Canada flagged for failing to protect aboriginal rights

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From the Toronto Sun:

OTTAWA – Canada has been cited for flouting human rights of aboriginals and people entangled in post 9-11 national security measures in an annual report by Amnesty International.

While the report cites some positive progress – such as limits on the use of Tasers – it also flags loose practices in Canadian overseas mining operations in the 2010 study that finds a growing “global justice gap.” The report said Canada has not done enough to stop violence against indigenous women and girls or uphold native land rights.

“The authorities failed to ensure respect for indigenous rights when issuing licences for mining, logging and petroleum and other resource extraction,”

the report states. “The government continued to make baseless claims that the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples does not apply in Canada.”

Amnesty International Canada spokesman John Tackaberry said the report highlights issues that cause a “sustained pattern of concern” that is leading to the erosion of Canada’s position as a global leader in human rights.

“The historical role that Canada has played in terms of international institutions as a champion of human rights is wearing thin because of our inability to address a number of issues raised,” he said. “There’s a real concern that Canada is rapidly losing its prominence as a key spokesperson on international human rights issues – and that’s a critical loss for the world community, and that’s a critical loss for Canadian citizens.”

The annual report documents repression, torture, unfair trails, forced evictions, racism, limits of free speech and a littany of other human rights abuses in 159 countries, pointing to cases where powerful governments are blocking advances in international justice by silencing criticism and standing above the law on human rights.

kathleen.harris@sunmedia.ca

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