The Canadian government spokesperson at the session did not address this concern. An earlier written response reiterates provisions under the Quebec Police Act for filing complaints of abuse. It states dryly, "The Ethics Commissioner has received 228 complaints to date concerning police interventions during or relating to the student demonstrations in 2012."
The Committee also questioned the actions of Canada in deporting a Somali citizen who faced persecution upon return and a Jamaican who was exposed to police brutality after deportation.
"Despite recommendations to the contrary, information was allowed to be shared with a foreign country in security matters even if that would lead to torture," the Committee stated.
The Canadian delegation did not respond.
The government also came under fire for not providing health care to refugees. In response, the government said it believed this policy and its new Citizenship Act are in compliance with Canada's own Charter of Rights and Freedoms and that should satisfy the Committee.
Civil Society Interveners Criticize Canada's Human Rights Record
Shelagh Day of the Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action, in speaking to the Committee, targeted specifically the government's response, which some characterize as racist, to the large number of missing and murdered Indigenous women and to other abuse involving First Nations.
Day said, "The comments of Canada regarding missing and murdered Aboriginal women and Canada's relationship with Aboriginal peoples ring hollow. Canada is not engaged in a candid dialogue with the UN Human Rights Committee about its human rights performance, but in self-promotion."
Others addressing the Committee pointed out that the federal government has repeatedly rejected calls for a federal inquiry into violence against Indigenous women, saying simply in a detached way that it supports provincial efforts.
The Canadian Human Rights Commission told the Committee that the plight of Canada's Aboriginal Peoples is one of the country's most urgent civil rights issues facing Canada today. It said that Indigenous peoples "continue to be significantly disadvantaged in terms of education, employment and access to basic needs such as water, food and housing. Indigenous women, in particular, bear a disproportionate burden of violence."
The Canadian ecumenical social justice organization Kairos asked the Committee to "recommend changes in [government] policies and practices that would require Canada to take seriously its responsibilities to Indigenous peoples."
Other interveners addressed the recent passage of Bill
C-51, the Anti-Terrorism Act, 2015. This law will result in
of human rights, they told the Committee. Amnesty International called
on the Committee to
recommend that the Anti-Terrorism Act, 2015 be repealed.
Amnesty International noted that the government still has not responded
the Committee's 2005 recommendation for redress for three Canadian
-- Abdullah Almalki, Ahmad Abou-Elmaati and Muayyed Nureddin -- "who
have experienced torture in prisons abroad with the involvement of
officials in their arrest in Syria and in the case of El-Maati also in
Further, it asked the Committee to urge similar redress for Omar Khadr
the Supreme Court of Canada's finding that Canadian officials violated
rights while he was in the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay,
Sukanya Pillay, executive director of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association in speaking to the media before the Committee session began said, "This is an important process for Canada to either demonstrate or explain on the world stage, and before an expert body, its record on human rights pursuant to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. We are there to ensure the body questioning Canada, the Human Rights Committee, knows of our many concerns regarding civil liberties in Canada, including Bill C-51, equality rights, aboriginal persons, police and conducted energy weapons, as well as the treatment of refugees."
Pillay told the Committee, "Whenever human rights have been violated, it threatens peace and security. Things like fundamental justice, due process, equality, all of these things have been on really shaky ground in Canada in recent years."
Dr. Pamela D. Palmater, a Mi'kmaq lawyer and head of the
Indigenous Governance at Ryerson University delivered a powerful
speech, extensively detailing state-organized human rights abuses in
Canada. Dr. Palmater's presentation and six recommendations which she
urged the Committee to consider are
The UN Human Rights Committee completed its consideration of Canada's sixth periodic report on July 8 and has scheduled a news conference for July 23 at 1:30 pm at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, after which the Committee will publish its concluding observations here.
TML Weekly Information Project will report on the findings of the Committee when they are released.
Canada Must Set Right Its Relations
Victory monument in Da Nang celebrates historic struggle of the Vietnamese people.
In contrast to the anachronistic Cold war anti-communist
government and its Subcommittee, the achievements of Vietnam in the
of human rights are widely recognized internationally.
In November 2013,
Vietnam was elected to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC)
for a two-year term with 184 votes out of a possible 193, which is one
highest votes received by countries elected to the 47-member council.
From January 27 to February 7, 2014, Vietnam's human rights report was submitted and approved at the 18th Session of the UN Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review working group. The report highlighted some of the most important achievements in the recent period:
"The session took note of Viet Nam's achievements over
the past years,
particularly its socio-economic progress, poverty reduction, high rates
school attendance at primary and secondary levels, the national plans
actions for children in 2012-2020 as well as improvements in
vulnerable groups such as ethnic minorities, women and children.
also spoke highly of Viet Nam's signing of the Convention against
and participation in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with
With its accusations against the Socialist Republic of
Vietnam the Harper
government has exposed itself at home and internationally as a block to
solving problems through diplomacy and dialogue. Instead it is
extremism, spreading hatred and warmongering all over the world. The
treatment of human rights by the Harper government and the Subcommittee
on International Human Rights is offensive to the
Vietnamese people and deserves to be rejected by all Canadians.
It is inconceivable that a discussion about human rights
in Vietnam does
not even recognize the heroic struggle waged by the Vietnamese people
great sacrifice, for their independence and their right to be, free
During the 30-year period from 1945 to 1975, the Vietnamese people, under the leadership of the Communist Party of Vietnam and its great leader Ho Chi Minh, successfully defeated three imperialist powers that occupied Vietnam.
