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Follow us throughout the Fall!

Fall 2013

In this Guide:
Activism resources Rights of Indigenous peoples Petitions Sisters in Spirit vigils Russia: freedom under threat Write4Rights Winter campaigning preview and much, much, more!


Amnesty International Canada 312 Laurier Ave East Ottawa Ontario K1N 1H9


Note from the Campaign Team

Dear Amnesty International activists, There's rarely a dull moment for Amnesty International and this summer was no exception! In June, many of you responded overwhelmingly to our call to action on the excessive use of force by police in order to prevent the right to peaceful assembly in cities across Turkey, in particular in Istanbul around Gezi Park and Taksim Square. Over 200,000 signatures have been collected, including more than 10,000 from Canada. An Amnesty sign-on letter for the release of Pussy Riot singers in Russia included over 100 famous musicians in the world, from Adele to Sting (plus Canada's own Bryan Adams, Alanis Morrisette, and Arcade Fire), gaining tens of thousands more signatures around the world. Many of you marched behind the Amnesty banner at Pride events across Canada, celebrating diversity and standing in solidarity with people harassed, discriminated against, and attacked because of their gender identity or sexual orientation. To help kick off Pride season, in June we released Making Love is not a Crime," a report about homophobia in Sub-Saharan Africa. Your expressions of solidarity with Indigenous peoples in Colombia continue to be incredibly important. The Canadian government quietly submitted its 2013 report on human rights and the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement just as Parliament was rising for the summer recess. For a second year in a row, this report did not include information about grave human rights violations in Colombia, including ongoing threats and deadly attacks against Indigenous peoples in areas earmarked for resource extraction. Your activism is incredibly important as part of the Branchs current efforts to grow activism, deepen the involvement of members, create more visibility, and strengthen Amnesty as a visible and influential movement. Our focus for this fall is to draw in new individuals and partners to make our work have even more impact! Vigils in October to honour missing and murdered Indigenous women, Write4Rights, and our Access to Justice campaign on corporate accountability offer excellent opportunities to partner with Indigenous, environmental, and other community groups and organizations. This fall I invite you to think not only about your own activism but about how you can enable the activism of others that you know care about human rights. You could do this by inviting new people to come to one of your group meetings, inviting your Facebook friends to like the Amnesty Facebook page (www.facebook.com/ amnestycanada), or identifying groups of people in your community to present the work of Amnesty and invite them to join us. You could invite friends or community partners to participate in or help organize a Write4Rights event. Here's to activism that prospers and is increasingly visible across Canada!

Alain Roy Director of Campaigns and Activism Amnesty International (Canada) (aroy@amnesty.ca)


Activism Resources

One of the easiest ways to take action is to collect petition signatures. We have petitions for you to use! Please use only the petitions listed below. To request electronic or hard copy contact jhansen@amnesty.ca. Canada: Indigenous: Healthy environment at Grassy Narrows Canada: Indigenous: UN Declaration Canada: Indigenous: Violence against Canada: Violence against Indigenous women women postcard Canada: Omar Khadr Colombia: Indigenous Peoples Colombia: Protect peace community Russia: Freedom under threat Ecuador: Indigenous: Sarayaku Russia: Pussy Riot Egypt: Women: Violence South Africa: LGBTI: Justice for Egypt: Women: Azza Hilal Ahmad Noxolo Suleiman Sri Lanka: Anti-terrorism measures Global: Sexual and reproductive rights Syria: Protect civilians Guatemala: Yolanda Oqueli US: Close Guantanamo/hunger strikes Iran: Free Hamid Ghassemi-Shall US: Stop targeted killings/drones Iran: Nasrin Sotoudeh Zimbabwe: Women: WOZA

Amnesty International has three eye-catching postcards to distributethey can be a great alternative or complement to petitions. Canada: Call for a national action plan on violence against women, with a particular focus on violence against Indigenous women. Colombia: Call for the rights of Indigenous peoples in Colombia to be protected. Guatemala: Call on the government of Guatemala to investigate attacks on activist Yolanda Oqueli, and to protect other peaceful activists. To order postcards contact materials@amnesty.ca.


