International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group
20 mars 2020
COVID-19: States should not abuse emergency measures to suppress human rights – UN experts
UN 16/03/2020 - UN human rights experts* today urged States to avoid overreach of security measures in their response to the coronavirus outbreak and reminded them that emergency powers should not be used to quash dissent. “While we recognize the severity of the current health crisis and acknowledge that the use of emergency powers is allowed by international law in response to significant threats, we urgently remind States that any emergency responses to the coronavirus must be proportionate, necessary and non-discriminatory,” the experts said.

Their appeal echoes the recent call by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to put #HumanRights at the centre of #CoronavirusOutbreak response. Declarations of states of emergency, whether for health or security reasons, have clear guidance from international law, the UN experts said. “The use of emergency powers must be publicly declared and should be notified to the relevant treaty bodies when fundamental rights including movement, family life and assembly are being significantly limited.” “Moreover, emergency declarations based on the Covid-19 outbreak should not be used as a basis to target particular groups, minorities, or individuals. It should not function as a cover for repressive action under the guise of protecting health nor should it be used to silence the work of human rights defenders.

“Restrictions taken to respond to the virus must be motivated by legitimate public health goals and should not be used simply to quash dissent.” Some States and security institutions may find the use of emergency powers attractive because it offers shortcuts, the experts said. “To prevent such excessive powers to become hardwired into legal and political systems, restrictions should be narrowly tailored and should be the least intrusive means to protect public health.” Finally, in countries where the virus is waning, authorities must seek to return life to normal and must avoid excessive use of emergency powers to indefinitely regulate day-to-day life, they said. “We encourage States to remain steadfast in maintaining a human rights-based approach to regulating this pandemic, in order to facilitate the emergence of healthy societies with rule of law and human rights protections,” the UN experts said. Read more - Lire plus

Release order bars woman from voicing support for Wet’suwet’en online
Ricochet 13/03/2020 - Trish Mills didn’t want to agree to the conditions of the release order — but after about 30 hours in custody she also didn’t want to be remanded and risk being kept behind bars for weeks more.So she signed the agreement, which severely restricts what she can say and do on social media, despite feeling it was effectively a “state-sanctioned gag order.” “I’ve juggled a lot of hard feelings around whether abiding by the condition means I’ve lost my integrity,” she says. Mills was arrested last month in Hamilton, Ontario, for alleged involvement in a railway blockade — one of many that have appeared across the country in support of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs in the ongoing Coastal GasLink pipeline conflict. She has a court date next week.

One of the conditions of her release stipulates that she cannot use social media to express solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en. “You shall not post or otherwise engage with the Facebook Group ‘Wet’Suwet’en Strong: Hamilton in Solidarity’ or any other social media platform which engages for the same purpose or objective,” it states. The imposition of social media restrictions as a release condition for protestors is highly problematic and infringes on Charter rights, according to Vincent Wong, an adjunct professor and William C. Graham research associate in the International Human Rights Program at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law. “It seems like this is a clear violation of freedom of expression and opinion by way of criminalizing free speech and in particular political criticisms of the government,” he says, pointing out that the release order targets “speech that goes to the heart of the functioning of a healthy democratic society.” It also violates freedoms of association and assembly by limiting the communication required to exercise those rights, he says.

The broad language of the condition has left Mills confused about its scope. It “can be applied in a way that prevents me from engaging with social media in any way that supports or promotes Indigenous rights, sovereignty, front lines, or land defence,” she says. Not only is she refraining from posting content on social media, but she is also wary of sharing or even “liking” posts. Wong questions the legitimacy of the restriction, given the purpose is unclear and restrictions on free speech have been found justifiable in only the most extreme cases, such as those involving hate speech. “If the goal is to silence political dissent, that is not legitimate. If the goal is some vague public order concern or that they will influence others to break the law, they still cannot impose prior censorship on individuals.” The consequences of the release condition may reach far beyond this case to other activists and even media. It could put “an enormous chilling effect on those who are attending these rail blockades in solidarity,” says Wong, and “indirectly curtail freedom of the press by cutting off the social media and citizenship journalism [necessary] to get crucial information from protests sites to the public and provide important leads for journalists and news outlets to follow up with. The social media ban seems unnecessary and disproportionate to any objective that the government or court might espouse.” Read more - Lire plus

