Human Rights

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Olympic Sex-Testing Is Violence Against Women

The IOC has informally encouraged sex-testing since the 1936 Olympics, and formally since the 1968 Games. From "visual exams" inspecting the genitals of female athletes to the testosterone-seeking sex tests of today, the IOC has a horrific history of misunderstanding and misusing science to simultaneously hurt women. Women who do not fit their policy can either undergo medical intervention to force their biology into that shoebox, or quit. Several young healthy women underwent a series of invasive procedures, including clitoral amputation, to remain in competitive sport. We need to let that sink in for a minute.
Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press

Canada Already Has An Interprovincial Trade Agreement: Our Constitution

Even before Canada's Premiers departed Whitehorse on Friday, media coverage was applauding a "ground-breaking" and "historic" agreement on internal trade within Canada. Not so fast. One key omission was immediately evident. When it comes to alcohol, the agreement will establish "a working group on alcoholic beverages, which will explore opportunities to improve trade in beer, wine and spirits across Canada."
Stefano Rellandini / Reuters

Sex-Testing Female Athletes Has Nothing To Do With Fairness

The International Olympic Committee has decided that one single determining factor, testosterone, is the latest and greatest marker for determining sex, even though research has shown there is no one single element than can be used to pigeonhole the world into two neat biological categories: male/female. This binary is an easy fiction that obscures the messier and more complicated details of real life.
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No One Deserves To Die The Way My Mother Did

Though assisted death is now officially legal in our fair country, we have yet to formalize a national framework and the debate over the specifics of the regulations seem to omit the most critical voice -- that of the individuals and families who have and continue to be subject to archaic mindsets that deny certain patients the right to end their own life, and control their own destiny. It is imperative we hear these voices -- and so here is mine.
UNICEF Canada

One Day In Jordan's Za'atari Refugee Camp

Za'atari is a refugee camp -- 80,000 people live here now -- but it is in the process of becoming a city. New people are not arriving, another camp is taking those people now. And it is hard to know how many more people Jordan can take -- this country of a little more than six million people is also home to nearly three million refugees.
Chris Wattie / Reuters

The Big, Fat Saudi-Arms-Deal Spin

According to Prime Minister Trudeau, proceeding with the multi-billion dollar arms deal with human rights violator Saudi Arabia is "a matter of principle." When have we heard this before? Ah yes, the previous government. Global Affairs Canada has released a statement explaining its rationale for authorizing the deal, ostensibly in response to the widespread backlash and barrage of questions in the wake of revelations that export permits for the deal were only authorized in early April.
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Conservatives' Bills Continue To Haunt Immigrants And Refugees

They first installed Bill C-31 to target the refugees, then in 2014 enacted Bill C-24 that turned immigrants and their families into second-class citizens. During that time, the Conservatives scrapped 280,000 skilled worker immigration applications. They stripped tens of thousands of foreign students of the opportunity to seek work and stay in Canada. They raised the bar for immigrants to become citizens.
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Environmental Deficit Tarnishes Canada's Rights Record

Many Canadians see our country as a human rights leader, but a United Nations committee says we should do better. In early March, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights concluded that Canada's lack of environmental protection and climate action mars our rights record. This recognition may be just emerging in international human rights law, but it's nothing new to Indigenous people and many others who directly depend on nature for food and livelihood.
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World Water Day Reminds Us Of Clean Water's Value

Earth's oceans, lakes, rivers and streams are its circulatory system, providing life's essentials for people, animals and ecosystems. Canada has one-fifth of the world's freshwater, a quarter of its remaining wetlands and its longest coastline. With this abundance, it's easy to take water for granted. Many of our daily rituals require its life-giving force. Yet do we recognize our good fortune in having clean, safe water at the turn of a tap?