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Episode 442: Jonathan Pedneault

At age 15, Jonathan (who also goes by the name JP) watched Hotel Rwanda. He decided something had to be done to prevent genocide. This led him to advocate in schools and beyond for greater action by Canada to prevent human rights abuses and crimes against humanity. As ethnic cleansing raged in Sudan’s Darfur region, he decided that’s where he should be heading.

In 2015, JP was hired by Amnesty International to report on abuses in the Central African Republic. He had spent two years training local journalists there and in South Sudan, negotiating with rebels to build a new radio station in a war torn town and losing friends along the way. After 12 months with Amnesty, JP joined Human Rights Watch, with whom he reported on egregious abuses and war crimes in Africa, Latin America, Central Asia and, most recently, Ukraine.

With war comes trauma. In 2014, JP lost two close friends. Camille Lepage, a young French photographer, was killed while they both worked in the Central African Republic. He traveled with her body to France and met with her family. Three months later, Jim Foley, another friend he had shared a hotel room with in Tripoli in 2011 was cowardly murdered by the Islamic State in Syria. JP tried to turn this pain into something productive and wrote a very non-PC novel about a French journalist and his son’s quest to find him through time and space. The book, Toi Aussi Mon Fils, was published in 2017.

He is currently running with his co-leadership candidate Elizabeth May to be the next Leader of the Green Party of Canada.


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