More info & ways to take action: Unist'ot'en Camp + Gidimt’en Access Point + RAVEN Trust

Does state surveillance really keep us safe?
The Strand 03/03/2020 - The RCMP claim that a few units have used the technology to enhance criminal investigations, while Ontario police departments have not made it clear at all how or how often they use face recognition. Such a blatant lack of transparency around invasive police surveillance is nothing short of concerning, especially considering that it took them months to even admit to its use.

And even if our own police weren’t boldly lying to us about the extent of their surveillance, we would still be under more invasive and comprehensive government surveillance than we have ever seen before. Especially troubling is the fact that Clearview AI itself can see exactly who the police are searching for and when. Clearview is a small, secretive company with a reclusive CEO and very little publicly available information, and who has not responded to any requests for comment. If it doesn’t scare you that our own government is monitoring us at a level more intrusive than ever before, it should scare you that this tiny, unknown tech start-up is too.

MP Angus characterized the situation as a “legislative vacuum”; the technology itself might have the potential for the vindication of innocent people, or identification of offenders, but there is nothing in place to prevent its misuse and abuse, and police forces don’t seem to be in a hurry to organize such regulations. Without public input or thorough discussions around such a dangerous tool and its implications, how can institutions like the RCMP assume the right to decide how it will be used on the people of this country?

Another point of concern is the unreliable nature of such technology. If innocent people, whose entire identities have been made easily available to police without consent, knowledge, or good reason, are wrongly identified as suspects, they may face enormous challenges trying to deal with the fallout. Further, Eric Goldman—the co-director of the High Tech Law Institute at Santa Clara University—is of the apt opinion that “the weaponization possibilities of this are endless.” We have a well-known, well-documented precedent in the form of NASA’s LOVEINT controversy to tell us that, particularly with the current lack of legal regulation and transparency, it’s very plausible for rogue officers to use Clearview’s program to monitor individuals they know for personal purposes. The secrecy of Clearview AI themselves means that we don’t know how they’re using this tech, either.

And, perhaps most importantly in today’s tense political climate—amidst union strikes, climate action, and protests surrounding Indigenous rights—the use of this technology in this country goes from unethical and problematic to genuinely dangerous. Activists, protesters, and demonstrators are potentially in huge danger from police with access to powerful identification technology. The possibility of identification from a photo of a rally, a peaceful blockade, or a march means that victims of injustice and allies standing with them in solidarity might face real consequences for exercising their rights to civil disobedience.

Minority advocate groups and vulnerable communities—who already face disproportionate over-policing and over-surveillance—are at the most risk from the use of face recognition AI. Indigenous communities, in particular, are in the spotlight now. January saw an eviction notice issued from the Wet’suwet’en Nation in northwest British Columbia to natural gas company Coastal GasLink, in response to plans to build an illegal pipeline across unceded territory. Escalation in the form of rail blockades led to protests and solidarity movements across the country. RCMP officers, despite the calls to withdraw from the United Nations and provincial human rights commissioners, have spent the past months arresting peaceful protesters, often violently, and separating families and communities by force.

The Wet’suwet’en actions and RCMP violence over the last few months should be a wake-up call. Activists and advocates are in danger from the police, and Clearview AI’s technology only puts them in more danger. There is no better moment to care about the privacy and safety of the people who face the most potential harm from lack of police regulation and use of face recognition technology. That time is right now, and that place is right here. This isn’t just some abstract violation of liberty, but a real threat to the safety and even the lives of people across the country. Just because you don’t experience it, or no one you know does, doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. This is real, and this is now. Read more - Lire plus

Let’s face the facts: To ensure our digital rights, we must hit pause on facial-recognition technology
The Globe and Mail 14/02/2020 - In January, a new pro-democracy group called Alliance Canada Hong Kong hosted a lecture series. Like a growing number of political activists and citizens, the organizers were concerned about the increasing use by autocratic governments of facial-recognition technology, so volunteers covered their faces and used pseudonyms. The organization’s executive director still received a threatening call to her hotel room. The event, however, did not take place in an autocratic country. It happened at the Vancouver Public Library.

