AI Canada: Independent Review of G20 Security Measures Urgently Needed

Amnesty International Canada writes:

The G8/G20 Summits were supposed to have been a chance to talk about putting human rights at the heart of global fight against poverty. Instead, the voices of thousands were silenced or ignored and the headlines dominated by images of burning police cars and broken windows.

We urgently need an independent review of the security measures adopted and the range of police actions taken in association with the G20 Summit in Toronto.

While we welcome the forthcoming review to be undertaken by the Toronto Police Service’s (TPS) Summit Management After Action Review Team, this is not an adequate response to the concerns of Amnesty International and other organizations and individuals. The TPS review is not independent, nor does it enable public participation or cover the wider range of actors involved, including various levels of government.

Please sign AI Canada’s “Take Action” on this issue. There are 1058 signatures, WE NEED MORE! Here is the letter being sent to the Canadian government:

Dear Prime Minister Harper:

I recognize that providing security for the G20 Summit in downtown Toronto was not an easy policing challenge. I am concerned, however, that the security measures and police tactics adopted to deal with incidents of violence and peaceful protest have resulted in extensive violations of the rights associated with peaceful protest and due process, including rights to freedom of expression and assembly and the right to be protected from arbitrary arrest.

I call on the Canadian government to cooperate with the government of the province of Ontario to launch an independent review of the security measures put in place for the G20 Summit in Toronto. The review should include opportunities for public input and the results should be released to the public. The review should consider:

• The impact of security measures, including decisions about the location and venue, on the protection of human rights, including the freedoms of expression and assembly.

• The ways in which police operations and the use of legal provisions such as the Public Works Protection Act have impacted the rights of the many thousands of people living, working and operating businesses within and near the G20 security zone.

Yours sincerely,

AI Canada has also outlined a framework to use for the review:

The review should be given terms of reference that will facilitate and ensure cooperation among the different levels of government involved in summit security – federal, provincial and municipal. It could take the form of a public inquiry or other process that is independent and comprehensive. Here are some of the human rights concerns that should be investigated:

• The security challenges inherent in the location and venue that was chosen for the Summit (the downtown core of Canada’s largest urban centre).

• The failure to ensure public input into and awareness of the designation of the G20 security zone under Ontario’s Public Works Protection Act and the implications of the designation with respect to police powers of arrest.

• Whether the extensive police build-up in the lead-up to the Summit and the overwhelming and intimidating police presence on the streets of Toronto may have deterred members of the public from participating in peaceful protest and/or may have in any way fueled or provoked the likelihood of acts of vandalism and other violence.

• Whether the police response to acts of vandalism and other violence during the afternoon of June 26 was adequate.

• Whether adequate measures were taken to protect the rights of individuals living and working in and near the G20 security zone

• The justification for wide-sweeping arrests during the evening of June 26 and throughout the day on June 27, many of which appear to have failed to discriminate between individuals who may have committed crimes or been reasonably suspected to be planning to commit crimes, and individuals who are reported to have been involved in legitimate protest or to have simply been passers-by or bystanders.

• Whether appropriate steps were taken to ensure that conditions of detention complied with recognized standards for detention.

Amnesty International is an independent human rights organization operating world-wide. They answer to no government, but are a legitimate voice in the United Nations providing the UN and governments with advice and recommendations on how best to deal with human rights issues world-wide. I strongly recommend supporting Amnesty International Canada by signing this “Take Action” if you want answers regarding the events of this past weekend relating to the G20. Our human rights are at stake, they were denied us this past weekend. It should not have happened and it should be prevented from happening again. There is “No Security Without Human Rights”.

~~~C

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