In 1945 the Japanese imperial army was defeated and the Vietnamese people continued fighting against foreign domination culminating in the defeat of the French colonialists at Dien Bien Phu in 1954.
It was the total victory against U.S. imperialism on
April 30, 1975 which
made it possible for the Vietnamese people to control their own
the reunification of Vietnam in 1976 and the creation of the Socialist
Republic of Vietnam the Vietnamese people established their own
nation-building project based on their right to determine their own
system and policies.
The heroic tradition of the Vietnamese people to resist aggression and fight for freedom and basic human rights which is recognized worldwide is the greatest guarantee that these same rights are defended and enshrined in the Constitution of Vietnam.
Taking up the task of reunifying and rebuilding their
Vietnamese people led by their government have made great advances in
building a stable and prosperous economy. The Constitution of the
Republic of Vietnam was developed based on the need to build and defend
the country and to enshrine the rights and responsibilities of the
state organizations "to achieve the goal of a prosperous people and a
democratic, equitable and civilized country."
Article 3 of the Constitution states: "The State shall guarantee and promote the People's right to mastery; recognize, respect, protect and guarantee human rights and citizens' rights; and pursue the goal of a prosperous people and a strong, democratic, equitable and civilized country, in which all people enjoy an abundant, free and happy life and are given conditions for their comprehensive development."
This shows that the main content of the extremist views being pushed by the Harper Conservatives is based on virulent anti-communism and the method is distortion and lies to impose their perverse views of history on Canadian society. In the name of "defending human rights" the Harper government persists in hypocritically fabricating accusations against Vietnam in order to interfere in the internal affairs of Vietnam, including the right of the people to pursue the nation-building project and the social system of their choosing. This is an insult to the history of the Vietnamese people and unacceptable to Canadians.
1. First established in 2006, the Universal Periodic Review is a cooperative mechanism used to assess each UN Member State's fulfillment of its human rights obligations and commitments. The review is based on information submitted by the State, national human rights institutions, civil society organizations, and other UN human rights bodies.
Posted below is an excerpt from the foreword of the report published June 26 by the State Council Information Office of the People's Republic of China entitled, "Human Rights Record of the United States in 2014." To view the full report, click here.
On June 25 local time, the State Department of the United States released its country reports on human rights practices once again, making comments on the human rights situations in many countries while showing not a bit of regret for or intention to improve its own terrible human rights record. Plenty of facts show that, in 2014, the U.S., a self-proclaimed human rights defender, saw no improvements in its existent human rights issues, but reported numerous new problems. While its own human rights situation was increasingly grave, the U.S. violated human rights in other countries in a more brazen manner, and was given more "red cards" in the international human rights field.
The U.S. was haunted by spreading guns, frequent occurrence of violent crimes, which threatened citizens' civil rights. Statistics showed that the use of firearms in the U.S. was behind 69 percent of murders, while for robberies, the figure was 40 percent, and for aggravated assaults, 21.6 percent (edition.cnn.com). The excessive use of force by police officers led to many deaths, sparking public outcry. An unarmed 18-year-old African-American Michael Brown was shot dead by a white police officer named Darren Wilson in Ferguson, a town in Missouri. After the grand jury [...] decided to bring no charges against the white police officer, massive protests broke out in more than 170 cities nationwide (cn.nytimes.com, November 25, 2014).
The U.S. used cruel torture indiscriminately, notably those carried out by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). To acquire intelligence from suspects of terrorism and extremism, the CIA used brutal methods, such as sleep deprivation, waterboarding, long-term solitary confinement, slamming prisoners against the wall, lashing, death threats and even "rectal rehydration" or rectal feeding. United Nations human rights convention institutions such as the UN Human Rights Committee and the Committee Against Torture had raised their concerns over issues in the U.S., including terrible detention conditions for convicts awaiting execution, abuse using brutal methods, secret detention, indefinite arbitrary detention, and illegal wire-tapping which infringed citizens' privacy. These institutions called on the U.S. to conduct swift, effective and fair investigations into all brutal behaviors and abuse of force of the police force (www.un.org).
The U.S. is a country where grim problems of racial discrimination, and institutional discrimination against ethnic minorities continued. Serious racial bias persisted in the police and justice systems. Minority groups and Indigenous people are subject to unfairness in environment, election, health care, housing, education and other fields. In August 2014, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, in its concluding observation on the periodic report of the U.S. on the latter's implementation of the relevant convention, slammed the U.S. for violating the rights of ethnic minorities, Indigenous people, immigrants and other minority groups. It criticized the fact that members of racial and ethnic minorities continued to be disproportionately arrested, incarcerated and subjected to harsher sentences (tbinternet.ohchr.org).
Money is a deciding factor in the U.S. politics, and the U.S. citizens' political rights were not properly protected. Despite the highest midterm election spending in history, general election voter turnout for the 2014 midterms was the lowest since World War II. "Dark money" flowed into elections, and the voting rights of racial minorities and other groups were intentionally suppressed. A few interest groups with power were able to influence the government's decision-making. As a renowned scholar pointed out sharply, the U.S. democratic system was experiencing a crisis of representation. "Ordinary citizens feel that their supposedly democratic government no longer truly reflects their interests and is under the control of a variety of shadowy elites (Foreign Affairs, September/October 2014)."
