Jeunesse, justice pénale et littératie

« Chaque enfant qu’on enseigne est un homme qu’on gagne.
Quatre-vingt-dix voleurs sur cent qui sont au bagne
Ne sont jamais allés à l’école une fois,
Et ne savent pas lire, et signent d’une croix.
C’est dans cette ombre-là qu’ils ont trouvé le crime.
L’ignorance est la nuit qui commence l’abîme.
Où rampe la raison, l’honnêteté périt. »

Extrait de : Écrit après la visite d’un bagne, Victor Hugo

 

La criminalité chez les jeunes connaît plus d’un facteur contribuant à son augmentation, notamment l’analphabétisme. Le mois dernier, l’organisme d’alphabétisation national,  « Collège Frontière», s’est penché sur le sujet dans le cadre d’une conférence intitulée « Jeunesse, justice pénale et littératie ». Read the rest of this entry »

ON: Equal pay for employees with disabilities

The Ontario Human Rights Tribunal will no longer tolerate employers paying workers with developmental disabilities less than the statutory minimum. The tribunal awarded Terri-Lynn Garrie, a St. Catharines woman with an intellectual disability, 10 years worth of minimum wages.

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Discrimination Against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar Continue

Last week, Myanmar expelled Doctors Without Borders. The decision came after Doctors Without Borders treated Rohingya Muslims after an alleged massacre of Rohingya by Buddhists. The Myanmar government alleged that the NGO had favoured treating the Rohingya over local Buddhists. Doctors without Borders responded that its actions are “guided by medical ethics and the principles of neutrality and impartiality.” Myanmar has since allowed Doctors Without Borders to resume its work in other parts of Myanmar, but not the Rakhine state, where the communal violence between Buddhists and Rohingya is occurring.

The Rohingya are not recognized as citizens of Myanmar and are a stateless group. The United Nations has described the Rohingya as one of the most persecuted minorities in the world. Thailand recently announced that 1300 Rohingya were sent back to Myanmar last year, despite facing persecution. Human Rights Watch has also urged the Myanmar government to immediately and impartially investigate the killings that are a result of the communal violence. Fortify Rights released a report, “Policies of Persecution: Ending Abusive State Policies Against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar,” which details state policies of persecution, such as the two-child policy for Rohingya and restrictions on freedom of movement.

 

 

Ensemble, pour éviter la rue et en sortir

Ce jeudi 27 janvier, la Ministre déléguée aux services sociaux, Véronique Hivon, a déposé à Montréal la Politique nationale de lutte à l’itinérance. Cette dernière prévoit la construction de 500 logements sociaux tel qu’annoncé par le Ministre Marceau lors du dépôt du budget 2014-2105. Un budget de 46 millions, financé par le programme AccèsLogis, est alloué à la nouvelle politique intitulée «Ensemble, pour éviter la rue et en sortir». Les logements ainsi construits seront réservés à la population itinérante ou à risque de le devenir. Read the rest of this entry »

La nouvelle loi ougandaise contre les homosexuels dénoncée de toute part à l’ONU

L’Ouganda a adopté il y a 2 jours une nouvelle loi criminalisant encore plus l’homosexualité dans le pays. Cette loi, qui constitue une violation manifeste du droit d’être protégé contre toute forme de discrimination, a vite été condamnée par différentes instances onusiennes ainsi que par plusieurs gouvernements occidentaux.

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Qikiqtani Truth Commission Goes on the Road

Starting this Wednesday, twelve communities in the Qikiqtani region will get to hear the results of the Qikiqtani Truth Commission’s work. The Commission, run by James Igliorliote, traveled the Baffin area in 2008 to collect testimony on the history of government action that traumatized Inuit communities from the 1950s up until the 1970s.

The Commission was instigated after a twelve-year campaign by the Qikiqtani Inuit Association’s (QIA) agitation for an apology and for compensation from the federal government for the killing of Inuit dogs in the mid 20th century. Before it was launched, however, the Commission’s mandate was broadened to include a review of all government action that affected the Inuit between the years of 1950 to 1975.

While the final report was put out in 2010, in October 2013 the QIA released two more volumes of information. One details the experiences of specific communities and the other looks in depth at the federal government’s policies that caused the damage.

The presentations to communities in the region will take place from the 26th of February until March 13th. They will consist of DVD showings and discussions of an implementation plan for the next steps the QIA will take, now that the findings are in.

