“Free, prior and informed consent…”

April 26, 2917

Globe and Mail – Gloria Galloway
Ottawa drops objections to UN resolution on Indigenous consent

The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People has a clause that requires governments to obtain consent for any decision that impacts the lives of the Indigenous people.  The previous government had invoked an objection and put a qualification against “the right to free, prior and informed consent.”  The Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett has just affirmed that Canada is withdrawing the qualification.  Of immediate interest is the consequences of recognition of this right for development on First Nations land.  http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/ottawa-drops-objections-to-un-resolution-on-indigenous-consent/article34802902/

The Hill Times – Peter Mazereeuw
Senators, opposition set to challenge pot bill age limits, prison terms in committee

Opposition to elements of the recreational and medical marijuana legislation (Bill C-45) is beginning to crystalize in both the Senate and the opposition.  The age limit is 18 and critics say too young while the penalty for giving marijuana to under-aged users is a severe 14 years in jail.  http://www.hilltimes.com/2017/04/26/pot-bill-age-limits-prison-terms-come-pressure-committee-say-parliamentarians/104327

Huffington Post – The Blog  –  Helen Reis and Jihan Abbas
Ontario Leaves Many Persons with Disabilities Trapped in Poverty

This blog assesses the effectiveness of the current government assistance offered to Ontario’s disabled in the light of last year’s report Nowhere to turn.  After reviewing the amounts involved, and the current expenses to anticipate, the blog focuses on the current limits imposed as conditional for the government aid in limitations on both asset holdings and gifts.  http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/helen-ries/ontario-disability-poverty_b_16147610.html?utm_hp_ref=canada-politics&ir=Canada+Politics   Full Report from 2016:  Nowhere to turn  https://www.ombudsman.on.ca/Files/sitemedia/Documents/NTT-Final-EN-w-cover.pdf

The Sentencing Project (US)
6 Million Lost Voters: State-Level Estimates of Felony Dis-enfranchisement, 2016

The practice of adding punishment even after sentences involving prison have been served and complete is at issue.  In 12 states (accounting for over half the total), once convicted, a person loses the right to vote in elections.  The process is called felony disenfranchisement and is a lifetime penalty added to what the sentencing brings for approximately one in forty adults, more than 1 in 13 Black adults.  http://www.sentencingproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/6-Million-Lost-Voters.pdf   (A 20 page downloadable pdf – p. 5 has an overview of the issue; report includes on p. 6 a state by state status)

 Council of Europe

The Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) has issued a 2017 report with warnings about the treatment of both adult and children in Britain’s jails; “spiralling violence and lack of safety in prisons; and inadequate safeguards to protect patients in mental health settings (are) highlighted.”  The situation is somewhat compounded because the British penal reform group has suspended working in the face of a May election in Britain. https://www.coe.int/en/web/cpt/-/cpt-publishes-report-on-its-uk-visit-criticism-levelled-at-spiralling-violence-and-lack-of-safety-in-prisons-and-inadequate-safeguards-to-protect-pati?dm_i=47L,4WCUA,6JSCMH,IKL4J,1   Comments from Prison Reform Trust to the Council of Europe’s warnings:  “This is a devastating international indictment of how low our prison system has sunk. This independent, expert committee exists to prevent mistreatment in prisons across Europe. It should be a matter of national shame that they found that every prison they visited in this country was unsafe for both staff and prisoners. They specifically found that some children were being held in conditions that were inhuman and degrading.” https://www.coe.int/en/web/cpt/-/cpt-publishes-report-on-its-uk-visit-criticism-levelled-at-spiralling-violence-and-lack-of-safety-in-prisons-and-inadequate-safeguards-to-protect-pati?dm_i=47L,4WCUA,6JSCMH,IKL4J,1    Related article: Blogger Russell Webster – Interesting new drug facts (April 2017)  http://us2.campaign-archive2.com/?e=10ab936adc&u=f3b97d02b5235c9e7c9b3a65b&id=dd18584856

Thompson Reuters Foundation (US) – Belinda Goldsmith
Sex and labor trafficking survivors call for funding and jobs, not pity

Trafficking human persons is a world-wide reality involving an estimate 46 million people.  While trafficking for the sex trade is a major portion of the problem, trafficking to acquire forced labour is also an extensive part.  Goldsmith draws attention that for whatever reason human trafficking does not end when the person is delivered from the actual entrapment.  One victim and now a lawyer testifies:  “We are locked in a house, we have no idea of the outside world, we don’t know about taxes or how to get a job and most organizations focus on rescuing…People know about modern slavery but you have to focus on what comes next … we need jobs.”  http://news.trust.org/item/20170425205046-mstjs/