18 April 2011

Federal Election and Human Rights - Update

As scheduled, the Human Rights Agenda was released at a national press conference in Ottawa on March 31 involving AI’s global Secretary General, Salil Shetty; AI Canada (English-speaking branch)’s Secretary General, Alex Neve; and AI Canada (French-Speaking)’s Director General, Béatrice Vaugrante.  It received a significant amount of coverage, most of it very positive.  Here’s a sample of the media coverage:


More than two weeks before the launch, AI Canada sent questions to the five federal party leaders seeking details on what steps they would take to strengthen Canada’s domestic and global human rights. We asked the leaders for their responses before March 31 so we could share them along with the Agenda.

We received responses from the Green, Liberal, New Democratic and Bloc Québécois parties. There was no reply from the Conservative Party by that date despite repeated follow-up on our part; nor has there been a reply since then.  At that time of the release, we expressed disappointment that the Conservative Party had not responded. We continue to hope that a response will be forthcoming.

We encourage you to read the party responses to our questions, as well as our analysis of the responses at http://www.amnesty.ca/blog_post2.php?id=2667. We hope you'll find this information helpful as you engage candidates on these important human rights concerns. We also encourage you to press Conservative Party candidates to respond to the questions laid out in Amnesty International’s March 14 letter to Stephen Harper. 

07 December 2010

Write for Rights Media Advisory


For Immediate Release:

December 7, 2010

Contact: Colleen Gareau


WHAT: Write for Rights

Halifax Action Circle, Amnesty International, hosts write-a-thon for human rights.

WHEN: December 12, 2010 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

WHERE: Second Cup, Spring Garden Rd. & Queen St.

Halifax Amnesty International Group to Join Global Write-a-thon

Halifax The Halifax Action Circle will host a community event in recognition of International Human Rights Day and encourages people to come out and write letters to promote human rights. Letter writers in Halifax will be joining people from 30 countries around the world hosting their own events. Participation is free and open to everyone. Donations are accepted and help to cover the cost of postage.

Last year, thousands of Canadians wrote over 36,000 letters at nearly 1,000 events in schools, community centres, faith institutions, cafes and living rooms across the country.

Three individuals from last year’s event are now free because of our efforts.

Find out more at www.amnesty.ca/Writeathon

03 December 2010

Media Coop Interview with Alex Neve

"This Case is Far From Over" : Alex Neve on Omar Khadr and the Dysfunction that is Guantanamo Bay.

Media Coop Interview with Alex Neve.

30 November 2010

Alex Neve and Canada's Human Rights Record

Alex Neve, secretary general for Amnesty International, Canada was in Halifax from Nov. 25 to 27 to speak at the Dalhousie Law School. He took some time to speak with J-school students at Dal and Kings. Here is some video of his interview at Kings.

18 November 2010

Agenda for Meeting: November 25, 2010

Halifax Action Circle

November 25, 2010

Citadel High School

Room 101

6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Meeting Agenda



Discussion Lead

Time Allotted


Welcome and review of minutes from last meeting


5 mins


Update on this year’s Write for Rights event

q Signage update

q Info kit update

q Media relations update

q Contacting school groups update

q Fundraising (will 2nd Cup take donations at cash)

20 mins


Regional meeting update

q Did info about meeting get posted at the universities?

q Other assistance needed?


20 mins


Social media squad

q Discussion about better use of our social media tools

q Creation of a SM squad


15 mins


The last hour of the meeting will be devoted to “engagement stations” where supporters will work on a project of their choice.

  1. Letter writing: Carmen Mejía: Threatened with death for defending her community (http://www.amnesty.ca/atrisk/index.php/carmen-mejia/),
  2. W4R sign making (if required), and
  3. International Women’s Day event planning


60 mins

Minutes: October 28, 2010 Meeting

Halifax Action Circle
October 28, 2010
Citadel Community Centre
6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Meeting Minutes