Although the U.S. is the most developed country in the world, it is hard for the economic and social rights of its citizens to be soundly ensured. In the process of economic recovery, the income inequality continued to be enlarged, the basic living conditions for the homeless people deteriorated, the health care system operated terribly and the education rights of average citizens were violated. In October 2014, the United Nations Special Rapporteurs criticized the unprecedented water shut-offs in Detroit disproportionately affected the most vulnerable and poorest people, violating their right of access to drinking water and other international human rights.
American women and children's rights were not fully protected. Women were discriminated against at workplaces, and domestic violence was prevalent. Each year, 2.1 million American women on average were assaulted by men. Three females were murdered by their partner each day, and four females died each day as a result of abuse. In the U.S. military, reports of female soldiers getting harassed were on the rise, and more faced repercussions for reporting assaults. Millions of American children were homeless. Three children died each day as a result of abuse. School violence and sex assaults were pervasive and gun shootings happened from time to time.
The National Security Agency and other intelligence-gathering apparatus of the U.S. for a long time have spied on world leaders and civilians. The U.S. has not ratified the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The U.S. government often takes an evasive or uncooperative attitude toward the criticism of the United Nations Human Rights Council, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights of UN, the council's working groups and special rapporteurs. [...]
(Slightly edited for grammer by TML.)
70th Anniversary of UN Charter
The Charter of the United Nations is the organization's foundational treaty. It was signed by 50 of the UN's original members in San Francisco on June 26, 1945, six weeks after Nazi Germany surrendered at the end of the Second World War. The Charter entered into force on October 24, 1945, the official date of the UN's formation, after being ratified by the original five permanent members of the Security Council -- the Republic of China (replaced by the People's Republic of China on October 25, 1971), France, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the United Kingdom and the United States -- and a majority of the other signatories. All UN members are duty-bound to uphold the 111 articles of the UN Charter. Further, Article 103 of the UN Charter states that obligations to the United Nations prevail over all other treaty obligations.
The Preamble to the Charter states four main general aims:
- to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and
- to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, and
- to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and
- to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom.
Article One of the Charter clearly states the United Nations' four main purposes:
- To maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace, and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace;
- To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace;
- To achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character, and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion; and
- To be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations in the attainment of these common ends.
Finally, the first four principles of the UN are clearly stated at the beginning of Article 2:
- The Organization is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members.
- All Members, in order to ensure to all of them the rights and benefits resulting from membership, shall fulfill in good faith the obligations assumed by them in accordance with the present Charter.
- All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered.
- All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.
While stating in words their allegiance to the articles of the UN Charter, the U.S. imperialists and their allies take every opportunity to defy the Charter in deeds. They routinely violate national sovereignty, continuously humiliate or commit open aggression against other countries, and refuse to be held to account for their misdeeds which threaten all of humanity. This situation underscores the need to reform and renew the UN. On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the signing of the UN Charter, it is important to again stress the pressing need for the UN and its bodies to enshrine and uphold the equality and sovereignty of all nations and for all nations big and small to uphold the norms and laws of international relations so as to ensure international peace. This must be done not just by using empty words but in actual deeds.
One of the most critical needs is to reform the UN Security Council. Two fundamental principles of international relations are that all nations have equal standing and that the right to sovereignty of all nations must be upheld. These hard-won principles were paid for by the blood of millions in World War II and stand diametrically opposed to the imperialist dictate that "Might Makes Right." Upholding these principles is the duty of all nations to ensure that never again will the world be subject to a global war. The United Nations Charter espouses these principles but they are contradicted in practice by the anachronistic composition of the Security Council which is entrusted with the crucial issue of maintaining peace. Under Chapter VII of the Charter, the Security Council can take enforcement measures to "maintain or restore international peace and security," ranging from economic and/or other sanctions not involving the use of armed force to international military action.
Five big powers remain the permanent members of the UN Security Council: Britain, China, France, Russia and the U.S. This is not only totally unrepresentative of the majority of the 198 countries which make up the UN today but these big powers have a veto on all matters that come before the Security Council. Although "power of veto" is not explicitly mentioned in the Charter, Article 27 states that "substantive" decisions require "the concurring votes of the permanent members." The permanent members, of course, vote according to their own national interests, not the interests of the world's people which are sacrificed as a matter of course. Since 1972, the U.S. has used its veto power more than any other permanent member. The Security Council usurps the decision-making process, rendering the decisions of the General Assembly ineffective. The renewal of the Security Council arrangements is needed to make the UN democratic and effective as an instrument to maintain world peace and stop its use to justify the bullying and aggression of the U.S. and its NATO allies and partners, which is causing havoc in the world today.
The Harper dictatorship continues to take a very arrogant stand towards the UN Charter. Harper addressed the United Nations in 2010, a second time since 2006, then showed his contempt by refusing to do so again until 2014. Harper's 2014 speech spewed platitudes, then focused almost solely on financial commitments to child and maternal health in order to deliberately divert attention from other important global conflicts and crises. This again underscores that Canada is making no positive contributions on the major questions of war and peace and the vital need for UN reform, especially of the Security Council. In fact, Canada has given itself the role of champion of war and aggression to settle disputes between nations, all in the name of Canadian values and an approach to foreign policy which is actually based on no principle at all. There are many current examples of this, including continuing aggression in Afghanistan, unqualified support for Israeli war crimes against the Palestinian people, bombing of Libya, bombing of Syria, demonizing of Iran, and now the training of Nazi troops in Ukraine. On November 21, 2014, the Harper dictatorship joined the United States and Ukraine as the only three countries to vote against the annual United Nations' anti-Nazi resolution, the third time Canada has voted against this resolution.
