APG Annual Report 2018-2019

APG Annual Report 2018-2019

APG 2018-2019 Annual Report


It has been an amazing year for the Americas Policy Group (APG) and its members. As such, we are proud to present the APG 2018-2019 Annual Report highlighting the work of its 29 members. It includes the group’s main activities, list of members and financial report.


Among all the milestones that we have reached, we can highlight the following collective work of the APG:


Government relations & policy advocacy:

  • Ongoing monitoring, policy recommendations and advocacy for sustainable development, human rights and social justice in Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Colombia and Haiti;
  • Held eight (8) consultation and briefing meetings with Global Affairs Canada’s Americas Branch and its North America, Central America, Latin America & Caribbean Bureaux;
  • Held four (4) briefing meetings with diplomatic representatives from Canadian missions in Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, Peru & Bolivia while in Canada;
  • Guatemala: sent a letter of concerns to Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs regarding the alarming government’s withdrawal of the UN International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) and on the disturbing escalation of assassination of land and human rights defenders;
  • Honduras: denounced the situation of prisoners and human rights crisis in Honduras;
  • Mexico: participated in consultation with Global Affairs Canada’s North America Strategy Bureau regarding the “Canada-Mexico Human Rights Bilateral Dialogue” for the upcoming 3rd edition to be held in Ottawa in 2019. Recommendations include proposals to increase Mexican CSOs participation in the process. Click here to read the APG 2019 recommendations;
  • Colombia: engaged with Global Affairs Canada’s South American bureau and strongly recommended for the reform of the “Canada-Colombia FTA Human Rights Report” ;
  • Haiti: participated with AQOCI on a regional forum on Haiti to enhance greater coordination with the APG on policy and advocacy. Held an introduction meeting with GAC’s Haiti division;
  • Facilitated the APG perspective to Global Affairs Canada ongoing consultation on its “Voices at Risk –Canada’s Guidelines on Supporting Human Rights Defenders”.

Parliamentary relations

  • Hosted a roundtable with Members of Parliament of the Canadian section of ParlAmericas and Women land defenders resisting extractivism in Latin America.
  • APG co-chair, Steve Stewart, testified at the House of Commons’ Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration as an expert witness on migration in Latin America. Listen testimony here or Read transcript here.

Member-led Annual Meeting & Activities

  • Held its general meeting in Montreal, attended by 35 participants from 25 organizations;
  • Launched a new subgroup on Haiti;
  • Supported the launch of the training manual “Implementing a Human Rights Based Approach” with CCIC and Equitas.

Sector-wide campaign


Click here to download the APG 2018-2019 Annual Report.


Thank you for your continued support and engagement!


CCIC Regional Working Group Coordination Team.

Launch of the New Haiti Sub-Group from the Americas Policy Group



Several members of the Americas Policy Group (APG) have programs or development and humanitarian assistance projects in Haiti, or take part in the solidarity movement with the Haitian people. It is for those reasons that the APG-Haiti subgroup has been created. 

One of CCIC’s main mandates is to create opportunities for networking and to support its members’ representation with government authorities. In that respect, the group’s objective is: 

 to exchange information on sustainable development, social justice issues and protection and promotion of human rights in Haiti, and to organize meetings with Ottawa decision-makers or advocacy actions if there is a consensus over the approach to take within the subgroup.

As such, the subgroup aims to build connections among CCIC, in particular the APG, other networks and coalitions involved with Haiti such as AQOCI and Concertation pour Haïti, and the Government of Canada, mainly Global Affairs Canada.

The new APG-Haiti subgroup’s actions will allow its members to: 

  • Exchange information on sustainable development, social justice issues and the protection of human rights in Haiti thanks to the new mailing list [email protected]; 
  • Organize conference calls among APG’s members that work in Haiti and exchange information on a regular basis; 
  • Organize dialogue meetings in partnership with AQOCI and Concertation pour Haïti with Global Affairs Canada and Parliament representatives; 
  • Organize advocacy actions if there is a consensus over the approach to take within the subgroup, all the more considering the subgroup has the role to complement and not to replace our partner networks’ and coalitions’ role. 

