Human Rights

OttawaU under fire over press freedom

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other federal politicians are criticizing the University of Ottawa for banning cameras during a speech November 28 by China’s ambassador Canada. Cong Peiwu requested that no cameras be present when he spoke at a conference on “China and the World” and the university’s immediate compliance sparked a barrage of criticism about freedom of the press. [node:read-more:link]

U.K. eases up on Internet crackdown

The British government, responding to criticism from lawmakers and civil liberties groups, has abandoned a plan to force the removal of Internet content that is harmful but legal. While similar to initiatives in the EU and the U.S., the Online Safety Bill – designed address racism, sexual abuse, bullying, fraud and other material – was one of the most sweeping in giving regulators wide-ranging powers to sanction digital and social media. [node:read-more:link]

Russian embassy’s homophobic attack

Russia’s ambassador to Canada, Alexander Darchiev, has been summoned by Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly to explain social media postings against LGBTQ2S+ Canadians, notably Sports Minister Pascale St-Onge, a lesbian. In a series of posted images of a crossed-out rainbow flag and Orthodox Curch icons, the embassy accused Canada of “conflating the concepts of individual sexual preferences and universal human rights.” When St-Ange decried Russia’s discriminatory laws as “a disgrace,” the embassy asked her to “please explore and explain how you appeared in this world.” [node:read-more:link]

Netanyahu alliance “full-on crazy”

Likud Party Leader Benjamin Netanyahu, trying to form another Israeli coalition government after the country’s general election four weeks ago, agreed November 28 to appoint the head of an openly homophobic ultra-nationalist party leader as a deputy minister to oversee a “Jewish identity” authority. Outgoing Prime Minister Yair Lapid calls the alliance with the Noam party leader Avi Maoz “full-on crazy” while Palestinian leaders fear a “right-wing fascist coalition.” [node:read-more:link]

Iran leader lauds militia “sacrifice”

Iranian Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, whose forces have killed, injured or incarcerated hundreds of protestors in recent weeks, said November 26 that his Basij militia have sacrificed lives “to protect people from rioters.” Affiliated with the Revolutionary Guard Corps, the civilian force has been at the forefront of the state crackdown, and Khamenei said their involvement “shows that Islamic Revolution is alive.” [node:read-more:link]

B.C. trailblazes indigenous children’s rights

British Columbia today became the first Canadian jurisdiction to ensure that indigenous communities can provide their own child and family services, passing legislation as part of a general overhaul of child welfare programs. Statistics Canada said that some 68 per cent of children younger than 14 in provincial care programs in B.C. were indigenous in 2021 compared with nearly 54 per cent nationally. [node:read-more:link]

Police racial profiling ruling appealed

The Quebec government will appeal a provincial Superior Court court ruling that police were violating drivers’ constitutional rights by stopping them without cause and that the practice is “a safe conduit for racial profiling.” Public Security François Bonnardel said in announcing the challenge that it is “unjustified to abolish a tool that is so important to police services.” [node:read-more:link]

Human rights tribunal decision challenged

The federal government and the Assembly of First Nations are seeking judicial review of a Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rejection of the government’s $20-billion offer to settle a class-action lawsuit over underfunding of on-reserve child welfare. Indigenous Services Minister Patty Hajdu and Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Marc Miller said they want “clarity” on how to address the parts of the deal the tribunal rejected. [node:read-more:link]

Canadian company sued by Tanzanians

Barrick Gold Corporation, a Toronto-based mining company with operations in more than a dozen countries, is being sued in the Superior Court of Justice by a group of Tanzanian villagers over alleged police killings, torture and other abuses. The plaintiffs include relatives of five men killed by Tanzanian police assigned to protect the mine near the border with Kenya. [node:read-more:link]

Green Party leadership shuffle continues

Elizabeth May, who led the Green Party of Canada from 2006 to 2019, representing a B.C. coastal riding as the party’s first MP, returned to the position November 19 after the organization went through several years of internal turmoil. Acknowledging the déjà vu” situation, she noted that Jonathan Pedneault, a former activist with Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, has been elected deputy leader. [node:read-more:link]

CSIS investigates Iranian threats

Death threats from within Iran against residents of this country are being investigated by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. “Ultimately, these hostile activities and foreign interference undermine the security of Canada and Canadians, as well as our democratic values and sovereignty,” a CSIS official says. Details were released after British intelligence confirmed a similar campaign there. [node:read-more:link]

Immunity proposed for Saudi leader

The U.S. Administration said November 17 that Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, by virtue of his office, should be immune from prosecution for his alleged oversight of the 2018 killing in Turkey of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. The request, which the State Department says is a “purely a legal determination”, is non-binding; a judge would ultimately decide on immunity. [node:read-more:link]

Myanmar releases former diplomat and others

Vicky Bowman, a former British ambassador to Myanmar, is one of four foreigners among 5,774 persons released today by the country’s military rulers. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken welcomed the development but said “it is one bright spot in what is otherwise an incredibly dark time, where we see things going from bad to worse in Burma.” [node:read-more:link]

Social media backfires on PM

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was among a number of high-profile individuals who shared an erroneous November 15 Twitter post that Iran had sentenced 15,000 protestors to death in the past couple of months. Having denounced “the Iranian regime's barbaric decision,” the PM removed his social media post when it was challenged. Iran has arrested more than 15,000 protestors, five of whom have been sentenced to death. [node:read-more:link]

Taliban increases suppression of women

Since the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan 15 months ago, they have increasingly mimited women’s freedoms despite promises not to do so. Having already banned girls from middle- and high-school, restricted women from working and told them how to dress in public, this week they banned them from gymnasiums and parks. A Ministry of Virtue and Vice spokesman says gender segregation orders were being ignored and women were not wearing the traditional headscarf. [node:read-more:link]


Subscribe to RSS - Human Rights