Posts Tagged ‘Canada’

Human rights cities movement or network?

June 2, 2019

The third edition of the #RightsCity conference will be held on June 3 2019 in Montreal, Canada. For more on the background of the Human Rights Cities movement, see: https://en.wikipedia.or/wiki/Human_Rights_City#History_of_the_Human_Rights_Cities_movement. However, how it relates to the human rights cities network I referred to earlier [https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2018/12/14/the-human-rights-cities-network-the-beginning/], is not totally clear!

This year, particular emphasis has been placed on the role of prominent human rights defenders, journalists and global human rights leaders, and of Canada as well. The conference brings together some of the world’s human rights leaders and thinkers, including: Saudi activist Omar Abdulaziz; Canadian retired lieutenant-general and senator Roméo Dallaire; Iranian women’s rights leader Shaparak Shajarizadeh; Chinese dissident and former political prisoner Yang Jianli; and former special adviser to the UN Secretary-General on the Responsibility to Protect, Jennifer Welsh.

The event is hosted by the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies at Concordia University, in partnership with the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights, Amnesty International, the Canadian International Council and the Centre for International Peace and Security Studies. (The event is expected to be livestreamed via CPAC.)

Here, some of those involved with the event shed light on the human rights issues they believe are most important to address in order to ensure global stability.

1. Where’s our defence of the global institutions and mechanisms to protect human rights? Kyle Matthews, executive director of the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies
2. Crimes against humanity have been committed in Cameroon. Let’s not turn away. Pearl Eliadis, Canadian lawyer and senior fellow of the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights
3. A call for a new generation of Canadian human rights promotion. Arthur Graham, Canadian lawyer and head of the rule of law and human rights department at the OSCE Mission to Serbia
4. Do not underestimate the importance, and fragility, of multinational democracy.  Michael J. Abramowitz, president of Freedom House
5. Above all, the common thread — and need — is fairness. Jeremy Kinsman, Canada’s former ambassador to the European Union and High Commissioner to Britain

 

 

Canada wins bank note competition with human rights defender

May 6, 2019

A bit quirky but nice news item: “Canada’s Viola Desmond note wins international banknote competition” as reported by the BBC on 30 April 2019.

A Canadian $10 bill has won the top prize in an international banknote competition.

The bill, featuring Canadian civil rights activist Viola Desmond, beat 15 other banknotes to win the International Bank Note Society award. Desmond became the first female Canadian to be featured prominently on a banknote. Desmond, a black businesswoman from Nova Scotia, stood at the forefront of Canada’s early civil rights movement when she refused to vacate a whites-only area of a theatre in 1946. The back of the $10 note depicts the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

The $10 Viola Desmond note (centre) beat competition from Russia (left) and Venezuela (right)Image copyrightCOURTESY The $10 Viola Desmond note (centre) beat competition from Russia (left) and Venezuela (right)

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-48071926

Canadian Museum for Human Rights wins award for Mandela exhibit

April 14, 2019

Canadian Museum for Human Rights
The Canadian Museum for Human Rights is located in Winnipeg. Josh Arason / Global News

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR) has earned an award for its interactive exhibition, Mandela: Struggle for Freedom, beating out top museums across the world. The annual international GLAMi Awards recognizes innovative and engaging cultural heritage projects in museums worldwide. This year, the event was held in Boston. The museum was the recipient of the best Non-Immersive Exhibition Media or Experience award for Mandela: Struggle for Freedom. The exhibit, which showcases Nelson Mandela and his fight against apartheid in South Africa, is an interactive, sensory experience of imagery, soundscape, digital media.

see also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2014/11/14/canadian-human-rights-museum-in-winnipeg-a-touching-experience/

Canadian Museum for Human Rights celebrates Mandela’s legacy 29 years after his release

Vikram Patel, promoter of global mental health, recognized with Dirk award

April 10, 2019

Ekaterina Pesheva reported on 2  Harvard Medical School researcher received the prestigious Canada Gairdner Award for transformational work in the fields of global health. Vikram Patel, the Pershing Square Professor of Global Health in the Blavatnik Institute at HMS and professor at the Harvard, will receive the 2019 John Dirks Canada Gairdner Global Health Award. Patel is being recognized for research that has transformed understanding of and attitudes toward the importance of mental health in a global context, for his contributions to international mental health policy, and for efforts to improve access to mental health services in areas of the world where mental health resources are acutely lacking.

Patel is among seven laureates who will each receive a $100,000 cash honorarium. The recipients will be formally honored Oct. 24 at the annual Canada Gairdner Awards gala in Toronto.

