Rights and Democracy (Canada)




  • On April 3, 2012, Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird announced that Rights & Democracy would be closed due to “many challenges” and “as part of our efforts to find efficiencies and savings,” and that “its functions will be brought within Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada.”
  • Based in Montreal, and “created by Canada’s Parliament in 1988 to encourage and support the universal values of human rights and the promotion of democratic institutions and practices around the world.”
  • Funding: The Canadian government supplies 78% of Rights & Democracy’s budget, including $C1.9 million in the 2008-9 fiscal year.
  • In 2009,  Rights & Democracy granted $10,000 each to Palestinian NGOs Al Haq (Ramallah) and Al Mezan (Gaza). According to board members, the funds were provided “through discretionary funds which have had little to no board oversight.” These grants were “repudiated” at a January 7, 2010 board meeting.
  • Another $10,000 grant was provided to B’Tselem (Israel).
  • The controversy surrounding the grants led to the resignation of two board members, and a letter from some of the Rights & Democracy staff demanding the resignation of the chair and two other members of the board.
  • A number of NGOs active in the “Durban strategy,” including Adalah, Badil, Coalition of Women for Peace, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, published a letter accusing the Board of Directors of Rights & Democracy of a “public smear campaign…intended to stop NGOs from doing their vital work of human rights monitoring and reporting.”

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