News from ICLMG

Press release: ICLMG joins other rights groups to denounce the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act as discriminatory and anti-Canadian

Toronto, August 20, 2015 — The International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group (ICLMG) is joining its voice to the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) and the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers (CARL) to denounce the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act (formerly Bill C-24) as unconstitutional and anti-Canadian.

BCCLA and CARL have launched a constitutional challenge to the new Citizenship Act, a federal law relegating over one million Canadians to second-class status.

The lawsuit argues that the new Citizenship Act, in force since the passage of Bill C-24, creates a two-tier citizenship regime that discriminates against dual nationals, whether born abroad or in Canada, and naturalized citizens.  These Canadians will now have more limited citizenship rights compared to other Canadians, simply because they or their parents or ancestors were born in another country.

Under the new law, these Canadians could see their citizenship taken away if convicted of certain serious crimes in Canada or abroad (including in a country that does not have due process or rule of law). New Canadians who became citizens after the passage of Bill C-24 could also lose their citizenship if they move abroad for work, school, or family reasons. Other Canadians would not be vulnerable to losing their citizenship.

“The ICLMG opposed Bill C-24 since it was tabled in Parliament” said Monia Mazigh, National Coordinator of the ICLMG. “The Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act is a step backward for our democracy and rule of law principle. With this new Citizenship Act, Canadians are divided into two classes: those who will keep their Canadian citizenship no matter what and those who can be stripped of their Canadian citizenship if some federal bureaucrats decide so. Thus, if you are born in Canada but you have parents or ancestors from another country, your Canadian citizenship is worth less. It can be revoked not by the court but by the government and this is unacceptable by any democratic standards.”

Despite the public outcry, the criticisms and concerns formulated by legal experts, academics and media commentators, Bill C-24 became law.

“The ICLMG is really happy to support this constitutional challenge and to send a strong message that the Canadian citizenship should have the same meaning for all Canadians regardless of their genetic background.”

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ICLMG co-signs open letter to PM Harper: Help free Canadian citizen Salim Alaradi detained without charge in the UAE since August 2014

The Right Honourable Stephen Harper
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2

Ottawa, July 31th 2015,

Dear Prime Minister,

We, the undersigned, Canadian national organizations and concerned citizens, are calling upon you to use the full power of your office to intervene on behalf of Canadian citizen Salim Alaradi, who has been unlawfully detained in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) since August 2014 without charge. It is vital that Canada demand that he be released unless he is charged immediately with a recognizable criminal offence and brought promptly to trial in fair proceedings. Your intervention is critical in ensuring that Mr. Alaradi’s human rights will be respected and upheld.

Mr. Alaradi is the husband of Canadian citizen Zaghuwan Aliya and the father of five Canadian children: Marwa 17, Nur 14, Mohamed 12, Rayhana 7, and Yasmin 3.

Mr. Alaradi travelled to and from the UAE since 1992 and currently operates Hommer International, a global competitor in home appliances. He has lived in the UAE without restrictions for many years and was a law-abiding resident. On August 28, 2014 Mr. Alaradi was arrested without charge from a hotel during a family vacation in Dubai. He has been arbitrarily detained since that time by the UAE Security Services, without any charges.  He is currently being held at the Wathba Abu Dhabi Prison.

Mr. Alaradi’s situation is urgent. He has a number of pre-existing medical conditions prior to his detention that have increased in severity as a direct result of the detention, along with new medical complaints caused by his detention. In addition to asthma, high cholesterol and vulnerabilities due to an open-heart surgery, he has developed new conditions in his back, major weight loss, eye infection and bronchitis.  Canadian authorities have informed the family that they are seriously concerned about his health after seeing him in a recent visit.

As you are well aware, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that no one may be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or imprisonment. In addition, international human rights standards require that detainees be charged, tried promptly and afforded a fair trial.

Mr. Alaradi’s basic human rights have been violated for almost a year now. There is no legal basis for his detention – he has been not been charged with any recognizable criminal or other offence. UAE lawyers have been unable or prevented from representing Mr. Alaradi due to a lack of accusations and charges and that Mr. Alaradi is currently detained outside of the legal system.

We are now calling upon you, Prime Minister, to take prompt and meaningful action.

We live in a country whose profound commitment to human rights has always been recognized by the international community. It is with the knowledge of and pride in this commitment that we raise Mr. Alaradi’s case with you. We have every expectation that you will remain true to our proud legacy.

Prime Minister, we ask that you intervene vigorously on behalf of Salim’s wife, Zaghuwan, and their five young children. As Canadians, they have every expectation that you will recognize this case as a travesty of justice and do everything in your power to ensure that his rights are fully protected.

Sincerely,

Amnesty International, Alex Neve, Secretary General

International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group (Coalition of 43 organizations), Monia Mazigh, National Coordinator

Libyan Canadian Community Organization, Alaa Abushwereb, President

Canadian Council of Muslim Women, Alia Hogben, Executive Director

CODEPINK, Medea Benjamin, co-founder

Canadian Muslim Forum, Sameer Zuberi, LL.B., Board Member

Canadian Civil Liberties Association, Sukanya Pillay, Executive Director

 

Cc: The Honourable, Lynne Yelich, Minsiter of State, Foreign Affairs and Consular

Paul Dewar, Official Opposition Critic for Foreign Affairs

Brian Masse, Official Opposition, MP, Windsor West

Marc Garneau, Liberal Foreign Critic

TAKE ACTION HERE

Press release: ICLMG urges Canadian government to act upon the United Nations report on Canada

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”.

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ICLMG’s brief submitted to the HRC of the UN:

http://iclmg.ca/wp-content/uploads/sites/37/2015/06/ICLMG-submission-for-HRC-ICCPR-Canada-review-2015.pdf

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