The Harper dictatorship has also shown again and again that it does not believe that UN principles and decisions apply at all to Harper's own policies within Canada. Harper has ignored recommendations of the UN Human Rights Council for a national investigation into missing and murdered Aboriginal women, not to mention international concerns from the UN Committee Against Torture about Canada's involvement in facilitating torture internationally. In October 2014, Canada was the only UN country to register objections over a landmark UN document re-establishing the protection of the rights of Indigenous peoples. On July 6-8, the United Nations reviewed Canada's human rights record for the first time since 2006, including in regard to blatant political defunding of charities and the passing of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 2015 (Bill C-51), a bill providing expanded powers to the RCMP and CSIS, which legitimizes black ops against the Canadian people and further criminalizes dissent.
Whether at the United Nations or in other international and national fora, the Harper dictatorship uses its usurpation of state power to issue the most backward and pro-imperialist drivel, as if this represents the sentiments of Canadians. Nothing could be further from the truth. The values espoused by the Harper government to justify foreign aggression and interference in the internal affairs of other countries are alien to Canadians and alien to the UN Charter. Canadians want their country to be a genuine force for peace in the world, not a servile appendage of U.S. imperialism. The actions of the Harper government and the prime minister's diversionary 2014 speech to the United Nations again underscore the need for Canadians to fight for an anti-war government that opposes warmongering internationally and contributes to sorting out problems on a peaceful basis, an anti-war government that upholds the UN Charter not just in empty words but in actual deeds.
1. For the full text of the United Nations Charter,
Peace and Justice in East Asia
On June 25, 1950, at 4 am local time, south Korean troops under direction from the U.S. launched an attack north across the 38th parallel dividing the Korean peninsula that began the Korean War. Over 4 million Koreans, mostly civilians, were killed in the war which also inflicted massive damage on the infrastructure and farmlands of the entire peninsula. The U.S. imperialists unleashed this unjust war as part of its Cold War strategy to cover their own crimes in the name of "containment" of communism. It was also to curb the south Korean people's resistance to U.S. military occupation and the puppet Syngman Rhee government and to demand a reunified Korea.
In order to launch the Korean War, the U.S. manoeuvred
the UN Security
Council with the story, based
fabricated "evidence," that it was the north that began the war. All of
it was to cover up that first the U.S. illegally divided Korea into
north and south. It then mobilized the UN to intervene in a civil war
which constitutes foreign interference in the internal affairs of a
country and is illegal under the UN Charter.
This modus operandi of concocting a pretext has been used many times since to justify illegal wars and occupation, including most recently in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria. To date the U.S/UN forces which launched the Korean War against the Korean people have not apologized to nor compensated the Korean people for this greatest of war crimes -- the crime against peace. On the contrary, the U.S./UN continues to target the DPRK with illegal sanctions, threats of a pre-emptive nuclear strike, ongoing disinformation campaigns about the DPRK's "human rights" record, and annual military exercises directed against the DPRK, in an effort to overthrow its government and socialist system and impose a U.S. dictatorship over the entire Korean peninsula.
The UN Security Council's "resolution" on the Korean war in 1950 was illegal as it was not based on investigating the truth about the accusation of an attack from the north brought to the UN Security Council by the U.S. The UN Security Council adopted the "resolution" to wage war on the Korean people in contravention of article 32 of the UN Charter -- which calls for parties to the dispute to be present at the discussions of the problems -- and paragraph 3 of article 27 of the UN Charter, which provides that a Security Council resolution is only valid if approved by a vote of Council members, including approval by all permanent Council members. Neither condition was met. At the time, neither the Soviet Union nor China were present. The Soviet Union was protesting the Security Council's refusal to seat the recently declared People's Republic of China as a member of the UN.
During the Korean War, the U.S. carried out massive bombing raids, massacred hundreds of thousands of civilians in the north and south of Korea, engaged in germ warfare and chemical warfare and bombed cities and infrastructure north of the 38th parallel in order to force the DPRK to submit. Civilians were buried alive, dismembered, burned to death and drowned. Many were forced to dig their own graves before being executed in the same manner that the Nazis massacred civilians, particularly those who resisted. All this was documented by the Commission of the Women's International Democratic Federation to Korea May 16-27, 1951. In their report "We Accuse!" the Commission condemned these crimes that were being committed against defenceless civilians and called for the UN to demand an end to all fighting, that all foreign troops be pulled out of Korea and for the Korean people to determine their own affairs.
When finally, after complicated negotiations which were constantly being sabotaged by the U.S., the Korean Armistice Agreement was signed on July 17, 1953, the U.S. refused to comply with the Agreement, the main point of which was for the two sides to sign a peace treaty as soon as possible. Since the time of the Korean War until now, the U.S. has refused to sign a peace treaty which betrays its true aims on the Korean peninsula. The U.S. and south Korea as well as a militarizing Japan continue to carry out military exercises and war games aimed at sparking another Korean war and overthrowing the DPRK by force which are also in violation of the Armistice Agreement.
It is high time the U.S. signed a peace treaty with the DPRK and brought a formal conclusion to the Korean War. This is the demand of the Korean people and all humanity. The Korean people have the right like all people to live in peace, and reunify their divided country. If President Obama can conclude that over 50 years of U.S. policy towards Cuba has been an utter failure and requires a different approach, why not for relations with the DPRK? It would be welcomed by the Korean people and all justice- and peace-loving humanity.
