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Ask Mussolini. Ask Hitler. Ask Stalin. Ask Pol Pot. Their populations were driven to exhaustion and paralysis by a constant barrage of attacks of that held most dear. Left stunned and disbelieving by the dizzying spin of hatred, demonization and battles seemingly lost, we're supposed to give up. Or fight a little less. So the old saw says.
In 2011, the government introduced a ministerial directive that allows, under exceptional circumstances, for information garnered under torture by a foreign country to be transmitted to and used by Canadian security agencies. These kinds of directives play a clear role in perpetuating human rights abuses.
When I first heard about the Women's March on Washington back in November, I felt called to get involved. I've used my words and my voice over the years, but have never physically marched. It was finally the time! I decided to stand with the thousands of other concerned citizens and march in solidarity here in Toronto.
Canadian Human Rights Commission
Among the groups that I saw at the Toronto march was a contingent of elementary school teachers. As most people know, the great majority of elementary school teachers everywhere are women. As women, they have experienced more than their fair share of discrimination, pay inequity, and even violence in the workplace. But should teachers have the right to protest and then to bring their views and opinions into their classrooms? It might depend on the views and how they are expressed.
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It seems obvious that solitary confinement for someone with mental health issues is dangerous and destructive. The Canadian Human Rights Commission has long held that placing vulnerable individuals in solitary confinement denies them their human rights, and for those with mental health issues, it can lead to irreparable harm.
I want my daughter's best interests to be represented by the numerous disability rights organizations that have appeared in recent years. Sadly, these organizations, like the Council of Canadians with Disabilities, too often promote policies that pose real dangers to her. It's important to understand why a group like this would decide to hold these positions.
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In 2016, more than 36,300 Syrian refugees have arrived in Canada. The world applauded the new government and citizens worldwide pushed their governments to follow in Canada's footsteps. However, the heroic story ended with the Syrian refugees as Canada has not extended its helping hand to other nationalities in the same way.
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In Nunavut, 60 per cent of children are living in food-insecure households while in Manitoba, 76 per cent of First Nations children on reserves live in poverty. Vulnerable populations, such as women, seniors, recent immigrants, indigenous populations and racialized individuals experience the effects of poverty disproportionately demonstrating that even within the realm of social inadequacy the playing field isn't level.
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Our society has come to a fork in the road: we must decide the core values that will drive social policy in the future. Ontarians have big ideas and want bold approaches to address persistent human rights problems, and we agree. Our work has the most impact when we amplify the voices of the most marginalized people, and when the public echoes our human rights message and demands action.
Activists take pride in the fact that their movements are inclusive, but it appears that unless women and girls with disabilities and deaf women and girls make our way to the table then, over and over again, our needs are forgotten. There are but a handful of women with disabilities and Deaf women in Canada who are fortunate enough to be at those tables, and I am one of them.
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Gifts are often something we think of as meaningful, but mostly superfluous expressions of our love for each other. But in some cases, gifts can be blessings that change the course of people's lives for good. As Human Rights Day approaches, I've been reflecting on ways to offer hope for a better future to children in need overseas.
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International Human Rights Day should be a chance to celebrate the advances we've made to make the world a safer place for those suffering the threats of hate, racism and division. But we seem to be taking steps backwards. The president-elect of the United States got to that office by unleashing and lending legitimacy to the hatred and xenophobia that we normally look to our political leaders to push back against.
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It was a chance to hear from some of the many victims of Monsanto and how that company has affected every level of our lives: from the food we put into our bodies and the issues associated with genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and the glyphosate-based herbicide Roundup, to the adverse impacts its corporate greed has on poverty and food security.
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It's not just the U.S. that is experiencing an increase in hate, it's been here at home -- Toronto -- for quite some time. And it's been landing on our doorsteps. It's the misogynist, racist, anti-Jewish, anti-Muslim and homophobic piece of garbage that calls itself the innocuous sounding "Your Ward News."
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It would appear that this is a potent form of immunity, a kind of magical cloak that can make any crime, no matter how heinous, invisible to a certain kind of person pre-programmed to be sympathetic to anyone who uses the word "America" and "imperialism" in the same sentence.
