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Casting Stones
posted by dharisha on Wednesday November 27, @03:32AM
from the counting-the-headlights-on-the-highway dept.

peace We recently received a rather nasty email, with several offensive remarks about the "so called women's rights in Pakistan" and the manner in which women in countries like Pakistan are in fact treated like second-class citizens, from a reader in the United States.
While one cannot argue about the discrimination and oppression of women in several developing countries around the world, it's interesting to note that this kind of treatment of not only the fairer sex, but of people of different ethnic origin or alternate political beliefs is NOT, as is widely believed, restricted to the south only, as the story you're about to read is going to demonstrate.

The British Columbia Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines is scheduled to host an international conference aimed at establishing a lasting peace in the Phillipines in Vancouver, Canada, in December 2002. However, delegates from developing countries, attempting to register for the conference have come up against intense harrassment, discrimination and often downright arrogance from Visa officers at Canadian Immigration Centers in several parts of the world.

When they applied for an interview with the Canadian Embassy to apply for their visa, delegates from Nigeria were told they would be granted an appointment in January 2003, two months after the conference. This decision was upheld even under appeal.
Delegates from Bangladesh were called in for at least five interviews at the embassy. Despite their efforts to provide all the necessary documentation, they were denied visas on the vague basis of “not having met the requirements”. They had derogatory messages stamped in their passports and were not refunded the $200 fee for the visa.

A delegate from the Philippines who represents a national organization of urban poor women was denied a visitor's visa because the officer felt that her English was not adequate for participation in the conference "This blatant discrimination against one of our invited guests - for whom we had already secured translation - is an outrage," states Monica Urrutia, a member of Grassroots Women and the Conference Secretariat. "Canada's façade of being a human rights champion is exposed by this incredible presumption and racism on behalf of the government." Rachel Rosen, a member of Grassroots Women, a Canadian group that is one of the conference conveners observes:

"In the fall out of September 11, we are really seeing blatant political repression with no holds barred," "These delegates represent mass organizations from around the world who are active in the struggle against war and imperialism. They are being denied visas because of their political beliefs and activities, a blatant violation of their human and civil rights. "With the anti-terrorism hysteria and fortress mentality, we will see more and more of this type of attacks, unless we unite to challenge the so-called anti-terrorism agenda."

More evidence that the war on terrorism is in fact, doing as much damage as September 11th did, in terms of creating an even more suspicious global atmosphere. The campaign was begun to create a global climate of peace, but it has in fact achieved the exact oppposite of that objective. Here we are, one year after the attacks in New York, facing all kinds of military and human rights disasters. So then, these great western powers, who claim to be authorities on the Protection of Human Rights, are in fact little better than all these governments in the South they are constantly trying to overthrow. About time to put their own houses in order, I'd say, at risk of sounding disgustingly cliche. :)

In Solidarity | If it's not one thing, its another...and sometimes both  >


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