Ottawa, Monday, July 27, 2015 -The UN Human Rights Committee report on the state of human rights in Canada reinforces the concerns raised repeatedly by the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group (ICLMG).
Last June, the ICLMG submitted a brief to the UN Human Rights Committee highlighting that Bill C-51 is a serious threat to civil liberties, freedom of expression, and the right to fair and transparent judicial procedures. Particularly alarming are the extended powers granted to CSIS, powers that had already been extended by Bill C-44. “Canada is the only country among the Five Eyes that has neither a robust review mechanism nor an oversight system for its security and intelligence agencies. We ask the government to remedy this unacceptable situation,” declares Dominique Peschard co-chair of the ICLMG.
“The UN report mirrors our concerns about the Anti-Terrorism Act 2015. The broadening of the definition of activities that undermine the security of Canada, increased information-sharing between national and international agencies, and the secret procedures used to place individuals on the no-fly list all pave the way to abuse and discriminatory profiling” says Monia Mazigh, national coordinator for the ICLMG. “There is no way C-51 can be fixed. It must be repealed”.
ICLMG’s brief submitted to the HRC of the UN:
Ottawa, Monday, July 27, 2015 – The International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group (ICLMG) and all its members organizations are saddened by the passing of the longtime Canadian politician and Order of Canada recipient.
The Honourable Flora MacDonald was one of ICLMG’s “friend” and strong supporter. We convey our deepest sympathies to her family and friends.
“Flora MacDonald, with her great experience in diplomacy and politics, supported the work of ICLMG since the beginning. Her wisdom and her sense of justice made her a strong and important voice in our organization” says Roch Tassé, former National coordinator, who participated with Flora MacDonald in several events organized by ICLMG.
“Canada has lost one of its dedicated politicians and humanitarians. Flora MacDonald worked tirelessly on issues of foreign affairs, women’s rights and education. She will be missed,” declares the Honourable Warren Allmand a “friend” of ICLMG and former Solicitor General of Canada.
When Bill C-51, the Anti-terrorism Act 2015, was tabled in Parliament this spring, Canada’s leading human rights organizations called for the Bill to be withdrawn. The International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group Amnesty International, the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, the Canadian Muslim Lawyers Association, La Ligue des Droits et Libertés and the National Council of Canadian Muslims have stated from the outset that the serious human rights shortcomings in Bill C-51 are so numerous and inseparably interrelated that the Bill should be withdrawn in its entirety. We believe that any national security law reform should instead, first, be convincingly demonstrated to be necessary and should then proceed only in a manner that is wholly consistent with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the country’s international human rights obligations.
Disappointingly, Bill C-51 has passed and is poised to become law. But the fight isn’t over yet. Too much is at stake. Over the past few months, we saw public concern and opposition to Bill C-51 grow as Canadians learned more about the Bill and the threat it poses to fundamental rights and freedoms. Now that it has passed, if we are to see the Anti-terrorism Act 2015 repealed, it is crucial that Canadians continue to have conversations in the months to come about security, human rights, and basic freedoms – with each other and with those seeking office in the fall’s federal election. We believe that the government has never made the case for Bill C-51 beyond the simple assertion that it “needs” additional powers to protect public safety. But it has provided no explanation as to why Canada’s spy agency needs unprecedented and troubling disruption powers. It has not made a credible case for the vast, opaque and unaccountable all-of-government information sharing regime Bill C-51 creates. And, it has provided no evidence for how no-fly lists with appeal provisions that lack due process actually improve aviation security and public safety.