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  • ‘Our Dreams Matter Too’: Stand Up for the future of First Nations children and youth | Amnesty International Canada
    Last week a summary report by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission described Canada s Residential Schools as part of a coherent policy to eliminate Aboriginal people as distinct peoples and to assimilate them into the Canadian mainstream against their will The statement affirms something that is now well established and which was in fact acknowledged in Canada s official apology to residential school survivors Quite simply the residential school policy had at its heart an insidious agenda to eradicate First Nations Inuit and Metis peoples as distinct cultures societies and nation And the tragic effects of the harm that was done including the terrible deprivations and abuses inflicted on so many of the girls and boys who were torn from their families and communities to attend these schools as well as the loss of language community cohesion and cultural knowledge and skills continue to be felt today Ongoing violations of the rights of Indigenous children Responding to the report Amnesty International Secretary General Alex Neve pointed out that reconciliation and justice and inseparable and that justice has three fundamental elements acknowledging the truth setting things right and ensuring that the harm is never repeated In thinking about this and about our role as Canadians is advancing the cause of justice and reconciliation it s worth noting just how many of the Commission s 94 recommendations deal with current government programmes and policies These recommendations include for example closing the gap in funding for on reserve First Nations education and measures to address the continued removal of Indigenous children by the child welfare system The fact is that instead of making a concerted effort to help Indigenous peoples recover from the harms inflicted by the residential schools and other destructive government policies the federal government is today systematically underfunding basic services in Indigenous communities relative to what is available in non Indigenous communities relative to the higher costs of delivering such services in small or remote communities and relative to the real and pressing needs of Indigenous peoples The effect is continue deny far too many of today s generation of Indigenous youth a fair opportunity to have healthy safe childhoods to grow up in their own cultures and language s and to realize their full potential according to their own values and aspirations Take the example of child and family services A case currently before the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal has brought to light a vast body of evidence demonstrating that persistent underfunding of services on reserve has meant that the removal of children from their families something that is supposed to be a last resort has all too often become instead the only option available to overburdened family services agencies that don t have the money or resources needed to provide the support that First Nations families really need in times of crisis The result more First Nations children being taken from their families communities and cultures than at the height of the residential school programme This devastating underfunding

    Original URL path: http://www.amnesty.ca/blog/%E2%80%98our-dreams-matter-too%E2%80%99-stand-up-for-the-future-of-first-nations-children-and-youth (2016-02-13)
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  • Reconciliation means not having to say sorry a second time: Conversation with Cindy Blackstock, First Nations Child and Family Caring Society | Amnesty International Canada
    we could do something about But unfortunately like many other programs on First Nations reserves across Canada child welfare is underfunded according to the Government of Canada s own estimates by about 34 compared to what other children in Canada receive And the Government of Canada says itself that this level of inequitable funding contributes to the growing numbers of First Nations children in care So we can see the direct connection between the multi generational impacts of residential schools and colonization to the lack of culturally based resources on reserve to the high numbers of children ending up in foster care That s why this case is so important We want to make sure those families have an equal chance to raise their children at home In its official apology to residential school survivors the Canadian government acknowledged that the harm that was inflicted didn t stop with the physical and sexual abuse of students but that there was also a lasting harm caused by the removal of children from their families and cultures Do you see the continued removal of children from their families and culture today as inflicting new harms to the children and their communities just like the residential school era Absolutely One of the documents that literally took my breath away when I was a witness at the Human Rights Tribunal was a spreadsheet that was prepared by the Department of Indian Affairs about the number of First Nations children in foster care It doesn t just say that in a given year you have 9000 kids in foster care it actually talks about it in a way that kids would think about it which is how many nights have I been away from my family It added up the number of nights that First