Facial-recognition technology uses a form of artificial intelligence called neural nets to match biometric features of faces to images in photos or videos. To work at scale, it needs to be trained on data sets of millions or ideally billions of images – something the Chinese government has ready access to. Using the data produced by Chinese citizens on the technology platforms Beijing controls, the government is using this system to monitor populations, most notably the Uyghurs, and manipulate the behaviour of 1.4 billion people through the deployment of a social-credit system that ranks people via an aggregate of their movements and activities.

So the democracy activists in Vancouver were right to be concerned and cover their faces. But the invasive use of surveillance data, AI and facial recognition is not just a problem when used by autocratic governments. These very same tools are increasingly being used in democracies as well. [...] Facial-recognition technology has worked its way into our everyday lives, far beyond policing purposes. From Instagram filters to ID services, it has emerged as an important tool for how we engage with social media and government services. But the potential harms have become increasingly clear: The underlying algorithms have been shown to be prone to false positives, to function poorly on darker skin tones and to be biased in favour of white men over women, in particular women of colour.

Efforts to correct these problems of bias in their data sets can also be problematic: Google allegedly offered $5 Starbucks gift cards to homeless African-Americans for 3-D images of their faces, and a Chinese facial-recognition company has signed an agreement with the government of Zimbabwe that would give it access to millions of dark-skinned faces. Meredith Whittaker, co-founder of the AI Now Institute, recently testified to the U.S. House of Representatives committee on oversight and reform: “Facial recognition poses an existential threat to democracy and liberty, and fundamentally shifts the balance of power between those using facial recognition and the populations on whom it’s applied.”

Here in Canada, our data privacy and digital governance laws have governments and the private sector operating in a Wild West and leave Canadians vulnerable. Ottawa is exploring the notion of trust within its proposed Digital Charter, which creates a perfect opportunity to reflect on how we’ll respond to such emerging technologies. As Open Media calls for a ban – its petition has garnered more than 10,000 signatures – the only rational approach to this issue is to press pause. First, the federal government should adopt Ms. Whittaker’s recommendation to impose a moratorium on “governmental and commercial use of facial recognition in sensitive social and political contexts until the risks are fully studied and adequate regulations are in place.” This should include its use in surveillance, policing, education and employment. [...] A moratorium on the use of facial-recognition technology will give all of us the space and time we need to ensure it aligns with our values, rather than threatens them, and to ensure that we don’t blindly take such a complicated technology at face value. Let’s move at the speed of trust – whatever that speed may be. Read more - Lire plus

Finding Amira: Canadian meets orphaned niece in Syria but forced to leave her behind
CTV News 26/02/2020 - After spending two weeks in northeastern Syria, a Canadian man finally got to hold his four-year-old orphaned niece in his arms. He was able to show her pictures of her grandparents in Toronto, and then he was forced to leave the country -- without her.I have followed the plight of Amira for almost a year, stranded in a sprawling and miserable detention camp and put in the care of a stranger, until she was rescued by Kurdish officials and moved to an “orphanage.”

Her uncle told me he felt enormous relief when he finally got to hug Amira, and utter failure when he left her behind. He came with gifts of clothing and other necessities, things he’d bought over the months for precisely that moment. She seemed to know who he was -- probably because people in the orphanage had told her he was coming. She spoke mostly Arabic and some English. Every day he was there, he said he pleaded with the Canadian government to help him bring Amira to Canada -- as he had for many months before that -- but it never happened. Amira’s story is indeed troubling. Her entire family, mother, father, three siblings were killed in the last battle to destroy ISIS. Somehow, a photo of her made its way to Canada, and that’s how remaining family members learned Amira was alive, and alone, in the misery of al-Hol camp.

