#BritishColumbiaSchools; #AntiRacism; #ERASEStratecy
British Columbia, Jul 24 (Canadian-Media): A new Community Roundtable on Anti-Racism to support the development of an anti-racism action plan in education has been created with an aim to strengthen the K–12 curriculum by ensuring the culture, beliefs and ancestry of all students and staff are accepted, celebrated and understood, media reports said.
AntiRacism. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons
B.C.'s Premier John Horgan said in a news release that British Columbia (B.C)'s schools or should imbibe a "culture-based learning in the education system and build a better and more inclusive future for B.C.”
A wide range of groups have been brought together by the community leaders to better understand the impact of racism on B.C. students by Rob Fleming, Minister of Education to strengthen and develop new policies and programs to promote anti-racism.
The first meeting of the roundtable was held on Friday, July 24, 2020, and will continue to meet during the development of the action plan.
“Now is the time to listen, learn, engage and act,” Fleming said. “We are committed to working with community and education partners to build a meaningful and lasting anti-racism action plan to ensure schools are safe and welcoming places where diversity is celebrated.”
First Nations Leadership Council, the First Nations Education Steering Committee and Métis Nation BC had been asked by Fleming to help set up a distinct Indigenous table and co-develop its approach.
A new student advisory group will also be formed in the fall to hear directly from students on their experiences.
“We are pleased to be working with the Ministry of Education to address racism in our schools. We’ve been advocating for this for many years now...We believe strongly that education about people and other people’s culture really reduces racism and prejudice," said Silvia Mangue Alene, president, BC Black History Awareness Society in a news release.
The Community Roundtable on Anti-Racism in education is based on a series of community dialogues led by Ravi Kahlon, former parliamentary secretary for sport and multiculturalism, last summer and leads to the development of Resilience BC, a provincewide anti-racism network of 40 communities announced in November 2019.
"By including a mandatory course on First Peoples as part of B.C.’s K-12 graduation requirements...is a widely supported measure that will contribute to significant change in the province,” said Tyrone McNeil, president, First Nations Education Steering Committee.
The provincial ERASE (expect respect and a safe education) strategy designed to foster school connectedness, address bullying, prevent violence and provide support to school districts during critical incidents. ERASE’s online reporting tool has recently expanded to include a category for reporting incidents of racism and discrimination.
Image: ERASE. Image credit: Twitter handle
B.C. government, in 2019 provided a sum of $3.1 million for Indigenous teacher training programs to ensure B.C. has more teachers trained to bring Indigenous perspectives into classrooms.
New York, Jun 28 (Canadian-Media): Indigenous communities have for centuries drawn on native scientific knowledge to help them understand the world around them. Known popularly as Traditional Knowledge, this observational evidence is verified by elders and passed on to successive generations, largely as an oral tradition, media reports said.
#GeorgeFloyd #Australia #Indigenous
Australia, Jun 28 (Canadian-Media): The protests over George Floyd’s death in the US have sparked a wave of protests in Australia over indigenous rights and questionable indigenous deaths in custody, media reports said.
#UN; #UNHumanitarian; #Racism; #AfricanDescent; #OHCHR
Geneva, Jun 19 (Canadian-Media): The UN’s top rights official, Michelle Bachelet, is to spearhead efforts to address systemic racism against people of African descent by law enforcement agencies, the Human Rights Council decided on Friday, UN reports said.
Protests have been occurring daily in New York City against racism and police violence, following the death of George Floyd. Image credit: UN Photo/Evan Schneider
The resolution – decided unanimously without a vote - follows a rare Urgent Debate in the Council earlier in the week, requested by the African group of nations, following the death of George Floyd in the US state of Minnesota.
The unarmed African-American's death on 25 May was captured on video while a police officer knelt on his neck for over eight minutes in Minneapolis, sparking worldwide protest.
During the debate on racism, alleged police brutality and violence against protesters that preceded the resolution’s adoption, no less than 120 speakers took the floor.
Many expressed sympathy for the family of Mr. Floyd, whose brother also addressed Council members in Geneva, in a passionate pre-recorded video message in which he urged the United Nations to act.
No international probe
Although some delegates had called for an international probe to investigate killings of black people in America, and violence against demonstrators, others maintained that the issue impacted on all nations, and required a broader approach.