For further information, please contact the Regional Working Group Coordination team: Sebastián Vielmasat [email protected] or Laura Avalos at [email protected]. 

APG members mobilized for Human Rights and freedom of prisoners in Honduras

Ottawa – Feb.21, 2019. The Americas Policy Group has been highly concerned with the human rights crisis unfolding in Honduras and the incarceration of peaceful demonstrators and civil society activists, following the November 26, 2017, election. Since then, APG members have worked on the terrain and in Canada to make a positive impact and stand in solidarity with the people of Honduras.

On February 20, 2019 APG members CUPE Global Justice Fund (Kelti Cameron) and Public Service Alliance of Canada Social Justice Fund (Louise Casselman), together with APG Officer (Sebastián Vielmas) and Programme Assistant (Laura Ávalos) were present on Parliament Hill to witness the introduction of a petition to the House of Commons calling to  :

  1. Stand by its stated position supporting human rights and rule of law in Honduras;
  2. Urgently intervene in the case of Edwin Espinal, spouse of Karen Spring of Elmvale, arrested January 19, 2018, on trumped-up charges in the wake of popular protests; and
  3. Immediately ensure that the Hernandez government release Espinal and four other political prisoners (Raul Alvarez, Jose Godinez, Edy Gonzalo, Gustavo Cáceres) still held in inhumane maximum-security military prisons in Honduras and drop all charges against 22 political prisoners detained (17 released, 5 remain in prison).


The petition was sponsored and presented in parliament by Conservative Member of Parliament for Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte, Alexander Nuttell Janet Spring (mother of Karen Spring) and Christine Nugent from the Simcoe County Honduras Rights Monitor initiated this petition and were also in Ottawa to witness the tabling of the petition in the House of Commons.

In 2018, APG member Amnesty Canada published a detailed  report “Protest Prohibited” (only in English), documenting human rights violations following the crackdown after the 2017 election. Amnesty has also prepared a call to action: Keep hope alive for Edwin Espinal and Raul Alvarez, imprisoned unjustly in Honduras.

Honduras is one of the world’s most violent[1] and unequal[2] countries. Violence, alongside hardship and poverty compel, each year, thousands of children, women and men to leave Honduras to make the gruelling trek to the United States in search of a better life[3].

At the same time, the state of affairs for human rights defenders continues to be one of extreme risk due to the constant violence, criminalization, and slander they are exposed to, according to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights mission of August 2018 (IACHR)[4].



[1] 56.52 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants according to UN Office on Drugs and Crime’s International Homicide Statistics database, the second-highest score in the world (2016)

[2] Honduras is the sixth most unequal country in the world according to the 2016 GINI estimates of the World Bank.

[3] https://theconversation.com/origins-and-implications-of-the-caravan-of-honduran-migrants-106443

[4] http://www.oas.org/en/iachr/media_center/PReleases/2018/171.asp



Watch MP Alex Nuttall’s petition on Human Rights in Honduras & Edwin Espinal to Parliament of Canada


Do you want to know more about the APG?

Media contact

Sebastián Vielmas
Regional Working Group Officer
Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC)
+1 613 241 7007 Poste/Ext. 321 | [email protected]

The Americas Policy Group (APG) held a productive and successful general meeting

The Americas Policy Group (APG) held its general meeting on October 1 & 2, 2018 at the offices of Development and Peace in Montreal, where 35 members from 25 organizations attended. Throughout and after the meeting the APG decisively moved towards focusing its lens on impunity and human rights issues. Country level calls were undertaken following the meeting, leading to the APG to engaging advocacy priorities in Canada.

Notably participants engaged around the issue of leadership changes in Latin America, mainly in México, Colombia, Brazil, through taught provoking presentations by Pierre Beaudet, sociologist and professor of the UQO (Université du Québec en Outaouais), Alejandro Álvarez Béjar, socio-economist and professor of the UNAM (National Autonomous University of Mexico), and Luz Caicedo, Assistant Director and Co-Founder of Corporación Humanas—Colombia.