I persuaded her uncle to go public with his story, but he refused to appear on camera, or allow me to use the family name, worried about all the hate that comes with this kind of exposure. Through it all, he wrote incessantly to Global Affairs Canada, begging for help, sometimes in anger, always in frustration. He had always threatened to go on his own to try and rescue Amira -- if Canada wouldn’t help -- and then he did. It’s a complicated journey, but he patiently made arrangements for crossing from Iraq into Syria. He traveled as a member of FAVE -- Families Against Violent Extremism -- a Canadian NGO set up to help the families of 40-odd Canadians stranded or imprisoned in Syria, most of them children.

The founder of FAVE, Dr. Alexandra Bain, has nothing but contempt for the government’s handling of Amira’s plight -- expressed in letter after letter to Global Affairs and the prime minister. “Canada has one last chance to do what is right for this child, and show the compassion for which our country is usually known. Her life,” she wrote recently, “is in your hands.” Amira and her uncle had an hour together in crowded surroundings, before she was taken back to join the other children, perhaps expecting her uncle would return the next day and take her to Canada. But that never happened.

Just days before, there had been extremely good news. At long last, Global Affairs had accepted Amira’s identity, removing the biggest obstacle in her struggle. I won’t name the official who sent the note, but for the record, here is what she said: “I would like to inform you that DNA testing will not be required, as the Government of Canada has now established Amira’s identity and links to Canada.” For the family, here was the best part:
“This means that she is now eligible to receive Canadian citizenship.” The uncle learned one crucial detail in his meetings with Kurdish officials. They told him they would be happy to release Amira, once a Canadian diplomat had travelled to the region to make a formal request. That apparently was a red line. Canada has consistently argued the situation is too dangerous to offer consular services, even though many other countries have done exactly that. Read more - Lire plus

Casualties of ‘war on terror’ in Iraq: life, security and liberty
Open Democracy 19/03/2020 - The biggest and gravest casualty of the ‘war on terror’ has been life. According to Iraq Body Count , in Iraq alone nearly 208,000 civilians have lost their lives so far, of which 7,300 were children. Since the last anniversary of the invasion more than 2,000 Iraqi civilians have died in airstrikes, explosions, shootings and summary executions. [...] There are always bodies, without names, without identities, as if they had never been someone’s sons, daughters, parents. Such loss may leave many of us untouched, for we are far from the violence, strangers to the dead and unaffected by the grief of the living: the screaming mothers outside the morgue, the sobbing child next to a pool of blood, the father carrying his child’s body, shrouded in white and ready for its early grave. But it is a grief they bear, a loss they suffer and an anger that persists.

The clear and biggest losers of this war are the Iraqis. The 2003 invasion and occupation of their country brought them death, terror and insecurity. Alongside the 208,000 Iraqi civilians, 4,547 American soldiers and 179 British soldiers have also lost their lives.
Iraq is the perfect example of physical, political and economic insecurity, displaying a staggering and continuing loss of life, loss of freedom and loss of resources. A weak state, Iraq faces security threats not only from outside, but also internally, with the ruling elites trying to establish effective state rule and provoking protest and insurgency. [...] Through the guidance and assistance of the IMF and the World Bank, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region pursued neoliberal economic policies which led to great income inequalities and a concentration of wealth among the small political elite. Opening the Iraqi economy to foreign investment contributed to a dystopian economy and a failed state, mass poverty and youth unemployment, corrupt Iraqi governments and an increasingly disaffected population.

Anti-government protests have erupted on a regular basis in Iraq since 2015, but the protests of September 2019 – March 2020 are the largest and bloodiest. For seven months, protesters have taken to the streets in towns and cities across the country to demand jobs, basic services and an end to corruption. Hundreds of young people have been killed and thousands of others wounded in clashes with security forces. The killing of civilians by government forces is not new in Iraq; since it became a ‘democracy’ in 2005, the state has killed around 6,000 civilians. Mapping the conflict and its casualties can change our understanding of this war and any war, from one of liberators, of democratisation and triumph of intervention, to one of hegemony, oppression and the ruthless killing of innocents.

