APG members mobilized for Human Rights and freedom of prisoners in Honduras

APG members mobilized for Human Rights and freedom of prisoners in Honduras

Ottawa – Feb.21, 2019. The Americas Policy Group has been highly concerned with the human rights crisis unfolding in Honduras and the incarceration of peaceful demonstrators and civil society activists, following the November 26, 2017, election. Since then, APG members have worked on the terrain and in Canada to make a positive impact and stand in solidarity with the people of Honduras.

On February 20, 2019 APG members CUPE Global Justice Fund (Kelti Cameron) and Public Service Alliance of Canada Social Justice Fund (Louise Casselman), together with APG Officer (Sebastián Vielmas) and Programme Assistant (Laura Ávalos) were present on Parliament Hill to witness the introduction of a petition to the House of Commons calling to  :

  1. Stand by its stated position supporting human rights and rule of law in Honduras;
  2. Urgently intervene in the case of Edwin Espinal, spouse of Karen Spring of Elmvale, arrested January 19, 2018, on trumped-up charges in the wake of popular protests; and
  3. Immediately ensure that the Hernandez government release Espinal and four other political prisoners (Raul Alvarez, Jose Godinez, Edy Gonzalo, Gustavo Cáceres) still held in inhumane maximum-security military prisons in Honduras and drop all charges against 22 political prisoners detained (17 released, 5 remain in prison).

(https://petitions.ourcommons.ca/en/Petition/Details?Petition=e-1868)

The petition was sponsored and presented in parliament by Conservative Member of Parliament for Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte, Alexander Nuttell Janet Spring (mother of Karen Spring) and Christine Nugent from the Simcoe County Honduras Rights Monitor initiated this petition and were also in Ottawa to witness the tabling of the petition in the House of Commons.

In 2018, APG member Amnesty Canada published a detailed  report “Protest Prohibited” (only in English), documenting human rights violations following the crackdown after the 2017 election. Amnesty has also prepared a call to action: Keep hope alive for Edwin Espinal and Raul Alvarez, imprisoned unjustly in Honduras.

Honduras is one of the world’s most violent[1] and unequal[2] countries. Violence, alongside hardship and poverty compel, each year, thousands of children, women and men to leave Honduras to make the gruelling trek to the United States in search of a better life[3].

At the same time, the state of affairs for human rights defenders continues to be one of extreme risk due to the constant violence, criminalization, and slander they are exposed to, according to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights mission of August 2018 (IACHR)[4].

 

  

[1] 56.52 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants according to UN Office on Drugs and Crime’s International Homicide Statistics database, the second-highest score in the world (2016)

[2] Honduras is the sixth most unequal country in the world according to the 2016 GINI estimates of the World Bank.

[3] https://theconversation.com/origins-and-implications-of-the-caravan-of-honduran-migrants-106443

[4] http://www.oas.org/en/iachr/media_center/PReleases/2018/171.asp

 

 

Watch MP Alex Nuttall’s petition on Human Rights in Honduras & Edwin Espinal to Parliament of Canada

 

Do you want to know more about the APG?

Media contact

Sebastián Vielmas
Regional Working Group Officer
Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC)
+1 613 241 7007 Poste/Ext. 321 | svielmas@ccic.ca

ACF co-host the panel “Challenging Africa’s Perceptions: A Feminist Perspective”

The Africa-Canada Forum (ACF) hosted a workshop entitled “Challenging Africa’s Perceptions: A Feminist Perspective” during CCIC’s Annual Conference in Ottawa on October 19, 2018.

The panel, jointly organized by the Africa Canada Forum (ACF), the CASID-CCIC Next Generation for collaboration and MATCH International Women’s Fund, explored the question of how can we challenge “the single story” narrative of Africa in Canada? What are the implications of the African story as a “miserable and poor” continent for humanitarian action and international solidarity? What are the unseen gender dynamics behind the “single story?”

Tackling these pressing questions were panelists Theo Sowa of the African Women’ Development fund, Gisèle Baraka Bashige, journalist and program officer at Associations des Femmes des Médias (AFEM-RDC), and Ketty Nivyabandi of the Nobel Women’s Initiative. Moderating the panel was former Radio-Canada’s correspondent for Africa, Sophie Langlois.

ACF contact

Sebastián Vielmas
Regional Working Group Officer
Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC)
+1 613 241 7007 Poste/Ext. 321 | svielmas@ccic.ca

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The Americas Policy Group (APG) held a productive and successful general meeting

The Americas Policy Group (APG) held its general meeting on October 1 & 2, 2018 at the offices of Development and Peace in Montreal, where 35 members from 25 organizations attended. Throughout and after the meeting the APG decisively moved towards focusing its lens on impunity and human rights issues. Country level calls were undertaken following the meeting, leading to the APG to engaging advocacy priorities in Canada.

Notably participants engaged around the issue of leadership changes in Latin America, mainly in México, Colombia, Brazil, through taught provoking presentations by Pierre Beaudet, sociologist and professor of the UQO (Université du Québec en Outaouais), Alejandro Álvarez Béjar, socio-economist and professor of the UNAM (National Autonomous University of Mexico), and Luz Caicedo, Assistant Director and Co-Founder of Corporación Humanas—Colombia.