Patel has been instrumental in establishing the field of global mental health. He has dedicated his research to raising the global profile of mental health through epidemiological research that has demonstrated the burden of mental disorders in low- and middle-income countries as well as their impact on poverty, child growth and development, and risk for HIV infection, among other conditions. Patel’s work has demonstrated that mental health problems are universal forms of human suffering that fuel a vicious cycle with deprivation. The central theme of Patel’s work has been democratizing access to mental health care and making it a right for everyone, everywhere. Patel championed the concept of mental health care delivery by nonspecialists and lay health workers as a way to expand access to mental health services in underserved areas. His book “Where There Is No Psychiatrist: A Mental Health Care Manual” has become the definitive text for community health workers in developing countries. Patel’s research became the foundation for the design, delivery, and evaluation of psychosocial interventions provided by lay and community health workers, including the primary care treatment of depression, anxiety, and alcohol-use disorders, the community-based care of people with schizophrenia and autism, and the prevention and treatment of adolescent mental health problems through school-based interventions.

Much of Patel’s work has been done in partnership with Sangath, an Indian nongovernmental organization that he co-founded in 1996. Sangath, one of India’s leading community-based research organizations, received a 2008 MacArthur Foundation International Prize for Creative and Effective Institutions and a 2016 World Health Organization Public Health Champion of India prize. Patel co-founded the Centre for Global Mental Health and the Mental Health Innovation Network at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the Movement for Global Mental Health, the largest global network of individuals and organizations advocating for promoting services and human rights for people with mental health problems. In 2018, he co-founded the GlobalMentalHealth@Harvard Initiative, which is developing a suite of innovative, interdisciplinary programs aimed at implementing and generating knowledge to transform mental health globally.

https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2019/04/two-harvard-scientists-receive-canadas-most-prestigious-medical-award/

Impunity with Canadian flavor

February 5, 2019

Brent Patterson posted on Rabble.ca on 4 February, 2019 a piece entitled: “Impunity for human rights violations must be challenged from Guatemala to the Wet’suwet’en territories“. It looks at the concept of impunity, especially in the context of indigenous people in Latin America and..Canada. Read the rest of this entry »

China and its willingness to detain anyone anytime should generate more reaction

January 4, 2019

Michael Caster, human rights advocate and author of The People’s Republic of the Disappeared, is co-founder of the human rights organisation Safeguard Defenders. He wrote in the Guardian of Friday 4 January 2019 “China thinks it can arbitrarily detain anyone. It is time for change”

Canada’s foreign minister, Chrystia Freeland, has called China’s detention of Canadian citizens Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor a “worrying precedent” but for many China watchers it is all too familiar. It reminds us of the detentions of other foreign citizens, such as Canadian Kevin Garratt, Briton Peter Humphrey, Sweden’s Gui Minhai, or Taiwanese Lee Ming-che, and that over the years China has institutionalised arbitrary and secret detention affecting innumerable Chinese citizens, and with little international consequence. China feels emboldened to place literally anyone under arbitrary and secret detention, regardless of citizenship. It is now long overdue for the world to stand up. While Kovrig and Spavor have been granted consular access, it is reportedly limited to one visit a month. Consular access, like access to a lawyer, is a procedural safeguard against abuse in custody. In China, where abuse in custody, especially in the first few weeks of detention, is well documented, the importance of consular or legal access cannot be over emphasised. There are reports Kovrig is being denied access to a lawyer.

China routinely denies such fundamental rights through its system for arbitrary and secret detention. This includes residential surveillance at a designated location (RSDL) [see: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2018/01/10/more-on-residential-surveillance-in-a-designated-location-rsdl-in-china/]….

Canadian Michael Spavor
Pinterest Canadian Michael Spavor is one of the latest victim of China’s system of arbitrary detention. Photograph: AP

…Conditions are less severe for foreigners than for Chinese citizens, but they are never free from abuse. Sadly, reports indicate Kovrig is being interrogated morning, noon, and night, and subjected to sleep deprivation. Because of such abuse, the United Nations committee against torture, as early as 2016, called on China, as a matter of urgency, to repeal domestic provisions allowing for RSDL and other forms of secret detention. Earlier this year, human rights groups Safeguard Defenders, the International Service for Human Rights, Network for Chinese Human Rights Defenders, and Rights Practice sent a submission on RSDL to the UN. In their response, experts from the Human Rights Council noted that RSDL exposes its victims to torture and that exceptions in the law make it tantamount to an enforced disappearance, grave crimes under international law.

…..In each case where China has not been held accountable, it virtually guarantees the next.

Any country that systematically denies the rights of its own citizens, and flaunts international norms, should worry us all because such abuses, as we are increasingly seeing, don’t stop at the colour of one’s passport. That China has now arbitrarily detained several Canadian citizens in thuggish pursuit of Communist party interests should clearly be denounced, and their immediate release demanded, but it should surprise no one considering China has institutionalised just this type of abusive behaviour with effectively no international repercussions. It is time for change.

