Human Rights

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Manifesto for a Global Movement

A new era of darkness looms over Québec and is permeating our land. Québec's evolution as a modern society is based on core values that include clean energy and the redistribution of wealth. This is at the heart of who we are as Quebecers. This is what we aspire to be. We demand that this identity be respected.
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Optimism For Burma Quietly Gives Way To Oppression And Violence

There was optimism and hope in the air four years ago, when Burma's democratic government prised control of the country from the military after 49 years of brutal rule. The Burmese, and indeed the world, looked to the new government to relax the iron grip of the army and initiate a wave of liberal change. But the new leaders are still cracking down on ethnic minorities and students as if it was a force of habit.
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India's Daughter, The World's Daughter: Stopping Violence Against Women

Violence against girls and women is an issue everywhere, not only in India. We've read about other high-profile attacks in the past year -- mass abductions of school girls in Nigeria, women murdered in El Salvador and Brazil, and rape and assault accusations directed at celebrities in Canada and the U.S. These events are rooted in sexist and discriminatory systems in societies around the world. As the documentary and so many studies show, extreme violence is at the far end of a continuum that's based on social norms and attitudes that women are subordinate to men. At one end of the continuum are brutal acts of violence; one out of every three women worldwide experiences sexual violence during her life

United Nations Geneva Cooking-Up Some Peace

The United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland has recently published a unique cookbook, Recipes for Peace, Rights & Well-being, which shares the secrets of many "recipes" for its peace and humanitarian initiatives that have changed the world, combined with superb recipes from some of Geneva's most celebrated chefs.
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Why Did the U.S. Deny President Clinton Immunity But Grant It to a Foreign Head of State?

Here is the irony of ironies. Over a decade earlier, U.S. President Bill Clinton failed in his attempt to use immunity argument for a sitting head of state in a sexual harassment case that pre-dated his term in office. In May 1997, the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that "the President, like all other government officials, is subject to the same laws that apply to all other members of our society."
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King Abdullah Leaves A Legacy of Shame

Last week King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia died at the age of 90. From the time he received the throne in 1995 until the day he died, Abdullah watched, mostly in silence, as the world became mired in religious extremism and as blame for the chaos fell squarely upon the shoulders of ordinary Muslims. Abdullah knew and implicitly sealed the export of hateful Wahabism from Saudi Arabia's borders to all corners of the earth, ignoring centuries of tradition from its Islamic anti-thesis, Sufism.
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FLOGGING <em>POSTPONED</em>

A second round of lashings against Saudi Arabian blogger Raif Badawi has been postponed for medical reasons, according to Amnesty International. The human rights group said it would provide more deta...
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We Must Start Digging Our Way Out of Canada's Mining Dilemma

Mining is important to human well-being, but the current economic system means it's often aimed at maximizing profit with little regard for people or the environment. It's one area where Canadians can make a difference. Canadian mining companies haven't always had a great record for environmental and social responsibility in communities where they operate -- but public scrutiny and pressure may be helping to change that.
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Genetic Discrimination Means the Choice Between Life and Life Insurance

Protecting members of our society from discrimination based on the colour of their skin, ethnicity, or ancestry is a fundamental Canadian value. Unfortunately, Canadians across the country currently face real as well as potential future discrimination based on their DNA. Genetic testing can provide diagnostic precision and more effective treatment of illness, saving lives and ultimately reducing healthcare costs. Tragically, patients all too often face a dreadful dilemma: undergo testing that could prolong and improve the quality of their lives but would make them vulnerable to discrimination, or refrain from testing and take their chances.
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When Will Governments Get Tough on Sexual Harassment?

It's no longer a matter of discretion on the part of employers to permit smoking in the workplace. Why? Because its effects are known to be toxic. Sexual harassment can be no less toxic to those affected. It's time our political leaders got that message. They need to stop allowing employers, including governments themselves, to turn a blind eye when sexual harassment and reprisals occur, and put in place tough laws that really protect women.
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25 Years After the Montreal Massacre, Gender-Based Violence Still Thrives

When the gunman, a rejected engineering student, shot those young women he was enraged that they were pursuing studies in a profession he believed was meant for men. That was a quarter of a century ago. Today, more and more women are flooding into professions, including engineering, once considered male preserves, but there is still so much more progress to be made in changing those attitudes that enable gender-based violence.

Alberta Continues to Erect Human Rights Fences

Bill 10 as a response to Bill 202 makes it clear that students can have any range of clubs they wish, except if it applies to homosexuals, then restrictions apply. Such clubs require school board approval and there is no guarantee that approvals will occur. If a school board or its parents are intolerant in anyway, a board can easily disapprove any homosexual tolerating clubs.
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Why Is Stephen Harper Sending Us Back to 1973?

The creation of the "temporary" migrant worker programs were at their very core a policy rooted in racist exclusion. And that's exactly where the clock is being turned to today. The shutting out of thousands of racialized women from permanent immigration status is being strangely spun as a step forward. Immigration Minister Chris Alexander insisted, "We are saying to the whole Canadian population, to caregivers above all, the time of abuse and vulnerability is over".
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If Government Is Committed To Transparency, Why the Steep Search Fees?

In the past few years, I have made a handful of requests, dutifully paying my $5 in the hopes of receiving documents that will shed some light on Canada's human rights record. What has transpired is Kafkaesque. I requested information from the Department of Justice, Foreign Affairs, and Heritage Canada on our government's process for implementing human rights treaties. Between two departments, I was told that processing of my request would cost... wait for it ...more than $4,000 in search fees.