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How you can help defend universal human rights

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People holding signs with human rights messages on them. Photo: Geoff Campbell/Flickr

The news is anything but upbeat these days. But, there is a group that inspires hope here at home and around the world. Amnesty International has a myriad of national and international campaigns and they could use your help.

If you want to tell human rights abusers that they have to stop, then please join us Tuesday, July 3 from 7 to 9 p.m. at Mississauga Central Library, 301 Burnhamthorpe Rd. W. (Square One). This will be an introductory session about the work of Amnesty International and how you can help promote and protect human rights.

Here's a small sampling of the campaigns Amnesty is currently working on.

"No More Stolen Sisters" is calling for a comprehensive response to discrimination and violence against Indigenous women in Canada.

It's well documented Canada's First Nations, Inuit, and Metis women, referred to collectively as Indigenous women, have a history of oppression dating back to first contact with Europeans. The multiple oppressions Indigenous women live with on a daily basis means they are subject to a disproportionate risk of violence, especially more severe violent episodes, than non-Indigenous Canadian women.

Rates of violence against women vary widely across Canada, but Indigenous women are 2.5 times more likely to be victims of violence than non-Indigenous women.

Every six days, a woman in Canada is killed by her intimate partner, but Indigenous women are killed at rates six to seven times greater than non-Indigenous women.

Indigenous women are almost three times more likely to be killed by a stranger than non-Indigenous women.

It's time to acknowledge and address the multiple discriminations that put Indigenous women living in Canada at greater risk of violence.

"I Welcome Refugees" encourages individuals and governments to take responsibility for protecting the human rights and freedoms of those seeking asylum.

Amnesty is encouraging countries around the world to take responsibility to live up to international obligations and offer sanctuary to refugees. Amnesty would like you to join this campaign by simply stating: "I welcome refugees," and urging the Canadian government to protect asylum seekers being adversely affected by current U.S. policies.

"Open for Justice" addresses human rights violations often caused by Canadian companies doing business in countries around the globe.

Your voice is needed to ensure that Canada's human rights ombudsperson has the ability to ensure corporate disclosure in cases where Canadian-owned mining, oil and gas, and textile companies are accused of participating in international human rights abuses.

"We Defend" is a campaign designed to protect the very people who are defending the human rights of others.

Human rights defenders are under attack and that may take many forms including smear campaigns, government surveillance, unjust imprisonment, forced disappearance, and even death.

"Without their courage, our world is less fair, less just and less equal. That is why today we are calling on everyone -- not just world leaders -- to stand with human rights defenders and protect the brave."

    – Salil Shetty, International Secretary General, Amnesty International

According to the United Nations, human rights are rights that belong to every person regardless of ethnicity, sex, nationality, religion or any other status. They belong to all people by virtue of their humanity.

Please join us Tuesday, July 3 from 7 to 9 p.m. at Mississauga Central Library, 301 Burnhampthorpe Rd. W. (Square One).

Add your voice and energy to those across the country and around the world working to ensure universal human rights for all.

This event is free; however, space is limited so please contact Louise Briggs: briggslou[at]hotmail.com or Mohamed Fetaih: mfetaih[at]hotmail.com to RSVP.

Photo: Geoff Campbell/Flickr

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