GTA Amnesty International Newsletter March 2021

On 19 February, Algerian journalist Khaled Drareni– whose case featured in the 2020 Write for Rights campaign- was released from prison on a presidential pardon! He was arrested on 7 March 2020 while covering a protest and sentenced in September 2020 to two years in prison for “incitement to unarmed gathering” and “harming the integrity of national territory”.

Khaled is now on conditional release, waiting to have his case examined by the Supreme Court, which will decide whether to drop the charges against him or not. 
Below is a message from Khaled sending his thanks to Amnesty national entities for their support. English transcript:

‘I want to thank Amnesty International for its support for the release of detainees in Algeria. All the sections of Amnesty International in the world and in particular the section of Amnesty International Algeria. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support.’ 
#JusticeForBerta Urgently Needed!March 2nd marks 5 years since the assassination of beloved Indigenous rights and river defender Berta Cáceres in Honduras. The anniversary is an important moment to make visible international support for the courageous defenders who risk their lives to continue the vital human rights work for which Berta was killed.

Watch Amnesty Canada’s social media channels on and around March 2nd for #JusticeForBerta posts that tag Honduran authorities. Please share these posts. Or create your own posts with photos holding signs or video messages. For more details 
check HEREIllustration copyright: Amnesty International / Camila Villota B. AI Toronto Group 123/164 meeting with Guest Speaker Cheuk KwanTuesday March 2nd, at 7:00 pm EST you are invited to
Amnesty International Group 164/123 Toronto East online meeting

Topic: How can Canadians and their government confront China about international human rights abuses?

Speaker: Cheuk Kwan, Past Chair, the Toronto Association for Democracy in China.
The Toronto Association for Democracy in China is a non-profit organization that works with like-minded NGO’s to advocate for human rights and democracy in China. It was founded in May 1989 to support the student protest in Tiananmen Square in Beijing and the movement for democratic reform in China.

To attend, please email: Guest speaker: Cheuk Kwan

“Water: Mother Nature’s Blood”- screening and panelSunday March 14th

Join us at 4pm EST on Sunday March 14, International Day of Action for Rivers, for the Canadian premiere of Water: Mother Nature’s Blood. This powerful 44-minute documentary from Guatemala tells the story of a courageous struggle by Maya Q’eqchi communities to protect their rights and access to life-sustaining water.

The screening will be following by a not-to-be missed conversation with the film’s director Pepe Orozco Recinos and with Indigenous defender Isabel Matzir, partner of prisoner of conscience Bernardo Caal Xol, who is featured in the film.

Amnesty Canada is actively campaigning for the release of Bernardo Caal Xol, who has been unjustly imprisoned for the past 3 years for peacefully leading the struggle of his people to defend their rights and the Cahabón River on which they depend. The event will offer opportunities to take solidarity action. For more information on our call to action please read here.

The documentary will be live streamed on youtube Premiere @4pm EST
The panel will start @5pm EST. Registration for panel HERE. Closer to the event date  all registrants will receive an email with information on how to access the film. 

The event is organized by the AI Climate Justice and Corporate Accountability Specialized Team – Environmental HRs Defenders/ Bernardo Caal sub group.Contact:  Amnesty International Toronto Organization (AITO)
Monthly Meeting
Thursday March 18th, 7pm ESTPlease join us for our March monthly AITO members meeting taking place Thursday, March 18th at 7 PM EST. All groups, teams and networks are encouraged to attend to share a report on your plans and activities for the coming year. For new members and volunteers, there are many learning opportunities and it is a great way to discover how the organization works and how you can become more involved. 

Registration is required in advance, so please RSVP: 
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. For more information please contact  AITO Board Nominations 2021Amnesty International Toronto (AITO) is looking for passionate, dedicated human rights advocates to join our board! AITO will be holding its annual elections for the Board of Directors at our Annual General Meeting on Thursday, May 20 2021 at 7 PM.

The AITO Board manages and controls the affairs and business of AITO on behalf of the membership and makes recommendations to the AITO members. The Board ensures that the goals, objectives, and strategies of AITO are implemented and that the finances of the organization are properly planned and managed. The Board represents AITO to its members and supporters, the public and to AI Canada.

This is a great opportunity for those looking to become more involved with Amnesty International, increase your impact on human rights, and gain experience in non-profit governance. We are looking for individuals who are willing and able to take on leadership roles for various AITO teams, participate and support other AI initiatives within the GTA, and find new ways to further Amnesty’s mission.

Positions available include:·       Board Chair – 2 Year Term·       Treasurer  – 2 Year Term·       Director at Large (5 positions) – 1 Year Term

Please note this is a working Board and members are expected to attend regular meetings, as well as support with planning for events such as our Annual General Meeting. To apply, you must be nominated by an active member of Amnesty International. To express your intent to apply, please email the Nominations Committee at and include:·       The position you are applying for·       A brief description of yourself, your professional experience, and your experience with Amnesty International·       The name and contact information of the Amnesty member who is nominating you

If you have any questions or would like more information or a detailed position description, please email  All inquiries will remain confidential. The deadline for nominations is May 1st, 2021.  After May 1st nominees will be posted and elections will be held at the monthly meeting on May 20th 2021. We encourage all Amnesty members to attend the May 20th meeting and participate in the election.  Thank you in advance for your interest! MATCHSTICK ‘zine for youth – Call for SubmissionsAre you an artist or writer who is passionate about justice, human rights advocacy, and the power of activism? The Matchstick, Amnesty Canada’s biannual Arts & Lit magazine, is now open for submissions to youth under the age of 25!

We are accepting poetry, prose, visual arts and several other mediums of creative expression until the submission deadline of March 31, 2021.

Check out The Matchstick’s website for all eligibility and submission guidelines and please share the information with youth you think might be interested and with teachers, educators, schools in your network:

  This newsletter is produced by
Elena Dumitru, National Leadership Development Coordinator, AICS (ES)

If you have questions, comments, or would like more information on any aspect of Amnesty’s work, we’d love to hear from you. Please call us at 1-800-AMNESTY (1-800-266-3789) OR by email.