Canada needs a national strategy to combat violence against indigenous women and girls, says a United Nations summary report on human rights.
The United Nations Human Rights Council has adopted the report on the Universal Periodic Review of Canada’s human rights record, which included recommendations from several countries. The report, released in Geneva today, summarizes Canada’s UPR — a global accountability process that monitors a country’s compliance with international human rights laws. All UN member countries undergo such a review every four years. Recommendations included establishing a national centre for missing persons and unidentified remains, police task forces to investigate cases and community safe plans.
Human Rights Watch, a New York-based watchdog, said the report shows the federal government has failed to adequately address the high number of murders and disappearances of aboriginals over the last four decades. “It is not surprising that violence against indigenous women and girls figured so prominently in the discussion of Canada’s human rights record,” said Liesl Gerntholtz, women’s rights director at Human Rights Watch, in a statement Tuesday. “It reflects the persistent insecurity faced by women and girls, the urgent need for a public accounting of what has gone wrong for so long, and a robust national plan for addressing it going forward.”
In response to the report, the federal government defended its record Tuesday, noting it has introduced legislation to try to ensure families on reserves have similar rights as other Canadians. “The proposed legislation will address violence against individuals living on reserve, especially Aboriginal women and their children, by allowing courts emergency protection orders to remove a violent partner from the home,” said Andrea Richer, press secretary to Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt.
A scathing report released in February by Human Rights Watch accused some police officers of harshly mistreating native women and girls in northern B.C. That report contained unproven allegations by several northern B.C. women and girls who say they were abused physically or sexually by police.
In February, the federal government established an all-party committee in Canada’s House of Commons to hold hearings on the issue of missing and murdered indigenous women and propose solutions to address root causes of violence. Human Rights Watch said while the move is a step in the right directions, it is not a substitute for a national commission of inquiry with independent powers beyond those of a parliamentary committee.
VIOLENCE NO MORE.Oct092013
In 2010-2011 the Legacy of Hope Foundation began developing an education program targeted to Canadian youth aged 11-18. This program is designed to support educators and administrators in raising awareness and teaching about the history and legacy of residential schools - effectively providing practical tools that can be implemented in classrooms. These products come in response to demands from educators for complete in-class resources, and serve as an entry point to both the subject matter and to existing resources currently available at wherearethechildren.ca
While the LHF and its partners are engaged in efforts at the provincial/territorial level to facilitate the development of curriculum on the history and legacy of residential schools across Canada, these products serve the immediate needs of educators.
The Edu-Kitcomprises a small-scale wall-mounted timeline, videos including Survivor testimonies, and a Teacher’s Guide with six customizable Lesson Plans (12-24 hrs of activities), teacher resources and extension activities.
The Teacher Bundle is a more compact version of the Edu-kit and contains the same teacher’s guide and DVD and also includes a timeline in booklet format.
“It has never been argued, not even in Mary Wollstonecraft’s days, when European women did not have rights, nor in our own by even the most radical feminist, that given the male domination and injustice towards women that prevailed in the West’s written history, the only resource for Western women was to abandon their culture and look for another one. The idea seems absurd, and nonetheless, it constantly figures in the focus of their proposals for improvement.”
- Leila Ahmed, “Women and Gender in Islam”, 1992Oct072013
"The late senator Joseph McCarthy thus equated the social sin of Communism with the sexual sin of homosexuality and used the two labels as if they were synonymous. He could not have done this had there been no general belief that, like medieval heretics, men labeled "homosexual" are somehow totally bad. They can have no compensating or redeeming features: They cannot be talented writers or patriotic Americans."
"In using the term "mental illness" (and its variants) we follow the same principle. When we call men like Ezra Pound or Lee Harvey Oswald mad, we establish, by ascription, a characteristic of that person which overshadows with transcendent badness the individual whom it is supposed to describe. Once the characterization is accepted, it negates the individual’s other human- especially good- qualities. He is thus degraded and dehumanized. We then no longer worry about him as a person with rights and talents. If he is a poet, we can dismiss him as an artist; if he is an accused criminal, we can ignore his guilt or innocence; and if he is a suspected presidential assassin, murdered in jail, we can simplify a hopelessly unresolved event with far-reaching political and international implications by attributing everything about it to the madness of a single, virtually unknown, individual. In short, psychiatric heresy, like religious heresy, is a functional concept, it is useful for the society that employs; were it not so, the concept would never have evolved and would not continue to receive popular support."
Thomas Szacs, “The Manufacture of Madness”, 1970.Oct062013
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