Activism Resources

Online resources for community groups

Looking for Amnesty Internationals logo to add to your new poster? Guidance on how to make sure theres insurance coverage for your event? Financial forms? On September 1st, community groups and action circles will be able to access our new resource kit at http://amnesty.ca/2013-resource-kit. Documents and images will be viewable through a web browser and can also be downloaded. Kit contents will include general information about Amnesty International, organizational policies, logos, and much more. For more information contact lmah-sen@amnesty.ca.

Photo exhibits
Photo exhibits are a great way to raise awareness and create interest in the actions that you are promoting. Amnesty International has photo exhibits on Colombia and Guatemala that you can have sent to use in your community. Colombia: Indigenous Peoples: This is what we want to tell you! Contact kprice@amnesty.ca Guatemala: Canadian Extractives as Development: Myth or Reality? Contact evelez@amnesty.ca
Guatemala: Yolanda Oqueli postcard

Crazy stuff!
My Body My Rights underwear to promote our campaign in support of sexual and reproductive rights. My Body My Rights and Amnesty International logo temporary tattoos. We have swag that will help communicate your message in fun and interesting and sometimes unusual ways! For more information contact materials@amnesty.ca.

For Amnesty banners, display tablecloths, T-shirts, or other resources, visit our online shop at www.amnesty.ca/store or contact materials@amnesty.ca.

Colombia: Indigenous peoples postcard


Activism Skills Engaging your Member of Parliament

Members of Parliament (MP) are elected to represent you in the House of Commons. They spend part of the year in Ottawa and part of the year in an office in your riding. They cover many files and need your help to keep updated on human rights issues. MPs are often personable, interested in the human rights issues, and supportive of Amnesty Internationals work. By getting to know your MP you can help to raise awareness of human rights issues and influence public policy. Who is my MP? Find out at http://bit.ly/lI7iTw (includes contact information). How do I contact my MP? MPs have an office in Ottawa and an office in their riding. Phone the office in their riding. Let the person who answers the phone know that you live in the riding and want to speak to your MP about specific human rights issues. Make an appointment to meet. MPs spend lots of time in Ottawa, so you may have to wait weeks before you can get a meeting. Be persistentyour MP is there to represent you and should be able to make time to meet with you. Be pleasant but persistent. What should I talk to my MP about? This fall we have three asks of MPs. 1. Let your MP know about the scale of violence against Indigenous women in Canada and ask your MP to support Amnesty Internationals call for a National Action Plan on violence against women. Information at http://bit.ly/UZ5PHN. 2. Ask your MP to sign our online action calling on Canada to support the rights of Indigenous peoples in Colombia: http://bit.ly/194WMj6. 3. Get your MP to sign the pledge to improve access to justice in Canada for people in other countries whose rights have been violated by Canadian companies. Information at www.amnesty.ca/access-to-justice as of October 22. What should I bring to the meeting? Bring brief information about the issues and actions you want the MP to take. Contact campaigners (see page 14) for guidance. What will happen at the meeting? Expect it to last 30 minutes. Introduce your issues, why its important to you and other Canadians, and what actions your MP can take. How do I follow-up? Email your MP after the meeting to thank her/him for meeting. Keep in contact and invite your MP to local human rights events. For more tips, including what to do when your MP wont meet with you, and to tell us about how your MP visit went, contact aroy@amnesty.ca.


September Take action in support of the rights of Indigenous peoples

A rush for resources is underway. Canadas Economic Action Plan intends to support 600 major resource development projects throughout Canada, and the doors are opening for Canadian extractive companies to carry out work in other countries. Many of these projects are taking place on lands that vital to the culture, health, and well-being of Indigenous communities. A common thread of three of Amnesty Internationals current campaignsour work on Indigenous peoples at risk in Colombia, Canadian mining companies in Guatemala, and Indigenous rights in Canadais the right of Indigenous peoples to make their own decisions about resource development on the lands they depend on. International human rights bodies recognize the need for protection of the rights of Indigenous peoples wherever their lands are targeted for resource development. The Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples calls for the full and effective participation of Indigenous peoples in all decisions potentially affecting their lands, to make sure their laws and customs are respected, perspectives listened to, and own models of development implemented. But the government of Canada, which only endorsed the Declaration in 2010, remains resistant to implementing its standards. On September 13, the anniversary of the UNs adoption of the Declaration, call on Canada to respect and implement the standards set out in the Declaration in respect to resource development in Canada and the promotion of Canadian corporations abroad. On or after September 13, sign our online appeal to the government of Canada at www.amnesty.org/indigenous. Organize a showing of our Colombia or Guatemala photo exhibits. Hold an awareness-raising documentary film min@amnesty.ca for details about available films. screening. Contact cbenja-

Collect signatures for our petitions on Indigenous rights. Cant take action on September 13th? No problem! Theres never a bad time to raise awareness about Indigenous rights issues.