Inevitably, security concerns in the Middle East are directly linked to security concerns in western states, the UK included: the persistent threat of terrorism, the impact of the UK Counter Terrorism Strategy (CONTEST), especially Prevent (which involves the policing and collecting of intelligence on the Muslim population), of the creation of suspect communities and the influx of refugees. The ‘war on terror’ and its impact on the security of Iraq and its citizens allows us to re-assess strategy, foreign policy and our quest to promote democracy to client states. It also raises questions regarding the use of force and liberation through domination. The casualties of this war are numerous: life, security and liberty –in Iraq, in the Middle East and, to a small extent, in western countries. As to the winners of this war, they are the extremists and anyone who has become richer and more powerful: the global corporations and armaments industry. The financial security complex: the money men. Read more - Lire plus
Counter-terrorism programmes are violating human rights, UN expert says
MEE 04/03/2020 - Counter-extremism programmes, including those employed in the United Kingdom and the United States, are contributing to human rights violations, according to a United Nations expert. A report submitted to the Human Rights Council on Wednesday said religious groups, minorities and civil society actors in particular have been victims of rights violations and are targeted under the guise of countering "extremism."

Special rapporteur Fionnuala Ní Aolain said any programme that relies on teachers, social workers and health-care staff to report signs of radicalisation should be scrapped. "The negative impact cannot be overstated," her report read. Such measures break the "fragile trust" between communities and public services. The report also found that many counter-extremism practices result in "overselection and overreporting" on discriminatory grounds. Muslim communities have repeatedly claimed they have been disproportionately targeted  by the UK's Prevent programme, as well as the Countering Violent Extremism Task Force in the US. "Violations of the rights of religious and ethnic minorities are being enabled by 'deradicalisation' policies and practice," the report said.

The report added that many countries engaged in counter-extremism efforts have policies that are not based on scientific research and could instead be "counter-productive". States engaged in counter-terrorism efforts should ensure "that policies and programmes aimed at preventing violent extremism are evidence-based and scientifically sound" and do not stifle peaceful political dissidence, criticism, non-violent protest or freedom of religion, it said. Many post-9/11 programmes have resulted in polarising rhetoric that leads to a "with us or with the terrorists" mentality that has "led to the targeting of civil society members who question the legitimacy of the counter-terrorism measures", the report said. 

The UK's Prevent programme has for years sparked widespread criticism among rights groups and Muslim advocacy organisations. Last month, the British government said it would appoint an independent reviewer of its Prevent strategy through an open and transparent process, after human rights campaigners threatened it with further legal action. The UK made similar promises last year, committing to commission an independent review of Prevent in parliamentary legislation. Still, in December the Home Office was forced to drop its appointed reviewer, Lord Carlile, following a legal challenge by Rights Watch (UK) over his past advocacy for Prevent. This time, the Government Legal Department said that the reviewer for the forthcoming review would be appointed "through full and open competition". Source

What Happened to FISA Reform?
Lawfare 17/03/2020 - On March 16, the Senate punted on the issue of reforming the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), passing by voice vote a Senate bill that extends key existing surveillance-related provisions for 77 days. The bill, S. 3501 , would extend the “business records” provision, as well as the roving wiretap and lone wolf surveillance authorities, through May 30, 2020. Specifically, the bill extends:

The relevant authorities lapsed on March 15. If enacted, the provisions would apply retroactively to March 14, 2020. Notably, the bill does not extend an authority to access logs of Americans’ phone calls that was the basis for an expensive, dysfunctional and defunct National Security Agency system that has been the subject of controversy for years. Recall that on March 11, the House passed H.R. 6172 , a compromise on the FISA reform issues, on a bipartisan 278-to-136 vote. H.R. 6172 would extend the relevant surveillance authorities through 2023 but also includes reforms aimed at limiting existing authorities . Attorney General Bill Barr supported the House bill—but notwithstanding Barr’s endorsement , President Trump issued a veto threat by tweet on March 12.
Trump’s tweet came two days after Sens. Mike Lee and Rand Paul tweeted their own displeasure with the House bill. The two senators threatened a filibuster —which would have eaten up time on the Senate floor needed to consider legislation passed by the House to address the coronavirus pandemic.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had scheduled a procedural vote on the House-passed bill for the evening of March 16, but at the last minute scrapped that vote after reaching a deal with Lee and Paul. According to Politico , the two agreed not to oppose the 77-day extension in return for guaranteed votes on a package of amendments when the bill is eventually taken up—presumably sometime before May 30. Lee had this to say : “We shouldn’t have to wait until the moment when we’re on the eve of the expiration of some important legislation and where we have to wait for the president of the United States to weigh in and lean in....From time to time, laws require revision and review and reform. That always necessarily requires amendments.” It is unclear what happens next with S. 3501, which would need to pass the House and be signed by the president in order to become law. The House is in recess this week, however, so it’s unclear when that chamber will act. Read more - Lire plus

