A report from the Justice & Corporate Accountability Project uses access-to-information records to piece together how embassy and trade commission officials responded when Jennifer Moore of MiningWatch Canada was detained by Peruvian police in April 2017.
By Kevin Philipupillai, The Hill Times
A recent report says the Canadian government failed to follow its own policies when called upon to support a Canadian activist who was detained by Peruvian police and declared a threat to national security because of her work with local communities affected by a Canadian-owned copper mine.
On Dec. 10, the Justice & Corporate Accountability Project (JCAP), a legal clinic affiliated with Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto and the faculty of law at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, B.C., released a report called The Two Faces of Canadian Diplomacy. It used access-to-information records to piece together how Canadian embassy and trade commission officials responded when Jennifer Moore of MiningWatch Canada was detained by Peruvian police in April 2017, and when she subsequently challenged her treatment through the Peruvian court system.
Charis Kamphuis, a co-author of the report and a law professor at Thompson Rivers University, told The Hill Times this is the first study of the Canadian government’s adherence to its Voices at Risk guidelines, which were introduced in 2016 by then-international trade minister Chrystia Freeland (University-Rosedale, Ont.). The policy provides detailed guidance for Canada’s diplomatic missions on how to support human rights defenders around the world.
“We see many Canadian officials abjectly ignoring a prominent policy that clearly applies to the situation,” said Kamphuis. “In a way, it’s not an interesting story because it’s very clear cut. It’s very obvious that what [Moore] was doing was 100 per cent legitimate. It was supported by local organizations, it was totally legal, she was exercising her free expression rights, she had meaningful relationships with the community, she had been there multiple times.”
“And yet Canada did absolutely nothing to support her. Rather, they did everything to ignore her. They had 90 organizations write to them. They had multiple UN bodies ask them questions. And they tried their very best to do nothing.”
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