UPDATE JUNE 10 2015: Bill C-51 has passed through the Senate
without amendments, in spite of grave concerns expressed across Canadian society about its impact on privacy and human rights. The bill will now become law. Amnesty has grave concerns about this outcome.
Widely expanded powers and new criminal offences raise serious human rights concerns.
Learn more about security and human rights:
Bill C-51, The Anti-Terrorism Act, forms the core of the most comprehensive reforms to the Canada’s national security laws since 2001. Widely expanded powers and new criminal offences raise serious human rights concerns including:
A vague definition of “threats” that could include a wide range of protest activity that may not be lawful, but is certainly not criminal.
Asking Federal Court judges to authorize CSIS “threat reduction” activities that could include human rights violations in Canada and in other countries.
Suppressing freedom of expression by making it a crime to advocate or promote the commission of terrorism offences “in general”.
Lowering the threshold for, and extending the duration of, preventative detention without charge.
Expanded information-sharing without sufficient safeguards to prevent the sharing of unreliable, inaccurate, or inflammatory information domestically and internationally.
Inadequate appeal procedures for individuals who find their names on no-fly lists.
No increased review or oversight of increasingly complex national security activities.
Read Amnesty International's Brief submitted to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security
Governments have not only the right, but the responsibility to respond to concerns about threats and attacks – including terrorism – and protect their citizens. But not at any cost.
Recent history is all too full of examples on every continent of what can happen when security laws and practices disregard human rights: torture and ill-treatment, indefinite detention, unfair trials, unlawful killings, irresponsible arms transfers, civilian casualties, profiling and other forms of discrimination, and crackdowns on protest and dissent.
Canada’s own complicity in a number of cases including Abdullah Almalki, Ahmad Abou-Elmaati, Muayyed Nureddin, Omar Khadr, Abousfian Abdelrazik, and Benamar Benatta remains unresolved.
Laws intended to protect us from threats should not put our human rights at risk. Join Amnesty’s call to withdraw Bill C-51. National security reforms must meet Canada’s human rights obligations.
Learn more about Bill C-51
- Bill C-51 and the rush to insecurity for human rights
- Public Statement: Eminent Canadians call for greater review and oversight of national security activities
- Brief: Insecurity and Human Rights: Canada's proposed national security laws fall short of international human rights requirements
Image art: Banksy © lamentable on Flickr, used under creative commons