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Needs of Marginalized Groups Should Inform Government Response

Canada’s western province of British Columbia is once again reeling from devastation linked to climate change. Following this summer’s deadly heat and rampant wildfires, record rainfall this month has triggered massive flooding, displacing more than…
A woman and children in boat leaving behind car with floodwaters up to the roof in the background.
News

One of Many Countries Waking Up to the Dangers of Chlorpyrifos

Last week, the Canadian government quietly released a three-year plan to phase out use of the toxic pesticide chlorpyrifos. As Human Rights Watch has reported, the health risks associated with exposure to chlorpyrifos are well-documented. These…
Works plant strawberries farming quebec
News

More Ambitious Measures Needed to Protect Human Rights

At the US Climate Summit today, top ten greenhouse gas emitter Canada announced its long-awaited new emissions reduction target for 2030. While Canada has been at pains to present itself as a climate leader and ally alongside the US, with the new…
Justin Trudeau
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Marking Five Years of Ongoing First Nations Water Crisis

Where would we be without water to drink, to wash and cook with, and to keep us healthy and alive? Water is essential. But as we mark another World Water Day, many First Nations communities in Canada still don’t have access to safe water. Five…
Water jugs in the community water center in Grassy Narrows, Canada. April 13, 2016. © 2016 Human Rights Watch
News

Phase Out Fossil Fuel Subsidies, Support First Nations in Budget 2021

Climate change was top of the agenda yesterday as US President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met virtually to identify priorities for collaboration. Both countries committed to working together to accelerate action on…
Sun sets over snowy plains
News

Proposed Legislation Falls Short

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government has tabled legislation that would increase transparency of government efforts to meet climate change commitments.  Bill C-12, tabled November 19, would require the government to set and…
Weenusk First Nation member, Mike Wabano, sets up camp for caribou hunting on a frozen river near Peawanuck, December 14, 2019. As a result of warming temperatures, ice and snow cover is often thinner and more unstable.
News

20 Years On, UN Should Compensate Victims

Today, the United Nations human rights expert on hazardous waste called out the UN for consistently failing the victims of widespread lead poisoning in refugee camps it ran in Kosovo. The UN leadership should listen and take long-overdue action in…
Roma children play in the Cesmin Lug refugee camp in Mitrovica city, northern Kosovo. Cesmin Lug is one of several camps that the UN established in what was known to be a heavily contaminated area near a defunct lead mine. December 12, 2007.
News

Mercury Contamination Sickens, Kills Indigenous Community Members

June 27 marks three years since federal and provincial authorities in Ontario, Canada, promised to clean up decades-old mercury contamination. Affected Indigenous residents are still waiting. In the 1960s and early 1970s, a chemical plant dumped…
Sign entering Grassy Narrows First Nation, in northwestern Ontario, Canada.
News

Lead Poisoning Victims Await Justice, Compensation

Yesterday was supposed to be a celebration at the United Nations. October 24 is United Nations Day, marking the day the UN Charter officially came into effect in 1945. The Charter includes the commitment to protect human rights. But on the…
Houses in Kosovo
News

Sexual Exploitation and Harassment Also Widespread in Secondary Schools

A hard-hitting BBC television documentary, Sex for Grades, has uncovered rampant sexual abuse, harassment, and bullying of students at two prestigious universities in Nigeria and Ghana, and launched what will hopefully be a new movement.   …
Cartoon for Tanzania Education Report
News

Roma Were Exposed to Toxic Lead in UN-Run Camps

  Yesterday, 55 Members of the European Parliament wrote to United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, expressing dismay at the UN’s failure to remedy harm inflicted on ethnic minorities in northern Kosovo following the end of the war…
News

Suits Increasingly Used to Hamper Environmental Activism

Today, a US federal court heard arguments in a lawsuit against Greenpeace that raises serious concerns about freedom of expression. In May 2016, Resolute Forest Products, a Canada-based logging company, filed a CAD$300 million lawsuit…
A workers unloads a truckload of logs in Howe Sound near Squamish, British Columbia, Canada April 25, 2017.
News

Government Should Ensure Program Benefits Poorest and Rural Students

On September 12, Ghana’s new President Nana Akufo-Addo made good on his campaign promise to deliver free secondary education for children across the country. The President pledged “there will be no admission fees, no library fees…
Cartoon for Tanzania Education Report
News

Roma Afflicted with Lead Poisoning in UN-Run Camps

The United Nations may be undermining its own efforts to promote human rights, at a time when rights are under threat worldwide. That’s the view of a UN panel of experts, which investigated complaints of human rights violations by…
Roma children play in the Cesmin Lug Camp outside Trepca mine, on the outskirts of Mitrovica, June 22, 2009.
News

Mercury Treaty to Enter Into Force

The fight against global toxic pollution has reached a critical milestone: the 50th country has ratified the United Nations Minamata Convention on Mercury, triggering its entry into force in August. Mercury is a shiny liquid…
A 12-year-old boy shows the mercury he carries in his trousers’ pockets for gold processing in Homase, Amansie Central district, Ashanti Region, Ghana.
News

Body Ignores Own Advice to Give Clear Apology for Tragedy that was UN’s Fault

It looked like justice for Kosovo’s lead-poisoning victims was finally within reach. Former United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson convened a meeting in December 2016, just as he and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon were preparing to hand the…
News

Toxic Metal Used in Small-Scale Gold Mining Especially Harmful to Children

People living in Ghana’s mining communities may now be better protected from deadly mercury poisoning. On March 23, Ghana ratified the Minamata Convention on Mercury – a real step forward for communities affected by mercury pollution. Mercury, a…
News

First Nations Leadership is Key to Addressing Polluted Drinking Water

Canada has unveiled a new approach to fixing the drinking water crisis faced by indigenous First Nations peoples. Carolyn Bennett, minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC), reaffirmed the 2016 budget commitment to $1.8 billion over…
Canada's Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Canada, February 24, 2016.
News

Health Impacts on First Nations Communities Require Urgent Attention

Last week, the Ontario provincial government announced it was “completely committed” to a thorough clean-up of mercury in the English Wabigoon River in northwestern Ontario. Mercury has had a devastating effect on the health and livelihoods of hundreds of…
Sign entering Grassy Narrows, Ontario, Canada.
News

“Hard Targets” to End Boil-Water Advisories for Many Indigenous People

In his 2015 campaign, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a commitment to end long-term boil-water advisories in all First Nations, Canada’s indigenous populations, in five years. For a country as water-rich as Canada, you would expect this to be an easy…
Roxanne Moonias, mother to an infant with a chronic illness, demonstrates one of the steps she takes to ensure her baby is not exposed to contaminants in the water. Roxanne lives in Neskantaga First Nation and says that it takes her an hour each time to p