News from ICLMG

Special event 

The Secret Trial 5: Ottawa screenings

ICLMG is proud to partner with the movie team for the Ottawa screenings of The Secret Trial 5, a sobering examination of the Canadian government's use of security certificates. 

Sunday, November 16, 3:45pm
***Filmmakers Amar Wala and Noah Bingham, Sophie Harkat and lawyer Norm Boxall will be in attendance for a post-screening Q&A***

Monday, November 17, 5:00pm

Tuesday, November 18, 9:15pm



ByTowne Cinema
325 Rideau St. Ottawa


Imagine spending years in prison without being charged with a crime, or knowing exactly what you're accused of. A film about the human impact of the War on Terror, The Secret Trial 5 is a sobering examination of the Canadian government's use of security certificates, a tool that allows for indefinite detention without charges, based on evidence not revealed to the accused or their lawyers. Over the last decade, this rare and highly controversial device has been used to detain five Muslim men for nearly 30 years combined. To date, none has been charged with a crime or seen the evidence against them. Through the experience of the detainees and their families, the film raises poignant questions about the balance between security and liberty. 

Watch the trailer


ByTowne Cinema movie page


The Secret Trial 5 official website

Facebook event



Watch the video of The Human Cost of Killer Drones event


The video is finally here!




Farea Al-Muslimi

The Yemeni activist who delivered a powerful testimony in a congressional hearing on American drone strikes in Yemen and basically made Obama admit to the use of drones.


Alex Neve

Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada. Amnesty released a report on the use of drones in Pakistan and the status of U.S. drone strikes under international law.


John Packer

Constitutions and Process Design Expert, Policy and Mediation Division, Department of Political Affairs, United Nations. He was then advising the political transition in Yemen.


Watch the video here



Special event


Arar +10

National Security and Human Rights a Decade Later


Presented by the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group, Amnesty International Canada, the Human Rights Research and Education Centre and the Centre for International Policy Studies at the University of Ottawa


Keynote panel featuring:


Honorable Frank Iacobucci

Internal Inquiry into the Actions of Canadian Officials in Relation to Abdullah Almalki, Ahmad Abou-Elmaati and Muayyed Nureddin


Honorable John Major

Commission of Inquiry into the Investigation of the Bombing of Air India Flight 182


Honorable Dennis O’Connor

Commission of Inquiry into the Actions of Canadian Officials in Relation to Maher Arar


Other panels will discuss the personal dimension of national security-related human rights violations, challenges for the legal profession and ongoing concerns related to oversight of national security activities. The conference will also feature a morning panel with four leading journalists working at the forefront of national security and human rights in Canada over the past decade.


29 OCTOBER 2014


8:00 – 17:30
Wine and cheese

Tabaret 112, uOttawa, 75 Laurier avenue East, Ottawa


This event will be bilingual with simultaneous interpretation 


Full program


Register now!

Seating is limited 



ICLMG recipient of NCCM award 


October 15, 2014 - The International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group is honoured to receive a Community Partner award from one of our member organizations, the National Council of Canadian Muslims, for our collaborative work over the past twelve years. Our national coordinator, Roch Tassé, will be accepting the award at the NCCM's upcoming Ottawa fundraising dinner on Sunday, October 26, 2014, themed “Be Empowered: Standing Up for Canadian Muslims”.


Learn more about the NCCM's work



ICLMG exclusiveFight for Freedom? You’re Inadmissible to Canada


By Matthew Behrens


September 25, 2014 - The growing use of overly broad Canadian immigration inadmissibility provisions to deny status to refugees who have been associated with national liberation struggles finally saw some pushback with a Federal Court decision issued July 10.


The case involves José Figueroa, a survivor of the Salvadoran civil war (in which government forces murdered 75,000 people) who is faced with deportation for his prior association with the FMLN, the former resistance organization that is now the governing party in that country. Despite never having picked up a gun or engaging in any form of violence, he is falsely tarred with the terrorist brush by an immigration officer because of the FMLN association, even though the organization is listed nowhere on the planet as a terrorist entity and past and current members of the FMLN, including consular officials, attended the court hearing of his case.