Every year on October 4th, vigils are held across Canada to honour the lives of missing and murdered First Nations, Mtis, and Inuit women; to support grieving families and provide opportunities for healing; and to call for a national action plan to address violence against women in Canada. Amnesty International is proud to partner with the Native Womens Association of Canada (NWAC) and other organizations to support vigils across Canada. Attend a vigil. Vigils will be listed at www.nwac.ca/programs/2013-vigil-locations in September. Light a candle at NWACs virtual vigil at www.october4th.ca. Organize a vigil! Vigils can take many forms, from a moment of silence, to a rally or candlelight service. Register with NWAC at www.nwac.ca/programs/2013-vigil-registration. The first 200 vigils registered will receive a free Sisters In Spirit vigil kit which includes balloons, stickers, and print materials. Promote participation in vigils on social media. Follow the vigils on Facebook at on.fb.me/140bGFC. Engage your Member of Parliament (MP). Invite your MP to a vigil. Meet with your MP to talk about this issue. Share the outcome with jhansen@amnesty.ca. Sign a Count Me In! postcard and show your support for ethnicity data collection by Canadian law enforcement to improve services and policies for victims of violence. Contact jhansen@amnesty.ca.

Legal barriers, costs, and corruption make it very difficult for individuals and communities to seek justice in their own country for human rights violations committed by multinational companies. The Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability, of which Amnesty International is a member, is calling on Canada to take action to improve access to justice for people in other countries whose rights have been violated by Canadian companies. Visit our Access to Justice campaign website at www.amnesty.ca/access-to-justice on or after October 22 for campaign updates, resources, and actions.

Access to Justice




October Russia: Freedom under threat

Since Vladimir Putin returned to office as President of the Russian Federation in March 2012, the rights to freedom of expression, association, and assembly have been under increasing attack, despite being guaranteed by the Russian Constitution and international human rights treaties to which Russia is party. Being out and loud and proud in Russia can land you in prison. On June 30th, Russia passed a law banning "propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations" which they say could morally corrupt children. In late June, a lawful LGBTI gathering in St. Petersburg was broken up by police following a complaint that it violated a ban on "propaganda of homosexuality;" activists were assaulted by anti-gay protestors and police and detained despite being the victims of violence. It's getting harder to protest in Russia. The right to freedom of assembly has been restricted by complicated approval procedures which make it difficult to organize events. Many protests have been arbitrarily banned or dispersed. Defamation was recriminalized on June 30th, and new laws on treason and blasphemy were passed. What does this mean? It means that singing a protest song in a cathedral can lead to two years in prison--exactly what happened to Pussy Riot. And it's more difficult than ever to operate an NGO. New restrictions on freedom of association mean that organizations receiving foreign funding must describe themselves as "foreign agents" if they are considered to be involved in undefined "political activities"--a requirement which is inconsistent with international human rights standards. Officials have conducted inspections of NGO offices, resulting in hefty fines, the suspension of the activities of at least one NGO, and possible closure of others. Call on Russian President Vladimir Putin to stop attacks on civil society and ensure the rights to freedom of expression, assembly, and association for all. October 7th is President Putins birthdaysend him a card via the Ottawa embassy (http://www.rusembassy.ca) with an ironic note asking if a birthday message contravenes any of his new laws. Sign our online petition at http://bit.ly/19vO54q. The Winter Olympics are being held in Sochi, Russia, from February 7-23, 2014. With the spotlight on Russia, we can bring visibility to the restrictions being placed on civil society and take action in solidarity with our fellow activists in Russia. Visit www.amnesty.ca/russia.