In line with the final version of the resolution text, the High Commissioner should “prepare a report on systemic racism, violations of international human rights law against Africans and people of African descent by law enforcement agencies, especially those incidents that resulted in the death of George Floyd and other Africans and of people of African descent”.
The text also calls on Ms. Bachelet – assisted by UN appointed independent rights experts and committees “to examine government responses to anti-racism peaceful process peaceful protests, including the alleged use of excessive force against protesters, bystanders and journalists”.
Overseeing the resolution, Ambassador Elisabeth Tichy-Fisslberger (Austria), President of the Human Rights Council (14th cycle) announced that the text was ready for their consideration and asked whether a vote could be dispensed with, in light of the general consensus.
‘An historic step’
“Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, I have been informed that a number of resolutions are ready for adoption during this meeting as shown on the screen…So, I would like to ask if there is a request from anybody for a vote…I see none, so may I take it that the draft proposal L50 as orally revised may be adopted without a vote? It is so decided.”
In his address to Member States as coordinator of the African Group, Dieudonné W. Désiré Sougouri, Permanent Representative of Burkina Faso to the United Nations Office, declared the Urgent Debate “an historic step” in the combat against racism of which the Human Rights Council could be “proud”.
“The international outrage caused by the tragic events that led to the death of George Floyd underlined the urgency and importance for the Human Rights Council to raise its voice against injustice and police brutality which African people and people of African descent are faced with every day in many regions of the world,” he said.
The Council also heard widespread declarations of support for an investigation into violence against protesters supporting the Black Lives Matter movement.
Racism will remain ‘a priority
“The fight against all forms of racism and racial discrimination remains a priority for us,” said Michael Ungern-Sternberg, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Germany to the United Nations Office at Geneva. “The past weeks, many people around the world raised their voices and took to the streets to send a clear signal that racism and excessive use of force by law enforcement officials against minority populations cannot (any) longer be accepted.”
Other speakers insisted that the resolution was necessary and important in promoting awareness about systemic racism, and in continuing the work of implementing key pledges taken to combat the scourge in 2002 at the Durban World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance.
“Black lives matter,” said Ambassador Coly Seck, Permanent Representative of Senegal to the United Nations Office at Geneva. Racism continues to happen in many countries too, he said, noting that it was in “flagrant contradiction” to the UN Charter in which we place our faith in the basic rights of man and in the value of the human person”.
UN independent experts voice ‘profound concern’ over US Government accusations of ‘domestic terrorism’
And in another human rights development concerning the fallout from protests over George Floyd’s death in the US, UN independent experts on Friday expressed “profound concern” over a recent statement by the US Attorney-General describing the so-called Antifa movement and other anti-fascist activists as “domestic terrorists”, saying it undermines the rights to freedom of expression and of peaceful assembly in the country.
International human rights law protects the right to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly”, said Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism.
“It is regrettable that the United States has chosen to respond to the protests in a manner that undermines these fundamental rights.”
Following nationwide demonstrations that began after police in Minneapolis killed African American George Floyd, US Attorney General William Barr warned that alleged violence carried out by Antifa and other movements “is domestic terrorism and will be treated accordingly”, noted the press release issued by the UN rights office, OHCHR.
‘Loose use of terrorist rhetoric’Although there has not been an legislative action taken following the 31 May statement, Ms. Ní Aoláin – an expert lawyer who worked extensively in the human rights and terrorism-related field in her native Northern Ireland - said that the “the loose use of terrorism rhetoric undermines legitimate protests and dampens freedom of expression in the United States, which has been a hallmark of US constitutional values, and a beacon far beyond its shores”.
Echoing the unease expressed by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights regarding structural race discrimination in the US, particularly in the realm of policing, the Special Rapporteur said that regulating protests and violence through the lens of counter-terrorism may only sharpen divisions and accentuate tensions, fuelling further human rights violations.
The group of independent experts strongly recommend that the violent elements among peaceful protesters who have been identified by law enforcement, be dealt with fairly, and in accordance to due process under existing penal law.
Ms. Ní Aoláin is urging the US Government to take a human rights-based approach in their response to protests and violence and avoid the misuse and misappropriation of the language of terrorism.
