Whether faced with the level of cultural appropriation or cultural appreciation that yoga has seen, a bit of re-appropriation -- done in an inclusive manner -- never hurts. At the request of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution establishing International Yoga Day. The first celebration in 2015 saw yoga sessions happening all over the world.
If there was one area of near total consensus, it was that the present 'humanitarian system' is unable to cope with the global crises and scale of suffering around the world. Established long-ago and now pressed with unprecedented levels of needs, the system simply isn't fit for purpose anymore. And so aspirations for the WHS were high.
The Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister, Stéphane Dion, recently declared that Canada "should join this important protocol" -- the United Nations' Protocol against Torture. More than a decade after it was initially passed, Canada is still sitting on the bench and watching cases after cases of torture happening.
In a disingenuous ploy to gain acceptance and support in the West, many proponents of BDS typically claim that their movement is simply about promoting the "fundamental rights" of Palestinians in accordance with "international law." This means, foremost, pressuring Israel to end "its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands" and allowing "the rights of the Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties [in Israel] as stipulated in UN resolution 194."
Women's organizations, governments and United Nations entities celebrated the 15th anniversary of Security Council Resolution 1325. This landmark resolution stated that women's participation, security and protection were essential in the prevention and resolution of armed conflict. This resolution was much heralded at the time and was followed by seven additional resolutions on women, peace and security. However, civil society organizations have observed again and again that these strong words have not been translated into action.
The world is littered with women and men who feed on the misery of entire societies, who have grown fat in their spoils and comfortable in their impunity, sheltering behind national jurisdictions and national institutions they have been able to twist to their benefit. But there is a higher law. There is a deeper justice. And we will stand up for it.
In 1992, Canada was the world's leading contributor to United Nations peacekeeping operations. Canada now ranks a dismal 68th in personnel contributions to UN peacekeeping. This dramatic decline began under the Liberals. Our international engagement programs took us from #1 to #32 by the time the Conservatives took office in 2006 -- they continued the Liberal abandonment of UN peacekeeping as a key role for Canada.
Demand for peace operations has never been greater, and the UN has never been busier, with more than 128,000 civilian and uniformed personnel serving in 39 missions across four continents. Canada has been absent from peace operations for many years. We currently have a risible total of 28 military personnel and 88 police officers on UN missions. Once we were number one in this field; now we are number 68 -- right behind Paraguay. Canada, and all our international partners, must provide the UN with the expertise and capabilities it needs to respond to this unprecedented challenge.
Canada has received a rebuke from a United Nations treaty monitoring body for its lack of respect for human rights. The Human Rights Committee (HRC) released a lengthy list of issues it cited as concerning as part of its concluding observations on the country's review of civil and political rights. Included was an important reference to the federal government's efforts to silence human rights organizations and advocacy through the Income Tax Act -- a welcome expression of support for charities under audit.