Read more



The ICLMG signs an open letter to PM Harper urging him to intervene for the immediate release of Khaled Al-Qazzaz

July 15, 2014 - Open letter from Canadians to Prime Minister Harper regarding Khaled Al-Qazzaz

To The Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada

We, the undersigned, are calling upon you as concerned Canadian citizens and organizations to use the full power of your office to demand the immediate release of Canadian permanent resident Khaled Al-Qazzaz who has been illegally detained in Egypt for over 365 days without charge and is in present danger of suffering a heart attack. He should have been promptly charged with a recognizable criminal offence or released.  One year is most certainly not prompt.  His illegal detention was, in fact, recently extended by an Egyptian court. Your intervention is critical in securing his immediate release and safe return home to Canada.

Read more

Watch the press conference on Parliament Hill

The Shrinking Space for Dissent in Canada

June 4, 2014 - Written statement by Lawyers Rights Watch Canada to the 26th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council and endorsed by the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group.


Lawyers Rights Watch Canada calls on the Human Rights Council to fulfill its duty to promote and protect the rule of law and fundamental rights and freedoms in Canada by monitoring and recommending:

  1. An immediate cessation of the surveillance of human rights defenders, Indigenous groups, and environmental organizations in Canada.
  2. An immediate end to discriminatory inquiries and audits by the Canada Revenue Agency of Canadian charitable organizations.
  3. The creation of an enabling environment for civil society organizations (CSOs) and human rights defenders, including,
  • An immediate cessation of public rhetoric by the Government of Canada calling environmental protection and other groups “radicalized” and suggesting that their receipt of international funding makes them foreign agents working against Canadian interests.
  • Amendments to the Income Tax Act and/or the regulatory and policy framework, which unduly limit charitable activities by restricting policy and advocacy work.

Read more

Privacy community speaks out against government record of failure on privacy

This letter was co-signed by the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group

June 2nd, 2014 – A large coalition of Canada’s leading privacy experts and civil society groups wrote to Prime Minister Stephen Harper Friday regarding the federal government’s increasing failure to protect the privacy of Canadians. The letter points to the government’s efforts to increase the ability of law enforcement and other state agencies’ ability to exploit new technologies in order to invade Canadians’ privacy (pointing specifically to Bill C-13, currently being rushed through parliamentary committee under the guise of ‘cyber bullying’ legislation), while steadfastly refusing to address long-standing privacy problems raised by the same technological developments. The letter specifically points to the unchecked surveillance activities of Canada’s foreign intelligence agency, CSEC, and the steadfast refusal to update ageing but central privacy and transparency statutes as indication of some of the long-standing privacy problems the government has refused to act on. It calls on the government to take its review of the privacy-invasive elements of Bill C-13 seriously, and to establish a commission to examine privacy and state surveillance in the digital age.

Finally, the letter decries the controversial nomination of a government official as Privacy Commissioner of Canada. While the capabilities of the candidate — Daniel Therrier, a senior and respected government lawyer at Public Safety Canada — are not questioned, there is concern that he lacks the perspective necessary to immediately tackle Canada’s long list of privacy challenges. The appointment is particularly controversial in light of reports that, in selecting Mr. Therrier, the government rejected its own selection committee’s preferred candidate.  As Assistant Deputy Attorney General for Public Safety Canada, Mr. Therrier would have been responsible for designing, overseeing and legally advising on a number of the very programs he will be called upon to challenge as Privacy Commissioner of Canada. The Letter points out that it will take time for an individual to develop the perspective necessary to challenge the very programs that individual has designed, and that leaving Canadians without an effective Privacy watchdog while this perspective is developed is indefensible.

Read more


The ICLMG signs the Ottawa Statement on Mass Surveillance in Canada

May 22, 2014 - This statement was originally crafted on the occasion of the launch of the book Transparent Lives: Surveillance in Canada / Vivre à nu: la surveillance au Canada, at the ‘Politics of Surveillance Workshop’. This event brought together in Ottawa, Canada, May 9-10, 2014, an international group of academics and advocates to debate the various political, legal, social and technological strategies for challenging mass surveillance, protecting civil liberties and advancing democratic rights.

We the undersigned are agreed:

1. That all levels of government in Canada must fully respect the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms including the right to privacy, freedom of thought and expression, freedom of association and peaceful assembly, and security against unreasonable search and seizure.