“Unless it does, the Government risks cheapening grave crimes that fall under the rubric of terrorism and failing to fulfil fundamental obligations to ensure counter-terrorism measures are fully compliant with international human rights law.”
The Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council constitute the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, and they address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world.
The experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work, as well as being independent from any government or organization.
#USRacismProtests; #MeghanMarkle; #EncouragesStudents; #FightAgainstRacism
Los Angeles, Jun 14 (Canadian-Media): Deeply saddened and disturbed by protests over racism, police violence across United States (US) sparked by the death of a black man, George Floyd, killed at the hands of police in Minneapolis on May 25 reminded her of living at Los Angeles (L.A.) at the time of the 1992 riots when she was 11 or 12 years old, media reports said.
Meghan Markle. Image credit: Twitter handle
During a virtual address the other day to students at the Immaculate Heart High School in L.A., Meghan said that she felt sorry that the students at 17 or 18 years old would have to have a different version of that same type of experience and added,
"So the first thing I want to say to you is that I'm sorry. I'm so sorry that you have to grow up in a world where this is still present. Only wrong thing to say is to say nothing."
Meghan with her husband, Prince Harry, and son, Archie are now living in L.A. after they stepped back from the Royal Family two months ago.
Along with Floyd, Meghan mentioned other Black people killed by police.
"Because George Floyd's life mattered and Breonna Taylor's life mattered and Philando Castile's life mattered and Tamir Rice's life mattered."
Meghan ended her address with words of encouragement for the students and said,
"You are going to have empathy for those who don't see the world through the same lens that you do, because with as diverse and vibrant and open-minded as I know the teachings at Immaculate Heart are, I know you know that Black lives matter."
The Queen's Commonwealth Trust, of which Meghan is vice-president and Harry is president retweeted her message.
Meghan's other messages of encouragement in recent days on social media were also shared by the trust.
"Young people are vital voices in the fight against injustice and racism...Silence is not an option," the trust tweeted.
#Canada; #DiversityInLeadershipRace; #PeopleOfColor; #Women
Ottawa, Jun 9 (Canadian-Media): Canada's provincial and federal parties leadership has failed to reflect the gender and racial diversity of the wider population due to these political parties' being led mostly by white men, media reports said.
Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion. Image credit: Twitter handle
According to studies, women and people of color are being prevented from getting involved in politics due to their facing many systemic obstacles and prejudices that white male candidates don't face,
An analysis of data from the last few decades revealed that of the 175 leaders of provincial or federal parties since 1990, only 18 percent of these leaders were women and just eight percent represented by people of color.
Back in 2013, six provincial premiers and one territorial premier were women.
Between 1990 and 1994, about 23 percent of party leaders were women.
However, between 2005 and 2009, women constituted just over one-third of party leadership races.
From 2010 this share decreased again and since 2015, women represent just only one in ten newly-named party leadership.
Non-white Canadians represent about 11 percent of the current party leaders including a handful of interim leaders.
Only 16 percent of current provincial or federal party leaders are represented by women, but none of them is in a position of power right now.
Only 29 percent of Members of Parliament (MPs) are women and people of color represent about 18 percent.
Nevertheless, right now there is evidence of some diversity in the leadership races being held across the country.
The federal Green Party leadership is very diverse, women leaders represent both declared candidates for the B.C. Green leadership.
#Canada; #CanadaPM; #Justin Trudeau; #Anti-BlackCommunity; #Racism
Ottawa, Jun 7 (Canadian-Media): Racism never has a place in our society said Canada's Prime Minister in his statement on anti-Black community during a special committee on the COVID-19 pandemic June 2, media reports said.
Justin Trudeau. Image credit. Official site
I rise today to address what so many people of colour live with every day.
Over the past few days, we’ve seen horrific reports of police violence against Black men and women south of the border.
But these are not isolated incidents or elsewhere problems.
Prejudice, discrimination, and violence is a lived reality for far too many people.
It is the result of systems which far too often condone, normalize, perpetrate, and perpetuate inequality and injustice against people of colur.
As a country, we are not concerned bystanders simply watching what is happening next door.
We are part of it.
The calls for justice, for equality, for peace, have found echo in our communities because anti-Black racism is also happening here.
Everywhere in Canada.
Every single day.
