Human Rights

Mike Powell via Getty Images

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?
Adrian Wyld/CP

Dear Justin Trudeau: Don't Buy Into Israeli Exceptionalism

We ask you to resist the false alarm that your Zionist friends sound when they cry "anti-Semitism!" as the proverbial boy might cry "wolf!" For those who do so are robbing a horrendous historic episode of its gravity, confusing legitimate dissent with genocide. Criticism is not Kristallnacht; challenges to the occupation are not the gas chambers. The distinction is crucial.
CP

It's Time To End Solitary Confinement In Ontario Jails

Every year, thousands of people are placed in segregation in jails and penitentiaries across the country. Systemic data about the use of segregation in both provincial and federal contexts indicates that segregation is being overused on -- and causing particular harm for -- vulnerable groups, such as black and indigenous prisoners, women, and those with mental health disabilities.
Facebook

Who Gets To Decide Who You Are?

If an event, program, or institution is created to support a specific group of people, who determines the membership in and the rules to be followed by that group? Does it matter whether the group identifies itself as disadvantaged? What if others see the group as privileged?
Getty Images

Is Affordable Internet As Important As Affordable Housing?

Whether it's Internet access or affordable housing -- the same problem presents itself. Government interference drives up prices while constraining the problem solving power of a free market. Consumer advocacy groups should be fighting for less interference, fewer regulations, and a less powerful bureaucracy. The solution is never more government. It's less.
C/O

Don't Blame The End Of Carding For An Increase In Gun Violence

Like most people that call this city home, I am deeply troubled by Sunday's shooting deaths in Toronto's Chinatown and the eight other gun-related deaths the city saw in January. This is obviously unacceptable, and police must be supported in their efforts to investigate and prosecute those responsible for these horrific crimes. That being said, most people would be hesitant to draw any clear conclusions about why we have seen a high number of gun crimes over the past month. Mike McCormack, president of the Toronto Police Association, the union that represents police officers, feels differently.
VANDAL Photography via Getty Images

Veganism: Ontario's Next Official Human Right

Ontario's Human Rights Code protects people from discrimination based on characteristics like race, age, gender identity, and sex in situations like the provision of services, housing, and employment. People are also protected from discrimination based on their creed. The term "creed" isn't defined in the legislation, but until recently, it was thought to mean the same thing as religion. That is, until now.
Getty Images

Embracing Human Rights Could Lead To The End Of Poverty In Canada

It seems that far too often the government and people here at home are more willing to rally around civil and political rights violations. Bill C-51, for example, drew waves of protest across the country. Compare that to how Canadians responded to the squalid conditions faced by 4.9 million people living in poverty. But rights are so important to the way that we understand poverty in Canada. Rights put people at the centre of policy decisions that affect them -- they bring dignity and humanity back to the conversation.
shutterstock

Criticism of Religion Should Not Lead To Discrimination

Most Canadians believe that religious discrimination is no longer a problem in contemporary society. Yet, after the terrorist attacks in Paris last month, we have seen a marked spike in hate crimes against Muslims. Less extreme, but likely more pervasive than overt attacks are new stereotypes that view all religious people as inherently backward, less tolerant, less informed, or closed-minded. This is a different form of prejudice that appears to be socially acceptable in our more secular society, and among many otherwise "progressive" or "liberal" individuals.
ASIT KUMAR via Getty Images

Climate Change Is A Human Rights Issue

It has become clear that climate change will disproportionately impact the world's most vulnerable because they are heavily dependent on resources that will be affected by climatic change. Whether by virtue of socio-economic status, conflict, gender or geography, certain groups are more liable than others to be negatively impacted by climate change, which directly implicates the question of human rights. How will this differentially influence people's lives, living conditions and livelihoods, and who are the most vulnerable?
CP

Terror Abroad Has Revealed Troubling Hate Here At Home

Such is the nature of our hyper-connected planet that events seemingly worlds away from our day-to-day lives can reverberate in our neighbourhood. That is the power and promise of social media - it makes the world smaller. The flip side, however, is that faraway events, like those in Paris, Beirut, Nigeria and Egypt, can embolden otherwise-marginal, hateful forces here at home.
stevanovicigor

Why We Still Need Human Rights Institutions

The human rights landscape has changed dramatically since 1962, when the Ontario Human Rights Commission was created. There are now parallel human right institutions federally and in every province and territory, and numerous international human rights treaties to which Canada is a party. In Ontario, most people are ambivalent or simply don't know about the OHRC, its role, and its work. This is ironic because some of the issues that have captivated Ontarians in recent years clearly fall within the OHRC's jurisdiction and are issues on which the Commission has been actively engaged.
alexskopje via Getty Images

Saudi Arabia Doesn't Measure Up to Canada's Rights Recommendations

Less than two months before Ottawa announced a $14.8-billion military export contract with Saudi Arabia Canada provided substantial input concerning the Saudi human rights situation at the United Nations Human Rights Council. And while progress has been utterly lacking in relation to every single recommendation made by Canada, it is now all but certain that the deal with the autocratic Kingdom will proceed.