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Needs of Marginalized Groups Should Inform Government Response

Canada’s western province of British Columbia is once again reeling from devastation linked to climate change. Following this summer’s deadly heat and rampant wildfires, record rainfall this month has triggered massive flooding, displacing more than…
A woman and children in boat leaving behind car with floodwaters up to the roof in the background.
News

Revise Regressive Law Compelling Irreversible Surgery

A Japanese transgender man, Gen Suzuki, 46, has filed a court request to have his legal gender recognized as male without undergoing sterilization surgery as prescribed by national law. His case highlights the urgent need for Japan to revise its…
People take part in a rally to support the LGBT legislation in Shibuya district of Tokyo, Japan on June 6, 2021.
News

Hundreds of Thousands Prevented from Returning to Japan

An historic court hearing is set to begin next week in Tokyo as five North Korean escapees in Japan seek compensation for human rights abuses they suffered in North Korea after joining a resettlement program based on the false premise that North Korea…
Escapees from North Korea and their supporters march to the Tokyo District Court to file a lawsuit against the North Korean government for violating their human rights, August 20, 2018. 
News

Global Magnitsky-Style Act Would Help Curb Rights Abuses Abroad

Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) will hold its party presidential election on September 29. The winner will almost certainly become Japan's next prime minister. Four candidates – two women and two men – are running: the former foreign…
Myanmar residents in Japan stage a protest rally in Tokyo on August 1, 2021. 
News

Summit Meeting Key Opportunity to Address Vaccine Inequities

Leaders from the “Quad” countries – the United States, Japan, India, and Australia – will hold their first in-person summit in Washington, DC, on September 24, amid a global Covid-19 vaccine shortage crisis and deeply inequitable access to vaccines.…
Activists stand outside Pfizer Headquarters demanding US President Joe Biden support the "TRIPS Waiver" in New York, NY on April 22, 2021.
News

Sports Federations Need to Ensure Reasonable Accommodation for All Athletes

The Tokyo Paralympic Games begin this week with thousands of Paralympic athletes from around the world competing in 539 events in 22 sports. Sadly, one athlete who had earned a place on the United States team won’t be there. Rebecca Meyers, 26, a…
Rebecca Meyers competes in the Women's 400 m Freestyle S13 during day 4 of the Para Swimming World Championship in Mexico City, Mexico on November 5, 2017.
News

Join #AthletesAgainstAbuse Campaign to Stand with Survivors

Tsubasa Araya was a gifted 17-year-old high school volleyball player in Japan. In July 2018, he took his life, writing, “Volleyball is the hardest.” As Japan prepares to host the Summer Olympics and Paralympics starting this week, the abuse and…
Athlete Abuse Japan
News

Climate Crisis Requires Inclusive Heat Action, Planning, and Response

Recent climate change-exacerbated heatwaves in the western Canadian province of British Columbia have left hundreds dead. According to British Columbia’s chief coroner, of the 719 sudden deaths between June 25 and July 1, many were “older individuals…
A person enters the Hillcrest Community Centre, where they can cool off during the extreme hot weather in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, June 30, 2021.
News

Recent attack latest in series of anti-Muslim incidents

Today is Canada Day and for many Canadians this national holiday represents an opportunity to finally come together with friends and family as Covid-19 restrictions are eased on social gatherings. But for some, this Canada Day looms heavier than most…
A mourner shields a candle from the wind after placing it at a memorial for the four family members who were killed in a vehicle attack in London, Ontario, in Ottawa, on Tuesday, June 8, 2021.
News

Japan’s Ruling Party Members Slur LGBT Community

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights activists in Japan and their allies have for years been pressing the Diet, the national parliament, to introduce legislation that protects sexual orientation and gender identity as grounds for…
LGBT activists outside ruling LDP protesting
News

One of Many Countries Waking Up to the Dangers of Chlorpyrifos

Last week, the Canadian government quietly released a three-year plan to phase out use of the toxic pesticide chlorpyrifos. As Human Rights Watch has reported, the health risks associated with exposure to chlorpyrifos are well-documented. These…
Works plant strawberries farming quebec
News

Reform Legislation Should Explicitly Include Nondiscrimination Protections

Over the past six years, activists in Japan have pressed the Diet, the national parliament, to introduce a nondiscrimination law that protects the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. Japan currently does not have any…
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga speaks at a news conference in Tokyo, Japan, May 7, 2021.
News

Law School Accused of Bowing to Pressure from Pro-Israel Advocacy Group

Last summer, a hiring committee unanimously selected Dr. Valentina Azarova to direct the International Human Rights Program at the University of Toronto’s law school. When the school’s dean stopped Azarova’s hire under disputed circumstances, the…
Signage at the University of Toronto.
News

More Ambitious Measures Needed to Protect Human Rights

At the US Climate Summit today, top ten greenhouse gas emitter Canada announced its long-awaited new emissions reduction target for 2030. While Canada has been at pains to present itself as a climate leader and ally alongside the US, with the new…
Justin Trudeau
News

Marking Five Years of Ongoing First Nations Water Crisis

Where would we be without water to drink, to wash and cook with, and to keep us healthy and alive? Water is essential. But as we mark another World Water Day, many First Nations communities in Canada still don’t have access to safe water. Five…
Water jugs in the community water center in Grassy Narrows, Canada. April 13, 2016. © 2016 Human Rights Watch
News

Conditions in Quebec Detention Facility Even More Dire Because of Covid-19

Desperate immigration detainees have undergone three separate hunger strikes in a Montreal-area detention facility since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic to protest what they feel are life-threatening conditions. Last month, at least five detainees…
Entrance to the Canadian Border Security Agency's (CBSA) Laval Immigration Holding Centre in Quebec, Canada, showing a the entrance sign with the Canadian flag and the detention center in the background..
News

Judge Calls Current Laws ‘Discriminatory’

It was quite something to see a district court judge break into tears as she read her verdict declaring the denial of marriage registration to same-sex couples in Japan unconstitutional. It’s a significant and emotional moment in Japan for a court…
Lawyers and supporters hold rainbow flags and a banner outside Sapporo District Court in Sapporo, Japan, March 17, 2021. 
News

All Countries Should Urgently Repatriate Citizens

On the surface, it seems like a happy ending: a 4-year-old Canadian girl is flown home to Canada on Sunday after living the first half of her life under the Islamic State (ISIS) and the second in a squalid detention camp in northeast Syria. But her…
A 4-year-old Canadian girl after her rescue from a detention camp
News

Support Pledge with Credible Action

As the international outcry grows over the Chinese government’s arbitrary detention, forced labor and other egregious abuses against Turkic Muslims in the northwest region of Xinjiang, 12 Japanese companies recently told Kyodo News that they would “…
In this file image from undated video footage run by China's CCTV via AP Video, Muslim trainees work in a garment factory at the Hotan Vocational Education and Training Center in Hotan, Xinjiang, northwest China.
News

Phase Out Fossil Fuel Subsidies, Support First Nations in Budget 2021

Climate change was top of the agenda yesterday as US President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met virtually to identify priorities for collaboration. Both countries committed to working together to accelerate action on…
Sun sets over snowy plains