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Business and Human Rights

    April 24, 2020

    Today marks the seven-year anniversary of the collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory building in Bangladesh, which tragically left more than 1,100 workers dead and thousands more injured. Covid-19 has created new threats to the lives and livelihoods of garment workers.

    Standing in solidarity with Bangladesh garment sector workers, and with garment sector workers in all countries, Amnesty International joins Canadian labour and civil society organizations in urging Canadian brands, retailers, and the Canadian government, to address workers rights.

    Here is our joint statement:

    Protect the women who make our clothes: Canada’s unions and civil society organizations call for action

    Seven years after the tragic Rana Plaza building collapse, Bangladesh garment sector workers now confront even more risk and vulnerability in the fight against Covid-19.

    Canada’s unions and civil society organizations are calling for immediate relief for workers and protection of rights in global supply chains.

    March 11, 2020
    Quesnel Lake/Yuct Ne Senxiymetkwe: a Love Story 

    Christine McLean is ready to retire. After running a successful electrical business in Calgary for the last 20 years, the Kamloops, BC born and raised McLean planned to move back to BC with her husband, Eric. In 2014 they began laying plans to spend their retirement years living in what Christine describes as, “paradise” – a gorgeous log cabin on a large, treed lot perched above the stunningly beautiful Mitchell Bay on Quesnel Lake. For Christine, it is a place for the spirit to rest and the heart to soar.

    For Secwepemc and Nuxalk activist Nuskmata (Jacinda Mack), Quesnel Lake is part of her cultural heritage. Raised in the northern Secwepemc community of Xat’sull, Nuskamata spent her youth out on the land and eventually came to work for her Secwepemc community as the Natural Resources manager. Her mother taught her that for Indigenous peoples, “our economy walks on the land and swims in the waters.” She calls the relationship between her community and the land a ‘love story’. 

    November 25, 2019
    Esther Kiobel with some of the 30,000 messages of solidarity from Amnesty supporters

    The Kiobel v Shell case resumed at The Hague on October 8, 2019 and for the first time heard accounts from individuals who accuse Shell of offering them bribes to give fake testimonies that led to the ‘Ogoni Nine’ being sentenced to death and executed in Nigeria.

    Three men claimed that Nigerian government officials and Shell staff offered them money and promises of jobs and houses to testify against the Ogoni Nine. They said that, together with other prosecution witnesses, they were asked to sign statements that had been prepared for them and instructed to make specific statements during the Ogoni Nine court hearing aimed at incriminating the men. Renowned activist Ken Saro-Wiwa, Barinem Kiobel and the others had been accused of involvement in the murder of four traditional rulers, who were opposed to Saro-Wiwa’s campaign against the oil industry.

    July 10, 2019
    	The Israeli government forcibly evicted hundreds of Palestinians to develop the ancient ruins of Susya/Susiya in the south of the West bank into a tourist attraction and settlement.

    Dear TripAdvisor employees,

    We are writing to ask you to join us in speaking out against TripAdvisor’s role in driving human rights violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

    Amnesty International is the world’s largest human rights organization, with more than seven million supporters and members globally. Through research and campaigning, we help ensure respect for people’s human rights and that those who violate them are held accountable. We also campaign for a world in which companies respect human rights and don’t contribute to, or profit from, human rights violations wherever they operate in the world.

    June 07, 2019

    June 2019 marks the 52nd anniversary of Israel’s capture of the West Bank and Gaza Strip during a war with its neighbours, and the beginning of its occupation of Palestinian territory. Today, over 600,000 Jewish-Israeli settlers are living on occupied Palestinian land and are afforded protections and benefits, of which over 4.9 million Palestinians living in the same territory do not have access to. This is the direct result of a discriminatory system of laws and policies that ensure that Palestinians are not afforded the same rights or services as Israeli settlers.

    For 52 years, hundreds of thousands of hectares of Palestinian land have been appropriated and exploited by Israel. For 52 years, tens of thousands of Palestinian homes and structures have been demolished in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), resulting in the displacement of thousands of Palestinians. The wanton destruction of property and the forcible transfer of civilians in the occupied territory are both war crimes under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. 

    April 08, 2019

    A Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability Press Release

    Canadian Network on Corporate AccountabilityThe Government of Canada failed today to appoint an independent Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise (CORE) with real powers to investigate abuses and redress the harm caused by Canadian companies operating abroad.

    Canadian companies operating overseas have been associated with widespread and egregious human rights abuses including forced labour, rape and murder.

    Fifteen months ago, the government announced that it would create an independent office with the power to investigate. Instead, it unveiled a powerless advisory post, little different from what has already existed for years. It is clear that Canada needs an ombudsperson to help prevent Canadian complicity in corporate abuse and help ensure Canadian mining and garment supply chains respect human rights.

    An ombudsperson operates at arms-length from government and has the power to order those under investigation to produce documents and testimony under oath. The advisory position created today does neither.

    March 29, 2019

    In March 1976, Israel ordered the confiscation of 2,000 hectares of land that belonged to Palestinian citizens of Israel. In response, on March 30 of the same year, Palestinians held demonstrations across Galilee in the north all the way to the Negev in the South. Six Palestinians were killed and more than a hundred were injured.