For its part the Harper government continues a diplomatic war with the DPRK and since coming to power in 2006, has outdone the Liberals in imposing various economic and political sanctions against that country. While diplomatic relations between the DPRK and Canada were established in 2000, no effort was made by the Liberal governments of Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin, and from 2006, the Harper Conservatives, to normalize relations with the DPRK which would be a real contribution to peace on the Korean peninsula. The Harper government has gone out of its way to curry favour with the anti-communist south Korean government while behaving in a provocative and boorish way to the government of the DPRK.
To make amends for Canada's involvement in the Korean War, the Canadian people must ensure that another war does not break out. One way to contribute to this is to remove the war government of Stephen Harper from power in 2015 and to demand that the next government normalize relations with the DPRK and work for peace on the Korean peninsula.
Japan annexed and occupied Korea in 1910, an occupation that continued through to the end of the Second World War. When on December 1, 1943 Britain, the Republic of China and the United States issued the Cairo Declaration -- an outcome of the Cairo Conference held to discuss military strategy for the defeat of Japan and the reconstruction of postwar East Asia -- it noted: "The aforesaid three great powers, mindful of the enslavement of the people of Korea, are determined that in due course Korea shall become free and independent." None of these "three great powers" asked the Korean people their opinion, even though it was they who were spearheading the resistance against the Japanese military occupiers of their homeland.
On August 15, 1945, Liberation Day in Korea, the U.S. unilaterally divided Korea at the 38th parallel so that the Soviet Union, which had declared war on Japan on August 8, 1945 and participated in the liberation of Korea, would receive the Japanese surrender in the north, while the United States would receive the Japanese surrender in the south. In the meantime, the Korean people, who had themselves disarmed the Japanese, were jubilant in the north and the south and by September 6 had declared a Korean People's Republic.
Two days later the U.S. military arrived in Korea and declared the Korean People's Republic illegal and outlawed the people's committees, which nonetheless in the north continued to play a decisive role in building a new society with the support of the Soviet Union until 1948.
Soon after its arrival, the U.S. established the United
Government in Korea (USMGK). One of the first things the USMGK did was
to put former Japanese officers and Koreans who had collaborated with
Japanese military occupiers of Korea (1910-1945) in positions of power.
From 1945 to 1948, the USMGK carried out a campaign of mass terror against the south Korean people in an attempt to defeat their revolutionary uprising against the U.S. dictate. The evidence presented at the Korean International War Crimes Tribunal in New York City June 23-25, 2001, in which over 60 Canadians participated, provided details of the crimes committed by the U.S. military in Korea from 1945-1950. These included mass political assassinations of communists, socialists and leftists who expressed sympathy for their northern compatriots. Torture and imprisonment were widely used against patriotic Korean intellectuals, students, women, peasants and workers who affirmed Korean independence and sovereignty, and an anti-communist crusade against the north Koreans was carried out.
In the face of this organized terror, the Korean people stepped up their revolutionary resistance. In April 1948, a broad political conference representing 56 south and north Korean political parties met at Pyongyang to oppose the fraudulent U.S./UN elections planned in the south for May 10. The meeting called for elections organized and run by the Korean people themselves. That same month the heroic Jeju Island uprising took place to protest the U.S./UN elections. The Jeju islanders took up arms, burned down the polling stations and took over military posts to assert their right to decide their future. They were met with massive force directed by the U.S. resulting in the deaths of nearly 30,000 patriotic Koreans on the island who wanted nothing less than one Korea undivided. The Yosu uprising in October 1948 spurred more widespread armed struggle against the U.S. military and their local puppets..
By this time, U.S. monopolies and finance capital controlled 80 per cent of the key sectors of the south Korean economy, such as mining, energy production, manufacturing, banking and other sectors -- taking over from where the Japanese militarists had left off. Thus there was no motivation for the U.S. imperialists to see a "free and independent Korea."
In 1948, only after three years of efforts by the Korean
people and when
there seemed no possibility of a united Korea, Koreans in the north,
Kim Il Sung, declared their Democratic People's Republic of Korea
Since its founding the DPRK has continued to uphold the dignity of the
Korean nation and has spearheaded the Korean people's movement for
The disinformation that the DPRK launched an unprovoked attack across the 38th parallel at 4:30 am on June 25, 1950 to start the Korean War is repeated by the U.S. and its allies, including the Harper government, and the monopoly media to justify the ongoing criminal political and economic sanctions against the DPRK and to continue the Korean War. The facts show that the Korean War was instigated by the U.S. as a result of its policies in south Korea from 1945-1950 and that it intervened in a civil war situation in violation of the UN Charter. The launching of the Korean War by the U.S. began in 1945 and escalated on June 25, 1950. If the U.S. had not occupied Korea in 1945, the Korean people would have sorted out their own problems, as they clearly proved when they declared their Korean People's Republic. Who then should be held responsible for the Korean War if not the U.S.?
Canadians should look into the Korean War in light of their own direct experience of the U.S. role in the world today. The Korean War was a civil war concerning the Korean people. It did not concern the U.S., Canada, or any of the 17 countries who went to war against the Korean people to assist U.S. imperialism.
During the war, the Korean people suffered 4.6 million
deaths of mostly
civilians, the destruction of the economic infrastructure of the DPRK
ruin of the Korean economy, both north and south. The Korean War was a
holocaust against the Korean people in which the U.S. carried out
of civilians, carpet bombing, germ and chemical warfare such as the
of napalm, and even threatened to use the atom bomb, all in an effort
the Korean people. But it failed.