Canada Has a Dismal Record of Locking Up Migrants
The Tyee 11/02/2020 - In 2015, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau welcomed a plane full of Syrian refugees at the Toronto airport, offering a warm smile and new jackets to cloak them from the December cold, aiming to show the world “ how to open our hearts .” Newspapers far and wide praised Canada for its humane approach to migration. It was undisputed: Canada was a leader in the global refugee “crisis.”

Unfortunately, Canada’s policies don’t align with its photo ops. Behind the heart-warming pictures and triumphant tweets, Canada maintains a horrific migrant detention system that flies in the face of our international reputation. Immigration detention isn’t a criminal issue. The detained individuals haven’t committed a crime. They are held under administrative law, for migration reasons.It’s like getting your driver’s licence — wading through bureaucracy and background checks — but in this case you’re forced to wait in a cell. The Canada Border Services Agency says it carries out “arrests, detentions and removals of individuals who are not permitted in Canada.” But these arrests are made upon arrival, before any determination of whether the individual can stay in Canada. Officially, detaining migrants is a last resort for CBSA. In reality, the agency uses detention too often, with harmful effects and without any accountability.

Canada is one of the few countries in the world that still uses mandatory detention for some migrants, which allows detention for up to 12 months with no judicial review.
Between 2018-2019 , CBSA detained 9,861 migrants. On average, 12 per cent were held for more than 99 days. Reasons for being detained vary, but most often these people have done nothing wrong and are not a danger to society. Under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, permanent residents and foreign nationals may be detained if CBSA officers believe they are unable to establish their identities; are unlikely to appear at immigration proceedings; or are deemed a danger to the public. Very few migrants are detained because they threaten public safety. In fact, Project Ploughshares notes that in 2017-18, 94 per cent of migrants were detained for administrative reasons, not security or safety concerns.

Unlike the criminal legal system, where individuals know the length of their sentence, there are no time limits on Canadian immigration detention. Canada remains one of the only western nations without time limits on migrant detention. A person can remain in detention for years, and they have. Michael Mvogo suffered in detention for nine years before being deported back to Cameroon. Kashif Ali was detained for seven years, Mbuyisa Makhubu was detained for an entire decade. Read more - Lire plus

Philippine: Proposed new antiterror law a threat to freedoms, says the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers 13/03/2020 - The Senate recently passed Senate Bill No. 1083, which aims to repeal Republic Act No. 9372 or the Human Security Act of 2007, replacing it with an amended version dubbed the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020. If enacted, the new antiterrorism bill will become the most potent weapon the government can use to stifle dissent. In the hands of an administration that has shown its penchant for using the law to silence and punish its critics, and security apparatuses known for human rights abuses, the proposed measure will only serve as a legal framework for a crackdown on progressive organizations, civil society groups, activists, members of the media, and individuals labeled as dissidents or “enemies of the state.”

SB 1083 would broaden the powers already granted to law enforcement agencies under RA 9372, enabling them to conduct lengthier surveillance operations, wiretap and record private communications, access databases, examine bank records, and freeze the assets of persons and organizations suspected of financing terrorism or having connections with alleged terrorists. Worse, SB 1083 would also authorize the military to carry out surveillance activities previously reserved only for the police. Under the proposed law, military personnel and other law enforcement agents would also be allowed to carry out warrantless arrests and detain suspected terrorists for an initial period of up to 14 days, extendable for another 10 days—a significant increase from the three-day maximum period for detention permitted under RA 9372. Notably, under SB 1083, those arrested and detained without warrant would not even have the benefit of being presented before a judge, as the bill removed, with no justification, this safeguard under RA 9372.

