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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…
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Report
Summary Joseph Koostachin, 58, remembers when he and his wife Helen, 56, went out on the land to hunt and berry pick with their young children. In the summer, the forests and meadows were lush and the water in the rivers plentiful. The winters were…
News

Government Response Inadequate as Emissions Rise

Climate change is taking a growing toll on First Nations in Canada, depleting food sources and affecting health. Canada is contributing to the climate crisis, which acutely affects Indigenous peoples who live off the land. Canada should…
A man stands in a snowy landscape
News

On World Water Day, Marginalized Populations Still Lack Access to Basic Hygiene Measures

  Today is World Water Day, but as the world braces for the full impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is little to celebrate. The need for good hygiene like handwashing is key to protecting public health and responding to the virus.…
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Report
Objective of this Guide Many First Nations persons are facing daily challenges just to access safe water for drinking and hygiene—a fundamental human right easily enjoyed by most Canadians. In 2016, Human Rights Watch released a report on First…
News

New Tools for Communities to Renew Push for Rights

(Toronto) – Canada’s new government should make addressing the lack of safe drinking water in many First Nations communities in Canada an urgent priority, Chiefs of Ontario and Human Rights Watch said today. Despite some progress over the last four…
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News
  “Evelina” (not her real name), 17, looks immaculate in her pressed white-and-blue school uniform and her neatly divided cornrows, as she futilely tries to escape the sweltering heat of western Kenya beneath a shady tree. Her black leather shoes…
“Evelina,” 17, with her 3-year-old daughter “Hope,” in Migori county, western Kenya. Evelina is in Form 2, the second year of lower secondary school.
News
On May 14, the Kenyan justice system failed women miserably. The Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Kenya, petitioned the High Court, challenging the provisions of section 7 of the Matrimonial Property Act, 2013. The section makes ownership of…
Two widows in eastern Zimbabwe, facing harassment from in-laws who are trying to force them to vacate their homes and fields. Rural Eastern Zimbabwe, October 2016.
News

UN Pollution Meeting Should Embrace Child Rights in its Resolutions

Bhopal, Chernobyl, and Minamata – these environmental disasters shocked the world. Yet, pollution results not only from catastrophic accidents but also from years of silent exposure. Children’s developing bodies are particularly…
“My name is Amina and I am twenty years old. I grew up here in the town of Bagega. I had six children. Three have died. Each time one died, I was so distraught and I was very traumatized.” Amina, Bagega, Zamfara state, Nigeria, 2011.
News

Abuse, Neglect Raise Safety Concerns; Fuel Mistrust of Law Enforcement

(Saskatoon) – Indigenous women’s accounts of police abuse in Saskatchewan raise serious concerns about their safety in the province, Human Rights Watch said today in a submission to the Government of Canada. The National Inquiry into Missing and…
Two Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) officers talk at a blockade on a country road in the province of Alberta. © 2012 Reuters
News
“She likes to take a bath, but [the water] irritates her skin,” Susan said of her active two-year-old daughter. When the little girl was 18 months old, Susan started to notice rashes all over her daughter’s legs. “I thought it was something from the grass…
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.
News

Regulation, Investment, and Oversight Needed to Fix Broken System

(Toronto) – Canada has abundant water, yet water in many indigenous communities in Ontario is not safe to drink, Human Rights Watch said in a new report today. The water on which many First Nations communities in Canada, on lands known as reserves, depend…
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.
Report
Summary Canada, one of the wealthiest countries in the world, is also one of the most water-rich. The province of Ontario shares the Great Lakes—which contain 18 percent of the world’s fresh surface water—with the United States. Access to sufficient…
News
In 2005, a Canadian government report concluded that First Nations people living on reserves did not have the same access to safe water as other Canadians. More than a decade later – and while more than one hundred reserves across Canada have advisories …
Bottled water stored in Shoal Lake 40 First Nation community building. The First Nation has been on a boil water advisory for close to two decades. Ontario, Canada, August 2015.
News
Emily, a widow from rural western Kenya, lived and farmed on her husband’s land for more than 30 years. While her husband was alive, they lived comfortably, and her four children were happy in school. This ended abruptly when her husband died, and her in-…
Female farmers resettled to Mwaladzi received land with poor access to water and limited productivity. The compensation package also included a new house.
News
  This remote region in Kenya’s north-west is known as the cradle of humankind. But it is a case study in how climate change forces people off their land. It was in Kenya’s Turkana County, near the border with Ethiopia, where one of the…
Report
Summary Climate change is here with us. We cannot stop it. The only way is to see how to work around it. -- Peter Ekai Lokoel, Deputy Governor Turkana, September 2014 Over the past century, the average annual temperature on earth has…
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Thousands of people in a poor urban district outside Mombasa face serious health consequences from toxic lead from a battery recycling plant. The crisis is the result of the Kenyan government’s failure to adequately regulate the lead smelter in the Owino…
News

Treat, Compensate Victims of Mombasa Smelter

(Nairobi) – Thousands of people in a poor urban district outside Mombasa face serious health consequences from toxic lead from a battery recycling plant, Human Rights Watch said today. The crisis is the result of the Kenyan government’s failure to…