UN says Canada’s anti-terror law may violate human rights

The UN human rights committee in its report finds that Canada may be violating human rights

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

The UN human rights committee in its report on Canada found that some part of Canada’s legislation may be violating people’s rights to privacy.

In its first report in last 10 years on state of human rights in Canada in, the watchdog stated that a new bill named C-51 gives Canada’s Security Intelligence Service a broader mandate and power domestically and abroad.

The bill could lead to mass surveillance and targeting of activities that are protected under UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights without sufficient and clear legal safeguards, the body reported.

According to the report, the bill also creates “an increased sharing of information among federal government agencies on the basis of a very broad definition of activities that undermine the security of Canada which does not fully ensure that inaccurate or irrelevant information is shared.”

On the other hand, the human rights watchdog reported that C-15 “codifies a no-fly list programme without a clear procedure to inform the person concerned on its status.”

It was also noted that there are no effective mechanisms to review the surveillance activities.

The human rights body recommended Canada to refrain from adopting legislation that imposes “restrictions on the exercise of rights” that are under the UN covenant.

The security measures were proposed following two deadly attacks on Canadian soldiers last year.

The human rights committee stated that they are aware of Canada’s worries on terrorist attacks, however said the law gives Canada’s security agency practically unlimited powers, while the federal law enforcement is not efficient in improving public safety.

Human rights groups in Canada displayed their support on the implementation of UN Human rights report’s recommendations.

Despite the arguments that the bill breaches the country’s constitution, the Conservative Canadian government passed the Anti-Terrorism Act 2015 into law last month.

TRTWorld and agencies