1. Welcome and review of minutes from last meeting

2. Update on this year’s Write for Rights event
  • will take place on December 12 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Second Cup, Spring Garden Rd., Halifax
  • we may need part of the next meeting (Nov. 26) to make signs. Catherine will let us know.
  • Erin will approach Brad to make us some/one sign
  • Brie will craft a couple of donation boxes to collect money to pay for postage
  • Colleen will handle media relations for the event
  • Catherine will contact AI re: W4R Kits
  • Peter will bring his sandwich board for our use
  • Second Cup will promote event on events calendar
  • Catherine will connect with Kim re: contact list for AI school groupsq an announcement of the event will be made at the Regional Meeting on Nov. 27.
  • See fundraising note in budget section below.
3. Regional meeting update
  • Saturday, November 27 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at SMU
  • Alex Neve will attend and will speak in the morning.
  • Colleen will handle media interview with Alex
  • Alison will create info blurb for posting at Kings (Catherine) and Dal (Ryan)
  • Concern has been expressed that attendees might leave after Alex speaks
  • Colleen needs internet access and projection equipment
  • Technical support has been hired to assist
  • Alison will lead an “Intro to AI” seminar for new supporters
  • Colleen will lead a “Using Social Media” seminar for anyone interested
  • Regional Meeting Assistance Required: Help is needed for: signage, registration, set up and tear down, running errands, to facilitate an activity during lunch, to billet out-of-town attendees
4. International Women’s Day event update
  • Colleen is team lead on an event to celebrate the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day on March 8, 2011
  • Volunteers are needed to help organize
  • Ideas for a venue were discussed and included: The Halifax Club (contact Jody Bartlett), University Club, McGinnis Room, MSVU
  • We could partner with Dal Women’s Centre
  • Contact Alexa
  • The event would be a celebration of women’s lives and achievements. Women would tell a story from their lives.
  • Music should be incorporated
  • Could make a book of the stories and sell it at the event
  • Ideas for invitees: Ellen Page, Deb Smith, Starr Dobson, Liz Rigney, Maria Panopalis, Shauntay Grant
5. Budget discussion and decision
  • Bank balance is $248
  • We will need to raise money to pay for room rental
  • A suggestion was made that W4R letter writers ask friends and family for sponsorship
  • Colleen is to send a letter requesting support to Alison’s financial advisor/Alison to send Colleen contact info
  • Gina has offered to contact Scotiabank for support
5. Letter writing:
  • An urgent action was sent to supporters in advance of the meeting as action was required before Oct. 28
  • Info is included below.
6. Special thanks to Christine Emberley for her years of dedication and service to HAC. Christine is stepping down as chair of the action circle, but we are very fortunate that she is sticking around to help us with our current and future endeavors. Thank you, Christine! You’ve kept us going for a good, long time!

October Action
BILL C-300

Background information
Canada's parliament is considering adopting a bill on corporate accountability (Bill C-300, An Act Respecting Corporate Accountability for the Activities of Mining, Oil and Gas in Developing Countries). If it passes, Bill C-300 would mean that Canadian mining, oil and gas companies that violate human rights in developing countries would be ineligible for financial and political support from the Canadian government.

The House of Commons will be voting on Bill C-300 at the end of October.
Amnesty International supports Bill C-300. But to ensure that the bill passes into law, we need everyone who cares about human rights to express their support.

Please send letter to:
Megan Leslie, MP
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
(NOTE: no postage required)

You may use this as your letter intro:

Dear Megan Leslie:

As your constituent and member of the Halifax Action Circle of Amnesty International, I am writing to thank you for your support of Bill C-300, An Act Respecting Corporate Accountability for the Activities of Canadian Mining, Oil and Gas in Developing Countries.

Amnesty International is concerned about human rights violations committed directly and indirectly by some Canadian mining, oil and gas companies in developing countries.
To ensure that all Canadian companies respect human rights in developing countries, we need mandatory human rights standards and stronger regulations to hold transnational companies accountable.

You may wish to include some of these points:

Express your concern about the human rights practices of some Canadian oil, gas and mining companies in developing countries.

Tell your MP you do not want tax-payers’ money being used to support companies that fail to abide by international human rights standards.

Suggest that the Government of Canada, as a human rights leader and signatory to international human rights instruments, has a responsibility to hold Canadian transnational companies accountable for human rights violations in developing countries.