News from ICLMG

Videos - Watch the Arar +10: National Security and Human Rights, 10 Years Later conference

 

Thank you to everyone who were able to attend the conference, it was a huge success and attracted a lot of attention in the media!

 

If you were unable to attend, you can watch the whole conference panel per panel below. And listen to the audio podcasts here.

 

This conference was presented in collaboration with Amnesty International, and the Human Rights Research and Education Centre, and the Centre for International Policy Studies of the University of Ottawa.

 

Welcome, Opening remarks and Retrospective of the past decade

Allan Rock, President, University of Ottawa

Roch Tassé, International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group

Alex Neve, Amnesty International Canada

Panel 1 - The people and lives behind the issues

Abdullah Almalki, Torture Survivor

Paul Champ, Counsel to Abousfian Abdelrazik and Benamar Benatta

Dennis Edney, Counsel to Omar Khadr

Sophie Harkat, Spouse of Subject of Immigration Security Certificate

Panel 2 - Perspectives from the media

Jeff Sallot, Journalist and Author

Jacques Bourbeau, Ottawa Bureau Chief for Global News

Brigitte Bureau,  Investigative reporter with French CBC

Keynot Panel - Judicial Reflections on National Security and Human Rights

The Honourable Frank Iacobucci, former Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada Commissioner of the Internal Inquiry into the Actions of Canadian Officials in Relation to Abdullah Almalki, Ahmad Abou-Elmaati and Muayyed Nureddin

The Honourable John Major, former Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada Commissioner of the Commission of Inquiry into the Investigation of the Bombing of Air India Flight 182

The Honourable Dennis O’Connor, former Justice of the Ontario Court of Appeal Commissioner of the Commission of Inquiry into the Actions of Canadian Officials in Relation to Maher Arar

Panel 3 - Lawyering for human rights in a national security context

Paul Cavalluzzo, Barrister & Solicitor and Special Advocate

Marlys Edwardh, Barrister & Solicitor

Barbara Jackman, Barrister & Solicitor

Phil Tunley, Barrister & Solicitor

Panel 4 - A view from community level

Sheema Khan, Author, Columnist and Community Activist

Ihsaan Gardee, National Council of Canadian Muslims

Khalid Elgazzar, Barrister and Solicitor

Panel 5 - Oversight and Review

Gar Pardy, Retired Canadian Diplomat

Craig Forcese, Associate Professor of Law, University of Ottawa

Wrap-up & Closing words

Jeff Sallott

 

Monia Mazigh, Author and Human Rights Activist

 


 

ICLMG co-signs an open letter urging PM Harper to strenghten global efforts to end torture

 

December 10, 2014 - Today on International Human Rights Day civil society groups have joined together in an open letter calling on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to put Canada back in the global effort to end torture and ill-treatment around the world.

 

On the day that marks the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the UN Convention against Torture Canada should take the final step and ratify the instrument that establishes national and international systems for inspecting detention centres. In 2006 and 2009 Canada told the UN Human Rights Council that it would consider ratifying this Optional Protocol that was adopted by the UN in 2002.

 

The organizations that signed the open letter are united in calling for Canada to take this step without delay.

 

Read more

 


 

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. 


When:
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

 

Where:

ByTowne Cinema
325 Rideau St. Ottawa


What:

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!

 

Featuring:

 

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

 


 

ICLMG co-signs an op-ed in the Ottawa Citizen urging for the respect of human rights in security reform

 

By Alex Neve, John Packer and Roch Tassé - A timely conference on Wednesday reminded us that as debate swirls about new national security measures in Canada, vital lessons have emerged over the past decade about protecting human rights.

 

In the wake of last week’s attack in Ottawa the government is rolling out proposed changes to Canada’s security laws and practices. We don’t yet know the full extent.

 

On Wednesday, a remarkable group of judges, lawyers, journalists, activists, former diplomats, academics and community leaders came together in Ottawa. We were joined by individuals whose lives have been turned upside down by human rights violations associated with national security investigations, charges, arrest and imprisonment.

 

 

The conference marked the decade since the ground-breaking judicial inquiry into the shocking treatment of Canadian citizen Maher Arar was established in 2004. That inquiry found that Canadian actions, negligence and dysfunction had set Maher Arar up for grave human rights violations, including torture, in Syria.

 

Read more

 

Also read an op-ed by Omar Khadr: Misguided security laws take a human toll

 


  

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

Conference

8:00 – 17:30
Wine and cheese

17:30-19:00
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.

Recommendations

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<

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Ceasefire.ca - Prime Minister Harper is manipulating last week’s tragic killings to furth…
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Openmedia.ca - 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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