A discussion was also held on how we can advance our advocacy priorities in Canada with strategic insights from Emily Dwyer, Coordinator of the Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability (CNCA), Rachel Vincent, APG-co-chair and Director of Advocacy and Media at Nobel Women’s Initiative and Beth Woroniuk, Policy Lead at The MATCH Fund.

Finally, members strategized on how to best fight against impunity and for human rights in Mesoamerica with direct input from partners on the ground, including Félix Molina, Honduran radio journalist, Sandra Morán, Member of the Congress of the Republic of Guatemala and Luis Mejia Godoy, a well know singer-composer and social activist from Nicaragua.

Do you want to know more about the ACF?

ACF contact

Sebastián Vielmas
Regional Working Group Officer
Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC)
+1 613 241 7007 Poste/Ext. 321 | [email protected]

Civic Strike Leaders from Colombia to visit Canada

A high level delegation of 3 Colombian social leaders will be in Canada from October 25 to November 9, 2018.  These leaders represent the Buenaventura Civic Strike Committee in Colombia’s principal Pacific port city.

In 2017, social organizations launched a remarkable three-week civic strike that forced the Colombian government to negotiate solutions to the city’s social and human rights crisis. Residents literally shut down Colombia’s most important trade route.

The strike won important concessions from the 3 levels government to improve community infrastructure and the collective rights and safety of the inhabitants. Yet threats against the community leaders continue to grow exponentially as plans to expand and modernize the port continue. While the Colombian government signed peace agreements in the autumn of 2017, violence against Indigenous and AfroColombian peoples continues throughout the country.

Canada signed the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement in 2008.

Members of the delegation include:

  • Maria Miyela Riascos: spokesperson for the Buenaventura Civic Strike Committee. In February 2018, she became one of several strike leaders to receive death threats.
  • Victor Hugo Vidal: spokesperson for the Buenaventura Civic Strike Committee, former municipal councillor and an organizer of the Black Communities Process (PCN).
  • Olga Araujo: human rights defender and popular educator for the Association for Social Research and Action (Nomadesc).

The delegation will be in the following cities:

The delegation is sponsored by the Americas Policy Group of the Canadian Council for International Cooperation (CCIC), Amnesty International (Canada), CoDevelopment Canada, Comité des droits humains en Amérique Latine (CDHAL), Canadian Union of Public Employees, Canadian Union of Postal Workers, Common Frontiers, InterPares, KAIROS, Public Service Alliance of Canada, Steelworkers Humanity Fund.

Do you want to know more about the ACF?

ACF contact

Sebastián Vielmas
Regional Working Group Officer
Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC)
+1 613 241 7007 Poste/Ext. 321 | [email protected]

APG welcomes Mexican Secretary-designate Sánchez and calls for respect of rights of migrants

The Americas Policy Group (APG) welcomes in Canada Secretary-Designate Olga Sánchez Cordero, who will head the Secretaría de Gobernación of the New Mexican government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO). AMLO and its Cabinet will take office on December 1st.

Rachel Vincent and Steve Stewart, Co-chairs of the APG, on behalf of its entire membership, sent Secretary-Designate Sánchez a letter pointing out key issues for the New Mexican government and the future of the Canada-Mexico relationship.

Particularly, as eyes focus on the thousands of people now on the move to escape desperate circumstances in Honduras, the APG underscores in the letter the right to asylum for those in need of international protection and call for guarantees that no one is illegally returned to situations where they could risk serious harm due to violence.

The letter is available on its English and Spanish version below.


Download English version of the letter here.

[pdf-embedder url=”https://staging.cooperation.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/APG-letter-to-Secretary-Designated-Sanchez-with-enclosure.pdf” title=”APG letter to Secretary Designated Sanchez with enclosure”]


Download Spanish version of the letter here.

[pdf-embedder url=”https://staging.cooperation.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/APG-letter-to-Secretary-Designated-Sanchez-Spanish-with-enclosure.pdf” title=”APG letter to Secretary Designated Sanchez Spanish with enclosure”]

Do you want to know more about the APG?

Media contact

Sebastián Vielmas
Regional Working Group Officer
Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC)
+1 613 241 7007 Poste/Ext. 321 | [email protected]