HuffPost Canada closed in 2021 and this site is maintained as an online archive. If you have questions or concerns, please check our FAQ or contact support@huffpost.com.

international human rights day

Activists take pride in the fact that their movements are inclusive, but it appears that unless women and girls with disabilities and deaf women and girls make our way to the table then, over and over again, our needs are forgotten. There are but a handful of women with disabilities and Deaf women in Canada who are fortunate enough to be at those tables, and I am one of them.
International Human Rights Day should be a chance to celebrate the advances we've made to make the world a safer place for those suffering the threats of hate, racism and division. But we seem to be taking steps backwards. The president-elect of the United States got to that office by unleashing and lending legitimacy to the hatred and xenophobia that we normally look to our political leaders to push back against.
It seems that far too often the government and people here at home are more willing to rally around civil and political rights violations. Bill C-51, for example, drew waves of protest across the country. Compare that to how Canadians responded to the squalid conditions faced by 4.9 million people living in poverty. But rights are so important to the way that we understand poverty in Canada. Rights put people at the centre of policy decisions that affect them -- they bring dignity and humanity back to the conversation.
Most Canadians believe that religious discrimination is no longer a problem in contemporary society. Yet, after the terrorist attacks in Paris last month, we have seen a marked spike in hate crimes against Muslims. Less extreme, but likely more pervasive than overt attacks are new stereotypes that view all religious people as inherently backward, less tolerant, less informed, or closed-minded. This is a different form of prejudice that appears to be socially acceptable in our more secular society, and among many otherwise "progressive" or "liberal" individuals.
Incarcerating mothers is commonly associated with depression, anger, poor school performance and environmental disruptions among their families, especially for their children. We are impacting entire communities spanning generations.
Monday, December 10 is International Human Rights Day. And on this day three Canadians remain in prison in Iran. Are we safer here in Canada? A vast body of Canadian law has been developed that upholds the rights of individuals even in the face of the most heinous crimes. But in Canada, today, in light of the cases of Mohamed Harkat, Mohammad Mahjoub and Mahmoud Jaballah, if someone thinks you are a terrorist -- and someone said you are a terrorist even under torture -- you may be arrested, thrown in prison, or placed under house arrest, tried without knowing the evidence against you and then deported.