We have a Prime Minister who calls himself a feminist -- a word previously taboo even among women's groups -- we have a gender-balanced federal cabinet where women hold some of the highest positions of power in the country, and the appointment of new Canadian Senators who are some of the leading feminist advocates in the country. So, are we there? Have we achieved equality for women in Canada? The answer, unsurprisingly, is not yet.
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Fidel Castro was no saint. He was a cruel dictator who oppressed and terrorized the Cuban people for nearly 50 years. Anybody who remembers him fondly is ignoring his trail of human rights violations, while openly supporting a communist regime.
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The recognition of housing as a human right by Minister Duclos' office could be the turning point -- not just for how we view housing, but for poverty and other economic rights violations as well. To see housing as a right looks beyond the physical structure of a shelter to a number of other factors: access to sanitation, location, and access to services or employment, community, security of tenure, and cultural adequacy, as well as other rights such as health, life and dignity.
Freedom of speech does not only protect one's right to be offensive, it also protects individual and communities' right to express their diversity. By staging the debate, focusing on anti-trans and anti-black freedom of speech, the University of Toronto is inflaming the toxic environment its trans and racialized students are facing.
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Discrimination is an odd thing. It often happens when people have the best of intentions. No one wants to make a person feel bad, but the actions they take, which they believe are in the best interests of everyone, can result in unfair treatment of someone. Rights will often come into collision with one another. Working out how best to balance this is not an easy job, but it must be done.
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Badawi has been languishing in a Saudi prison since his first arrest in 2012, and his subsequent sentencing in 2014 to 10 years imprisonment and 1000 lashes, itself constitutive of torture and a standing violation of international human rights law. Raif Badawi's "crime"? Establishing an online forum and exercising his right to freedom of expression.
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A lack of environmental rights impacts some of us more than others. Time and time again low-income populations, First Nations communities, and other historically disadvantaged groups in our society are forced to bear more than their fair share of environmental harm while more affluent communities benefit.
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Two years ago today, an article I wrote on a whim was published on Huff Post Living Canada. It was an open letter to my fellow Canadians, a plea, asking for tolerance for my Muslim children in the wake of the Ottawa shooting. It kind of went nuts.
Recognizing housing as a fundamental human right could be viewed as a dangerous proposition for many who treat housing as a business. It opens the door for lawsuits against both businesses and governments who fail to take the issue seriously.
My father, Wang Bingzhang, is a Chinese political prisoner currently serving the 14th year of a life sentence for his work in pro-democracy activism. In 2002, while in Vietnam, my father was abducted into China and arrested by Chinese police. Six months later, he had a sham trial, found guilty, and sentenced to life in prison.
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Human rights or security? In Canada and around the world the debate rages on; but it is an utterly false debate. We must, finally and firmly, reject the assumption and assertion that more of one necessarily leads to less of the other. There is no security without human rights.
We, the undersigned organizations and supporters, call on the Canadian government to put human rights, especially free expression and press freedom, at the heart of the "renewed" Canada-China relationship.
Mark Blinch / Reuters
The Canadian House of Commons is one of few parliaments in the world to have formally acknowledged and denounced one of the worst crimes against humanity in recent history. In the summer of 1988, Ayatollah Khomeini issued a religious edict ordering the death of any political prisoner who failed to demonstrate loyalty to the regime.
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This is a wonderful idea with great symbolic and even practical value in this day and age of rampant Islamophobia. I urge everyone to sign this petition. I also encourage your family and friends to do the same. Yet some of the people contacting me believe that the petition will create a new hate offence of Islamophobia
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Members of the Ethiopian community in Winnipeg recently called on Canada to sanction the country. The protesters are angry about the regime's violent crackdown in the Oromiya and Amhara regions. Hundreds of peaceful protesters have been killed and many more jailed since unrest began over a land dispute 10 months ago.
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A real transformation of Canada's role in the world will require more than a shift in foreign aid spending and policy. It will require a deeper examination of the ways in which Canadian commercial interests are contributing to social, economic and environmental injustice in the world.
On August 10, 1974, Edward Nolan died by suicide in a segregation cell at Millhaven Institution in Bath, Ontario. Each year on August 10, we commemorate Prisoners' Justice Day to remember Nolan and all of the prisoners who have died in custody, and to renew calls to respect the basic human rights of prisoners housed in jails, correctional centres, and penitentiaries across the country.