Archive for Non-violence

Canada fails as a human rights leader

The full press release from the Green Party of Canada:

Canada, April 06, 2011 — Salil Shetty, the global secretary-general of Amnesty International, delivered a blistering attack on Harper’s record on human rights actions, in a report released March 31 entitled Getting Back On The ‘Rights’ Track.  “Globally, Canada’s reputation as a reliable human-rights champion has dropped precipitously,” Amnesty stated.  Green Leader Elizabeth May responded, “Canadians are aware of the current Government’s indifference for human rights and its disdain for the organizations that defend them.  There has been a definite drift away from the traditional Canadian values of taking leadership in human rights and a change of government is urgently required to rebuild trust.”

Canada once took a leading role in such issues as the creation of an international criminal court and protections for child soldiers.

The cumulative effect of several negative moves in recent years should be of concern to all Canadians. These include the reluctance to sign new UN rights declarations, a one-sided stance on Middle East rights issues, lack of accountability for the treatment of detainees in Afghanistan, and a failure to stand up for the rights of Canadian aboriginals and Canadians accused abroad.  Specific examples include:

  • Ignoring a Supreme Court recommendation to bring Omar Khadr home from the infamous prison in Guantanamo Bay, who at the time of the alleged action was a child soldier.  The Supreme Court ruled that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms was breached in Omar Khadr’s case. The Canadian Bar Association president Parker MacCarthy referred to Khadr’s treatment as a “travesty of justice.”
  • Both the RCMP and government officials were complicit in the torturing of Maher Arar.
  • The government ignored and then attempted to suppress information regarding the torturing of Afghan prisoners under Canadian command.
  • There has been ongoing evidence that the government is unwilling to provide a balanced foreign policy in the Middle East. The Green Party supports a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict that addresses the security, economic, and religious concerns of both sides.
  • The government failed to support a bill to control human rights abuses abroad (Bill C-300). According to testimony at the Foreign Affairs Committee in the fall of 2010, some Canadian mining companies have been implicated in serious human rights and environmental abuses.
  • The government rejected efforts to repatriate Canadian Abousfian Abdelrazik, stranded and facing torture in Sudan for six years. His return was finally forced by the courts.

In 2009, the United Nations Human Rights Council expressed concern over Canada’s human rights record.  Most recently, Canada has been indifferent to events in Libya. The only person to defect from the Gaddafi regime has not been provided security and has been harassed by his embassy, while those loyal to Gaddafi are yet to be expelled from Canada. The Green Party was the first to suggest action be taken on the diplomatic front with its press release on February 22 when we urged the Government to request the United Nations to take steps to remove Libya from the Human Rights Council.

“It is time for a change in government to protect human rights for citizens in Canada and abroad and to rebuild Canada’s role internationally as a human rights leader,” stated Joe Foster, Green Party Human Rights Critic. “If you check our record, you will see that the Green Party has consistently spoken out for protecting human rights in Canada and abroad. This is one of many reason to vote Green,” Foster added.

Tim DeChristopher convicted in Utah

Tim’s action to block the sale of federal lands for mining rights to the fossil fuel industry was one of those pure, spontaneous and beautiful expressions of nonviolent public opposition to monstrous policy. The publicity raised by his actions led directly to the withdrawal of the mining leases by the incoming Obama administration. Nonetheless, yesterday Tim DeChristopher was convicted and faces prison time.  He is a hero.

Planning cities for the young and old

A few years ago, Elizabeth May said that we need to plan cities around the child, instead of around the car.  There’s now a movement around 8-80 cities that calls on cities to be planned with two groups of people in mind – 8 year olds and 80 year olds.  The theory is that if you take care of the young and old, the able-bodied in between will be able to look after themselves.  It’s a compassionate approach to community building with the goal of safe streets, local economies and cohesive neighbourhoods, rather than maximum mobility.  And it’s very much at the heart of what the Green Party is all about.

Elizabeth May on developments in Egypt

Elizabeth May calls on the Canadian Government to urge Hosni Mubarak to resign as President of Egypt.

سياسات حزب الخضر من كندا هي ترتكز على ستة مبادئ اساسية هي …

COP16 — Hope, fear and tears

COP 16 President Patricia Espinosa just received a prolonged standing ovation simply for announcing 10 hours late that negotiations were still ongoing and a deal was still possible.  I am in tears.

The youth action outside this building was forcibly stopped.

The best analysis I’ve seen of the new text is offered by BBC.  It is better than nothing.

A ceremony announcing the Colossal Fossil was widely expected to award Canada for the fourth year in a row, given the large number of fossils accumulated during this year’s negotiations.  But in the confusion outside, the announcement has been put off.  I’m proud of the young Canadians for their courage, and disgusted by our leaders for their lack of it.

[Adriana is blogging from the UN climate change negotiations in Cancun, in an attempt to keep the Canadian delegation honest.]