Hnn | HNN Articles

The Harper Government Fails the Human Rights Test Again

 

For HumanistNetworkNews.org
June 17, 2009

Doug ThomasRecently, the Supreme Court of Canada ordered Stephen Harper's Government to allow Abdul Razik, a dual Canadian-Sudanese citizen, to return to Canada after an inappropriate six-year exile in Sudan. Once again the Harper government has shown its arrogance and disdain for the courts and common human rights by refusing to comply.

Razik was ready to board a flight to Canada after the court ruling, but he remains in the lobby of the Canadian Embassy in Khartoum where he has subsisted for the past year.

Lisa Monette, Foreign Affairs and International Trade spokesperson, said he "was refused a passport by the Canadian Government for national security reasons. Mr. Razik is on the UN Security Council's 1267 list as an individual associated with Al Quaeda."

Razik went to the Sudan in 2003 to visit his ailing mother and was arrested by local authorities for suspected terrorist connections on the recommendation of the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service (CSIS). That body has since said that he is not and never has been a national security concern and never had any connection with Al Quaeda. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) has concurred.

Thus, the only indication that he might be some kind of security concern for Canada, or anyone else, is that U.N. list. A spokesperson for the U.N. has admitted that the list is inaccurate, badly out of date, and that there doesn't seem to be any way to get one's name off the list once it is on.

By way of example, among those listed is Omar Khadr's father, Ahmed Said Khadr, who was killed in Pakistan in 2003. Two things are certain about Ahmed Khadr: he was associated with Al Quaeda and he is dead.

Obviously the U.N. list should not be followed without question especially when CSIS, the RCMP and the Supreme Court of Canada say that Abdul Razik is innocent and should be allowed to return to Canada.

The pattern for the Harper government is unsettlingly. Omar Khadr languishes in Guantanamo and the Harper government, also refuses to patriate him. Both Abdul Razik and Omar Khadr are Muslim and have African heritage. The similarity in the religious background and heritage of these men along with at least one other Canadian currently in custody in the United States is too striking to overlook.

This kind of behavior should be a major concern for Canadian humanists since it surely flies in the face of any reasonable standard for human rights and certainly does not fit with Canada's Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. The Harper Conservative Members of Parliament are, no doubt, hearing from their right wing Christian faction. The time is ripe for them and for other Members of Parliament to hear from Canadian humanists.

If Harper is arrogant enough to ignore the Supreme Court, one hopes he is not arrogant enough to ignore the Canadian electorate who elected his party to a shaky minority during the last election.

Doug Thomas is an English teacher and novelist, an agnostic member of SOFREE (Society of Ontario Freethinkers), and an active member of the Humanist Association of Canada. He is also Managing Editor of Canadian Freethinker.
blog comments powered by Disqus

American Humanist Association

Today is Ask an Atheist Day! Have a question about atheism, humanism, or non-bel...

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

Could we see an open Humanist in Congress in 2016? It seems Maryland Senator Jam...

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

This week on The Humanist Hour #146: A Conversation with Lisa Montoya, Seminary...

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

Mother's Day is right around the corner! If you are shopping for that special la...

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

The world's most and least religious countries.

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

Shortly after we ensure that teachers won't pass out Bibles to their students at...

5 days ago

American Humanist Association

Robert Ray, President of Humanists of North Puget Sound, delivered a humanist in...

5 days ago

American Humanist Association

Don't miss Kelly Carlin, daughter of atheist comedian George Carlin, at AHA's 74...

5 days ago

American Humanist Association

What should the humanist response to terrorism be? Clay Farris Naff has some pro...

5 days ago

American Humanist Association

Are you a high school or college student interested in joining us at our 74th an...

6 days ago

American Humanist Association

"Let us give a toast to Christopher Hitchens on what would have been his 66th bi...

6 days ago

American Humanist Association

After a letter from our Appignani Humanist Legal Center, a public school distric...

6 days ago

American Humanist Association

It's time for another episode of the Cartoon History of Humanism!

8 days ago

American Humanist Association

Thank Godfolk It’s Friday! Religious Funnies from around the World!

9 days ago

American Humanist Association

The Secular Coalition for America will hold its annual Lobby Day & Secular Summi...

9 days ago

American Humanist Association

According to a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll, 52 percent of Americans support allowi...

9 days ago

American Humanist Association

School nurse refuses care for kid who opted out of Pledge. AHA to the rescue!

9 days ago

American Humanist Association

What will the world's religious landscape look like in 2050?

10 days ago

American Humanist Association

The US ranked 16th overall for social progressiveness. Does that surprise you? W...

10 days ago

American Humanist Association

Don't miss sessions on humanism, science, community building, pre-conference wor...

10 days ago

American Humanist Association

The Madison city council recently voted to add atheists to the list of protected...

11 days ago

American Humanist Association

Is there room for difference of thought in the same church? Many think there is...

11 days ago

American Humanist Association

This week on the Humanist Hour Podcast, Bo chats with graphic novelist, Sean Mic...

11 days ago

American Humanist Association

APPLY TODAY! Become a professional advocate. Form a meaningful community. Build...

12 days ago

American Humanist Association

Come to Denver and hang out with all of our wonderful guests! Need to register?...

12 days ago

American Humanist Association

Public education varies around the world. Culture influences education more than...

12 days ago