News from ICLMG

Press release: Canadian human rights organizations urgently call for Bill C-51 to be withdrawn

Today, as the House of Commons’ Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security commences its clause-by-clause review of Bill C-51, the Anti-Terrorism Act, 2015, seven of Canada’s leading human rights organizations reiterate their call for the Bill to be withdrawn.

Since the Committee began its hearings on March 9, 2015, it has heard concerns raised by expert witnesses representing a variety of perspectives. As Canadians learn more about Bill C-51, public concern and opposition to the Bill continues to grow, as reflected in the rapidly growing numbers of Canadians who have taken part in demonstrations and who have signed petitions and letters. Meanwhile, editorial boards from across the political spectrum continue to critique the Bill and the manner in which it is being deliberated in Parliament.

Amnesty International, the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, the Canadian Muslim Lawyers Association, the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group, La Ligue des Droits et Libertés and the National Council of Canadian Muslims have, from the outset, stated that the human rights shortcomings in Bill C-51 are so numerous and inseparably interrelated, that the Bill should be pulled back.  The organizations have said 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. Read more

Press release: Canadian rights groups decry limited Parliamentary Committee hearings for Bill C-51

February 26, 2015 – Rights groups across Canada reacted with alarm and deep concern to the news that the government has brought forward a motion limiting study of Bill C-51, the Anti-Terrorism Act, 2015, by the House of Commons’ Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security to only four sessions of two hours each.  With the first session devoted to government witnesses, including the Minister of Public Safety, this would leave only six hours for all other potential experts.

Amnesty International Canada, the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, the Canadian Muslim Lawyers Association, the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group, La Ligue des Droits et Libertés and the National Council of Canadian Muslims all called on the government to withdraw the motion and agree to a schedule of extensive hearings that will ensure that all relevant expertise and perspectives across the country is available to the Committee during the course of its study of Bill C-51.

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Press release: Rights groups welcome statement from eminent Canadians calling for review and oversight of national security activities

logos C-51February 19, 2015 – Today, a group of 22 eminent Canadians, comprised of former Prime Ministers, Ministers of Justice, Ministers of Public Safety, Solicitors General, Supreme Court of Canada Justices, and members of national security, law enforcement and privacy review bodies, published a statement in The Globe and Mail and La Presse calling urgently for an enhanced approach to national security review and oversight in the country. The group includes men and women whose public service, in areas where they have been responsible for addressing wide-ranging national security challenges, stretches from 1968 to 2014.

This important statement comes at a time when Canada is considering a radical expansion of national security powers across government, but has made no equivalent proposals for strengthened review and oversight of the agencies and departments responsible for national security.

Amnesty International, the BC Civil Liberties Association, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group, La Ligue des droits et libertés, and the National Council for Canadian Muslims strongly support this statement, which highlights the importance of robust review and oversight for the three critically important and inter-connected reasons of protecting human rights, strengthening national security, and building public trust and governmental accountability.

This statement, endorsed by eminent Canadians who have served in public positions of authority and expertise relating to national security, law, and government accountability, makes clear that strong accountability mechanisms lead to better security for all Canadians: “Canada’s national security policies and practices must be effective in order to protect public safety. Independent oversight and effective review mechanisms help ensure that resources devoted to national security activities are being utilized effectively and efficiently.”

Read the full statement, including the names of the 22 endorsing individuals, here.

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