Nations kids on reserve and in the Yukon spent in foster care between 1989 and 2012 Cumulatively First Nations children have spent over 66 million nights away from their families That s 187 000 years of childhood And in too many cases those children are being placed in non Aboriginal homes where they re not learning their culture they re not learning their connections to their families they re not learning their languages So I would argue that we re going to see many of those same harmful effects in this generation of First Nations children that we saw in residential schools if we don t stop what we re doing right now and make sure these kids have a proper chance to grow up with their families because that s where they learn their cultures There has been a growing movement across Canada demanding action on missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls not just about investigating the crimes but dealing with the root causes that are putting these Indigenous women and girls in danger in the first place Do you think that the kinds of harm caused by the massive levels of removal of First Nations children from

    Original URL path: http://www.amnesty.ca/blog/reconciliation-means-not-having-to-say-sorry-a-second-time-conversation-with-cindy-blackstock-f (2016-02-13)
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  • Open Letter concerning anti-fracking protests at the Elsipogtog Mi’kmaq Nation | Amnesty International Canada
    we do Key Facts about Amnesty International How We Make A Difference Our Leaders Our Impact Governance Financial Information Work With Us FAQ Members Thank You Contact Us Home Media Awards Multimedia Open Letter concerning anti fracking protests at the Elsipogtog Mi kmaq Nation Coalition letters November 01 2013 David Alward Premier of New Brunswick Centennial Building P O Box 6000 Fredericton NB E3B 5H1 Dear Premier Alward Our organizations are deeply concerned by the Province of New Brunswick s response to anti fracking protests at the Elsipogtog Mi kmaq Nation We are appreciative of the efforts of all involved to allow a cooling off period following the violence of October 17 However it is our view that this clash could have been avoided had the province acted in a manner consistent with its obligations to respect the human rights of Indigenous peoples under Canadian and international law Furthermore we are concerned that unless the province adopts an approach consistent with these obligations further clashes may occur In 2007 an Ontario public inquiry into police and government response to Aboriginal protest the Ipperwash Inquiry concluded that blockades and occupations are symptoms of the long standing failure of governments in Canada to resolve land and resource disputes in a fair timely and effective manner In the Inquiry report Justice Sidney Linden wrote that blockades and occupations occur when members of an Aboriginal community believe that governments are not respecting their treaty or Aboriginal rights and that effective redress through political or legal means is not available Justice Linden called for a redoubling of efforts to build successful peaceful relations with Aboriginal peoples so that we can all live together peacefully and productively In this spirit our organizations highlight four areas where we believe the province of New Brunswick can do more to rebuild just relations with Indigenous Peoples in relation to resource development and the potential for disputes First it is critical to acknowledge that Indigenous Peoples have rights to their lands territories and resources that predate the creation of the Canadian state These pre existing rights are affirmed in the Peace and Friendship Treaties in the Royal Proclamation of 1763 and in section 35 of the Constitution Act 1982 as well as in authoritative international human rights instruments including the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Canada s failure to protect these rights has been repeatedly condemned by international human rights bodies including the Inter American Commission on Human Rights which found that the comprehensive claims processes fall below international standards of justice Your government can make a meaningful contribution by communicating clearly that these rights exist and must be respected Second the inherent land rights of Aboriginal peoples cannot be ignored in the day to day operations of the government Doing so is both discriminatory and contrary to the rule of law Canadian courts have set out a mandatory constitutional duty to consult with Indigenous peoples with the goal of identifying and substantially accommodating their concerns

    Original URL path: http://www.amnesty.ca/news/coalition-letters/open-letter-concerning-anti-fracking-protests-at-the-elsipogtog-mi%E2%80%99kmaq-natio (2016-02-13)
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  • Decision-makers in Canada have both an opportunity and a responsibility to set positive examples of respect for the rights of Indigenous peoples | Amnesty International Canada