Canadians have a responsibility to the Korean people to ensure that another Korean War does not break out. The Harper war government must be defeated in the federal election because of its warmongering and anti-communist hysteria against the DPRK. Canadians and all peace-loving people must demand that the United States sign a peace treaty with the DPRK to end the Korean War once and for all.
1. Korea International War Crimes Tribunal, Report on U.S. Crimes in Korea 1945-2001 (2001).
2. Hugh Deane. The Korean War 1945-1953.
3. Korea Focus, Vol. 1; No 1 -- Special Issue (1971).
To mark the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War and the alarming rise of Japanese militarism today, Korean, Japanese, Chinese and other peoples in East Asia are organizing for peace in the region and for respectful and mutually beneficial relations between their countries.
The three main themes in this work are to prevent another world war from breaking out in East Asia by demanding that Japan own up to its crimes against the South East Asian people during the Second World War, to build the East Asian peoples' opposition to the increasingly pro-war stand of the Japanese government of Shinzo Abe, and to support the peaceful, independent reunification of Korea, the first step of which is to conclude a Peace Treaty between the U.S. and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to replace the Korean Armistice Agreement of 1953.
Summing up the collective experience of the Asian peoples who suffered under the yoke of Japanese militarism in the Second World War, the organization Civilians in East Asia note in their declaration of June 23, 2015 that the peoples of Japan, Korea, China and other Asian nations suffered greatly under Japanese military occupation and brutality in the Second World War. This organization emphasizes that it was only after Japan was found guilty of the crimes it had committed against the Asian peoples that the process of reintegrating it into the family of nations began. The organization cites the statement made in 1995, on the 50th anniversary of the end of the Second World War by then Japanese Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama who declared that during the Second World War, Japan "caused tremendous damage and suffering to the people of many countries, particularly to those of Asian nations. In the hope that no such mistake be made in the future, I regard, in a spirit of humility, these irrefutable facts of history, and express here once again my feelings of deep remorse and state my heartfelt apology."
Civilians in East Asia expresses alarm that the current Abe government in Japan glorifies Japanese militarism, trying to justify the unjustifiable, suggesting that Japanese militarism was for the purpose of "self-defence" and "for the liberation of Asia." The organization states that such a stand is an affront to the people of Asia who suffered under Japanese military violence and brutality, and that the members of the organization will resolutely oppose the Abe government, demanding that "Japan should take wartime responsibility as a major culprit who triggered the Asia-Pacific War and invaded and colonized a number of nations in the Asia-Pacific region" and as a result of this "since the end of the war in 1945 ... most, if not all, East Asian nations have never been free from the constant state of conflicts, wars and antagonism." The organization is demanding as well that the Japanese government compensate those who suffered and their survivors for these crimes. In the face of this reality Civilians in East Asia put forward its Declaration which contains the following demands:
1. We demand a peaceful environment which is based upon mutual respect, confidence and cooperation among East Asian peoples by making continuing efforts to promote mutual understanding amongst each other and to share an understanding of our common history;
2. We insist that the Abe government should recognize and sincerely apologize for Japan's aggressive wars and colonial rule against its neighbours in the Asia-Pacific region, and compensate fully all the victims and their surviving family members;
3. We will make extraordinary efforts to build a genuinely peaceful environment and establish a common regional security structure in the East Asia region by first replacing the fragile Armistice Agreement on the Korean War with a Peace Treaty, and then by removing U.S. military bases from Japan and South Korea which are the ultimate causes of constant military tensions in the region;
4. We demand the normalization of diplomatic relations between Japan and DPRK by the former atoning for the past to the latter, solely based upon the Pyongyang Declaration and the recent agreement concluded in Stockholm late last year;
5. On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of concluding the Treaty on Basic Relations between Japan and the Republic of Korea, we require a review of the relationship between the two nations and to resolve the past's heinous crimes such as the Japanese military's "comfort women" which was one of Japan's serious war crimes, crimes against humanity, and infringement of human rights;
6. We encourage north and south Korea, the only divided nation left in the world, to resume dialogue for the realization of the independent peaceful reunification of the Korean peninsula which should be solely based upon the June 15 Joint Declaration and the October 4 Declaration concluded by the leaders of both sides;
7. We will make every effort for the implementation of true peace and security in the region by working hand in hand with all the peoples based upon mutual respect, confidence and cooperation.
Another broad-based organization, the Association for Civil Solidarity has also been carrying out various activities for one year in preparation for the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. The organization aims to "build cooperation with organizations for peace and human rights in Japan and other countries especially in East Asia. Since its founding, it has carried on a campaign for building a peaceful environment in East Asia by demanding the Japanese government apologize and compensate victims for its past aggression and colonial rule, making efforts for deepening mutual understanding among civilians in the region and for the normalization of Japan-DPRK relations, and promoting the independent peaceful reunification of Korea."
A major conference is being convened in Tokyo on August 22 at which panelists from Japan, Russia, DPRK, south Korea, China and the U.S. will elaborate ways and means of strengthening regional peace and stability in East Asia.
1. The Pyongyang Declaration of 2002 was signed by Japan and the DPRK to help normalize relations between the two countries which included Japan's apology for the crimes committed against the Korean people during the Second World War and the DPRK's cooperation to locate and repatriate a small number of Japanese citizens who were "abducted" and taken to the DPRK at the height of tensions between the two countries. The Stockholm Declaration of 2014 was a follow-up to the Pyongyang Declaration and expressed the interest of both countries to build and further develop relations on a peaceful basis.
(Quotations edited slightly for grammar by TML.)
