Ottawa, October 16: Ketty Nivyabandi, a refugee from Burundi, who was once homeless in this country, has become the first female Secretary-General of Amnesty International Canada.
Only five years ago, Ms. Nivyabandi fled Burundi amid political unrest and a violent government crackdown on protests, some she helped organize. She had packed a small bag, thinking she and her two daughters might be gone for a few days, possibly longer – she has not returned. Ms. Nivyabandi joined her sister in Calgary, and was granted refugee status, an emotional process that left her feeling as though she was surrendering her identity.
In her new position at Amnesty International Canada, the 42-year-old Ms. Nivyabandi said she will continue to advocate for the rights of Burundi people, but has many priorities, including Canadian human-rights violations at home and abroad.
One priority, she said, is examining Canadian businesses that, through their work abroad, effectively support regimes that are abusing human rights, such as the shipping of military goods to Saudi Arabia.