This is something that our own staff, Cabinet ministers, and colleagues face even in these halls.
Over the past few days, I’ve heard many of these personal stories directly from them.
And I’m not just talking about acts of violence. I’m also talking about microaggressions, which many of us may not even see.
That is the daily reality of far too many racialized Canadians. And it needs to stop.
When it comes to being an ally, I have made serious mistakes in the past – mistakes which I deeply regret, and continue to learn from.
And I want to thank my colleagues, community leaders, and fellow Canadians for opening my eyes to what is really going on in our communities and helping me better understand both privilege and power.
I’m not perfect.
But not being perfect is not a free pass to not do the right thing.
It’s not an excuse to not step up.
To stand up for each other, to be an ally.
I know that for so many people listening right now, the last thing you want to hear is another speech on racism from a white politician.
I’m not here today to describe a reality I do not know or speak to a pain I have not felt.
I’m here because I want you to know that our government is listening.
We hear your calls for justice, equality, and accountability.
We acknowledge your frustration, your anger, your heartbreak.
We see you.
Since taking office, our government has taken concrete action to fight anti-Black racism, systemic discrimination, and injustice across the country.
We have worked with communities to recognize and address injustices.
We’ve taken action to support community organizations, invest in better data, and fight racism.
For example, we have provided $9 million to support programs for young Black Canadians.
We have made significant investments to help the Public Health Agency of Canada provide more mental health services to those who have experienced racism or intergenerational trauma.
We are helping community organizations obtain funding to buy equipment or rent space.
And we have created the Anti-Racism Secretariat, which has a $4.6 million budget to eliminate systemic barriers that perpetuate injustice, notably in employment, justice, and social participation.
And while we’ve made some progress, there is still so much more to do.
Because here are the facts in Canada.
Anti-Black racism is real.
Unconscious bias is real.
Systemic discrimination is real.
For millions of Canadians, it is their daily, lived reality.
The pain and damage it causes is real, too.
Mr. Speaker, every Canadian who has felt the weight of oppression, every student who has the courage to demand a better future, every person who marches and posts and reads and fights from Vancouver to Montréal to Halifax expects more than the status quo.
They expect more and deserve better.
The Government of Canada has a lot of work to do, but we are ready.
We are ready to work with our opposition colleagues, community leaders, and Canadians to make our country fairer and more equal.
Racism never has a place in our society.
And we will do everything we can to eradicate it from coast to coast.
#Toronto; #Ontario; #RallyAgainstRacism; #DeathOfKorchinskiPaquet; #AntiRacism
Toronto, May 31 (Canadian-Media): A peaceful rally was organized by a group dubbed Not Another Black Life downtown Toronto streets on Saturday to protest racism around the world world and to demand answers in the death of 29-year-old Toronto resident Regis Korchinski-Paquet, media reports said.
A Minnesota police officer faces a 3rd degree murder charge in the death of George Floyd, a black man caught on video by an officer knelt on his neck, while Floyd pleaded for air.
Korchinski-Paquet's death has drawn widespread community reaction and online attention after her cousin and mother took to social media following her death, initially claiming she was pushed off a balcony by police.
Later on Saturday, the rally turned into a march and police estimated the non-violent crowd was between 3,500 and 4,000.
Meanwhile, police said hundreds attended a similar protest in Halifax on Saturday. No arrests were made.
Racism a 'fact in our society,' Toronto mayor says.
Ontario's Special Investigations Unit is looking into the death of Korchinski-Paquet, as questions swirl around exactly what happened in the moments leading up to her death.
Korchinski-Paquet was described as an active member of her church, a talented gymnast and proud of her Ukrainian and Nova Scotian roots.
On Friday, Toronto police Chief Mark Saunders urged calm in the wake the incident.
Describing anti-black racism as "a fact in our society", Toronto Mayor John Tory encouraging protesters to practise physical distancing in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, a petition on Change.org demanding justice for Korchinski-Paquet has drawn over 50,000 signatures.
Anti-Racism. Image credit: Wikimedia Commons
#Minneapolis ; #murder; #riots; #CivilRightsActivists; #RacialBias; #USCriminalJusticeSystem
Minnesota, May 30 (Canadian-Media): Graphic video footage taken by an onlooker's cell phone and widely circulated on the internet showing the manslaughter of 46-year-old George Floyd May 25 by police officer Derek Chauvin's knee pressed into his neck reignited the civil rights activists' attempts in Minneapolis and cities across the country over persistent racial bias in the U.S. criminal justice system, media reports said.