    without rigorous protection of their rights can lead to devastating impacts on their cultures economies health and well being We feel strongly that decision makers in Canada have both an opportunity and a responsibility to set positive examples of respect for the rights of Indigenous peoples We know that the rest of the world often looks to Canada for models of legislation and regulation Canada s actions can raise or lower the bar for human rights protection internationally Nowhere is this more evident than in the area of resource development where Canadian companies are often are the leading edge of extractive projects around the globe The Northern Gateway Project is intended to transport heavy oil sands crude and industrial chemicals between Alberta and the British Columbia coast Federal officials have acknowledged that they have a duty to consult with Indigenous peoples along the route of the proposed and said that they will meet this obligation primarily through the environmental assessment process However many Indigenous peoples organizations have been critical of the Joint Review because Indigenous peoples were not involved in determining its scope and mandate and because there is no distinct process to consider unique issues of Indigenous rights Although the federal government has said that it will carry out further consultations as necessary to address any issues that fall outside the review panel s mandate there has been no clarity about how the federal government will determine the need for such consultations or how it would carry them out While the review has a mandate to consider cumulative impacts it is not looking at the impacts that would result from increased oil sands production on the traditional territories of Indigenous peoples in Alberta Critically the Joint Review panel can only make recommendations ultimately the federal and provincial governments will make their own decisions about whether or not the project will go ahead The Supreme Court of Canada have repeatedly stated that there is a mandatory minimum legal duty for governments to carry out meaningful good faith consultations with Indigenous peoples prior to any decision with the potential to affect their rights This is a duty that flows from the Constitutional affirmation of Aboriginal and treaty rights In other words it is part of the highest law of the land Canadian courts have also been clear that the purpose of such consultation is to allow reconciliation between the rights of Indigenous peoples and the interests of the state by substantially accommodating Indigenous interests and in some cases by going ahead only with their consent In the case of the Northern Gateway review the body that is prepared to engage with Indigenous peoples does not have the power to require changes to the project or to prevent its going ahead if this is what is required to accommodate the rights of Indigenous peoples Instead the decision making power rests solely with governments that have demonstrably attached greatest importance to expanding resource development than they have to the protection of Indigenous rights

    Original URL path: http://www.amnesty.ca/news/updates/decision-makers-in-canada-have-both-an-opportunity-and-a-responsibility-to-set-positive (2016-02-13)
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  • Federal and provincial governments must not ignore human rights in decisions about pipelines and other energy infrastructure | Amnesty International Canada
    One time Donation Donate Online Leave a gift in your will Why we are remembering Amnesty in our wills Bequests RRIFs and RRSPs Life Insurance Contact our Planned Giving Associate Disclaimer Gifts of Stocks and Securities Give a Gift in Memoriam Send a Special Occasion Gift Raise Money for Human Rights Tips for Raising Money Fundraising Q As Donate a car Update your monthly donor information Join Us About Us What we do Key Facts about Amnesty International How We Make A Difference Our Leaders Our Impact Governance Financial Information Work With Us FAQ Members Thank You Contact Us Home Media Awards Multimedia Federal and provincial governments must not ignore human rights in decisions about pipelines and other energy infrastructure News releases April 10 2014 Downplaying the human rights of Indigenous peoples will only exacerbate conflict over pipeline development in British Columbia In a joint submission tabled with the Prime Minister s office last month 11 human rights and Indigenous peoples organizations including the BC Assembly of First Nations First Nations Summit and Union of BC Indian Chiefs caution that development of energy infrastructure such as pipelines can have far reaching effects on Indigenous rights protected under the Canadian Constitution and international law The joint submission responds to two reports currently being reviewed by the federal cabinet the report of the Prime Minister s special representative on West Coast energy infrastructure Douglas Eyford and the report of the environmental assessment panel for the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline While these two reports acknowledge that Indigenous peoples rights are at stake in decisions about whether or not to approve pipelines and other projects neither adequately addresses the legal framework for safeguarding these rights and neither accommodates a human rights based approach The federal government should be careful about taking guidance from any report that fails to fully and accurately address the rights of Indigenous peoples said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs Failure to respect and protect Indigenous peoples human rights from the outset guarantees prolonged conflict and a compounding of historic injustices This is contrary to the fundamental obligation of governments to uphold the human rights of all without discrimination In two landmark British Columbia