On an official visit to Canada last week, Rebecca Kadaga, the speaker of Uganda's parliament, found herself in a bit of a tiff with Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird. Speaker Kadaga protested Minister Baird's "arrogance" and "promoting homosexuality." She declared, "We are not a colony of Canada." But Canada will not be any better off if Uganda stops threatening its gays. Minister Baird called out Speaker Kadaga because today, in the community of nations, where we all theoretically equal, it is anathema to the concept of human dignity that a state should sanction the persecution of a group of its own citizens for no reason other than who they are. Standing up against that is not colonialism; it's decency.
Josh D. Scheinert
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.
This week has seen an upsurge in violence between Israelis and Palestinians. In 24 hours, 79 rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel. Arsen Ostrovsky asks, "My country is under attack, do you care?" The responses to his piece have been disturbing. Israel's occupation of Palestine is wrong. But a denunciation of illegal-Palestinian rocket attacks on Israeli civilians need not be prefaced by a resuscitation of each ill that Israel has inflicted on Palestinians. Victimhood must be inclusive.
10/26/2012 12:22 EDT
The opening of the UN General Assembly is taking place before us. Unfortunately, with one particular group of world leaders, in an area where they desperately need a makeover, one will probably not be forthcoming. Paul Biya, the President of Cameroon will not have the courage to stand up before his fellow African heads of state and proclaim that state-sanctioned bigotry and persecution of gays throughout Africa must become a relic of the past. Nor will Yoweri Museveni, the President of Uganda. But this is a time to give a voice to the voiceless.
09/26/2012 07:36 EDT
Speculation over a possible Israeli strike against Iranian nuclear sites is precisely that, no matter how informed. One group, however, is conspicuously absent from most of the discussions of an attack on Iranian nuclear sites: the 25,000 Persian Jews living in Iran. The least we can do is acknowledge that they matter just as much today and that whatever tomorrow brings, their safety and well-being needs to be a priority.
09/06/2012 05:15 EDT
It was a remarkable scene. Uganda, the African country that has become the flashpoint for gay rights on the continent, held its very first gay-pride earlier this month. Made up of film-screenings, a drag fashion show, parties, and of course, a parade. It was only a few years ago in that country when a newspaper headline read "Hang Them" above the pictures of gay activists, one of whom -- David Kato, was brutally murdered.
08/17/2012 08:11 EDT
The settlements may have just gone too far. It's time for North America's Jewish communities to finally realize what a toll the settlements are taking on Israel's moral, legal and practical realities and the extent to which they threaten a just peace and two-state solution between Israel/Palestine.
07/31/2012 12:12 EDT
Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird stated emphatically, "Let me be clear that Canada is not contemplating a military mission in Mali." Fanatical Islamists had gained a stronghold, declared an independent state founded on Shariah law and begun destroying remnants of an over thousand year-old civilization while terrorizing the local population in the name of Islam.
07/19/2012 05:29 EDT
Toronto City Council has confirmed that the 2012 Pride Week will not be deprived of its funding despite the intention of Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (QAIA) to march in the parade.They have the right to march, so let them. When they march down Yonge Street, let all those in the crowds know that QAIA is about many things, but gay rights is not one of them.
06/11/2012 12:06 EDT
The events around the world of the past month, affirming gay rights, have demonstrated the power of evolution. They demonstrate what is possible when people finally realize that at the core of human existence there is no hierarchy of being, only an equality of one.
05/21/2012 01:39 EDT
There was a time when it would have been unthinkable for an American president to utter those words, but today that era has passed. In a nation divided by Democrats and Republicans, secular and religious, north and south, today marks a day where America has moved one step closer to no longer being a nation divided by straight and gay.
05/09/2012 05:28 EDT
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reorganized his governing coalition and canceled a call for elections less than a day after his cabinet agreed to hold them early this September. For Canada, this is welcomed news. Any shift in Israel's government would pose a challenge for this country's Israel policy, which often confuses support for Netanyahu with support for Israel.
05/08/2012 12:25 EDT
Invisible Children wants to make war criminal Joseph Kony a household name, and have his image plastered around the world in an attempt to raise awareness, bracelets and all. What bothers is the symbolism of this campaign. Are we really still stuck on this kind of ignorant advocacy?
03/08/2012 10:56 EST
The tragic irony is that the boogeyman of Harper's Bill C-10 -- the first time offender who fell victim to circumstances that those who now condemn him could never begin to navigate, will in fact emerge the hardened criminals they are painted as. We will have created the crime we seek to erase.
02/21/2012 12:01 EST
If you bothered to look North you'd realize we aren't all that concerned about gay people. There are still a few things to be worked out, but there's something different, something malicious about the debate in your country.
02/10/2012 11:59 EST
The Ontario Catholic School Trustees' Association rejected Dalton McGuinty's proposal to create a gay-straight alliance in schools. Instead, it has created a Catholic version, "Respecting Differences" groups, outlined in a 12-page report that doesn't once mention the forbidden word (gay, shhh!).
02/01/2012 11:14 EST
It was never a Conservative campaign promise. But slowly, as events abroad have dictated, Canada has responded and grown bolder. What was at first thought to be an exception has become the norm: Canada's Conservative government is a forceful, credible advocate for international gay rights.
01/30/2012 04:54 EST
Is this really all we've got? In 10 months no one has come up with a better plan than evadable sanctions, toothless Arab League monitors and a Barbara Walters special? How much longer will we wait before moved to action by the humanitarian ideals that brought liberation to Libya?
01/23/2012 02:44 EST
In the year 2011 around the world people from all walks of life started to stand up and speak out. Just because one doesn't stare down the barrel of a gun to have one's voice heard doesn't mean that there's no value in that exercise, or worth to that voice.
12/19/2011 10:55 EST
The perpetrators of these despicable acts have declared themselves and will not stop. They have perverted Zionism to suit their extremist beliefs and have been driven towards violence.
12/14/2011 06:35 EST
I'm sorry Mayor Ford. I know you're angry at the <em>Toronto Star</em>, many of whose readers aren't particularly fond of you. And that particular story wasn't very flattering. But guess what? Tough luck. You don't get to play kingmaker; you don't get to bully your way through this.
12/03/2011 02:10 EST
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