2019-2020 Public Interest Articling Fellows at Amnesty International Canada. They will be posting updates about the Safe Third Country Agreement hearing throughout the week.

    The brief and frustrating answer: it’s unclear what it takes. 

    Submissions in the Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA) challenge continued to be delivered from November 4-8th at the Federal Court in Toronto. Earlier this week, counsel for the applicants – representing Amnesty International, the Canadian Council for Refugees and the Canadian Council of Churches, and other individual litigants – provided a general overview of the requirements for a safe third country designation, why it is unlawful, and why the operation of the agreement violates the security and equality rights of STCA returnees.

    November 07, 2019

    As the Supreme Court of the United States prepares to hear arguments on November 12 in the case of Hernandez v. Mesa, which concerns the killing of fifteen-year-old Sergio Hernández, by Jesus Mesa, Jr., a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent, Amnesty International USA, along with the Center for Constitutional Rights, Human Rights First, and the Rutherford Institute, submitted an amicus brief in support of the Hernández family.

    Justin Mazzola, deputy director of research at Amnesty International USA said:

    November 06, 2019

    Jaya Bordeleau-Cass and André Capretti are the 2019-2020 Public Interest Articling Fellows at Amnesty International Canada. They will be posting updates about the Safe Third Country Agreement hearing throughout the week.

    Shame. Frustration. Rage. Disappointment.  

    Court hearings can be dry, but when we listen to the facts and stories presented over the past two days in the challenge to the Canada-US Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA), it is hard not to have an emotional reaction.

    On the second day of the hearings in Toronto, counsel for the applicants – Amnesty International, the Canadian Council for Refugees, the Canadian Council of Churches and individual refugee claimants – continued to present their legal arguments and reviewed how the STCA violates equality rights under section 15 of the Canadian Charter, and the rights to liberty and security of the person under section 7.

    November 05, 2019

    Today marked the first day of a week-long hearing, in which the applicants - Amnesty International, the Canadian Council for Refugees, the Canadian Council of Churches, and individual refugee claimants - are challenging the Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement (the STCA) in Federal Court before Justice Ann Marie McDonald.

    “Year after year, month after month, Canada willfully turns its back on refugee claimants at the border.”

    The applicants’ opening remarks, delivered by Mr. Andrew Brouwer, set the stage for the day’s arguments, which reviewed the facts, the evidence and administrative law issues.

    October 31, 2019

    From October 22th to 26th, Amnesty Canada's Alex Neve joined a global Amnesty delegation to monitor the impact of anti-asylum policies at the US-Mexico border. They met with the consul general of Mexico in San Diego, the National Commission of Human Rights in Tijuana, visited shelters in Tijuana and San Diego, met with NGOs and UN agencies on both sides of the border, and met with legal aid providers and toured a shelter for unaccompanied children in Brownsville, TX. On their last day, the group crossed the border into Matamoros, Mexico to speak with families and others who have been affected by the ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy.

    Matamoros, Mexico

    “Some days we cry.  Some days we laugh.  And we are here to lift each other up when we are down.”

    October 17, 2019

    The brave women in this article are from Louisiana, USA. All of them endured years of physical, emotional and sexual abuse. Several survived being shot. And they didn’t always get the help they needed from the system.

    Amnesty International's new report, Fragmented and Unequal, shows how the justice system in Louisiana is failing survivors of domestic violence. From failing to take violence seriously, to arresting survivors who call for help, the response from the authorities is frequently inadequate and discriminatory. 

    By telling their stories, these survivors are letting others know that it's possible to overcome both the trauma of domestic violence and the injustice of the system. They are using their experiences to help others, and showing that there is a way out.

    These stories are powerful, heart-breaking and inspiring.

    They also include graphic descriptions of violence and sexual assault.

    ANGELA'S STORY

    October 15, 2019

    In response to the Trump Administration’s continued assault on the U.S. refugee resettlement program, 18 leaders from the nation’s leading faith and human rights organizations, as well as a former State Department official, were arrested on Capitol Hill as part of the first ever act of civil disobedience in the name of refugee resettlement. Those 18 arrested represented the 18,000 refugee cap set by the Trump administration - the lowest in the history of the resettlement program.

    Those arrested were joined by supporters holding 95 photographs of refugees, a nod to the historic average refugee cap of 95,000 per year. The arrests came as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo today meets with Members of Congress to consult over the historically low cap.

