Human Rights

Australian blogger held in China

Australia's ambassador to China, Graham Fletcher, was denied entry May 25 to a Beijing court which was hearing espionage charges against an Australian blogger. “The reason given was because of the pandemic situation but the foreign ministry has also told us it is because it is a national security case,” Fletcher said. [node:read-more:link]

Israel’s attack on Gaza criminal?

Michelle Bacelet, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, says the deaths of more than 200 Palestinians during Israel’s latest attack on the Gaza strip may be considers “war crimes.” The former socialist president of Chile made her comment May 26 at the opening of a UN Human Rights Council meeting. “If found disproportionate, such attacks might constitute war crimes,” she said, also urging Hamas to stop firing rockets indiscriminately into Israel. [node:read-more:link]

Belarus closing embassy amid controversy

Even as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was saying May 25 that his government is considering further sanctions against Belarus over its military diversion of an international airline flight to arrest a passenger who has criticized the autocratic regime, Minsk announced that it is closing its embassy in Ottawa in a couple of months. Meanwhile, Transport Canada has advised all airlines to avoid Belarussian airspace. [node:read-more:link]

Mounties tackling cultural bias

The RCMP says it is considering revisions to its entrance exam in an attempt to address cultural biases and “outdated criteria.” Dealing with what has been described as racism and a “toxic culture” in its ranks, it has posted a tender for a contractor to provide screening services. [node:read-more:link]

G-7 ministers knock China and Russia

In a 12,400-page communique at the end of their two-day summit in London, foreign ministers from Canada and the other G-7 countries included an anodyne critique of China and Russia, both of which rejected the characterizations. Potentially setting the tone for a G-7 leaders meeting in June, they reiterated concerns about Beijing’s human rights record and expansionism and Moscow’s aggression in eastern Europe. [node:read-more:link]

Two Michaels have USVP’s backing

U.S. Vice-President Kamala Harris has told Prime Minister Justin Trudeau the U.S. will do everything it can to ensure that detained Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor are returned safely from China, where they have been held for more than two years. Harris evidently broached the issue during a telephone call. [node:read-more:link]

Canada a target of foreign meddling

Freedom House, a Washing-based lobby group, has released a report on how expatriates in dozens of democracies, including Canada, are harassed and threatened by their homelands. Believed to be unprecedented in scope, the report on “transnational repression” specifically names China, Iran, Russia, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. [node:read-more:link]

Israel rejects “apartheid” label

Israel’s government has been accused by Washington-based Human Rights Watch of apartheid-style persecution of Palestinians, displaying “an intent to maintain the domination of Jewish Israelis over Palestinians across Israel and the occupied Palestinians territory.” Israel’s foreign ministry immediately slammed the report, says that HRW “is known to have a long-standing anti-Israeli agenda.” [node:read-more:link]

Nationalist Party leader charged

An RCMP investigation has led to Travis Patron, the Saskatchewan-based leader of the Canadian Nationalist Party, being charged for promoting hatred through anti-Semitic postings on social media. “He's promoting some of the most vile and dangerous anti-Semitic tropes in history,” says Jaime Kirzner-Roberts, director of policy with the Toronto-based Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center. [node:read-more:link]

China dismisses “genocide” accusation

A House of Commons subcommittee’s accusation that China's treatment of its mostly Muslim Uighur population is tantamount to genocide has sparked a strong response from Beijing. “A rumour and a farce fabricated by some anti-Chinese forces,” was a foreign ministry officials’ response to the subcommittee’s report. “This is blatant interference in China's internal affairs and reflects those Canadian individuals' ignorance and prejudice.” [node:read-more:link]

House passes genocide motion

An Opposition motion declaring that China is committing genocide against its Uighur population was approved 266-0 in the House of Commons today with only the cabinet abstaining. The non-binding motion by the Conservatives’ foreign affairs critic, Michael Chong, was supported by more than 80 government MPs who were given a free vote. [node:read-more:link]

COVID-19: global cooperation urged

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization, says wealthier countries should not undermine arrangements for poorer countries to have access to COVID-19 vaccines. He notes that some countries have ordered enough to vaccinate their populations more than once. [node:read-more:link]

Navalny sent to penal colony

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has been transferred to a penal colony to serve out a sentence the government is for embezzlement after voluntarily returning from Germany where he had undergone major medical help for an allegedly state-sanctioned poisoning. A court said that by having left the country, he had violated the terms of probation arising from the embezzlement charge. [node:read-more:link]

Saudi leader sued by media watchdog

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and four other high-ranking officials are being sued by Reporters Without Borders in Germany for “crimes against humanity” in connection with the 2018 murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The March 2 announcement came four days after the U.S. declassified a report which concluded that MBS had approved Khashoggi’s killing at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. [node:read-more:link]

Meng extradition hearing continues

The B.C. Supreme Court hearing of a U.S. request for Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou to be extradicted has been asked to consider evidence her lawyer says will show that the U.S. account of her activities is “manifestly unreliable.” Frank Addario says prosecutors have failed to mention that bank officials whom Meng is accused of defrauding were fully aware of information she is accused of trying to hide. [node:read-more:link]


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