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Re: Canada no longer leads on human rights, Oct. 15

In his Citizen opinion article, Kenneth Roth is wrong in his criticism of Canada’s role as a defender of human rights.

In refusing to become part of the exploitation of human rights, Canada is reiterating and strengthening its role as a leader in restoring the universality of human rights. This is in stark contrast to the cynical exploitation of these principles — including by Human Rights Watch (HRW).

In the tradition of Canadian leaders such as Lester Pearson, who played an instrumental role in the creation of the United Nations, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his government are standing up to today’s bullies around the world.

These bullies whitewash Taliban war crimes and ignore the lack of equal rights for women in Saudi Arabia, to name two of the numerous human rights deficiencies throughout the world.

Many of the perpetrators of these abuses dominate international arenas such as the UN Human Rights Council. Canada is among the few voices that has protested this abjectly immoral behaviour and failings of the international community.

Of course, Canada’s stance on these issues is not popular among dictators such as Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi, the Saudi royal family, Iran, Russia or China, which certainly don’t want their own human rights records scrutinized.

Instead of joining in their immoral behaviour, groups like HRW should join Canada in working to restore human rights, as defined in the 1948 declaration.

Gerald Steinberg,
President, NGO Monitor
Jerusalem, Israel