An investigation into Floyd's death has been launched by the U.S. Justice Department.
Floyd, 46, a Houston native who had worked as a nightclub security guard was arrested after being was accused of trying to pass counterfeit money at a corner store.
The protests and vandalism in Minneapolis caused by Floyd's death had received national attention.
Floyd's death was also reminiscent of the case of Eric Garner, a black man who died in 2014 in New York after a police officer placed him in a chokehold by police and Gardner also said he could not breathe.
The other three officers involved have not been charged, but the investigation is continuing.
it was warned by some activists and community leaders the protests may continue to push for the arrests of and charges for the three other officers.
Due to violence and vandalism by raged protesters, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey declared a curfew order from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. local time on Friday and Saturday not allowing anyone in public except emergency responders and people seeking medical care, fleeing danger or those who are homeless.
But about 500 demonstrators defied the curfew imposed and clashed Friday evening with riot police outside a battered Third Precinct building.
Rage over the killing of Floyd spread from Minneapolis to other large cities across the U.S., including Atlanta, Ga., New York City, Washington D.C., Los Angeles and Portland.
A state of emergency was declared by Georgia's governor early Saturday to activate the state National Guard.
Meanwhile, 500 more Guard soldiers were mobilized in and around Minneapolis.
The Minnesota governor said early Saturday that he was considering federal help as well as moving to activate more than 1,000 more National Guard soldiers.
A crowd of protesters confronted police outside the White House in Lafayette Square Park early Saturday.
A as the demonstration grew outside, the building was placed under lockdown for a time, White House spokesperson said.
IOM; #Racism; #Xenophobia; #Covd19Pandemic; #RightToHealth; #HumanRights
Geneva, May 22 (Canadian-Media): Few crises in our collective memory have had the global reach of COVID-19. Across our societies, communities have responded to this pandemic with strong cooperation and solidarity. Some, however, have found in it a pretext to scapegoat foreign nationals including migrants, and others living on the fringes of society, blaming them for the virus’ spread, IOM reports said.
IOM. Image credit: Twitter Handle
Racist and xenophobic incidents linked to the outbreak have been widespread. They include verbal and physical assaults, social exclusion, denial of access to goods and services, boycotting of businesses, discriminatory movement restrictions and quarantine policies, as well as xenophobic rhetoric from politicians, other public figures and the media, in what the UN Secretary General has described as a “tsunami of hate and xenophobia.”
As strict lockdown measures ease, we are concerned that incidents of xenophobia will further increase, exacerbated by social tensions created by the projected economic downturn. As countries around the world take the first steps towards re-opening their societies and returning their populations to streets, schools, shops, and workplaces, it is all the more important that the fight against xenophobia continue and that it is integrated into economic and social recovery efforts.
Fear and uncertainty in the midst of a pandemic is understandable, but this fear should not justify xenophobia and racism. Discriminatory attitudes and hate crimes grounded in fear compromise the rights of those targeted, affect the safety of all and undermine the complex recovery process. It is essential that accurate information about how the disease is spread is provided to the public. Continued misinformation regarding the role of “foreigners” or “outsiders” in spreading the virus wreaks havoc, endangers lives and prevents people from making sound choices to protect themselves, their families and the wider community.
The right to health is universal. Everyone should be entitled to seek and receive medical care if they suspect they have been exposed to the virus, and share information to prevent its spread. Migrants and their communities should not have to fear discrimination, reprisals or other adverse consequences for doing so. Many States recognize this and have granted migrants free access to COVID-19 testing and treatment regardless of their legal status, ensuring that those in an irregular situation are not reported to immigration authorities.
Economies and societies are strengthened by the rich contributions of migrants the world over. Where given the opportunity, migrants are already playing an essential role in scientific research, healthcare, and in supporting essential industries such as food production, transportation and the production of personal protective equipment (PPE). Migrants’ contribution will be essential as we recover from the impacts of the pandemic. To ensure migrants won’t be threatened by xenophobia and discrimination, IOM calls for: