Temple and festival elephants were drowning in a sea of sadness as the masses gathered in the thousands to celebrate the annual Trissur Pooram in Kerala, India -- the largest congregation of male elephants in the world. More than 90 elephants took turns during a 36-hour festival to entertain the insane crowd, mostly drunk and occasionally drenched by sudden downpours.
The Government of Canada has just given new meaning to the word "chutzpah". Adel Benhmuda tried to claim refugee status in Canada; he failed. When he said he'd be tortured if deported back to Libya this country didn't believe him. After all this country put them through, it should be Canada reimbursing the Benhmudas.
You can't watch the police riot at the G20 summit or the killing of Sammy Yatim in the bus on all those smartphones and surveillance cameras without believing that maybe, just maybe, the era of the thin blue line endlessly protecting its own might be ending. Not because the cops have cleaned up their act. But because now they're being watched.
Adel Benhmuda is owed an apology from this country, as are his wife, Aisha, and their four children. After living in Canada for several years their refugee claim failed and Benhmuda's assertions that he would be tortured in Libya were dismissed. In 2008 the family was deported. Upon arrival in Libya, Adel was arrested and tortured. What I would like Minister Kenney to do is stand up in the House of Commons, admit that his beloved asylum system made a grave error and most importantly, apologize to the Benhmudas for what their family was forced to go through.
A process of truth and reconciliation is underway this week in The Hague -- the Iran Tribunals. The aim of the tribunals is to bring the facts, individuals, and victims of the mass executions that marked the beginnings of the Islamic Republic of Iran. As witnesses of day one related their stories to the audience, there was a feeling of clarity. More than one tear was shed for these tragic experiences, and the lives lost.
Eight military police officers whose conduct was under examination, have been cleared and the whole matter of whether or not Canadian military police tortured Afghanis is filed away as it should have been -- and would have been if the Globe and Mail hadn't had a bee in its bonnet, intent on rooting out scoundrels it believed were in our military.
May 2012 was Canada's turn to appear again before the UN Committee Against Torture. Governmental responses that the UN Committee should focus on countries worse than Canada don't make sense -- should a corporation with a strong ethical record say that it no longer needs to undergo audit processes because there are other corporations out there cooking the books?
In recommendations released today, the UN Committee Against Torture slammed Canada's treatment of prisoners with mental health issues. Given that Canada is viewed by many as the "gold standard" in corrections, these findings are also an important reminder that serious problems remain within the Correctional Service of Canada.
The story of Ashley Smith's in-custody death in 2007 was so shocking that it touched many Canadians unaccustomed to empathy for prisoners. Our report, produced by the International Human Rights Program at the Faculty is shocking because it details how women a lot like Ashley continue to be treated in a manner that breaches their human rights.