Canada Makes Palestinian Human Rights a Pawn in Mideast Peace Talks (Post)

As John Kerry’s deadline fast approaches for concluding a ‘Framework Agreement’ in the resuscitated Israel-Palestine negotiations, few are optimistic. Those disparaging the deal, or even the need for a deal, appear to have the upper hand in both camps.  The Obama administration, newly preoccupied with Russia and with mounting security challenges in A… Read More

Tags: , , , , , ,

Coming Soon: A Truly Global Human Rights Revolution? (Post)

Published on the openGlobalRights Blog, March 31, 2014  There is an unmistakable fin de régime sentiment to much current thinking regarding international human rights. Conferences and discussion forums convene to debate ‘the future of human rights’, with implicit in the title the idea that there might not be one.  An upsurge in interest in the history of… Read More

Tags: , ,

Russia’s Crimea Caper: One More Nail in the Non-Intervention Coffin (Post)

Both Russia and those opposing its intervention in Crimea are making claims regarding the legality of its acts. Russia is asserting the right to use force in Crimea and, if necessary, in eastern Ukraine. The U.S., Canada, and European states counter that doing so is an act of aggression. Indeed, in Foreign Minister John Baird’s opinion, this aggression was… Read More

Tags: , , , , ,

Belief, Not Principle, Guiding Canada’s Mideast Policy (Post)

There has been a good deal of debate regarding Prime Minister Harper’s visit to Israel, and in particular his speech to the Israeli Knesset. Supporters of the government trumpet what they see as a triumphant Prime Ministerial tour, one that has further cemented bilateral ties and reinforced the government’s strong and “principled” support for Israel. Cr… Read More

Tags: , , , , ,

Checking Whose Reality? Contra Burney/Hampson on Canada’s Mideast Policy (Post)

Writing last week in the Globe and Mail (“Canada and the Middle East – A reality check”), Derek Burney and Fen Hampson aim to “set the record straight” regarding the Harper government’s diplomacy in the Middle East. Their effort to defend that policy, however, bends facts and distorts the “reality” they claim needs checking. For a start, aid disbursements t… Read More

Tags: , , , , ,

To Shun or Shake Hands? Assessing Harper’s CHOGM Boycott (Post)

Prime Minister Harper’s decision to boycott the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), which concluded on the weekend in Sri Lanka, was hotly debated over the past few weeks. Now that the meeting has ended, what impact has the boycott had? Did Harper’s boycott, alongside similar decisions by the Indian and Mauritian Prime Ministers, embarras… Read More

Tags: , , , ,

As Nuclear Talks Progress, Baird’s Concern for Human Rights in Iran Rings Hollow (Post)

Negotiations over the past three days in Geneva almost achieved a historic nuclear deal with Iran, and the parties’ concluding statements suggest there is a good chance a deal will be reached when talks resume on November 20. Canada, however, appears focused on other concerns. As the Geneva talks began, Foreign Minister Baird, writing in the National Post… Read More

Tags: , , , , ,

Sweeping Rights Aside: Ottawa, Pakistan and Netsweeper (Post)

Imagine the scenario: a private Canadian software company provides sophisticated technology to the Iranian government, allowing it to deny access in Iran to thousands of websites on account of their political or social content. How would the Canadian government respond? With outrage and condemnation, to be sure, and perhaps even with legal action (sin… Read More

Tags: , , , , ,

Relief Not Regret Over Harper’s UN Absence (Post)

John Baird’s address to the UN today, his third, is likely to cover familiar ground: long on rhetoric, short on constructive policy. Regarding the important developments last week on Syria and Iran, Baird will insist that both countries will be judged by what they do, not what they promise to do. As this in any case lies at the heart of the US approach, his banal… Read More

Tags: , , , , ,

R2P: Hindrance Not A Help in the Syrian Crisis (Post)

Published on the openDemocracy blog September 13, 2013. This essay is part of a symposium on R2P and the human rights crisis in Syria guest edited by David Petrasek. The Responsibility to Protect (R2P) doctrine was developed to forge consensus in favour of international action to prevent or stop mass atrocities. It has failed to do so in Syria. But worse, the… Read More

Tags: , , , ,