2. That all proposals for changes to information and privacy rights must be presented, justified and debated in a transparent manner. No changes to information and privacy rights and statutory privacy law should ever be embedded in omnibus bills or otherwise hidden in legislation relating to other issues.

3. That the extension of ‘lawful access’ regimes allowing government bodies to collect and/or purchase and store personal data without specific judicial permission, should be halted. All such proposed changes must be subjected to tests of necessity, proportionality, minimality and effectiveness, with the burden of proof being on the government. In addition, security vulnerabilities in communications systems must be addressed and fixed rather than exploited by government agencies.

Read more 



Press release: Supreme Court Harkat decision maintains fundamentally unfair process for non-citizens

May 14, 2014 - The International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group (ICLMG) and the Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR) are disappointed with the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Harkat, which leaves in place a fundamentally unfair process that relies on secret evidence in deciding whether to deport a non-citizen, potentially to a risk of torture.

In its decision, the Supreme Court upheld as constitutional the security certificate scheme, finding that Special Advocates can adequately compensate for the failure to share with the persons concerned some of the evidence used against them.

The ICLMG and the CCR regret that this decision leaves in place unequal protections for non-citizens’ basic rights. When these rights are at stake for citizens, such as in criminal proceedings, we do not tolerate the use of secret evidence. Non-citizens deserve an equal opportunity to know and respond to the evidence used against them. The Court did not engage with the discriminatory aspects of these provisions. The Court also failed to refer to international human rights law, which should provide a crucial framework for Canadian law.


Read more 



Press release: ICLMG and la LDL call for robust oversight and revision of powers granted to CSEC 


February 10, 2014 - Ten years after the creation of the Arar Commission by the Paul Martin government in February 2004, very little has changed. In the midst of the present debate about the spying activities of the Canadian Security Establishment Canada (CSEC), the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group (ICLMG) and la Ligue des droits et libertés are calling on parliamentarians to re-visit Justice O’Connor’s recommendations aimed at overseeing and increasing the transparency of the surveillance and information sharing practices of Canadian intelligence gathering agencies.


Read more



Thank you to all who attended The Human Cost of Killer Drones event


November 28, 2013 - The Human Cost of Killer Drones was a success with over 100 people attending in person and many more watching the panel via livestream. We would also like to thank our panelists Farea Al-Muslimi, Alex Neve, and John Packer for speaking, and the University of Ottawa Human Rights Research and Education Centre (HRREC), the Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies (Human Rights) at Carleton University, and NOWAR-PAIX for sponsoring the event.


Stay tuned for the video of the event.



ICLMG and Farea Al-Muslimi: Press conference on Parliament Hill 


November 25, 2013 - Farea Al-Muslimi, Roch Tassé and Christine Jones were at the Press Gallery on Parliament Hill on Monday November 25, 2013 to urge the Canadian government to take a different path than the US and not purchase killer drones. Farea Al-Muslimi is the Yemeni activist who made Obama admit to the use of drones, Roch Tassé is the National Coordinator of ICLMG, and  Christine Jones is the Co-Chair of the Canadian Peace Alliance. 


Watch the press conference



   The Human Cost of Killer Drones 


The Ottawa Peace Assembly (OPA) and the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group (ICLMG) invite you to an event co-sponsored by the University of Ottawa Human Rights Research and Education Centre (HRREC) and the Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies (Human Rights) at Carleton University, and endorsed by NOWAR-PAIX:


November 25, 2013

7:00-9:00 PM

Desmarais building, room 12102

55, Laurier Avenue E., University of Ottawa


Farea Al-Muslimi

The Yemeni activist who delivered a powerful testimony in a congressional hearing on American drone strikes in Yemen and basically made Obama admit to the use of drones.


Alex Neve

Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada. Amnesty recently released a report on the use of drones in Pakistan and the status of U.S. drone strikes under international law.


John Packer

Constitutions and Process Design Expert, Policy and Mediation Division, Department of Political Affairs, United Nations. He is currently advising the political transition in Yemen.

There will be a Q & A session at the end. It will be possible to ask questions in French.


Free event. Donations are encouraged to support local peace and human rights organizing.


We hope to see you there!


