Human Rights

Israel backing down on judiciary?

Faced with widespread domestic and international protests, the Israeli government today proposed a change to its planned overhaul of the country’s judicial system. The concession would give the right-wing coalition government less power to appoint new judges, who are currently selected by a committee comprised of politicians, judges and legal experts. [node:read-more:link]

Rights body blots own copy book

The Treasury Board Secretariat says that the Canadian Human Rights Commission discriminated against its own black and racialized employees. It was responding to a policy grievance filed in October by nine employees’ unions alleging that they and others had faced “systemic” racism, sexism and discrimination. [node:read-more:link]

ICC arrest warrant out for Putin

The International Criminal Court today issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin over his alleged responsibility for deporting children from occupied Ukraine to Russia. A similar warrant was issued for his Commissioner for Children’s Rights, Maria Alekseyevna Lvova-Belova [node:read-more:link]

Bodycams mandated for Alberta police

In what it says is an effort to increase public trust, Alberta plans to mandate vest-mounted cameras for police. Public Safety & Emergency Services Minister Mike Ellis says that “by documenting the behaviour of the police in public, collecting better evidence, and improving our approach to resolving complex complaints during investigations”, cameras are “an objective measure to show what occurs.” [node:read-more:link]

Residential schools deal approved

A $2.8-billion settlement agreement between the federal government and plaintiffs representing 325 First Nations whose members went to residential schools has been approved by Federal Court of Canada. Justice Ann Marie McDonald said in her March 9 ruling (Docket No. T-1542-12) that the settlement does not release the government from similar future lawsuits. [node:read-more:link]

Guantánamo releases continue

A 48-year-old Saudi held without charge for nearly 21 years by the U.S. at Guantánamo Bay has been repatriated, the latest in a series of similar releases. Ghassan Al Sharbi, whom the Department of Defense said has “physical and mental health issues”, had been compliant in detention and was found to have had no leadership or facilitator roles in al-Qaeda. [node:read-more:link]

Georgia yields to local and EU pressure

The government of Georgia, a former Soviet republic hoping to join the European Union, is “unconditionally” withdrawing draft legislation its critics said could stifle media freedom and civil society. President Salome Zourabichvili, who said she would veto it, likened it to Russian law used to clamp down on dissent. [node:read-more:link]

Flipping the bird “God-given” right

Acquitting a Montrealer of criminal harassment and threatening a neighbour, a Quebec judge, said it is “not a crime to give someone the finger” and also called the case a bewildering injustice. “Flipping the proverbial bird is a God-given, Charter-enshrined right that belongs to every red-blooded Canadian,” Justice Dennis Galiatsatos ruled. “It may not be civil, it may not be polite, it may not be gentlemanly. Nevertheless, it does not trigger criminal liability.” [node:read-more:link]

Belarusian exiles sentenced

Exiled Belarusian politician Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya is dismissing as a “farce” a trial which ended with her being sentenced to 15 years in prison for criticizing her country’s autocratic leader. She is among five opposition politicians sentenced in absentia. [node:read-more:link]

CBC employees feel “betrayed”

After the CBC recently included personal information such as sexual orientation and religion in their online human resources, some of the national broadcaster’s employees feel “betrayed.” They say they had provided the information confidentially in response to a voluntary “cultural census.” [node:read-more:link]

Nobel laureate peace activist jailed

Ales Bialiatski, a Belarusian pro-democracy activist who won the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize, was sentenced today to 10 years in prison along with two other activists. Bialiatski was one of the leaders of the democracy movement in Belarus in the mid-1980s, particularly as President Alexander Lukashenko became increasingly authoritarian after his 1994 election [node:read-more:link]

Liberal MP misses China votes

Toronto Liberal MP Han Dong, at the centre of a political controversy about alleged Chinese meddling in Canada’s electoral process, was not present for two House of Commons votes targetting China’s treatment of its Uyigher Muslim minority. In the most recent case, February 1, he was present for votes on other motions bracketing the one critical of China which was passed unanimously by the House. [node:read-more:link]

Legal win for indigenous women

A Federal Court of Canada has restored the right of women to vote at an Alberta First Nation. In his 69-page ruling (Docket Nos. T-800-21 and T-808-21), Justice Paul Favel not only struck down a ban on members in common-law relationships from candidacy but also one which disenfranchised women whose mother, grandmother or great-grandmother had married a non-status man. [node:read-more:link]

Brothers released from Guantánamo

Two brothers from Pakistan have been released without charge and repatriated after two decades in Guantánamo Bay. Abdul and Mohammed Ahmed Rabbani, who were arrested as"terrorists" in Pakistan in 2002, claim to have been tortured by CIA officers in Afghanistan before they were shipped to the U.S. military prison. [node:read-more:link]

Another “Gitmo” detainee freed

Pakistani national Ahmed Rabbani, once described as one of “the worst terrorists” in the world, has been repatriated from Guantánamo after more than 20 years without charge. He had been handed over by Pakistani officials in September 2002 in return for a bounty despite his insistence that he was only a taxi driver. His British human rights lawyer says his treatment is more evidence of how the U.S. intelligence and military communities had mishandled most Guantánamo detainees’ cases. [node:read-more:link]


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