Human Rights

Government urged to drop court challenge

The Canadian Bar Association is pressing the federal government to abandon its legal challenge against human rights tribunal decisions which could leave it liable for billions of dollars in compensation to indigenous families. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, faced with an Oct. 29 deadline for a decision, said Oct. 18 that had not yet decided whether to appeal further. [node:read-more:link]

Haitian gang demands ransoms

A notorious Haitian gang which kidnapped a Canadian and 16 U.S. members of an Ohio-based aid group is demanding $1 million each for their release. The same gang, 400 Mazowo, abducted a group of Catholic clergy in April and while they were eventually released it remains unclear whether ransoms were paid. [node:read-more:link]

The cost of NDP support in Parliament

New Democratic Party Leader Jagmeet Singh wants the minority Liberal government to take “concrete” steps in return for its support in Parliament. He said Oct. 7 that the “immediate” requirements include paid sick leave, a federal coronavirus vaccination passport, real progress on reconciliation with indigenous peoples and on climate change measures. [node:read-more:link]

Canadian Mint “toxic workplace”

Responding to former employees’ complaints about a “toxic workplace” fraught with racism and bullying, the Royal Canadian Mint says it has accepted all 24 recommendations by independent investigators. “It is evident that although significant progress has been made, a toxic environment remains,” the investigators say in a newly-released report submitted two months ago. [node:read-more:link]

100 days of govt-imposed starvation in Ethiopia

October 6 marked 100 days since the government of Ethiopia imposed a blockade on the northern region of Tigray after a political "falling out". Cutting off all delivery of humanitarian goods, electricity, communications, and services, the government knows that civilians are dying of starvation under entirely man-made conditions. Refugees International is calling for an end to the blockade. [node:read-more:link]

Trudeau finds actions speak louder than words

After strong criticism of a "serious lapse in judgement", the Prime Minister now admits that taking a holiday in Tofino while the rest of Canada commemorated the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, was a mistake and that he will "focus on making it right." No details were provided on what actions will make this right. [node:read-more:link]

Lukashenko cracks down on critics

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko, whose 2020 election win has been widely discredited, continues to crack down on dissidents. Eight-seven have been arrested for commenting on social media about a confrontation that resulted in two deaths last week. [node:read-more:link]

UN appeal for Palestinian support

The UN Relief and Works Agency supporting Palestinian refugees, facing what it says is an “existential” budget crisis, has appealed for an urgent US$120 million to keep education, healthcare and other services running. “We keep struggling, running after cash," UNRWA head Philippe Lazzarini says. “We should not underestimate this because . . . we risk to collapse.” [node:read-more:link]

UN staff kicked out of Ethiopia

Seven UN officials have been kicked out of Ethiopia for allegedly “meddling” in the country’s internal affairs. Announced Sept. 30, the move comes as the country is under increasing pressure to lift a blockage of humanitarian assistance in its Tigray region. [node:read-more:link]

Royingya leader killed in Bangladesh

Mohib Ullah, a prominent member of the Rohingya Muslim exodus from Myanmar after a military crackdown in 2017 was shot to death Sept. 29 in Bangladesh. A UN official and local police say the killing followed months of escalating violence in what has become the world’s largest refugee settlement. Ullah's group had been notable for documenting atrocities against Rohingyas during the Myanmar crackdown, which the UN says had genocidal intent. [node:read-more:link]

Americans want new global approach

Results of a poll conducted in the closing weeks of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan indicate that a plurality of Americans want fewer troops stationed abroad, Published Sept. 28, they also indicate that a majority prefer more diplomatic engagement on a range of issues such as climate change, migration and human rights. [node:read-more:link]

What about Huseyin Celil?

With the “Two Michaels” safely repatriated from China, questions are being asked about Huseyin Celil, a naturalized Muslim Canadian in Chinese custody for much longer than three years. Jailed for his advocacy on behalf of the Uyghur minority, he fled China in 2001 and, as a UN-recognized refugee, became a Canadian citizen in 2005. However, during a visit to his wife’s family in Uzbekistan, he was arrested there and handed over to China, which has denied him consular access because Beijing does not recognize his Canadian citizenship. [node:read-more:link]

The China challenge going forward

Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau said Sept. 26 that Canada’s “eyes are wide open” when it comes to normalizing relations with China in the aftermath of the “Two Michaels” standoff. He said the government is now following a fourfold approach of “coexist,” “compete,” “cooperate” and “challenge” as it addresses trade, climate change and human rights concerns. “There was no path to a relationship with China as long as the two Michaels were being detained.” [node:read-more:link]

Taliban actions belie their words

Having promised a milder form of government than when they ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, the Taliban evidently are wasting no time backtracking on their promises. In addition to reinstating bans on education for girls and employment for most women, they now are resorting to executions and public displays of bodies as a deterrent. [node:read-more:link]


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