November-December Plan your Write4Rights event

Amnesty International supporters around the world unite to mark International Human Rights Day each year on December 10th and press governments to uphold human rights on on select cases. Write4Rights is the worlds largest letter writing eventin 2012, we sent nearly two million messages, texts, appeal letters, and solidarity letters. Last year we lit Torontos CN Tower in Amnesty yellow to help spread the word that December 10th is International Human Rights Day. The hundreds of Write for Rights events we hosted in communities across Canada helped bring successful outcomes, and led to these heartwarming words of thanks: Thank you very much to everyone for the letters that have been sent to the mayor, and also for the letters of solidarity that we received. We feel very much supported and we have confidence that with your support from around the world we will succeed. We do not give up because we know we have so many people that are standing by us in the fight for justice. Claudia, from the Coastei street community, Romania. "Your letters and expressions of concern about this grave emergency can help prevent Indigenous Peoples from being wiped out. So that we don't lose these cultures, their wisdom; entire Indigenous Peoples, human beings." Luis Evelis, Indigenous people at risk, Colombia This year we will feature cases including a youth in Nigeria who was tortured, an LGBTI activist in Belarus, a women human rights defender in Turkey, and a group of peaceful protesters in Palestine. Sign-up your event at www.amnesty.ca/writeathon, and indicate whether your event will be open to the public. Youll find tips for organizing a successful event, helpful resources, and inspiring stories to get you and your group prepared for Tuesday, December 10th. Watch for actions on our priority campaigns in Canada, as well as half-adozen global cases. All actions will be posted by mid-November. Please direct any questions you have to writeathon@amnesty.ca.



Fall Actions Take action to support Indigenous rights in Colombia!

Thousands of Canadians have signed our call to the government of Canada to speak out on the threats to the survival of Indigenous peoples of Colombiabut we need more Canadians to take action! Visit http://bit.ly/10HOg31 for more information. Call on your Member of Parliament to sign our e-petition at http://bit.ly/194WMj6. Organize a showing of our This is What we Want to Tell You photo exhibition. Write your call for action on a large piece of paper, take a photo with it, and email to makeitvisible@amnesty.ca before January 2014. We will use these messages to increase pressure for action.

Sri Lanka must tell the truth about abuses

The civil war in Sri Lanka was once used as an excuse to detain people without evidence or warrants. Today, criticism of government policies could earn you the same treatment under harsh anti-terrorism laws. Yet the authorities point to their selection as host of the Heads of Commonwealth Governments Meeting (CHOGM) in November as proof that all is well. Amnesty International calls on Sri Lanka to Tell the Truth on arbitrary detention and torture, and institute clear and basic human rights reforms before CHOGM. Contact hhomes@amnesty.ca. Host a screening of the documentary film No Fire Zone. Collect signatures on our Sri Lanka anti-terrorism measures petition.

Call on Canada to sign the Arms Trade Treaty

On April 2, 2013, Canada and 154 other states voted in favour of a global Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) at the UN General Assembly. The ATT sets a new standard for the arms trade and help prevent the human rights crises we have witnessed in many conflicts. The treaty comes into force after ratification by 50 states. Some 80 states have signed the treaty and at least two have ratified. But Canada offers only excuses. Call on Canada to sign the ATT this fall at the UN General Assembly. Write a letter to Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird. Details at http://bit.ly/1dgSWTo.



Fall Actions Mining and Human Rights in Guatemala

Amnesty International is deeply concerned about the unacceptable human rights practices of a number of Canadian mining companies operating overseas. Here are several exciting ways to get involved in our priority campaign on Mining and Human Rights in Guatemala. Participate in the "global screening" of the film Gold Fever on October 17. Gold Fever is a sobering yet empowering film that raises awareness of North-South justice issues associated with the international extractive industries. You may choose a small screening in your living room or a larger screening at a community venue. For more information about obtaining the film and the accompanying film discussion guide, please contact dwright@amnesty.ca. Calling all youth and drama enthusiasts! Amnesty International is offering you an exciting opportunity to perform the play The Last Walk of Adolfo Ich in your school. The play is based on a true story about an Indigenous Guatemalan mana teacher and fatherwho was shot and killed at a protest outside a Canadian-owned mine in Guatemala. For more information about this opportunity, a script, and accompanying discussion guide, please contact smaclean@amnesty.ca Host the photo exhibition Canadian Extractives as Development: Myth or Reality? This exhibit presents the stories and voices of those affected by Canadian mining companies in Latin America. To book the exhibition and have it shipped to you, please contact evelez@amnesty.ca.