And then there is the remarkable reaction by the same Government when it concerns a Chinese citizen as in the case of Huawei’s Meng Wanzhou: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2018/12/06/chinese-government-quote-of-the-year/

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jan/04/china-thinks-it-can-arbitrarily-detain-anyone-it-is-time-for-change

Allard Prize for International Integrity 2019: nominations close on 15 January

January 2, 2019

The Allard Prize for International Integrity (CAD $100,000) goes to an individual, movement or organization that has demonstrated exceptional courage and leadership in combating corruption or protecting human rights, especially through promoting transparency, accountability and the Rule of Law. For more information on this and other awards see: http://trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/awards/allard-prize-for-international-integrity

The deadline is on January 15, 2019.

Visit the Submissions Page to apply.

You can visit the official page of the Allard Prize for more information

UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize 2018 shared by Canadian film maker and Kenyan NGO

September 30, 2018

© Timea Hajdrak / The Coexist Initiative

On 16 November 2018, UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay will award the 2018 edition of the UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize for the Promotion of Tolerance and Non-violence to filmmaker Manon Barbeau (Canada) and the NGO The Coexist Initiative (Kenya). An international jury recommended the two laureates in recognition of their work in human rights, promotion of tolerance and inclusion.

Manon Barbeau, an innovative social entrepreneur and filmmaker, is awarded for her defense of human rights and tolerance through the art of cinema and a wide range of activities that she develops through Wapikoni Mobile Studios, amplifying the voices of indigenous people. Wapikoni hosts educational workshops and film screenings to raise awareness and educate the wider public about indigenous cultures, languages and identities. It also provides mentorship and capacity building in audiovisual creation to indigenous youth, allowing them to master digital tools by directing short films and musical works.

The Coexist Initiative is awarded the Prize for its promotion of gender equality, social justice and human rights, with particular focus on women and girls. The Coexist Initiative is a non-profit organization working to end violence against women, particularly through an approach that tackles harmful cultural practices and negative stereotypes based on gender. It moreover advocates for the rights and empowerment of women and girls by better involving men, boys and community leaders in the work of the association.

For more on this award: http://trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/awards/unesco-madanjeet-singh-prize-for-the-promotion-of-tolerance-and-non-violence

https://en.unesco.org/news/canadian-filmmaker-and-kenyan-ngo-receive-unesco-madanjeet-singh-prize-2018

http://www.uniindia.com/canadian-filmmaker-and-kenyan-ngo-to-receive-unesco-madanjeet-singh-prize/world/news/1364773.html

Where is the international support for Canada in its row with Saudi Arabia

August 27, 2018

The tension between Saudi Arabia and Canada began when Canada’s Global Affairs Twitter account tweeted this 3 August 2018 statement concerning human rights abuses: Canada is gravely concerned about additional arrests of civil society and women’s rights activists in , including Samar Badawi. We urge the Saudi authorities to immediately release them and all other peaceful activists.

The excessive response by Saudi Arabia and the various issues at stake have been sufficiently described  in the media (see several links below) but what is most disturbing is what one commentator called “Not a shred of solidarity was on offer anyway: it was all just a dispute between “friends” and “allies.” Weak EU response with obviously no support from the Trump government, has left the Canadian government close to mulling a kind of apology “Canada will of course continue to “speak out,” Trudeau said last Wednesday, but he also said this of Saudi Arabia: “This is a country that has some importance around the world. It is making progress when it comes to human rights.” There is no need for mediation,” said Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir. “…Canada has made a mistake and needs to fix it.” Al-Jubeir’s views were then immediately expanded by former Conservative foreign affairs minister John Baird in an interview broadcast by the Saudis’ own Al-Arabiya network.

On 9 August a number of Canadian organizations expressed their support to Canada for its recent position on the detention of women human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia. “and urged the international community to join Canada in calling for the unequivocal respect of women’s rights in Saudi Arabia.”

With Russia and quite of few other countries coming out openly to express solidarity with Saudi Arabia it is time to ask where the like-minded solidarity is and what international NGOs do to support courageous Canada??

[with exception for HRW https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/08/08/saudi-arabia-punishes-canada-criticizing-human-rights-defenders-arrests and AI https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2018/08/saudi-arabia-international-community-must-speak-up-for-human-rights-defenders-after-canadian-ambassador-expelled/]

———

http://www.mediafiledc.com/saudi-canadian-duel-takes-place-on-multiple-platforms/

https://www.economist.com/middle-east-and-africa/2018/08/11/saudi-arabia-picks-a-pointless-fight-with-canada

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-canada-owes-no-apology-to-the-saudis/

https://www.macleans.ca/politics/worldpolitics/the-trudeau-government-is-losing-its-human-rights-battle-with-the-saudis-and-missing-a-huge-opportunity/

https://interpares.ca/news/joint-statement-canadas-support-women-human-rights-defenders-saudi-arabia

