There are few countries today in which citizens and their civil society organizations are not severely affected by the encroachment of the national security state, and the use of “anti-terrorism” to repress dissent and political opposition.
Canada has seen its own lurch in that direction, starting with the first Anti-Terrorism Act of 2001, up to its successor, Bill C-51, the Anti-Terrorism Act, 2015, and with a myriad other policies and laws in their orbits: no fly lists, limits on citizenship, changes to immigration policies, audits of charities, funding cuts, and attacks on freedom of association, expression, movement and privacy rights.
These laws and policy decisions don’t simply have an impact at home. They also pose severe consequences abroad, both in their effect on Canadian organizations working in solidarity with allies internationally, and in the social license they grant to other governments to enact similar legislation.
For 16 years, the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group (ICLMG) has been taking up this cause: defending rights and freedoms in Canada and internationally from the impact of the war on terror, from the ongoing creep of anti-terror laws and from the secretive dealings of national security agencies.
This has been a difficult task. However, with the current context of a Canadian government nominally more favourable to the protection of rights, and an international landscape that presents major threats to fundamental freedoms, this is an important moment for action. The ICLMG’s broad membership and partners internationally – ranging from human rights to environmental to labour to faith-based groups – positions the coalition well to work to address concerns of the shrinking space for civil society.
This document presents our understanding of the overlap in issues of interest to the ICLMG and the international cooperation and development sector, and presents opportunities for what we see as powerful areas for further collaboration.
If you believe your organization could benefit from this knowledge and collaboration, or if you would like to contribute to our ongoing work of protecting and promoting human rights and civil liberties in the context of the war on terror, please contact Tim McSorley, ICLMG National Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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… we have a small favour to ask. Here at ICLMG, we are working very hard to protect and promote human rights and civil liberties in the context of the so-called “war on terror” in Canada. We do not receive any financial support from any federal, provincial or municipal governments or political parties. Any donations will go a long way to support our work.
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