Amnesty International Report 2007 - Canada
|Publication Date||23 May 2007|
|Cite as||Amnesty International, Amnesty International Report 2007 - Canada, 23 May 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/46558ec220.html [accessed 25 May 2016]|
Head of state: Queen Elizabeth II, represented by Governor General Michaëlle Jean
Head of government: Stephen Harper (replaced Paul Martin in January)
Death penalty: abolitionist for all crimes
International Criminal Court: ratified
There were concerns about violations of the rights of Indigenous peoples, including discrimination and violence against Indigenous women and girls. Counter-terrorism laws and practices were inconsistent with human rights standards.
The rights of Indigenous peoples
There was no comprehensive national strategy to address continuing discrimination and violence against Indigenous women. The policies and practices of police forces in response to such violence were inconsistent.
There was no progress in resolving the long-standing land dispute with the Lubicon Cree in Alberta, despite calls by the UN Human Rights Committee on Canada in 1990 and 2005 to make every effort to resolve the issue.
There were concerns that the approach to child protection for Indigenous children was discriminatory, both in the levels of funding provided and in the disproportionately high levels of Indigenous children taken into care.
Women's human rights
In September there was a substantial cut in the budget of Status of Women Canada, the federal government agency responsible for promoting gender equality. New restrictions barred advocacy activities by organizations receiving funding from the agency.
There was no progress in implementing recommendations made by a 1996 public inquiry, a 2003 Canadian Human Rights Commission report, and the UN Human Rights Committee in 2005 that there be an independent agency established to receive complaints from women prisoners held in federal detention facilities.
Concerns about excessive use of force involving taser guns continued. In August, Jason Doan died in Red Deer, Alberta, after being subdued by police using a taser, bringing the number of such deaths to 15 since April 2003.
Security and human rights
Three Muslim men subject to security certificates issued under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act remained in detention and two others were under strict bail conditions. The men faced a serious risk of torture if deported. Appeals to the Supreme Court of Canada in three of the cases were pending at the end of the year.
In September and December, two reports from a public inquiry into Canada's role in the case of Maher Arar were released. He had been deported to Syria in 2002 where he was detained without charge for a year and tortured. The first report cleared Maher Arar, recommended compensation and proposed numerous reforms. In December, the government announced an inquiry into the cases of three other dual Canadian nationals tortured abroad: Abdullah Almalki, Ahmad Abou El-Maati and Muyyed Nureddin.
In October, the preventative and investigative hearing provisions of the 2001 Anti-Terrorism Act were renewed for five years.
Canadian forces in Afghanistan transferred detainees to Afghan officials in circumstances where there was a serious risk of torture and ill-treatment.
The new government refused to implement the provisions of the 2001 Immigration and Refugee Protection Act establishing a Refugee Appeal Division.
A legal challenge was lodged to the Canada/USA "safe third country" agreement. Under the agreement most refugee claimants arriving in Canada via the USA were required to make their refugee claims in the USA, where there were concerns that some faced human rights violations. The court hearing was expected to begin in February 2007.
Immigration laws failed to provide an absolute ban on deporting individuals to countries where they faced a serious risk of torture. In October, a Federal Court judge ruled that "exceptional circumstances" did not exist to justify the deportation of Mahmoud Jaballah to Egypt, where he was at risk of being tortured.