Apart from the dangerously broad powers given to the police, the military, and other government agencies under SB 1083, the proposed measure also expands the already vague definition for “terrorism” under the Human Security Act, with no clear parameters that could limit its application. SB 1083 takes it a step further by criminalizing acts that have traditionally been considered legitimate exercises of free speech, freedom of expression, the right of peaceful assembly, and freedom of association. Arguably, the most dangerous innovation sought to be introduced by SB 1083 is a mechanism allowing for the immediate declaration of an organization as a terrorist or outlawed group, with no prior notice whatsoever to the subject organization, no opportunity for it to respond, and no hearing. The brazenly oppressive provisions of SB 1083 are alarming, to say the least. Unless vigilance is exercised in the coming weeks, and action taken to prevent it from becoming law, we risk finding ourselves, once again, having to contend with a significantly diminished democratic space and considerable threats to even the most fundamental of freedoms. Read more - Lire plus
2019 has been very busy, and we are looking at a busy year 2020! Before giving you the summary of what we've been up to in the second half of 2019, here are a few things we will do in 2020:

  • We will continue to call for justice for Dr. Hassan Diab’s case and for the reform of the Extradition Act.

  • We will monitor the implementation of the National Security Act, 2017 (formerly Bill C-59), especially around mass surveillance and immunity for CSIS employees, in order to protect our civil liberties.

  • We will continue to push for a strong and effective review mechanism for the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).

  • We will continue advocating for the repeal of the Canadian No Fly List, as it violates mobility rights and due process, and for putting a stop to the use of the US No Fly List by air carriers in Canada for flights that do not land in or fly over the US, as it violates both our rights and Canada’s sovereignty.

NEW Say NO to facial recognition in your community
Click on the Action button and send a letter to your city council to stop invasive, biased and unregulated facial recognition surveillance in your community!

Controversial facial recognition technology is spreading in Canada, even though our privacy laws don’t regulate its use. 

If we can get cities to ban facial recognition, we’ll ramp up the pressure on the Canadian government to take action nation-wide. Send the letter below to take action!
Stop CSIS from targeting everyday citizens & community groups
A recent report revealed that CSIS, Canada’s spy agency, collected over 8,000 pages of documents, spying on citizens like you, people who exercise their democratic rights by attending a community meeting at a local church or taking peaceful action for what they believe in. And CSIS shared this info with Big Oil corporations.

Sign this petition to tell the govt to stop using taxpayer money to unconstitutionally spy on Canadians part of peaceful community groups.
Stop Facial Recognition in Canada
Facial recognition is invasive, biased and unreliable. But Canadian agencies and law enforcement have started using the tech despite the huge controversies.
Canada’s out-of-date privacy laws don’t yet cover facial recognition tech, leaving our government free to experiment on us with no oversight or regulations. We need to slam the brakes on the spread of this dangerous technology before it’s too late. Demand a moratorium on the use of facial recognition technologies and a full review of our privacy laws — before it becomes entrenched as a surveillance method in Canada.
Release Yasser Albaz from arbitrary detention in Egypt
It's been more than a year since Yasser has been detained without charge - take action now!

On February 18, 2019, my dad, Yasser Albaz, was stopped at Cairo airport, his Canadian passport was confiscated, and he was kidnapped by Egyptian State Security. My dad remains in the notorious Torah prison where he is forced to sleep on cold, concrete floor. He has not been charged and continues to receive 15-day extensions to his arbitrary detention.

Sign to tell PM Justin Trudeau to do everything in their power to bring this Canadian citizen home to his family.

Canada must act to end Islamophobia in Xinjiang, China
There is credible evidence that up to one million Uyghurs, Kazakhs and other mainly Muslim groups in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region are being detained in secret internment camps. Detainees are brainwashed, tortured and are forced to renounce their religion and culture.

And send a message to Chrystia Freeland demanding that Canada actively support an independent and unrestricted international fact-finding initiative to Xinjiang.