The anti-war movement in Japan is bringing together many threads in the struggle against militarism and the continuing U.S. armed occupation of the country. The strongest upsurge is in the southwest in Okinawa where the people are waging a determined struggle to oust the U.S. military from their islands. Daily demonstrations are taking place on land and sea to prevent the construction of a new U.S. military base in Henoko.
Every poll shows over 80 per cent of the residents of Okinawa want the U.S. military to vacate the Futenma marine base in Ginowan immediately and stop the construction of any new bases. Anti-war public opinion is coalescing around the demand that all U.S. troops must leave Japan, as their presence prevents the country from developing friendly peaceful relations with its neighbours. The call is rising for the annulment of the U.S./Japan military alliance. The Japanese are searching for a new direction out of the 70 year-old U.S. military occupation, the constant war games and threats against China and the DPRK, and U.S. interference in the political affairs of all countries.
Despite the decades-old U.S. political and cultural aggression within Japan, a popular sentiment is emerging that U.S. imperialism represents the main danger for war in the world and blocks any movement towards independent pro-social anti-war governments. In Okinawa, the anti-war sentiment has penetrated all sectors of society, including elected officials and the mass media, and this is beginning to have an effect throughout Japan, giving the anti-war political movement direction and strength. The burgeoning anti-war movement has alarmed the militarists and warmongers in Tokyo led by Prime Minister Abe and the two ruling parties, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and Komeito. To push their pro-war militarist policies and deprive the people of their rights, the warmongers have launched a frontal fascist attack against the people of Okinawa, their political leaders and media, and others in the opposition throughout Japan.
At a June 25 meeting at the headquarters of the ruling LDP, Abe government members and leading spokespeople called for punitive action against any mass media that criticize the militarist legislation the Abe government submitted to the Diet (Parliament) in May or advocate the removal of U.S. bases from Japan. A political confidant of the Abe government, Hyakuta Naoki, along with other Abe legislators at the LDP meeting are reported to have suggested the time has come to suppress free speech and spoke of punishing the two main newspapers in Okinawa for opposing the building of a new U.S. military base and Abe's pro-war legislation. Naoki, a former government-appointed governor of the national public broadcaster NHK, who has in his own words, led the charge to "clean the news of anti-government reports," went so far as to say, "The two newspapers in Okinawa should be shut down." The LDP meeting discussed ways to "crush" the two local Okinawa newspapers, blaming them for leading the campaign against the Abe/U.S. agenda for war and expansion of U.S. bases in Japan, exchanging ideas on how to use their influence in the Japan Business Federation (Keidanren) and directly with companies to stop them from buying advertisements.
An LDP government member reportedly advocated punishing all news media that are critical of the Abe militarist agenda saying, "A way to punish the mass media is to cut their income from advertisements. I want intellectuals to ask the Federation of Economic Organizations (Keidanren) to help financially pressure the media."
Since the meeting, Naoki has continued to call for the suppression of free speech and the right to conscience. He is encouraging reprisals against any mass media critical of the pro-war legislation now before the Diet. He is calling for a campaign to "crush" not only the two local Okinawa dailies but also the national newspapers Asahi and Mainichi, and the local paper Tokyo Shimbun for taking positions against the Abe government agenda.
The Okinawa Times and the Ryukyu Shimpo, on June 26 jointly issued a statement denouncing the attacks on their right to speak openly on political affairs, including the right to criticize the government agenda. They write that the reported remarks at the government meeting show intolerance towards media criticizing the militarist agenda, which amounts to advocating the suppression of free speech. They state that the news media should be critical of any abuse of power. To believe that news companies should only report news in line with government positions and that all those doing otherwise should be eliminated is extremely dangerous, they write. The Okinawa Times and the Ryukyu Shimpo declare they will keep fighting against any attempt to suppress freedom of speech and expression.
The Japan Federation of Newspaper Workers' Unions
(Shimbun Roren) and
Japan Federation of Commercial Broadcast Workers' Unions (Minpo Roren)
also released protest statements condemning the ruling party's call to
free speech and escalate government control over and interference in
media. They see the calls to punish the two newspapers as a threat to
who oppose the militarist pro-war legislation the Abe government is
through the Diet.
The Japan Newspaper Publishers & Editors Association representing 130 newspaper companies across the country and the Japan Commercial Broadcasters Association also issued protests against the LDP.
In their joint statement, the two Okinawa newspapers state that the mass media acquiescing to militarist Japan prior to and during WWII was a grave mistake. They write, "Okinawa's newspapers cooperated with the government's policy to wage war before and during the war. After the war, Okinawa's newspapers started their own business, regretting that they had committed the error of supporting the government's war policy. Many media people do not want reporting to once again support the lead-up to war.
"It is a matter of course for media outlets to publish critical reports on the government because journalism has a watchdog role, which means monitoring the political power. A society that secures the right to critical reports of those in power is a sound one. It is simplistic and dangerous to think that media should be shut down because they are critical of the government. We think it is a dangerous threat not only to the two newspapers of Okinawa, but to the mass-media outlets in the country.
"The Ryukyu Shimpo and the Okinawa Times will resolutely oppose attempts to attack the freedom of expression and freedom of speech."
(With files from Asahi Shimbun, Mainichi Shimbun, Tokyo Shimbun, Okinawa Times, Ryukyu Shimpo. Photos: M. Nakamura, Xinhua, Japan Press Weekly)
At a memorial service at the Peace Memorial Park in Okinawa's Itoman City on June 23 for those who died in the 1945 Battle of Okinawa attended by Japan's Prime Minister Abe Shinzo and U.S. Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy, Okinawa Governor Onaga Takeshi demanded that Japan and the U.S. drop their plan to construct a new U.S. base in the Henoko coastal district.