 

Citizen Lab at big RIGHTSCON in Toronto

May 12, 2018

 RightsCon, held this year in Toronto from 16 – 18 May 2018, brings together an international audience to discusses all topics related to human rights in the digital age, such as surveillance, AI, censorship, access to the internet, etc. Citizen Lab researchers, fellows, and associates will be participating in panels and events throughout the week.Citizen Lab is the organization that helped Ahmed Mansoor with his iPone spyware in 2016: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2016/08/29/apple-tackles-iphone-one-tap-spyware-flaws-after-mea-laureate-discovers-hacking-attempt/.
 on 11 a run-down of topics and where you can find them:

Session name Citizen Lab participant(s) Date Time Room location
Artificial Intelligence: Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems and Peace Time Threats Ron Deibert Wednesday, May 16 14:30 – 15:45 206B
Access My Info: Exposing Disconnects Between Data Protection in Theory and in Practice Masashi Crete-Nishihata, Chris Parsons, Bram Abramson Wednesday, May 16 16:00 – 17:00 200C
Do We Need Free Speech Legislation like We Need privacy Laws? Moses Karanja Wednesday, May 16 16:00 – 17:00 201A
Scrutinizing the Little Brothers: Corporate Surveillance and the Roles of the Citizen Consumer and Company Chris Parsons Wednesday, May 16 17:15 – 18:15 203B
Crypto Wars Revisited? Hosted by the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic & Citizen Lab Wednesday, May 16 17:15 – 18:15 206C
Who Did it? Why We Need an International Cyber Attribution Organization to Address Nation-State Attacks in Cyberspace Ron Deibert Thursday, May 17 12:00 – 13:15 200C
Access My Info: Running a Personal Data Access Campaign Andrew Hilts Thursday, May 17 14:30 – 15:45 200A
Disappearing Space, Disappearing Voices: How the Chinese Government & Big Tech are Silencing Tibetans Online Masashi Crete-Nishihata Thursday, May 17 16:00 – 17:00 203B
Understanding Freedom of Expression in Southeast Asia: Internet Freedom and Online Censorship Irene Poetranto Thursday, May 17 16:00 – 17:00 TBA
Coders Free Speech Rights in The Americas at Risk Sarah McKune Thursday, May 17 16:00-17:00 201C
Journalism Free Expression and Digital Security Masashi Crete-Nishihata Thursday, May 17 17:15 – 18:15 205A
Beyond Security Updates: Providing Relevant, Accessible, and Sustainable Digital Security Advice Online Christine Schoellhorn, John Scott-Railton Thursday, May 17 17:15 – 18:15 201C
The Surveillance Tool We Love to Carry: Cell Phones, Searches, and Privacy in the Evolving Legal Landscape Lex Gill, Jon Penney Thursday, May 17 17:15 – 18:15 204A
How to win the privacy/surveillance debate Jon Penney Thursday, May 17 17:15-18:15 206A
How does the Kremlin Manipulate the Russian IT Industry to Exert Control over the Internet Ksenia Ermoshina, Jakub Dalek Friday, May 18 9:00 – 10:15 203A
A Technologist, a Policy Wonk, and an Internet Advocate Walk into a Bar: Assessing how Internet Communities Build Bridges for Human Rights Moses Karanja, Masashi Crete-Nishihata Friday, May 18 10:30 – 11:45 200A
My First Transparency Report Bram Abramson, Chris Parsons Friday, May 18 10:30 – 11:45 206A
What have We Learnt about 5 Years of Internet Disruptions in Africa? Moses Karanja Friday, May 18 12:00 – 13:15 201A
Tech Against Terrorism – Respecting Human Rights in Tackling Terrorist Exploitation of the Internet Irene Poetranto Friday, May 18 12:00 – 13:15 201B
Frontiers of Feminist Issues Online: Understanding the Tensions and Opportunities at the Intersection of Innovations, Digital Rights, and Security Irene Poetranto Friday, May 18 14:30-15:45 203A
Have We Entered a Brave New World of Global Content Takedown Orders? Jon Penney Friday, May 18 16:00 – 17:00 206C
CLE: Ethical Duties in the Digital Age: Encryption Done Dirt Cheap Sarah McKune Friday, May 18 16:00-18:00 206A
Online Anonymity: Key Lessons & Emerging Threats Bram Abramson Friday, May 18 17:15 – 18:15 200A
Chilling Effects, Surveillance, and the Future of Automation and the Law Jon Penney Friday, May 18 17:15 – 18:15 TBA
Big Brother is Really Watching: Digital Surveillance & Gender-based Violence Irene Poetranto Friday, May 18 17:15 – 18:15 206D

For previous event see: https://citizenlab.ca/2016/02/citizenlab-partners-rightscon-2016/