Monthly Archives: September 2008

Council Of Europe To Macedonia: Legalize Same-Sex Partnerships

More from the Who’s In Charge Around Here? file.

[Pink News] The Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights has published a report into the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people in Macedonia.

Thomas Hammarberg said that the “atmosphere and attitude towards LGBT persons” in the former Yugoslav Republic has improved.  

However, he concluded that certain persisting discriminatory attitudes exist at all levels, and legal safeguards are insufficient.

“Legal protections against discrimination remain particularly weak,” he said.

“Education is the key to informing and developing a culture of tolerance and inclusiveness. Human rights education programmes should be developed and expanded for Governmental officials including police officers and judicial officials at all levels, and also for school-going students.

“There should be a possibility of legal recognition of same sex partnership.”

BBC Caves To Bigotry Charge

[Guardian, Peter Salmon, BBC Chief Creative Officer] A snail could crawl the entire length of the Great Wall of China in just slightly more time than the 200 years it will take for women to be equally represented in parliament. That was just one of a series of striking statistics from the Equality and Human Rights Commission in their Sex and Power report published last week.

It added that women hold just 11% of FTSE directorships, with the judiciary and others also strongly criticised. At the BBC, the figures are a bit better – almost 38% of all senior managers are women – but it does bring into sharp focus the challenge the whole media industry is facing to improve diversity among its workforce.

We seem to be moving in the right direction, increasing opportunities for people from ethnic minority backgrounds at most levels.

We will transfer large numbers of staff from London but we will also recruit many new faces – a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to add something substantially new to our gene pool of talent, to change the BBC’s DNA a little.

Attention Forum Shoppers, Please Fasten Your Seatbelts

More from the Who’s In Charge Around Here? file.

What do striking airline pilots in the UK have to do with human rights in Europe? Not a lot. But hey, if the forum’s there, might as well exploit it.

That EU thing was a great idea.

[Business Travel World] The British Airline Pilots’ Association (Balpa) is to take cases to the International Labour Organization (ILO), the European Committee on Human Rights and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights for an alleged breach of rules following the union’s dispute with British Airways over its European subsidiary OpenSkies.

The union says it is raising the cases with the organisations because the UK Government has done nothing to clarify the law on strike action following its High Court tussle with British Airways.

Cost To Taxpayers For Human Rights Museum Reaches $160 000 000

[Times Colonist] The museum’s mandate is to create a centre of learning and history with a focus on human rights, both in Canada and abroad. Envisioned to be the largest centre of its type in the world, the museum will have a special focus on equipping and educating young people to become human rights leaders and advocates.

In addition to $105 million Asper wants to raise from the private sector — a goal she said she is within “a few million” of achieving — the facility has received $160 million from various levels of government.

Stephanie Dion: In The “Post-Apology Era,” Time To Do The UN’s Bidding

We love you, Stephanie

We love you, Stephanie

[Liberal Party Website] RICHMOND, British Columbia — On the first anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by the United Nations General Assembly Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion said a new Liberal government would reverse the Conservative government’s position and endorse the Declaration.

“Last year’s appalling decision to vote against the Declaration was an insult to First Nations, Métis and Inuit who were expecting the government to stand up for their rights, and an international embarrassment that must be corrected,” said Mr. Dion. 

“In the post-apology era there is no excuse for not ratifying the Declaration. A new Liberal government will ratify the Declaration and show the world that we can be a leader on aboriginal issues,” he said.

High gas prices? Lousy real estate market? Extreme taxation? Never mind that. Stephanie’s right. Canadians want a government that will show the world we’re in line with UN mandates. Very important agenda.

Slate: What’s The Matter With Canada/Heaven?

Buttheads at Slate aren’t known for objective journalism, but this article made us laugh. We especially like the notion of “free” health care, whatever that is. Enjoy.

[Slate] Last Sunday, news came that Canada—sensible, quiet, some would even say boring Canada—will hold an election on Oct. 14, its third in four years. Those outside the country may wonder what the problem is; in Canada, after all, health care is free, the dollar is strong, same-sex marriage is legal, and the government had the good sense to stay out of Iraq.

Just scan the headlines. In June, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development warned that Canada—for years the only G8 country to post regular budget surpluses—was likely to fall into deficit this year, thanks to a reckless cut to the national sales tax. In February, the government proposed denying funding to films and TV shows whose content it deemed “not in the public interest,” sparking cries of censorship from a sector that has historically received public support. In 2007, a member of the governing Conservative Party proposed a bill that would reopen the debate over abortion, a topic that governments both liberal and conservative have avoided for decades.

Human Rights Activist: BCHRT “Flawed”

[Province] A case in point arose this summer, when a raucous public debate reverberated across Canada after the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal agreed to hear a complaint about an allegedly Islamophobic article published in Maclean’s magazine.

Critics, including B’nai Brith Canada, say the complaint had no merit and should not have been heard. Defenders say the tribunal was simply fulfilling its role of hearing complaints under Section 7 of B.C.’s Human Rights Code, which prohibits publication of anything that “indicates discrimination or an intention to discriminate . . . or is likely to expose a person or a group or class of persons to hatred or contempt.”

As the public awaits the tribunal’s verdict, critics have seized on the case to call for major reform to the quasi-judicial body.

David Matas, senior legal counsel for B’nai Brith Canada and a longtime human-rights activist, says the way in which human rights is governed in B.C. is “flawed.”