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Ruling Highlights Need for Legislative Protections

A court in Seoul, South Korea has rejected a same-sex couple’s bid for spousal health insurance benefits, underscoring the lack of legal protections for same-sex couples in the country. Although South Korea does not recognize same-sex partnerships…
Participants march with a rainbow flag during a gay pride parade in Seoul, South Korea.
News

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

Proposed Law Would Improve Protections for Older People, Many Others

The window is rapidly closing for South Korea’s National Assembly to pass a comprehensive antidiscrimination law that citizens and human rights organizations have long endorsed. Anti-discrimination legislation has been submitted 11 times since 2007…
An elderly woman seated on the floor of an apartment
News

Recent Digital Sex Crimes Underscore Urgent Need for National Plan

Last week, authorities arrested an elementary school principal in South Korea who had installed a spy camera inside a bathroom used by the school’s female staff members. In October, authorities arrested a group of men who had bribed a motel worker…
A group of women sit holding protest signs that read "My Life Is Not Your Porn"
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

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

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

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

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
News

Revise Laws to Recognize Diversity in Families

On January 26, the South Korean government announced it would seek to revise the legal definition of “family” in South Korea, and held a public hearing on the need to recognize the full diversity of families, including single parents and unmarried…
A rainbow flag is carried during a parade as a part of the Seoul Queer Culture Festival in Seoul, South Korea, Saturday, July 14, 2018. © 2018 AP Photo/Lee Jin-man
News

New Measures to Address Abuses in Chinese Region Insufficient

The United Kingdom and Canada made coordinated announcements this week to help prevent British and Canadian businesses from being complicit in, or profiting from, human rights violations in China’s Xinjiang region. The move follows growing calls…
People work amidst massive piles of cotton in China's Xinjiang province. 
News

Services, Education, and Broader Change Needed to Combat Deep Gender Inequity

On November 26, a horrifying episode in South Korea neared its end when a court in Seoul sentenced Cho Joo-bin to 40 years in prison. Cho ran a network of online chat rooms on Telegram, where he and several accomplices shared videos of sexual violence…
Women protest to demand stronger government action to fight the spread of intimate photos and footage taken by hidden cameras in Seoul, South Korea, July 7, 2018.
News

Proposed Legislation Falls Short

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government has tabled legislation that would increase transparency of government efforts to meet climate change commitments.  Bill C-12, tabled November 19, would require the government to set and…
Weenusk First Nation member, Mike Wabano, sets up camp for caribou hunting on a frozen river near Peawanuck, December 14, 2019. As a result of warming temperatures, ice and snow cover is often thinner and more unstable.
News

Government Mandates Reporting HIV Status, Deports People Living with HIV

In Jordan, medical professionals and health facilities are mandated to report an individual’s HIV status to the government. Foreign nationals found to be HIV-positive are summarily deported regardless of the consequences to their health and safety and…
Silhouettes are cast on a Jordanian national flag in Amman, Jordan, November 30, 2016. 
News

Draft Law an Improvement, but Still No Freedom to Choose

South Korea’s government last week announced new draft legislation that would permit abortion up until 14 weeks and, in some circumstances, up to 24 weeks, but falls short of full decriminalization. The proposed law represents an important reform…
Protesters shout slogans during a rally demanding the abolition of the country's ban on abortions outside of the Constitutional Court in Seoul, South Korea
News

Ottawa Should Repatriate 46 Others Held in Northeast Syria

After months of inaction, the Canadian government announced Monday that it had repatriated a 5-year-old orphan, Amira, who was trapped in a camp for Islamic State (ISIS) suspects and family members in northeast Syria. Amira’s overdue rescue should not…
A girl stands in front of a chainlink fence