cases Delgamuukw and Haida Nation the Supreme Court affirmed that governments have a mandatory duty to consult in good faith with Indigenous peoples on decisions affecting their rights and that this includes an obligation to obtain consent on very serious issues This existing protection in Canadian law is reinforced by a large body of international human rights law particularly in the context of resource development which sets out a duty to obtain the free prior and informed consent of Indigenous peoples It s crucial that all decisions about sustainable development in Canada live up to human rights protections set out in both Canadian and international law said Kenneth Deer Indigenous World Association In the case of projects like the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline the scale of the project and the

    Original URL path: http://www.amnesty.ca/news/news-releases/federal-and-provincial-governments-must-not-ignore-human-rights-in-decisions (2016-02-13)
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  • The Beauty of the Land -- Peace River Gallery | Amnesty International Canada
    we Demand Art Project Background Resources Donate Contact Mexico Zimbabwe Russia Central African Republic The Rebellion in the Middle East and North Africa Libya Bahrain Yemen Egypt Tunisia Syria Iran Iraq Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territories Nigeria Ukraine Individuals at Risk Case Updates Huseyin Celil Raif Badawi Good News 2014 in Pictures 2015 in Pictures Projects Syrian refugees Global Campaign to Stop Torture Focus on priority countries China Illegal Detention and Torture Europe Human Rights Migration Control Bringing the Arms Trade Treaty into Force Strategic Arms Controls Working Against the Death Penalty Treatment of Prisoners Setting and Upholding Standards Freedom of Expression and Assembly in Vietnam and Cambodia Individuals at Risk Focus on Asia Pacific Human Rights Defenders in the Americas North Korea Prison Camps Pakistan Attacks on Journalists Use of Blasphemy Laws Training and Capacity Building Get Involved Take Action Now Online Actions Petition Library Urgent Action Network Latest Urgent Actions Donate Come and join us Sign Up Be a Youth Activist 2015 Human Rights College for Youth Dance for Rights Human Rights College 2015 Planning Committee Member Application Lifesaver Actions for Young Activists Student Group Registration Form Youth Leadership Oppotunitities Join a group Community Activism Volunteer Leadership Fieldworkers Join our Membership Consultation Committee MCC Volunteers Wanted Nova Scotia University Orientation Week Country and Theme Coordinators in Canada The Board of Directors Resources for Activists Activism Fund Have your say Seasonal Activism Guide Meet our Team Work Volunteer Opportunities Donate Become a Monthly Donor Sign Up Online Your Donations at Work Amnesty Canvassers Telephone Canvassing Make a One time Donation Donate Online Leave a gift in your will Why we are remembering Amnesty in our wills Bequests RRIFs and RRSPs Life Insurance Contact our Planned Giving Associate Disclaimer Gifts of Stocks and Securities Give a Gift in Memoriam Send a Special Occasion Gift Raise Money for Human Rights Tips for Raising Money Fundraising Q As Donate a car Update your monthly donor information Join Us About Us What we do Key Facts about Amnesty International How We Make A Difference Our Leaders Our Impact Governance Financial Information Work With Us FAQ Members Thank You Contact Us Home The Beauty of the Land Peace River Gallery When you see the land you see beauty Saulteau elder Della Owens The Peace River Valley in north eastern British Columbia is a well spring of culture and tradition for the Denee Zah Cree and Metis peoples It s a place where people can still hunt fish gather plant medicines and take their children to learn about their history And this respect for the land is shared by the many non Indigenous families who have lived and farmed the valley for many generations If BC Hydro has its way this will all be lost Learn more Take Action 360 photospheres These images are wrap around panoramic photos that capture the view of standing on the shore by the Peace River You can pan these images left right up and down by clicking on them

    Original URL path: http://www.amnesty.ca/node/71115 (2016-02-13)
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  • Peace Valley, British Columbia: Respect for Indigenous Rights Can't Wait | Amnesty International Canada
    RRSPs Life Insurance Contact our Planned Giving Associate Disclaimer Gifts of Stocks and Securities Give a Gift in Memoriam Send a Special Occasion Gift Raise Money for Human Rights Tips for Raising Money Fundraising Q As Donate a car Update your monthly donor information Join Us About Us What we do Key Facts about Amnesty International How We Make A Difference Our Leaders Our Impact Governance Financial Information Work With Us FAQ Members Thank You Contact Us Home Peace Valley British Columbia Respect for Indigenous Rights Can t Wait Thursday January 7 2016 10 34 Photo Credit Helen Knott The province of British Columbia is pushing ahead with construction of a hydro electric megaproject in the Peace River Valley despite unresolved legal challenges from First Nations A camp set up by community members at an historic site in the path of BC Hydro s efforts to clear the planned reservoir has led to a temporary halt in logging But the community members now face the risk