World Refugee Day

June 20, 2018

They have faced the unimaginable. They have witnessed the unspeakable. Yet even in their darkest hour, millions of refugees all over the world continue to see the light, demonstrating strength, courage and a will to survive.”
CBC News
Record 68 million people displaced last year, UN says in annual refugee report – Migrant issues dominate headlines in U.S., Europe, but UN says problem more acute elsewhere

For the fifth straight year, and in time for the annual World Refugee Day, the numbers of people in forced global migration is up and the number of asylum seekers in Canada has doubled in one year.  The UN is estimating that just about half the 68.5 million are children.  “The global figure has gone up again by a couple of million,” said High Commissioner Filippo Grandi. “This is because of protracted conflicts and lack of solutions for those conflicts that continue, continuous pressure on civilians in countries of conflict that pushed them to leave their homes and new or aggravating crises, like the Rohingya crisis.”  Related article: Toronto Star – Nicholas Keung   Violence pushes world’s displaced population to record high of 68.5M, UN report finds   Related article: The Star Vancouver – David P. Ball  Canada detains migrant kids, too, and it needs to stop, experts say

 UN Human Rights Council
Canada’s Universal Periodic Review

Every five years – this is Canada’s third – Canada participates with other UN member states to hear and respond to Canada’s performance on human rights.  The subject country first submits a report on its own view of national human rights and then hears questions and recommendations from the others.    Canada then files a report in response to the commentaries of the other member states. You can e-mail for a copy of Canada’s documents from the May 11, 2018 session.

  CBC News – Amanda Pfeffer
OCDC withholding video of attack on guards, union claims

The Ottawa Carleton Detention Center is in the news again, this time for an attack by inmates which injured two of the guards. While there is a video of the May 25 attack, investigators are not ready to release it publicly, saying they are awaiting “a major piece of evidence.”  Neither of the two injured officers is back to work.  “OPSEU believes the May 25 attack marks a tipping point in the level of intimidation exerted by the jail’s more violent inmates, and wants management to back them in their bid to take back control…Otherwise the attacks will continue, OPSEU says — not just on guards, but on the jail’s less violent inmates.”  A week after the May 25 incident, four more officers were injured breaking up a fight.

 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution –  Gracie Bonds Staples
Experts weigh in on the difficulties of preventing suicide

Prompted by the suicides of Anthony Bourdain of CNN and fashion designer Kate Spade, Staples offers the incidents for awareness of the suicide problem but concedes that predicting suicide is about as accurate as tossing a coin.  Nadine J. Kaslow, a tenured professor in the Emory University School of Medicine and past president of the American Psychological Association, says: “To convey that there is nothing that can be done, will scare people even more and make them feel more helpless…We’re not saying that people do nothing. It doesn’t mean we don’t keep trying to figure out what to do. If someone is struggling, we need to reach out to them. We do know that strong social support protects people from attempting suicide or dying by suicide.”

The Guardian (UK) (US Desk) –
US quits UN human rights council – ‘a cesspool of political bias’

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley has been critical of the Human Rights Council for some time, suggesting it is flawed in the failure of the council to address human rights violations in Iran, Venezuela and its welcome to membership of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. “…the announcement came while the US itself is under intense criticism for its own human rights, because of the administration’s policy of forcibly separating young children from their parents when apprehended on the Mexican border.”

CBC News – Peter Zimonjic
Senate passes pot bill, paving way for legal cannabis in 8 to 12 weeks – Federal government’s bill legalizing recreational cannabis passes 52-29

It’s not in time for Canada Day this year but Bill C-45 to legalize marijuana has passed the Senate and will likely the signed into law within a few weeks.  “The Senate had proposed 46 amendments to the Cannabis Act. The Liberal government rejected 13 of those proposed changes last week — including one provision that would have affirmed the provinces’ right to ban home cultivation of marijuana.”  The Bill has also been an exploration of the role of an independent senate.

CBC News – Canadian Press
Opioid death toll in Canada nearly 4,000 last year, new data show – Government plans to severely restrict the way drug companies market opioids to doctors

BC is the province with the highest death toll from opioids, 29 for every 100,000 of population (a total of 1399).  Ontario comes in at 7.9 per 100,000 (a total of 1125). Both represents increases over 2016.   “The numbers for apparent opioid-related fatalities show a national death rate of 10.9 for every 100,000 people in the population in 2017, up from 8.2 in 2016.”