Office of the BC Information and Privacy Commissioner seeking public’s opinion on use of police background checks

British Columbia’s Information and Privacy Commissioner Elizabeth Denham is inviting the public to comment on the use of police information checks as a screening tool for those seeking employment or volunteer positions in the province. In an open letter to the public, Commissioner Denham writes;

“There is an increasing trend towards the use of police information checks as a screening tool for employers to assist in determining the suitability of a prospective employee or volunteer. While these individuals consent to the conduct of the check before it takes place, it is unlikely that an individual who refuses a check will still be considered for an employment or volunteer position. As a result, it is important that the process for background checks achieves the correct balance between an individual’s right to privacy and a desire for background information about an applicant.”

The use of police record checks has come under increased scrutiny in recent years, in response to a shift from the use of criminal record checks, which only include an individual’s criminal convictions, to the use of more expansive police information checks, which include not only convictions but also local police agency records. This includes information such as warrants for arrest, peace bonds, restraining orders, incidents of police contact, charges that did not lead to conviction, investigations where no charges were laid, information related to an individual’s mental health, and information under the Youth Criminal Justice Act. Read the rest of this entry »

Québec’s Secular Charter: Former Supreme Court Justices Speak Out

It is a topic seldom discussed in Canadian politics: the lives, and influences, of former Supreme Court of Canada justices.

The power SCC justices can possess while retired from the bench is being displayed in full-force with the clashing views of former Supreme Court justices Claire L’Heureux-Dubé (1987-2002) and Louise Arbour (1999-2004).

The comments stem from Québec’s controversial proposal of Bill-60: “Charter affirming the values of State secularism and religious neutrality and of equality between women and men, and providing a framework for accommodation requests” introduced during the 1st session of the 40th legislature of Québec’s National Assembly.

Louise Arbour published an Opinion Piece in La Presse, entitled “Choisissons la générosité” (“choose the generosity”). Ms. Arbour stated:

“Let us remember how easy it is to restrict the freedom of others, especially when this initiative comes at no cost to those who advocate it.”

But Claire L’Heureux-Dubé, called to the bar in 1952, has a different view:

“In my opinion, religion is foremost an internal commitment,” she said. “Religious signs are part of the displaying of religious beliefs, and not part of the practice of religion. All state employees are subject to standards of loyalty and restrictions on their freedom of political speech, which was upheld by the courts. Why would the freedom of religious expression be different?”

Full commentary from The Globe and Mail‘s article can be viewed here. What do you think of the Parti Québécois’ Bill-60?

Le Vatican sévèrement critiqué par un comité onusien

Dans un rapport paru mercredi, le Comité sur les Droits des enfants de l’ONU critique sévèrement le Vatican pour son bilan en matière de protection des droits des enfants. Le Comité pointe notamment du doigt son inaction dans les scandales de pédophilie qui ont éclaboussés l’Église ainsi que sa position sur l’homosexualité, l’avortement et la contraception. Ce rapport fait suite à la comparution du Vatican devant le comité en janvier passé dans le cadre de l’évaluation périodique que fait ce comité de l’implantation de la Convention relative aux droits de l’enfant par les États membres.

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Failed Human Rights Complain over “being shy”

Loth I am to add to this student’s publicity, but there is an untold story regarding the University of Toronto (U of T) student who lost his bid to skip class because he’s shy. No doubt related to York University’s recent controversy, Wongene Daniel Kim rose to internet infamy yesterday for filing a dismissed complaint with the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal against his Women and Gender Studies professor for docking his participation marks when he didn’t attend class.

According to the Star, Kim, 20, arrived on the first day to a room full of women and claims he was too shy to stick around. He emailed the professor asking that she waive the marks related to participation and attendance, but she refused. He could have dropped the course and the story would end there. He didn’t. He continued on, did poorly on the assignments and failed.

At first I found it concerning that Kim, who clearly made some poor decisions, was going to forever be known with his photo plastered on the internet as “the shy (and unreasonable) guy”. This was until a friend pointed out that he has over 15000 twitter followers and millions of youtube views. It’s of course true that interaction in person is different from online, but Kim admits he has a part-time job with men and women and clearly enjoys internet stardom.

Not only was this a waste of U of T’s time and resources and the tribunal’s time and resources from the beginning because “timidness” is not a protected human right, but it appears it may have been a seized opportunity for 15 minutes of fame. Either way, it’s disappointing the Human Rights Tribunal is viewed with such disdain and another poor decision on the part of this young man.

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