    Following these horrific events, this day came to be known as Land Day or ‘Yom Al-Ard’, an annual observance in which Palestinians commemorate and demonstrate their commitment to the right and ownership of their land.

    Israel’s land grab: ongoing devastation

    Since 1967, Israel’s policy of constructing and expanding illegal settlements on occupied Palestinian land has continued unabated, and is one of the main driving forces behind the mass human rights violations resulting from the occupation.

    Over the past 50 years, Israel has:

    demolished tens of thousands of Palestinian properties

    March 20, 2019
    Canada must recognize the human rights implications of CIFTA


    Amnesty International has written an open letter addressed to the Prime Minister of Canada, the Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, and the Minister of International Trade and Diversification, the Honourable James Gordon Carr, regarding the absence of distinction between products made on illegal Israeli settlements and other Israeli products in the amendments to the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act (Bill C-85). Amnesty International is concerned about the consequences this has on the human rights situation of Palestinians living in the occupied territories.

    The three-page letter calls on the Canadian government to uphold its duties under international law by ensuring that settlement goods are barred from Canada and business is not benefiting from human rights violations caused by the ongoing occupation.

    March 05, 2019

    Responding to reports by The Intercept that Google is still working on Project Dragonfly, its censored search engine for China, Anna Bacciarelli, AI and Big Data Researcher and Adviser at Amnesty Tech, said:

    “The lack of transparency around the development of Dragonfly is very disturbing. We continue to call on Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai to publicly confirm that it has dropped Dragonfly for good, not just ‘for now’. Our Secretary General Kumi Naidoo visited Google’s Mountain View office last week to reiterate our concerns over Dragonfly, including the apparent disregard for transparency and accountability around the project.

    “If Google is still developing Project Dragonfly, it’s not only failing on its human rights responsibilities but ignoring the hundreds of Google employees, 70+ human rights organisations and hundreds of thousands of campaign supporters around the world who have all called on the company to respect human rights and drop Dragonfly.”
     

    January 22, 2019

    Amnesty International, joined by the International Commission of Jurists, will intervene before the Supreme Court in a precedent-setting corporate accountability case on January 23, 2019. Vancouver-based mining company, Nevsun Resources, is being sued by Eritrean plaintiffs who allege that they suffered gross human rights abuses, including forced labour and torture, at a mine owned by the company in Eritrea. The zinc and copper mine in Bisha, Eritrea, is 60% owned by Nevsun and 40% by the Eritrean government.

    This marks the first time that a corporate accountability case of this kind has made it to the Supreme Court of Canada.

    December 11, 2018

    The Human Rights and Climate Change working group, together with other coalitions working on gender, just transition, Indigenous peoples, and youth, have been working hard at the international climate change negotiations in Poland to make sure that human rights and other principles referred to in the preamble of the Paris climate agreement are also explicitly referenced in the Paris rule book that will guide countries in the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

    Unfortunately the outcome is not looking good, as references to human rights have now been reduced compared to the initial negotiated text. 

    November 30, 2018

    Thanks you so much to those of you who sent letters and postcards to the President of Microsoft Canada urging the company to investigate whether child labour and other human rights abuses are found in their cobalt supply chain. 

    Thanks to you and our supporters around the world Microsoft is beginning to bow to pressure. 

    The company released a report in October 2018 setting out the steps they’ve taken to map their cobalt supply chain. While this is progress, Microsoft has a long way to go to meet our concerns and international standards.

    The company has yet to tell us exactly how they’re identifying, preventing and addressing potential human rights abuses in their cobalt supply chain.

    We’re halting our action for the moment, but we won’t let Microsoft rest until they follow up on their commitments, and there is real evidence of change on the ground in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

    November 28, 2018

    This weekend, CBC-TV will broadcast a special documentary about courageous Guatemalan villagers who are taking a Canadian mining company to court. 
    Watch the 3 minute trailer
     
    Airs: Friday, November 30 at 9 p.m. (9:30 NT) on CBC, the CBC TV streaming app, and https://watch.cbc.ca/. Repeating on News Network Sunday, December 2nd at 8 p.m. ET/PT, and Thursday, December 6th at 10 p.m. ET/PT.

    November 27, 2018

    Want a job at Google?
    (To apply you’ll need good coding skills… and absolutely no morals).


    watch video

    In 2010, the largest search engine in the world made a promise not to support China’s censorship of the internet. But it was recently revealed that Google is preparing to break its promise.

    Google has been working on a secretive program to re-launch its search engine in China code-named Google Dragonfly - even if it means cooperating with the Chinese government’s repressive online censorship and surveillance.

    August 20, 2018
    Have you always wondered what Amnesty's Business and Human Rights work is all about?

    Or, have you wondered why, for example, Amnesty campaigned for almost a decade for an Ombudsperson for Responsible Canadian Enterprise? In fact, what exactly is the Ombudsperson's job and how does it relate to Amnesty's human rights work? 

    And really, what is supply chain management and what does it have to do with child labour in the Democratic Republic of Congo and that cell phone in your pocket? 

    Is the Mount Polley mine disaster in BC something all mining-affected communities in Canada should be concerned about? 

    If you are new to Amnesty International Canada's Business and Human Rights campaign, or want to brush up on key issues related to corporate accountability and human rights in Canada, we've created a new, downloadable information kit for you. The fact sheets in the Corporate Accountability Information Kit can be used to: 

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