Governor Onaga stated in his speech that Okinawans cannot accept the plan to relocate the U.S. Marine Corps Futenma Air Station to Henoko under the pretext of eliminating various risks associated with the station. "The central government should make a decision to stop the construction work without being held back by fixed ideas," he stressed.
Speaking of the premise of the Peace Memorial Park, Onaga recalled that the many memorial stones are referred to as "The Cornerstone of Peace" and list the names of those killed in the bloodiest battle in Okinawa in the spring of 1945. Along with 87 people added this year, the number of inscribed names now totals 241,336.
Okinawans do not want to be a factor for another war and that is one reason they oppose the continuing U.S. military presence on their islands and the militarist legislation of the Abe government. When Abe rose to speak many in the audience could not contain their anger and shouted, "Go home! Warmonger! How dare you come here?"
People were acutely aware that on the previous day, the Abe government used its power to extend the current Diet (parliament) session for 95 days to force through the deeply unpopular militarist legislation to legalize Japanese troops fighting U.S.-led wars abroad, the export of Japanese war material and the suppression of anti-war speech and activities. Analysts have noted that Abe's determination to pass the militarist legislation, despite an overwhelming popular will opposing it, may be connected with Abe's speech in the U.S. Congress in April. Before the U.S. imperialist ruling elite in Washington, Abe pledged to enact militarist war legislation by this summer to enable Japan's armed forces to participate directly in U.S.-led wars and to export sophisticated weaponry to countries within the U.S.-led imperialist system of states. The members of the U.S. Congress greeted his promise with wild applause and cheers of congratulations.
However, the militarist legislation has not gone smoothly, encountering problems even amongst the Japanese ruling elite. In the Diet on June 22, former Director-General of the Cabinet Legislation Bureau Miyazaki Reiichi pointed out that allowing the country's military to participate in foreign wars under the banner of collective self-defense within the U.S./Japan military alliance violates the existing Constitution. "The government should retract the bills immediately," he said.
The Abe government is now suggesting that the Constitution not the legislation will be adjusted, or at least its interpretation, so that any militarist legislation that is illegal today will become legal in the future. Abe's Defense Minister Nakatani Gen went so far as to say that the government has drafted the militarist bills considering "how to adjust the present Constitution to fit in with this legislation" and not the other way around. This remark sparked widespread public criticism.
Prime Minister Abe insists that ordering Japan's armed forces to go abroad to fight U.S.-led wars is a matter of principle saying, "Sticking to the past governments' view regarding the use of the right to collective self-defense as unconstitutional would amount to neglecting my duty as head of state."
(With files from Japan Press Weekly)
Opposition to the militarist legislation introduced by Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government is widespread throughout the country. The latest opinion poll conducted by Kyodo News shows that 63.1 per cent of respondents oppose enactment of the war-related bills during the current Diet (Parliament) session and 84 per cent are dissatisfied with the government's accounts of the militarist legislation.
Since the Abe administration submitted the war bills to the Diet in May, in 30 out of 47 prefectures in Japan, 116 assemblies at prefectural and municipal levels have adopted statements opposing the bills. Sixty-seven of the statements either clearly express opposition to the militarist bills or demand that they be scrapped.
People's voices opposing the Abe government's war legislation are becoming louder day by day. From June 13 to 15, various protest actions took place across the country.
In Kyoto, approximately 2,300 people attended a rally on June 13 to protest the militarist legislation. On the same day, 16,000 people rallied at a seaside park in Tokyo's Koto Ward, under the slogan "Stop the out-of-control Abe government!" National Confederation of Trade Unions (Zenroren) President Odagawa Yoshikazu, who delivered a speech on behalf of the organizing committee, said, "Our campaign is driving the Abe government into a corner. Let's further increase our concerted efforts to stop Abe's runaway policies." Also at the rally, Nakamura Mamoru, leader of an anti-war organization in Okinawa, condemned both Japan and the U.S. for trying to construct a new U.S. military base in Okinawa, which will be operational until the 23rd century. "Through nationwide struggles, let's topple the Abe Cabinet which is rushing the nation toward war," he said.
On June 14, about 4,000 citizens in Nagoya City joined an anti-war gathering called by the Aichi Bar Association, and in Tokyo's Shibuya Ward, 3,500 young people organized in anti-war groups across the city paraded through the shopping area calling on people to oppose militarism and the war legislation. Participating high school students said they "want to show Prime Minister Abe how many youth are angry at his war-promoting policies." On that same day in Tokyo around 25,000 people holding placards that read "No to war legislation" completely surrounded the National Diet Building.
On the following day, Zenroren, anti-war groups and civic organizations opposed to the government's war bills, launched a sit-in protest in front of the Diet Building. Around noon, the sidewalks around the Diet members' office buildings were filled with some 600 protesters. They say they will stage daily sit-in protests in front of the parliament building until the militarist legislation is withdrawn.
On June 24, two days after the Abe government forcibly extended the current Diet session in an attempt to destroy anti-war public opinion, 30,000 people surrounded the Diet Building voicing their opposition to the war legislation. Their anti-war slogans echoed through its chambers. Demonstrators shouted, "Scrap the war bills! The Abe Cabinet should resign immediately!" and other slogans expressing their desire for an anti-war government.
(With files and photo from Japan Press Weekly)
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