    Prior to being taken into custody by Capitol Police, a number of the arrested issued the following statements:

    September 19, 2019

     

    Climate change activist Greta Thunberg and the Fridays for Future movement of school-children have been honoured with Amnesty International’s Ambassador of Conscience Award for 2019.

    The awards ceremony took place in Washington D.C., USA, while further events were held in cities around the world, honouring Fridays for Future activists who represent the movement.

    Upon receiving the award, Greta Thunberg said:

    “This award is for all of those millions of people, young people, around the world who together make up the movement called Fridays for Future. All these fearless youth, fighting for their future. A future they should be able to take for granted. But as it looks now, they cannot.

    September 19, 2019

    Responding to news that Google has agreed to pay a record US$170 million to settle a complaint filed by US regulators, alleging that Google illegally harvested personal data of children on its YouTube platform, Joe Westby, Big Data and AI Researcher at Amnesty Tech, said:

    “Today’s record fine exposes the rotten core at the heart of Google’s business model, which relies on the harvesting and monetisation of personal data, in brazen contempt for privacy. A major problem is that online advertising practices are complex and secretive, so people are not able to give meaningful consent as to how their personal data is used. 

    September 17, 2019

    Alejandra Barrera, a transgender Salvadorian activist who had been held in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention since November 2017, was released September 6, 2019, as a result of international advocacy efforts, spearheaded by Amnesty International, the Translatin@ Coalition, National Immigrant Justice Center, and dozens of members of the United States Congress.

    August 20, 2019

    Reacting to reports that Planned Parenthood will withdraw from Title X, the federal family planning program, rather than comply with a new Trump administration rule that restricts what health providers can say about abortion, Tarah Demant, director of the Gender, Sexuality and Identity Program at Amnesty International USA said:

    “The Trump administration's restrictions on Title X trample on sexual and reproductive rights, putting the lives of all pregnant people at significant risk, especially low-income women. Over four million people in the United States who depend on health care will be impacted because of these cruel policies aimed at Planned Parenthood.

    “The only people who should be making decisions about their pregnancies are those who are pregnant or can become pregnant. Any and all policies by a government should support and respect a pregnant persons’ reproductive autonomy and basic human rights - any policies that refuse to do that are illegitimate and unlawful.” 

    Background:

    August 07, 2019

    Amnesty International today issued a travel warning calling for possible travelers and visitors to the United States to exercise extreme caution when traveling throughout the country due to rampant gun violence, which has become so prevalent in the United States that it amounts to a human rights crisis. It aims to hold up a mirror to the U.S. using the model of the United States Department of State’s travel advice for U.S. travelers to other countries.

    July 25, 2019

    The US government has announced it plans to resume federal executions for the first time since 2003. Five people have been identified as the first to be subject to this new lethal injection protocol. In response, Amnesty International USA executive director Margaret Huang issued this statement:

    “The Trump administration’s decision to restart federal executions after a 16-year hiatus is outrageous. It is the latest indication of this administration’s disdain for human rights."

    “The death penalty is the ultimate cruel and inhuman punishment. It is a system flawed beyond repair and the federal government should not proceed with any executions. The use of the death penalty is out of step with both national and international trends. 21 states in the USA, and over half the countries around the world have already determined the death penalty disrespects human rights and has no place in their laws. Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all circumstances and will continue to fight to end this inhuman practice.”

    July 18, 2019

    Responding to reports that some in the Trump Administration are considering lowering the number of refugees to be admitted through the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program to zero for the coming fiscal year, Ryan Mace, the grassroots advocacy and refugee specialist for Amnesty International USA, said:

    “The United States used to be a leader in providing refuge to those in need, all around the world. We can’t say that anymore. It is beyond shameful and a new low, even for this administration, to even consider accepting no refugees to the U.S. 

    “People are in need all over the world - families, children, human beings with unique stories and lives on hold. Zero will never be an acceptable number for any country let alone a country with so many resources and people willing to welcome new neighbors looking to rebuild their lives in peace and safety.

    “We call on every member of Congress and their community to speak out for those seeking safety and welcome refugees into their neighborhoods, schools, houses of worship, and homes.” 

    July 17, 2019

    Amnesty International is calling afresh on the Government of Canada to immediately suspend the Canada-US Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA), in light of a new US Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security rule that will bar people from claiming refugee protection in the US, if they cross the southern land border and fail to apply for protection in a transit country. The new rule makes it unambiguously clear that the US refugee protection system in no way adequately guarantees the rights of those seeking to make claims in that country.

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