of arrest for their actions The rapidly evolving situation highlights the urgent need for the federal government to honour its Treaty commitments by suspending all federal licenses and permits for the project so that the underlying issues of Constitutionally protected rights and due process can be addressed The following is a press released issued by the community members First Nations Prepare for Arrest to Stop Site C Dam Treaty 8 Stewards of the Land call on Trudeau to stop megadam in B C s Peace Valley ROCKY MOUNTAIN FORT CAMP BC Jan 7 2016 CNW First Nations members camped out at an historic fort site slated for destruction by the Site C dam say they are prepared to face arrest to protect their traditional territory Joined by local landowners Treaty 8 Stewards of the Land say they will not permit BC Hydro to proceed with plans to clear cut forests around the Rocky Mountain Fort site on the west side of the Moberly River The site selected by explorer Alexander Mackenzie was the first trading post in mainland B C and is situated in the traditional territory of Treaty 8 First Nations The 9 billion Site C dam would flood 107 kilometres of the scenic Peace River and its tributaries including the traditional hunting and fishing grounds of Treaty 8 First Nations In late December despite three on going First Nations court cases against the dam BC Hydro built a bridge across the mouth of the Moberly River in preparation for logging in the proposed reservoir area In addition to its legal economic political and archaeological significance to indigenous and non indigenous people the camp is the gateway to the rest of the threatened Peace Valley BC Hydro has served notice that the camp must be dismantled Logging and flooding this part of the Peace Valley will irreversibly harm our ability to hunt fish trap and exercise other constitutionally protected Treaty Rights especially since much of the rest of Treaty 8 Territory has been

    Original URL path: http://www.amnesty.ca/blog/peace-valley-british-columbia-respect-indigenous-rights-cant-wait (2016-02-13)
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  • Global head of Amnesty calls for immediate halt to Site C dam construction | Amnesty International Canada
    MCC Volunteers Wanted Nova Scotia University Orientation Week Country and Theme Coordinators in Canada The Board of Directors Resources for Activists Activism Fund Have your say Seasonal Activism Guide Meet our Team Work Volunteer Opportunities Donate Become a Monthly Donor Sign Up Online Your Donations at Work Amnesty Canvassers Telephone Canvassing Make a One time Donation Donate Online Leave a gift in your will Why we are remembering Amnesty in our wills Bequests RRIFs and RRSPs Life Insurance Contact our Planned Giving Associate Disclaimer Gifts of Stocks and Securities Give a Gift in Memoriam Send a Special Occasion Gift Raise Money for Human Rights Tips for Raising Money Fundraising Q As Donate a car Update your monthly donor information Join Us About Us What we do Key Facts about Amnesty International How We Make A Difference Our Leaders Our Impact Governance Financial Information Work With Us FAQ Members Thank You Contact Us Home Media Awards Multimedia Global head of Amnesty calls for immediate halt to Site C dam construction Looking out over the Peace River near Fort St John where BC Hydro has already begun clearing the valley floor in preparation News releases November 19 2015 Take Action Now Amnesty International is calling for an immediate halt to construction of a massive hydro electric dam on the Peace River in northeastern British Columbia In an open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and BC Premier Christy Clark the Secretary General of the global movement of Amnesty International expressed concern about the violations of Indigenous peoples human rights that would result from the construction of the Site C dam The letter states The harm caused by the Site C dam would deny Indigenous peoples the ability to exercise fundamental human rights protected under both Canadian and international law The letter goes on to state Instead of meeting the rigorous standard of decision making required by Canada s obligations to respect protect and fulfill the human rights of Indigenous peoples the decision to allow the Site C dam to proceed was deeply flawed The planned hydroelectric project would inundate an 80 km long section of the Peace River Valley The area that would be flooded is vital to First Nations and Métis peoples in the region who continue to rely on the Valley to provide for themselves and to practice their cultures and traditions including by hunting fishing and gathering berries and plant medicines The Peace Valley is also the location of numerous cultural and heritage sites whose history spans some 10 000 years The landscape is inseparable from the Indigenous knowledge and stories of the peoples who live in this unique place The joint federal provincial environmental assessment of the Site C dam concluded that many of the impacts on Indigenous peoples cultural heritage and contemporary land use would be of high magnitude permanent and irreversible The Joint Review also concluded that the harm caused by the Site C dam would be compounded by the fact that extensive resource development in

    Original URL path: http://www.amnesty.ca/news/global-head-amnesty-calls-immediate-halt-site-c-dam-construction (2016-02-13)
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