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

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

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

APG welcomes Mexican Secretary-designate Sánchez and calls for respect of rights of migrants

APG welcomes Mexican Secretary-designate Sánchez and calls for respect of rights of migrants

The Americas Policy Group (APG) welcomes in Canada Secretary-Designate Olga Sánchez Cordero, who will head the Secretaría de Gobernación of the New Mexican government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO). AMLO and its Cabinet will take office on December 1st.

Rachel Vincent and Steve Stewart, Co-chairs of the APG, on behalf of its entire membership, sent Secretary-Designate Sánchez a letter pointing out key issues for the New Mexican government and the future of the Canada-Mexico relationship.

Particularly, as eyes focus on the thousands of people now on the move to escape desperate circumstances in Honduras, the APG underscores in the letter the right to asylum for those in need of international protection and call for guarantees that no one is illegally returned to situations where they could risk serious harm due to violence.

The letter is available on its English and Spanish version below.

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

Open Letter to Minister Freeland – Concerning political prisoners being held in maximum-security prison in Honduras

Dear Minister:

The Americas Policy Group (APG), a regional working group of the Canadian Council for International Co-operation, wishes to express its concerns regarding the ongoing acute human rights crisis in Honduras and the incarceration of political prisoners, amid a pattern identified by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights “of intimidation and reprisals targeting human rights defenders and members or sympathizers of the opposition parties in the aftermath of electoral protests”. Those protests followed the November 26th presidential elections, marred by irregularities and allegations of fraud.

 

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Canada-Mexico Human Rights Dialogue 2018 – Summary of Recommendations

On February 7th, 2018, Global Affairs Canada convened a consultation session with the Americas Policy Group (APG), a regional working group of the Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC), in preparation for the second Canada-Mexico Bilateral Dialogue on Human Rights.

Members of the Americas Policy Group identified priority human rights issues for Canada’s engagement with Mexico and recommendations for both the Canada-Mexico Bilateral Dialogue on Human Rights and Canada’s ongoing relationship with Mexico.

 Read the full report here

 

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