Human Rights

EU considers extended Chinese sanctions

Delegates to the European Union agreed today to blacklist Chinese officials over human rights abuses. They want travel bans and asset freezes on four individuals and one entity, but details won’t be disclosed until foreign ministers consider the proposal March 22. [node:read-more:link]

Assisted dying bill now law

Federal legislation governing eligibility for medically assisted death, eliminating a requirement for final consent before the procedure, has received Royal Assent. Now anyone who is suffering but not facing imminent death, can apply for medical assistance after assessment and counseling. [node:read-more:link]

Optimism about Ethiopia evaporates

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's last overseas trip before COVID-19 erupted was to Africa, include a stop in Ethiopia which has been second only to Afghanistan in terms of Canadian aid. At the time, the PM praised President Abiy Ahmed’s “leadership” and reforms but his Foreign Affairs Minister, Marc Garneau, now is expressing “deep concern regarding credible reports of human rights violations and abuses.” [node:read-more:link]

Turkey abandons women’s protection

Ten years after a Council of Europe accord designed to protect women was agreed to at a meeting in Istanbul, the Turkish government has abandoned the agreement. It is reacting to conservatives’ arguments that the accord’s principles of gender equality and non-discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation undermine family values and promote homosexuality. [node:read-more:link]

Navalny protesters rounded up

Russian police arrested nearly 1,800 persons involved in widespread protests April 21 over the alleged mistreatment of jailed opposition politician Alexey Navalny. The demonstrations across the country occurred only hour after President Vladimir Putin’s state-of-the-nation speech. [node:read-more:link]

Michael Kovrig “trial” ends

As expected, the trial of detained Canadian Michael Kovrig ended today with no verdict after a two-hour closed hearing in Beijing. Fellow detainee Michael Spavor’s March 19 similar trial ended the same way. They were arrested in December 2018 on alleged espionage charges and Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau today said Canada remains “deeply troubled by the total lack of transparency.” [node:read-more:link]

Canada joins multinational sanctions against China

Canada today joined with Britain, the European Union and the U.S. in imposing sanctions against four-high ranking Chinese officials and one state entity for the country’s treatment of it Uigher population. “These sanctions underscore Canada’s grave concern,” Global Affairs said in a statement. “Mounting evidence points to systemic, state-led human rights violations.” [node:read-more:link]

No anonymity for violent offenders?

The Alberta government has introduced draft legislation in an unprecedented move to prevent some violent offenders from legally changing their names. The president of the Canadian Prison Law Association said March 21 that Bill 61 “probably” intrudes on federal criminal law jurisdiction and does not consider individuals’ rehabilitation. [node:read-more:link]

Culture change afoot for RCMP?

A scathing report by the RCMP’s independent watchdog on racial discrimination has prompted Commissioner Brenda Lucki to respond that she is trying to change the force’s evidently entrenched culture. “It's part of my job, and part of my mandate, to ensure that the culture is transformed and that we strengthen our relationships with Indigenous people,” she told a parliamentary committee March 24. [node:read-more:link]

Protests continue in Turkey

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s internationally-condemned decision to withdraw from treaty designed to address violence against women has resulted in a second wave of public protests. Named for the city in which it was drafted in 2011, the Istanbul Convention was said by Erdoğan to have been “hijacked by a group of people attempting to normalise homosexuality” which was “incompatible” with Turkish values. [node:read-more:link]

Chinese sanctions “a badge of honour”

Conservative MP Michael Chong, vice-chair of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and its international human rights subcommittee is one of several persons sanctioned by China in a dispute over Beijing’s treatment of its minorities. Chong says he will consider China’s response to Canadian sanctions “a badge of honour.” [node:read-more:link]

China exploiting social media

The Australian Strategic Policy Institute says the Chinese Communist Party has become increasingly bold and sophisticated in trying to shape international perceptions of how it treats religious and ethnic minorities. It says diplomats and state media have been prolific users of western social media platforms as well as using so-called “influencers” in a bid to shape public opinion. [node:read-more:link]

Europe wants to limit AI and biometrics

Some “unacceptable” uses of artificial intelligence would be banned in Europe under proposed rules announced today by the European Commission's rules. The draft ban would target “AI systems considered a clear threat to the safety, livelihoods and rights of people,” said the EC, which also has proposed stricter rules on law enforcement’s use of biometrics. [node:read-more:link]

Myanmar leaders charged

The top civilian leaders in Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint, have been charged by police in the aftermath of the internationally-condemned Feb. 1 coup by military commanders alleging fraud in last year’s election. Aung San Suu Kyi is charged with breaching import and export laws, and possession of unlawful communication devices while Win Myint is charged with violating rules banning gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic. [node:read-more:link]

Myanmar protests continue

Hundreds of thousands of protesters returned to the streets in Myanmar in one of the largest demonstrations against the country's recent military coup. Businesses closed as employees joined a general strike, despite a military statement that said protesters were risking their lives by turning out. At least two demonstrators were killed Feb. 21. [node:read-more:link]


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