Saudi Arabia: Free jailed activists
In Saudi Arabia, human rights violations are legitimized through the ‘Specialized Criminal Court’. The past 2 years have seen an unprecedented crackdown on Saudi activists, and this court acts to legitimize this oppression. Now is our chance to put pressure on King Salman to end grave human rights violations.

Sign the petition and demand that the King of Saudi Arabia, King Salman immediately and unconditionally releases all those who have been imprisoned for peacefully protesting.
All-in-one action page: Stop Mohamed Harkat's Deportation to Torture
Call PM Trudeau, write a letter to Public Safety Minister & your MP, and sign Sophie Harkat's petition to stop the deportation of Moe Harkat.

If sent back to Algeria, Moe faces detention, torture and death.

No one should be deported to torture. Ever.
Send a letter opposing cameras in the ByWard Market
Send a letter in support of CAMS Ottawa's response to Mayor Watson. While we share concerns about ongoing violence in the Market, installing surveillance cameras is not an appropriate solution. The very premise that CCTV can deter violent crime is highly doubtful. Video surveillance also raise significant concerns regarding the treatment of marginalized members of our community. We urge you to take the above problems and the following evidence into consideration and reconsider implementing such an ineffective, costly, and intrusive system.
Your phone is not safe at the border
Canada’s border agents can search your phone and laptop at borders and airports, including looking through your private photos, personal messages, and call history.

These ‘digital strip searches’ are allowed because our laws are incredibly out of date. But politicians are refusing to update them for our digital age.

Fight back with us: demand updated laws , learn more about your rights, and make a complaint if your privacy has been violated at the border.
OPP must be held accountable for violent repression of land defenders
The terrifying incident happened in April 2008 during a land occupation and road blockades by members of Tyendinaga Mohawk Nation, near Belleville, Ontario. Although the road blockades involved only a small number of community members – none of whom were armed -- the Ontario Provincial Police sent more than 200 officers, including the Tactics and Rescue Unit (TRU), tasked with responding to “the most serious threats to peace and order”. The UN Committee against Torture called on Canada to launch a thorough and impartial review to ensure accountability.
Five Eyes: Save encryption
Ministers from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK, and the U.S. have gone public with their plans for a huge attack on our personal security.

They want to force companies to crush the encryption that protects our private data and messages. But ordinary people need and use encryption every day, in everything from online banking to personal messaging in apps like WhatsApp.

Tell ministers to stop their attacks, and commit to protecting our privacy and security.
Call on Justin Trudeau to ensure justice for Abousfian Abdelrazik
In September 2003, Canadian citizen Abousfian Abdelrazik was arrested in Sudan, while he was back in the country visiting his ailing mother. Over the next three years he was imprisoned for nearly 20 months and was held under house arrest for 12 months. He was denied a lawyer, and was never charged or brought before a judge. During that time he was badly tortured in three different prisons. Not only did Canada fail to take steps to protect him, CSIS officials frequently obstructed efforts to secure his release.
Make January 29 a National Day
On Jan. 29, 2017, a lone gunman entered a mosque in Quebec City and opened fire on dozens of Muslim-Canadian worshipers. By the time the shooting had ended, six had been tragically killed, and 19 more injured. 

 W e, citizens and residents of Canada, call on the government of Canada to henceforth designate January 29th as a National Day of Remembrance and Action on Islamophobia and other forms of religious discrimination or a National Day of Action against Hate and Intolerance .
Freedom of expression and the press
Liberté d'expression et de la presse

US No-Fly List
Liste d'interdiction de vol des États-Unis

Les opinions exprimées ne reflètent pas nécessairement les positions de la CSILC - The views expressed do not necessarily reflect the positions of ICLMG.
to our amazing supporters!
We would like to thank all our member organizations, and our patrons who are supporting ICLMG on Patreon ! As a reward, we are listing our patrons who give $10 or more per month (and wanted to be listed) directly in the News Digest. Without you, our work wouldn't be possible!

Kathryn Dingle
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Nous tenons à remercier nos organisations membres et toutes les personnes qui soutiennent la CSILC sur Patreon ! En récompense, nous nommons ci-dessus nos mécènes qui donnent 10$ ou plus par mois directement dans le News Digest. Sans vous, notre travail ne serait pas possible!