Slavery is real. According to Boko Haram, the terrorist group wreaking havoc in Nigeria, the nearly 300 girls that it abducted from school are to be sold in a market. This is an outrage, an affront to every notion of our individual and shared humanity. But it's only a drop in the bucket.
Josh D. Scheinert is a lawyer practising international law in Toronto. Previously, he worked as the law clerk for the Chief Justice of the Federal Court (Canada) and as a visiting lecturer with the Faculty of Law at the University of The Gambia in West Africa, where he taught courses in constitutional law, international law, and human rights. He holds a Masters of Law from the University of Cambridge, with a specialization in international law. His law and undergraduate degrees are from Osgoode Hall Law School and McGill University.
The current state of government surveillance, the massive intrusion into our privacy, is not going to change anytime soon. A chance to move the debate constructively forward was missed. State surveillance, the collection of metadata, and some type of infringement of our right to privacy is going to continue. The only questions are to what extent and under what circumstances -- the law's never-ending search for proportionality. That is the debate that needs to be had, urgently.
05/05/2014 05:50 EDT
The truth is that when it's convenient, or easy, the IOC has no problem taking action. But not wanting to test the Siberian tiger, the IOC has shown that it only has the courage to stand up for straight athletes. In the long history of the Olympic movement, Sochi will be remembered in part for the IOC's unwillingness to defend its own athletes. Its silence on their behalf will speak volumes.
01/29/2014 12:33 EST
Incorrect is the claim that Stephen Harper defends the freedom and dignity of all people. Israel's occupation of the West Bank is an institutionalized system of oppression that every day denies the freedom and dignity of millions of Palestinians. When Canada votes against Palestinian aspirations at the UN, we come across as vindictive.
12/02/2013 08:10 EST
The Government of Canada has just given new meaning to the word "chutzpah". Adel Benhmuda tried to claim refugee status in Canada; he failed. When he said he'd be tortured if deported back to Libya this country didn't believe him. After all this country put them through, it should be Canada reimbursing the Benhmudas.
10/26/2013 06:13 EDT
It is easy to look at the facts, and other distressing realities, that surround the International Criminal Court and conclude that the 11-year old court is failing. And it might be. It has only handed out one verdict in its entire history, and it was a guilty vote. Many of its accused are still at large. But it serves a vital purpose in this day and age.
10/04/2013 05:37 EDT
In Syria we have been, perhaps rightfully, very concerned with getting ourselves caught in a situation where we have little control or influence, and whose end is unpredictable. Syria's civilians have paid the highest price of this calculus. Now, however, that calculus must change.
08/26/2013 01:29 EDT
How do you have an election in a country with a literacy rate of 37%? And why would someone who lives in a mud hut without running water or electricity take the time and effort to vote for someone who in all likelihood will have little to no effect on his or her life? But when the time finally came, election day in Mali was fantastic.
08/03/2013 04:09 EDT
The arrest by the RCMP of two individuals who were allegedly planning out a terrorist attack on a VIA Rail train will only heighten our level of anxiety as the scare hits closer to home. Reintroducing these provisions seems nothing more than an attempt by the Conservative government to further prove its 'tough on terror' credentials. But when our laws appear to be working -- results of brave and successful law enforcement operations -- attempting to play on our fears by using emotion over reason does not do justice to the seriousness this discussion this requires.
04/23/2013 08:44 EDT
I had taken a break from helping to construct a school in rural Uganda. Segawa, the director of the Kampala-based orphanage and community organization we were volunteering with asked his own question: "In Canada, do you have problems with these homosexuals?" When Segawa asked about problems with homosexuals, he had no idea he was talking to one.
04/11/2013 12:17 EDT
When Toronto's history is written, the chapter on the present era should be titled "The Lost Years". The world is changing rapidly. Around the globe cities are being built, reinvented and redefined. Except in Toronto. Here, we have other things on our mind, a result of the city's current ailment: Rob Ford syndrome.