A discussion was also held on how we can advance our advocacy priorities in Canada with strategic insights from Emily Dwyer, Coordinator of the Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability (CNCA), Rachel Vincent, APG-co-chair and Director of Advocacy and Media at Nobel Women’s Initiative and Beth Woroniuk, Policy Lead at The MATCH Fund.

Finally, members strategized on how to best fight against impunity and for human rights in Mesoamerica with direct input from partners on the ground, including Félix Molina, Honduran radio journalist, Sandra Morán, Member of the Congress of the Republic of Guatemala and Luis Mejia Godoy, a well know singer-composer and social activist from Nicaragua.

Do you want to know more about the ACF?

ACF contact

Sebastián Vielmas
Regional Working Group Officer
Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC)
+1 613 241 7007 Poste/Ext. 321 | svielmas@ccic.ca

Five Years After the Storm: The Humanitarian-Development Nexus in Practice

Thursday, November 8
3:30-5:30 pm
CCIC, 39 McArthur Ave, Ottawa

Five years ago, on November 8, 2018, the Philippines was struck by the worst natural disaster in its recorded history when Super Typhoon Haiyan (known locally as Yolanda) tore through its centre, destroying nearly everything in its path. To mark the 5th anniversary of this tragedy, and to celebrate the recovery, on November 8th, 2018, Development and Peace, in collaboration with the Next Generation Program and the Asia Pacific Working Group, presented a documentary film screening and panel discussion at CCIC.

The documentary After the Storm: Building the Pope Francis Village, produced by Development and Peace-Caritas Canada, immerses viewers in the devastation and challenges faced by poor communities confronting the impacts of climate change. The community-driven response to Haiyan shown in the film proves that it is possible to break the cycle of poverty when the survivors themselves are empowered to build their own future. This example of the humanitarian-development nexus puts the Istanbul Principles into practice, providing for the most urgent needs while also addressing structural challenges, including powerlessness, poverty and inequality, that make these communities disproportionately vulnerable to disasters in the first place.

Following the documentary, there was an interesting panel discussion with experts from different institutions.CCIC’s Nicolas Moyer moderated the panel led by Jess Agustin, Development and Peace, Furqan Asif, University of Ottawa, Carine Bigira, Humanitarian Coalition, and John Summerbell, Global Affairs Canada, who reflected on how to improve humanitarian responses and community preparedness to climate change and natural disasters.

 

Organized by:

Development and Peace – Caritas Canada

In partnership with:

The Asia Pacific Working Group (APWG) : a regional working group of the Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC) focused on development and social justice issues in Asia and in the Pacific.

Next Generation: Collaboration for Development : a joint program of the Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC) and the Canadian Association for the Study of International Development (CASID).

Civic Strike Leaders from Colombia to visit Canada

A high level delegation of 3 Colombian social leaders will be in Canada from October 25 to November 9, 2018.  These leaders represent the Buenaventura Civic Strike Committee in Colombia’s principal Pacific port city.

In 2017, social organizations launched a remarkable three-week civic strike that forced the Colombian government to negotiate solutions to the city’s social and human rights crisis. Residents literally shut down Colombia’s most important trade route.

The strike won important concessions from the 3 levels government to improve community infrastructure and the collective rights and safety of the inhabitants. Yet threats against the community leaders continue to grow exponentially as plans to expand and modernize the port continue. While the Colombian government signed peace agreements in the autumn of 2017, violence against Indigenous and AfroColombian peoples continues throughout the country.

Canada signed the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement in 2008.

Members of the delegation include:

  • Maria Miyela Riascos: spokesperson for the Buenaventura Civic Strike Committee. In February 2018, she became one of several strike leaders to receive death threats.
  • Victor Hugo Vidal: spokesperson for the Buenaventura Civic Strike Committee, former municipal councillor and an organizer of the Black Communities Process (PCN).
  • Olga Araujo: human rights defender and popular educator for the Association for Social Research and Action (Nomadesc).

The delegation will be in the following cities:

The delegation is sponsored by the Americas Policy Group of the Canadian Council for International Cooperation (CCIC), Amnesty International (Canada), CoDevelopment Canada, Comité des droits humains en Amérique Latine (CDHAL), Canadian Union of Public Employees, Canadian Union of Postal Workers, Common Frontiers, InterPares, KAIROS, Public Service Alliance of Canada, Steelworkers Humanity Fund.

Do you want to know more about the ACF?

ACF contact

Sebastián Vielmas
Regional Working Group Officer
Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC)
+1 613 241 7007 Poste/Ext. 321 | svielmas@ccic.ca

APWG-Phillipines shocked by the Sagay 9 massacre

The CCIC Asia Pacific Working Group (APWG) – Philippines, comprised of NGOs, faith-based organizations, unions, solidarity groups, and concerned citizens in Canada with relationships in the Philippines, were shocked to learn of the massacre of 9 farm workers, including 3 women and 2 minors, on October 20, 2018 in Hacienda Nene, Sagay City, Negros. In the past, we have expressed our deep concern about the severe deterioration in the human rights situation in the Philippines, in particular the prevailing context of impunity. We are deeply concerned that these killings are, yet another example of violence perpetrated against community members and leaders defending their right to access land and livelihood.

Read the open letter here:

APWG Philippine Open Letter Sagay 9

 

Do you want to know more about APWG?

Media contact

Sebastián Vielmas
Regional Working Group Officer
Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC)
+1 613 241 7007 Poste/Ext. 321 | svielmas@ccic.ca