ICLMG in the media

The misuses of national security: An interview with human rights defender Roch Tassé

In July, after nearly a half-century of defending human rights and civil liberties in Canada and abroad, Roch Tassé will retire, leaving his current post as co-ordinator of the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group (ICLMG), which he has held since its creation in 2001.

The Franco-Ontarian began his life in activism as a social worker and community organizer in Ottawa’s eastern townships, spending four years in the 1970s with the federally sponsored Company of Young Canadians, a creation of the Trudeau government “to co-opt the activism of the radicals in the late 1960s,” he jokes over a coffee in early February. After the project was disbanded, Roch became the editor of a newspaper serving the francophone community outside of Quebec, where he worked until 1985. That was the year he took responsibility for Inter Pares’s Central America program, which brought him to Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala and eventually Chiapas, Mexico where civil wars had displaced entire communities and state repression was the norm. With a network of NGOs, Roch took part in UN-brokered peace negotiations in the late-1980s that saw the return of refugees, and the reconciliation of warring factions, among them the Contras and Sandinistas in Nicaragua.

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Lutte antiterroriste: deux juges mettent Ottawa en garde

925679-agents-grc-lors-attentat-parlementBy Laura-Julie Perreault, La Presse – Le coordonnateur national de la Coalition pour la surveillance internationale des libertés civiles, Roch Tassé, croit que l’inaction du gouvernement canadien après la commission Arar est une insulte aux citoyens.

«Il y a eu deux commissions [sur les droits de la personne et la sécurité nationale], on a dépensé des millions, mais rien n’a changé. La principale recommandation de la commission Arar était de mettre en place un organisme qui serait le chien de garde de la GRC et des services canadiens de renseignement. Non seulement ça n’a pas été fait, mais il y a aujourd’hui moins de surveillance de leur travail qu’avant», a dit M. Tassé en marge de la conférence. Read more

Khadr: Misguided security laws take a human toll

By Omar Khadr, Ottawa Citizen – “Ten years ago the Canadian government established a judicial inquiry into the case of Maher Arar. That inquiry, over the course of more than two years of ground-breaking work, examined how Canada’s post-Sept. 11 security practices led to serious human rights violations, including torture. At that same time, 10 years ago and far away from a Canadian hearing room, I was mired in a nightmare of injustice, insidiously linked to national security. I have not yet escaped from that nightmare. As Canada once again grapples with concerns about terrorism, my experience stands as a cautionary reminder. Security laws and practices that are excessive, misguided or tainted by prejudice can have a devastating human toll. A conference Wednesday in Ottawa, convened by Amnesty International, the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group and the University of Ottawa, will reflect on these past 10 years of national security and human rights. I will be watching, hoping that an avenue opens to leave my decade of injustice behind.” Read more

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