RSVP on Facebook, share widely and invite your friends


Watch Farea Al-Muslimi’s testimony on American drone strikes at the Congressional Hearing


Read “Will I be next?”, Amnesty International’s 2013 report on US drone strikes in Pakistan



Letter to the ministers opposing the deportation of Jose Figueroa


Letter to The Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Public Safety and the Honourable Chris Alexander, Minister of Immigration 


October 15, 2013 - The International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group (ICLMG) is urging you to reverse the deportation order against José Figueroa, a Salvadoran refugee claimant living in B.C., who was forced to claim sanctuary in a Langley Lutheran church to avoid deportation to El Salvador at the end of the month. Mr. Figueroa, a married father of three Canadian-born children, has been ordered deported by the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) due to his past affiliation with the Farabundo Marti Front for National Liberation (FMLN), currently the governing political party in El Salvador. If deported Mr. Figueroa will be forced to uproot his family, including his Canadian-born children, despite by all accounts having contributed positively to his Canadian community for over 15 years. 


The ICLMG is especially troubled by the fact that the IRB based its ruling on the Canadian Border Security Agency’s (CBSA) assessment that the FMLN “is or was engaged in terrorism and/or subversion” and on coinciding legal arguments from the Ministry of Public Safety.  This is ludicrous!

Read more 

Act now to stop the deportation of Jose Figueroa!



ICLMG and CCR intervened at the Supreme Court to oppose secret trials and security certificates 


On October 10, the Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR) and ICLMG asked the Supreme Court of Canada to rule that it is fundamentally unfair to rely on secret evidence in deciding whether to deport a non-citizen, potentially to a risk of persecution. The CCR and ICLMG were jointly intervening in the Harkat case, which addresses the use of undisclosed evidence in the security certificate process. The organizations, represented by Sharry Aiken, Barbara Jackman and Andrew Brouwer, presented oral arguments yesterday. 


The CCR/ICLMG factum is available from the Supreme Court website. 



Press release: Fundamental fairness for non-citizens at stake in Supreme Court Harkat case


October 7, 2013 - Treating people fairly means giving everyone equal protection of their basic rights. The use of secret evidence in immigration processes is unfair because it undermines non-citizens’ right to life, liberty and security of the person. When these rights are at stake for citizens, such as in criminal proceedings, we do not tolerate the use of secret evidence. Non-citizens deserve an equal opportunity to know and respond to the evidence used against them.

Decisions made using secret evidence in immigration proceedings have dramatic consequences for the individual, because a person found inadmissible on security grounds cannot make a refugee claim and is only eligible for a much narrower risk review, with a higher standard of proof. There is therefore a real possibility that affected persons will be sent back to face persecution, in violation of Canada’s international human rights obligations. Because the definition of security inadmissibility in Canadian immigration law is very broad, those affected include people who have never engaged in or promoted violence and who represent no threat to Canada’s security.
The CCR/ICLMG factum is available from the
 Supreme Court website.




Canadians need answers on domestic spying powers

This is an op-ed written by Warren Allmand on behalf of ICLMG and published in the Toronto Star


September 4, 2013 - Canadians should heed the uproar in the United States, Europe and Latin America over the recent revelations that the National Security Agency (NSA) is spying, without warrants, on e-mails, faxes and telephone calls going into and out of or simply transiting through the country. The fear is that data collection and data-mining systems used by the NSA are not just monitoring suspected terrorists, but also filtering through the international, and possibly even domestic, communications of potentially all ordinary law-abiding citizens. What is even more startling is that Canadian security agencies have been authorized to do the same thing here, and may be using the same approach to conduct vast data-mining of our communications.



ICLMG signs the European NGO statement on the grounding of Bolivian presidential jet and treatment of Edward Snowden  
July 15, 2013 - The refusal of entry into their airspace by European states for the Bolivian presidential jet on the basis of suspicions that Edward Snowden was on board was an astonishing manoeuvre that flies in the face of the EU’s commitment to democracy, human rights and international law.
The potential damage that this action does to both the reputation of the European Union and respect for international law within and beyond its borders cannot be understated. The forcing down and searching the Bolivian President’s jet was a clear breach of fundamental principles of diplomatic immunity and inviolability. Such principles are the bedrock of good international relations and customary international law.

The states involved in forcing down and searching the Bolivian President’s jet should be held to account while the EU should concentrate on protecting the fundamental rights of Europeans by putting an end to the unwarranted mass surveillance revealed by Edward Snowden.