03/31/2013 11:35 EDT
Since Manitoba's religious schools receive over 50 per cent of their funding from the province, they are all being mandated to comply with the proposed legislation: Bill 18 -- required to implement an anti-bullying strategy that includes gay-straight alliances. Our rights cannot exist in a vacuum, isolated from the reality around them. Rights engage with other rights. Not only does our Charter have a built-in provision to permit the limiting of rights in certain situations, but also, the transactional nature of our public lives dictates that different rights will come into contact other rights. Those who oppose Bill 18 should read the Charter in its entirety; it doesn't stop at freedom of religion, nor is there a hierarchy of rights.
03/25/2013 12:09 EDT
It is the deadliest conflict since World War II, the epicentre has been called the "rape capital of the world," and it has produced a long list of accused before the International Criminal Court charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity. It is a far away conflict in a far away land. But unbeknownst to many readers, it's also in your pocket. Congolese mineral deposits are invaluable to the production of basic electronics, like the cell phone in your pocket and laptop in front of you. The link between the joy our toys bring to us and the suffering they bring to others is irrefutable. Such a reality should be unacceptable.
03/12/2013 08:07 EDT
This past December, in one of his most important speeches of the year, Pope Benedict reiterated his belief that the quest for same-sex marriage destroys the very "essence of the human creature." I think what it would have been like for my 14-year-old self, when I started to discover that I didn't really like girls in that way, sitting in church, listening to that priest. What would it have done to me to hear my papa talk of my newfound identity as "manipulation of nature," as this Pope has done? A chorus of "amens" as punishing as a judge's gavel at the conclusion of rendering a guilty verdict.
02/12/2013 08:17 EST
Adel Benhmuda is owed an apology from this country, as are his wife, Aisha, and their four children. After living in Canada for several years their refugee claim failed and Benhmuda's assertions that he would be tortured in Libya were dismissed. In 2008 the family was deported. Upon arrival in Libya, Adel was arrested and tortured. What I would like Minister Kenney to do is stand up in the House of Commons, admit that his beloved asylum system made a grave error and most importantly, apologize to the Benhmudas for what their family was forced to go through.
01/31/2013 08:12 EST
Mali, unfortunately, is all over the news these days. But I do not wish to use this space to lament where we have been, where we are, or where we are going in Mali. I want to introduce you to the Mali I saw, one of the most enchanting places on earth.
01/18/2013 12:17 EST
No one goes to teacher's college because he or she wants to hide with children in a dark closet, or step into the path of an armed madman. But we don't choose the society we live in, and sadly, this comes with the job. So teachers do so rightly (I feel obliged to say) armed not with guns, but with the kindness, compassion, and sense of duty that can only be found in one's heart.
12/17/2012 12:13 EST
One of the most interesting fallouts from the recent Palestinian victory at the United Nations is the spotlight on the International Criminal Court. Many view the prospect of Palestinian membership in the ICC, which it is now entitled to seek, as unleashing a Pandora's box of "lawfare." This premise is based on a flawed understanding of how the Court functions.
12/09/2012 11:55 EST
Movember has made a very important contribution to men's health. But in addition to Movember, November is also Crohn's and Colitis Awareness Month. But most of us probably didn't know that; you can't grow two moustaches at once. Movember, along with a few other of the more fortunate charitable campaigns, is a behemoth. In its success, which is to be commended, Movember leaves a wake of other, less fortunate charities, patients, doctors and researchers. As this trend will inevitably continue to grow, I'm not entirely sure we should be comfortable with that.
11/19/2012 12:55 EST
President Obama's re-election is crucial because it removes the opportunity for cynics, those who refused to believe in the promise behind his election in 2008, from being able to say "I told you so."
11/07/2012 09:59 EST
SUBSCRIBE AND FOLLOW
Get top stories and blog posts emailed to me each day. Newsletters may offer personalized content or advertisements. Learn more