Amnesty International Group 142 is a community group, based at Toronto First Unitarian, within Amnesty International Canada. We promote human rights through letter writing campaigns, petitions, and human rights forums and by working with the larger human rights community. The emphasis of our work is on four key areas:
- Protecting people’s freedom of expression and freedom from discrimination
- Defending people from violence by state and non-state actors
- Defending unprotected people on the move
- Empowering people living in poverty
Within these four key areas we focus on the rights of Indigenous people. Centuries of racism and dispossession have denied Indigenous peoples around the world the opportunity to enjoy such basic human rights as the right of self-determination, the right to cultural identity, the right to life and the right to health. Canada has endorsed the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People. We demand justice for Indigenous people such as the Lubicon Cree of Northern Alberta in their struggle for land rights in the face of massive oil and gas development on their lands. We campaign to stop violence against Indigenous women. We campaign on behalf of First Nations for their right to live in dignity such as having access to safe, clean drinkable water.
Globally and within Canada, Amnesty International has long worked to protect the rights of refugees. In recent years, our global human rights program has increasingly taken up concerns about other displaced people who are particularly vulnerable to serious human rights violations, including internally displaced persons, migrant workers and victims of trafficking, particularly women and children.
We speak out not only about violence committed by government police and security forces but also violence committed or tolerated by a range of non-state actors, be they terrorist groups, armed opposition and militia groups, companies and international financial institutions. We campaign against torture and the death penalty and for greater accountability of business.
Amnesty’s work to empower people living in poverty is focused on helping people to claim their rights. We are not trying to end material poverty; we are ensuring that the rights of people living in poverty are protected. For example we campaign for the rights of women to maternal health care.
We are committed to ensuring that people do not experience human rights abuses because of who they are or what they believe.
We organize letter writing activities at Toronto First Unitarian on the fourth Sunday of each month at 11:30 pm immediately after worship services and also at our meetings at 7:30 pm on the third Wednesday of each month. In December we send greeting cards to prisoners of conscience and human rights defenders. We also participate in the annual Write for Rights campaign around International Human Rights Day on December 10th.