COLUMN:The Bad and the Rad: a weekly damage report

Days come and go and soon enough, Meagan has missed a whole week of The Bad and the Rad. Sorry about that! Here I am back with your weekly dose of human rights travesties and triumphs. In this issue: torturing Afghani children, Canadian-style…fraudulent elections in Haiti…securing safe spaces for migrants…and a great big dollop of police misconduct.

Yours through the darkness and the light,
Meagan C. Wohlberg


Remember last winter when the Canadian government was under fire for the Afghan detainees torture scandal? Well, thanks to a recently leaked document, we now know that the individuals handed over to the special security unit of the Afghan government (which engaged in torturing detainees) included children. Lawyers are stating that this clearly goes against international law, as children are supposed to be removed from war zones, not detained within them. Let’s see if the Harper government goes for Prorogue #3 to table this bad boy.

Empty polls in Haiti. Photo: The Dominion

The elections that took place in Haiti over the weekend were rife with “massive fraud.” As was reported in The Guardian,

“We denounce a massive fraud that is occurring across the country … We demand the cancellation pure and simple of these skewed elections,” the 12 presidential candidates, which included all main opposition groups, said in a statement read to reporters at a Port-au-Prince hotel. They accused the outgoing President René Préval’s Inite (Unity) coalition of rigging the vote in favour of its candidate, Jules Celestin.

Here is a photo essay recap of the elections.

To mark the UN Day of the Elimination of Violence Towards Women, the Toronto-based Shelter|Sanctuary|Status campaign successfully pushed immigration officers out of spaces for women surviving violence and abuse, including women’s shelters, drop-ins, child protection services, counseling services, community health and legal clinics, neighborhood centres with violence against women programs, rape crisis centers, second stage housing and transitional support programs, and other agencies that provide violence against women supports and programs. No One Is Illegal-Toronto will be tracking the effectiveness of this directive.

The Doig River First Nation in Northeastern British Columbia’s traditional territory and ways of life are being threatened by oil spill contamination. Neither the companies repsonsible nor the government have effectively cleaned up the series of spills on Doig River territory. People are experiencing cancer and the extinction of their primary sustenance – the caribou – which is eating the oil soaked soil.

The widow of a Latin American man shot and hacked to death by private security forces around a Canadian mine are suing (**trigger warning: photos of the victim**) the Canadian mining company in Ontario courts. Details will be released in a press conference in Toronto on the morning of Dec. 1. This comes one month after the Parliament voted against Bill C-300, a bill intended to ensure that Canadian mining companies operating abroad act in accordance with Canada’s commitments to international human rights standards.

The UN has removed “sexual orientation” from a resolution that protects people from arbitrary executions, allowing LGBT people to be executed without cause.

A pregnant woman is dead after been jailed and being neglected despite having pneumonia in Pennsylvania. She was put in jail for becoming pregnant, which violated the terms of her work release under probation. The initial reason she was arrested was for stealing food (out of hunger) and being a sex worker. Her mother is waging a lawsuit.

Not a single cop is being charged for using brutality during the G20 demonstrations this past June in Toronto. The Special Investigations Unit, an internal review committee of the police, have cleared all 6 complaints of brutality brought forth recently, despite saying there was evidence of “probable use of excessive force.” Toronto Sun columnist wrote a scathing review of the SIU recently.

The treatment of a woman who was strip-searched and beaten by five male police officers in Ottawa has been condemned by a judge, who called it an “indignity.” You can watch the video of the incident here.

Algonquins of Barriere Lake take on INAC

The Algonquins of Barriere Lake are taking on the federal government, again, to demand that they revoke section 74 of the Indian Act, used this summer to abolish their traditional governance system. They will be demonstrating on Parliament Hill on Dec. 13. Buses are being organized from both Montreal and Toronto to join them.

A march to honour the anniversary of the death of Anas Bennis, a man who was shot in the head by Montreal police in 2005 while returning home from morning prayers at his Cote-des-Neiges mosque, will be taking place on Saturday, Dec. 4 in Montreal.

Recent Wikileaks cables show the ex-director of CSIS, Jim Judd, demonstrating contempt for Canadian courts. He complained that the courts do not allow CSIS to “do their job” because they don’t accept information obtained through torture to be used as evidence.


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