April 24, 2013 – Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today issued the following statement:
“Once again, United Nations official Richard Falk has spewed more mean-spirited, anti-Semitic rhetoric, this time blaming the attacks in Boston on President [Barack] Obama and the State of Israel.
“There is a dangerous pattern to Mr. Falk’s anti-Western and anti-Semitic comments. The United Nations should be ashamed to even be associated with such an individual.
“I respectfully call on the United Nations Human Rights Council—again—to remove Mr. Falk from his position immediately.
“Mr. Falk’s consistently mean-spirited comments cast a dark shadow over the United Nations and what it can accomplish. Comments like these do a great disservice to the fundamental values of the United Nations and to all freedom-loving people.”
Should the U.N. — which last year elected Assad’s Syria to UNESCO’s human rights committee — devote its scarce time and resources to free democracies and open societies such as Canada?
For context, note that the expert below works for the U.N. Human Rights Council, a dictator-dominated entity that just elected the Chavez government, Pakistan and Kazakhstan as members. They also elected a new vice-president: the representative from slave-holding Mauritania.
The following press release was circulated today by the office of the U.N. high commissioner for human rights.
Canada: UN expert calls for meaningful dialogue with Aboriginal leaders after weeks of protests
GENEVA (8 January 2013) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, James Anaya, urged the Government of Canada and Aboriginal leaders to undertake meaningful dialogue in light of First Nations protests and a month-long hunger strike by Chief Theresa Spence of the Attawapiskat First Nation.
“I am encouraged by reports that Prime Minister Steven Harper has agreed to meet with First Nations Chiefs and leadership on 11 January 2013 to discuss issues related to Aboriginal and treaty rights as well as economic development,” Mr. Anaya said. “Both the Government of Canada and First Nations representatives must take full advantage of this opportunity to rebuild relationships in a true spirit of good faith and partnership.”
The announcement of the meeting followed weeks of protests carried out by Aboriginal leaders and activists within a movement referred to as ‘Idle no more.’ The movement has been punctuated by Chief Spence’s hunger strike that has been ongoing since 11 December 2012. “I would like to add my voice to the concern expressed by many over the health condition of Chief Spence, who I understand will be joining indigenous leaders at this week’s meeting,” the independent expert said.
Transcript from today’s concluding remarks by Maina Kai, the UN Human Rights Council’s Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association. Video of full speech above.
…I cannot address all the questions that have been brought in. But I would like to refer to just a few things. One is that breaches of freedom of association and breaches of peaceful assembly cut across the entire world. There’s not a single region in this world that has not received a communication from my mandate regarding violations or alleged violations. They cut across, and the breaches are both in law and in practice.
There are some places, some countries, where the laws are particularly harsh in terms of restricting the freedom of association, and for these ones, I’ll just mention just a few: in Algeria, Belarus, Canada, in particular in terms of the province of Quebec, Ethiopia, Jordan, Malaysia, Russian Federation, and Switzerland, in the Canton of Geneva, especially. But I’ve also got to note that in some of these countries, these laws are being challenged in court, as is in Malaysia and as well in Switzerland.
But what I’m trying to show with this is that the risk to the freedom of expression cuts right across the world and there’s no country exempt from them, and there’s no way I will pick and choose which countries I will pay attention to.
UN Watch transcript of statement by Canada to UN Human Rights Council, delivered by Ambassador Elissa Golberg, June 18, 2012, under Agenda Item 2 (High Commissioner’s Report).
Thank you, Mr. President.
Canada is disappointed that in a world where Iran’s treatment of political prisoners, hard-line governments like Belarus’ jailing of human rights defenders, and countries like Sri Lanka have yet to ensure full accountability in addressing serious human rights violations, the High Commissioner would misguidedly include the reference in her report to the situation in Quebec.
GENEVA, June 17 – Canada will be put in the company of some of the world’s worst abusers of human rights tomorrow when the UN’s highest human rights official expresses “alarm” over Quebec’s new law on demonstrations during her opening address to a meeting of the 47-nation UN Human Rights Council, revealed the Geneva-based monitoring group UN Watch, which obtained an advance copy of her speech. Other states on the UN watchlist include Syria, Pakistan and Zimbabwe.
The National Post (Canada) May 5, 2012, p. A20 EDITORIALS
By Hillel Neuer
Olivier De Schutter is the UN Human Rights Council’s “Special Rapporteur on the right to food,” a post initiated by Cuba. Tomorrow he begins an 11-day investigation of Canada.
De Schutter’s senior adviser, Priscilla Claeys, previously worked with Oxfam Canada, part of the group that is unofficially coordinating his visit, and with Rights and Democracy—a Canadian agency soon to be shut down—where she collaborated with the UN office of Jean Ziegler, co-founder of the “Muammar Qaddafi Human RIghts Prize” and De Schutter’s predecessor.
“There is no food and no clean water, nothing,” Mahmoud, a 12-year-old boy from Homs, Syria, told Reuters Thursday. “There is no shop open and we only have one meal a day. How can we live like that and survive?”
According to the World Food Program, half a million people don’t have enough to eat in Syria. Fears are growing that the regime is using hunger as a weapon.
This is the kind of emergency which should attract the attention of the UN Human Rights Council’s hunger monitor, who has the ability to spotlight situations and place them on the world agenda. Yet Olivier de Schutter of Belgium, the “Special Rapporteur on the right to food,” is not going to Syria.