Iran Pomegranate Poet-tree

Student activists are behind bars in Iran serving prison sentences for vaguely worded offences, or are banned from pursuing their education. We are building a pomegranate "poet-tree" of solidarity poems to coincide with Yalda. Yalda is a festive event on the eve of the winter solstice when people in Iran gather to eat food such as pomegranates, whose red color symbolizes the hues of dawn and glow of life, and to perform customs intended to protect people from misfortune. Download the pomegranate template at http://bit.ly/19nrPX8. Send a poem or solidarity message to imprisoned Iranian students on the paper pomegranate and send it to the Toronto office (1992 Yonge Street, Toronto, ON M4S 1Z7). Poems will be assembled on a poet-tree, and photos of the tree and the poems will be sent to the imprisoned students or their families. Contact IranCoordinator@amnesty.ca.



Fall Actions Egypt: Violence against Women

Women protesters standing up for their rights have faced horrific sexual violence around Cairos iconic Tahrir Square. Dozens of new attacks were reported during mass protests around June 30, 2013 marking the end of President Mohamed Morsis first year in office. The attacks did not end with Morsis ousting by the military on July 3rd. Regardless of the context, the attacks appear to be aimed at deterring women from attending protests and voicing their demands. Some Egyptian parliamentarians have even blamed the activists themselves for the violence. The current political uncertainty should not mean that the issue of sexual violence against women is ignored. Egypt's leaders must condemn sexual violence in all its forms, and put in place a comprehensive plan to protect womens rights. Sign our online action at http://bit.ly/194oYA5 To get more involved in our work on Egypt contact hhomes@amnesty.ca.

Join our monthly webinars, open to everyone! Contact smaclean@amnesty.ca. Sisters In Spirit Vigils: Wednesday, September 18, 7pm EST. Learn more about what is being done to curb the high rates of violence against Indigenous women in Canada, October 4th vigils to honour Indigenous women who have lost their lives to violence, what Amnesty is calling for, and how you can get involved. Using Traditional and Creative Forms of Activism: Wednesday, October 16, 7pm EST. Share your best activism tools and learn more about traditional and creative ways to make your activism dynamic and compelling.



Coming up...

Regional meetings
Regional meetings offer members and supporters an opportunity to gather and exchange ideas on activism and campaign actions, and learn about AI Canada plans and procedures. BC/YUKON: Vancouver, BC: Sunday, October 20, 10am-3pm. Contact Don Wright at dwright@amnesty.ca. SASKATCHEWAN: Moose Jaw, SK: Saturday, October 19. getactivewithamnesty2013.wordpress.com MARITIMES: Halifax, NS: Early November. Contact maritimes@amnesty.ca. AITO: Toronto, ON: 2014details to come in the Winter Activism Guide. Contact edumitru@amnesty.ca. For more information on organizing a regional meeting in your area contact Lily MahSen at lmah-sen@amnesty.ca.

Coming this winter...

January 11: Join the call to close Guantnamo and/or work on individual cases. Contact hhomes@amnesty.ca. February 14: Take action on Have a Heart Day to rally support for fair access to education, health care, and other basic services for First Nations children. Contact cbenjamin@amnesty.ca or visit www.fncaringsociety.com. March 8: Participate in International Womens Day events being held in your community, and write letters on behalf of womens human rights defenders. Contact


Campaign Team Alain Roy, Director of Campaigns and Activism, aroy@amnesty.ca Craig Benjamin, Indigenous Peoples, cbenjamin@amnesty.ca Jackie Hansen, Major Campaigns and Womens Rights, jhansen@amnesty.ca Hilary Homes, International Justice/MENA/Arms Trade/Security, hhomes@amnesty.ca Fiona Koza, Corporate Accountability, fkoza@amnesty.ca Tara Scurr, Corporate Accountability, tscurr@amnesty.ca Gloria Nafzigar, Refugees and Migrants, gnafziger@amnesty.ca Kathy Price, Colombia and Mexico, kprice@amnesty.ca Activism Team Lily Mah-Sen, Activism Coordinator, lmah-sen@amnesty.ca Shauna MacLean, Youth, smaclean@amnesty.ca Marilyn McKim, Urgent Actions and Lifesaver youth actions, mmckim@amnesty.ca Don Wright, BC/Yukon, dwright@amnesty.ca Elena Dumitru, AITO, edumitru@amnesty.ca Kim Cahill, Maritimes, kcahill@amnesty.ca