Many European countries have a proud history of providing refuge to people facing prosecutions of a political nature. If they are to avoid the same international reputation for injustice that increasingly plagues their Transatlantic partner they should cease and desist in their efforts to apprehend Mr. Snowden, recognise his service to European democracy and guarantee him safe haven or passage. 

Read the whole statement and see the signatories


Special event: Screening of “ISN 310: Djamel Ameziane's Decade in Guantánamo” and discussion

Presented by the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group, Amnesty International Canada, and the Center for Constitutional Rights

When: Wednesday, June 19, 2013, 7-9pm

Where: Octopus Books, 251 Bank Street, Ottawa, Ontario

What: The screening of the documentary followed by a discussion with J. Wells Dixon (CCR attorney representing men at Guantánamo), Abdullah Almalki (Canadian citizen who was tortured in Syria because of inaccurate information given by Canada), and Paul Champ (Ottawa human rights and national security litigation lawyer), and moderated by Hilary Homes (Amnesty International Canada).

Join us for this timely event, as the majority of the men at Guantánamo are on their fourth month of hunger strike in protest of more than 11 years of indefinite detention without charge or trial. 
*This event is free and open to the public* 
RSVP on Facebook, share and invite your friends 
More details here

ICLMG was at the follow-up meeting to Canada’s Second UPR
Mr. Warren Allmand, representing ICLMG at the follow-up meeting to Canada’s Second Universal Periodic Review with civil society and Aboriginal organizations, raised important issues which had been overlooked in the countries' recommendations to Canada regarding national security, including the lack of redress in the cases of Abdullah Almalki, Ahmad El-Maati and Muayyed Nureddin, the need to implement the recommendations from the Maher Arar/O'Connor Commission regarding the oversight of security agencies, the alarming behavior of the government regarding the use of information that may have been obtained through torture, the application of the US no fly list to Canadian flights, the existence of the UN1267 terrorist list, the presence of racial profiling and the lack of due process regarding those lists and the security certificate regime, and the recent and problematic re-introduction of the preventive detention and investigative hearing dispositions in the Criminal Code (Bill S-7), etc. The ICLMG is opposed to terrorism and supports actions against terrorism which are respectful of human rights and civil liberties. Measures that violate or undermine human rights standards here and abroad in the name of national security make Canadians unsafe, not safer. 

ICLMG is now on Twitter!
Follow us @ICLMG

Press release - ICLMG calls on MPs to reject Bill S-7

April 23, 2013 - In the context of the present controversial debate and imminent vote on Bill S-7 (Combating Terrorism Act), the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group makes a last appeal to Members of Parliament to reject the proposed legislation. The ICLMG opposes the reintroduction of the two provisions of the 2001 Anti-Terrorism Act that were subject to a sunset clause: the "investigative hearings" and the "preventive arrest" provisions (section 10). These provisions expired in February 2007 when a majority of Parliament, including 90 Liberal MPs, voted against their prolongation. Six years later, nothing justifies their reintroduction. "In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing, we appeal to Members of Parliament to not give in to fear," said Roch Tassé, National Coordinator for ICLMG. "The Anti-Terrorism Act was adopted in a rush after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States. Let's not repeat the same mistake. A more rational assessment of the proposed legislation, one that is not grounded in fear, makes it obvious that the controversial provisions are neither necessary nor effective to confront terrorism."


Roundtable on the criminalization of dissent

March 6, 2013 - The Human Rights Research and Education Center of the University of Ottawa (HRREC) was the host of a roundtable on the issue of the criminalization of dissent and its impacts on human rights and environmental defenders. The panel presentations was followed by an exchange with the audience on the legal dilemmas and challenges faced by human rights and environmental defenders as a result of this increasing trend.

Details and photos


Watch the roundtable 



'The Last Walk of Adolfo Ich' & the criminalization of dissent

March 5, 2013 - A Co-Presentation with Toronto’s Aluna Theatre of ‘The Last Walk of Adolfo Ich’ and a panel discussion with a Guatemalan human rights defender and local guests about the criminalizatio

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» Read More… - It has been revealed that an ultra-secretive government agency called CSEC is co…
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Khaled Al-Qazzaz has been detained by the Egyptian military without charge since July 3, 2013 and is…
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