Human Rights

Former CAF leader laments Afghan girl’s death

A 10-year-old Afghan girl preparing to come to Canada was recently killed at Taliban roadblock and retired MGen David Fraser, who commanded NATO troops in Kandahar, says her death shows that the federal government isn’t moving fast enough to patriate its former allies. The girl’s father had worked for the Canadian Armed Forces in Kandahar, and Kynan Walper, chief operations officer at a group helping them, agrees that “this young girl is dead because of delays in getting people over here.” [node:read-more:link]

Ottawa closed-mouth on schools case

The federal government is refusing to explain its decision to abandon a compensation lawsuit against Catholic church over the treatment of indigenous children at residential schools. Some of more than a dozen current or former cabinet ministers and senior bureaucrats have said they likely have relevant documents but have declined to make them public. [node:read-more:link]

Australia takes inquiry cue from Canada

Australia is planning an inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women and children after its Senate approved a motion to form a committee to investigate systemic causes of violence. One of the motion’s sponsors, Lidia Thorpe, an indigenous member of the Greens Party who has lost family members, told the Senate that there was never any justice for the victims “because they weren’t important enough for investigations to happen.” [node:read-more:link]

An olive branch from the Taliban?

Afghanistan’s new Taliban rulers say they are committed in principle to education and jobs for girls and women and want “mercy and compassion” from former foes. Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi said Dec. 11 that his government wants good relations with all countries, has no issues with the U.S., and wants the West to released billions of dollars in frozen funds. He also said “sanctions against Afghanistan would . . . not have any benefit.” [node:read-more:link]

$40 billion for indigenous children

The federal government is setting aside $40 billion for First Nations child welfare in a bid to comply with a Canadian Human Rights Tribunal directive as well as deal with two class-action lawsuits. The tribunal ordered the government in 2019 to compensate each child and guardian who was denied services on their reserve or forced to leave to access services. [node:read-more:link]

Off-duty cop tagged for profiling

Quebec's human rights commission has called on an off-duty police officer to pay a black man and his mother more than $61,000 after a complaint by the officer in 2017 that led to the man being unjustifiably arrested. Malik Spaulding-Smith, 20 at the time, had been sitting in his car smoking but moments after returning home, he was confronted by a pack of armed police, arrested and detained before being released without charge. [node:read-more:link]

Former Danish cabinet minister jailed

Inger Stoejberg, Denmark’s immigration minister from 2015 to 2019, was sentenced today to 60 days in jail for ordering the separation of young asylum-seeking couples, ostensibly to address a perceived problem with child brides. Stoejberg professed surprise at the sentence but said she had no regrets. [node:read-more:link]

Slow progress on Afghan refugees

Only about 10 per cent of the 40,000 Afghan refugees the federal government promised to bring into the country have arrived and it could take up to two years to resettle everyone. “When you're trying to move 40,000 people out of the most challenging environments imaginable, one of the most dangerous places in the world today, it's not easy,” Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister Sean Fraser said after seven weeks on the job. “What I'm really encouraged by is that we're starting to see a regular pace.” [node:read-more:link]

Myanmar troops burn villages

Government forces in Myanmar are reported to have burned alive a number of villagers in apparent retribution for an IED attack on a military convoy. “This incident is quite brazen, and it happened in an area that was meant to be found, and seen, to scare people,” a Human Rights Watch researcher said, adding that it was similar to other recent attacks. “Our contacts are saying these were just boys and young people who were villagers who were caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.” [node:read-more:link]

Canada joins Olympics boycott

Taking its cue from the U.S., Britain and Australia, the federal government announced today that no Canadian diplomats or other officials will attend next February’s Winter Olympics in China. “We are extremely concerned by the repeated human rights violations by the Chinese government,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, adding that athletes are free to compete. [node:read-more:link]

Australia joins Olympics boycott

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced today that Australia will send only athletes and no diplomatic or official representatives to next February’s Winter Olympics in China. He said Wednesday’s decision came because of Australia’s struggles to reopen diplomatic channels with China to discuss alleged human rights abuses. [node:read-more:link]

Canada to “align” with Olympics boycott?

Newly-confirmed as U.S. Ambassador to Canada, David Cohen said Dec. 7 that he has “a high level of confidence” that Canada will “align” with the U.S. diplomatic and official boycott of next February’s Winter Olympics China. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in mid-November that his government was “looking for a way” for Canadian athletes to participate “continuing to demonstrate our real concerns with the way the Chinese government has behaved.” [node:read-more:link]

China hits back at U.S. boycott

The U.S. decision to have its diplomats and officials boycott the 2022 Winter Olympics in China as a protest against human rights abuses has prompted the country’s foreign ministry spokesman to threaten unspecified “resolute counter-measures.” Zhao Lijian accused the U.S. of “violating "political neutrality in sport” and said the planned boycott is “based on lies and rumours.” [node:read-more:link]

U.S. diplomatically boycotting Winter Olympics

The U.S. administration announced today that it would not send diplomatic or other official representatives to the 2022 Winter Olympics which are scheduled Feb. 4-20 in China. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said it was a “clear message” that China’s human rights record meant that there could not be “business as usual.” [node:read-more:link]


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