Monthly Archives: April 2008

Ireland to Council of Europe: Get Lost

The [Irish] government has rejected calls from Europe’s human rights watchdog to step up efforts to prevent American “rendition” flights using Irish airports.

The rest.


Council of Europe To Ireland: Teach Your Children Properly

The report also highlighted the need for increasing choice in the educational system, particularly to take account of cultural and religious differences.

[Human Rights Commissioner for the Council] Mr Hammarberg described the current lack of a choice as a problem, and expressed concern about the segregation of non-Catholic migrants in education.

“The growing diversity of Irish society has seen an increase in the demand for multi-denominational or non-denominational schools that the current practical and legislative infrastructure is unable to meet, in particular when schools are obliged to enrol Catholic applicants first. The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance has recommended that the greater demand for non-denominational or multi-faith schools should be met, ” he said.

The rest.

English PEN: Free Expression A Basic Human Right

In 2007, International PEN monitored the cases of more than one thousand writers who were persecuted because of their writing. Many of these writers were targeted as a result of their outspoken criticism of governments and corporations. At English PEN, we are hampered in our support for such writers of conscience whenever governments and corporations in the west endorse repressive laws such as criminal defamation.

In conclusion, we urge you to drop all actions in Thailand, and to impress your critics with the force of argument, not the threat of imprisonment. You will thereby impress us with your commitment to basic human rights. Any other course of action would, we believe, be damaging to Tesco’s brand in the UK and internationally and would be contrary to Tesco’s stated policy.

The rest.

The Proposal: Print Writers We All Can Get Along With

“However, in light of the editors’ latest assertion we are making a fair and reasonable proposal today. In exchange for Maclean’s publishing a mutually acceptable response to the Steyn article from an agreed upon author, we would be prepared to settle this matter.”

The rest.

When Human Rights Collide

A year after a woman filed a complaint against Le Stud for discrimination, only men were in sight yesterday. While the bar is not necessarily welcoming to women, the Quebec Human Rights Commission said it can’t deny them entry.

The case prompted outcry from the gay community and another complaint to the commission. Rick Matthews complained the fitness club Curves discriminates against men by not allowing them to join.

He told The Gazette last year he hoped to make the point that women should not demand access to men-only bars if they’re not willing to open their clubs to men.

The rest.

A different view of human rights, from Down Under:

An Australian hotel catering for gay men has been given the right to ban heterosexuals from its bars – to combat gangs of ogling women.

They won a ruling – believed to be the first of its kind in the country – from state authorities to impose the restriction.

It was granted even though equal opportunity laws prevent people being discriminated against based on race, religion or sexuality.

The rest.

Human Rights Is Big Bucks

Constance Backhouse – University of Ottawa – Killam Prize Winner in Social Sciences

One of Canada’s foremost experts on women and the law and a highly regarded scholar and human rights advocate, University of Ottawa Law Professor Constance Backhouse has garnered many distinctions and awards for her path-breaking writings on sexual harassment in the workplace and other forms of gender and race discrimination.

The prize: 100 large.

From Backhouse’s faculty bio, a real stunner:

Professor Backhouse has served for many years as a mediator and adjudicator of human rights complaints.

Really? For years? Because we thought…

The Commission’s aim is a human rights system that:
…is independent, impartial, and ensures good governance. [page 4]

 Constance Backhouse: “I hope [my research] helps Canadians understand how unfair our legal system has been to women and ‘racialized’ communities…People operate under gender and racial assumptions that have definable effects on access to jobs and social opportunities.”

Update: Manitoba Premier Pressured Over Donations From Crown Companies

Manitoba’s Opposition says the government was “sneaky and underhanded” when it suggested to its Crown corporations that they should donate to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

The province’s auto insurer, the publicly owned utility and the agencies in charge of alcohol and lotteries have each planned to donate about $1 million for the construction of the museum.

Premier Gary Doer said Monday he “encouraged” various Crown boards to donate to the museum. The province has already pledged $40 million to the museum.

“Crown corporations make investments in our community in all the time,” said Doer.

“If you go to a Bomber game, you’ll see ads and other promotions [from Crown agencies] for the support of the football club.”

But Tory Leader Hugh McFadyen sees it differently. He said the New Democrats basically directed the Crown agencies to put money into the project.

“There’s no difference between encouraging and directing when it comes to the premier and a Crown corporation,” McFadyen said. “Generally speaking, when the boss encourages you to do something, you don’t take it as an optional thing.”

The rest.