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DFAIT consultation re: Human Rights

Annual opportunity for NGOs to question/critique Foreign Affairs bureaucrats 
on International Human Rights issues

On February 19 and 20, the Department of Foreign Affairs and
International Trade (DFAIT) is holding its annual consultations with NGOs
regarding human rights issues.  This is done ostensively to help the
government to prepare for the UN Commission on HUman Rights to be held in
Geneva March 16 to April 24.

Anyone can attend the consultations which are held in Ottawa at 125 Sussex
Dr., (LB Pearson Bldg) ! just call 613-992-2022 and tell them your going
to attend.
More than 100 human rights representatives attend.  On the first day there are
different sessions dealing with regions or countries.  Bureacrats are
present to give the government line on Canada's view of human rights in
particular countries.  NGO reps. can ask questions or critique the

For the past three years I have attended and found that this a very useful
opportnity to expose facts about Canada's sales of military equipment to
repressive regimes, military dictatorships and generally nasty neo-fascist
governments.  The bureaucrats generally squirm a bit, try to get me to
talk to them afterwards and when that doesn't work they obfuscate and
produce a cloud of babble to deflect criticism. Last year they started
included bureaucrats who are responsible for military exports in their
panels of bureaucrats.  

Lloyd Axworthy will probably give a profound speech about Land mines.  He
won't mention the fact that Canada is exporting every other kind of military
hardware to most of the worst violators of human rights in the world.  

The second day deals with different thematic issues.

This is a very interesting forum and provides a unique opportunity to
confront those responsible for Canada's human rights policies.  Perhaps
more importantly, this opportunity to speak truth to power takes places in
the presence of representatives of dozens of human rights and development
organizations.  It's a good place to make contacts.

More people should attend.  If there's anyone who's interested in helping
me to raise the issues of Canada's military exports to human rights
violators, please contact me and we can strategise.  

Richard Sanders, Coordinator, Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade (COAT)
COAT, 489 Metcalfe St., Ottawa, Ontario, Canada  K1S 3N7
Tel: (613) 231-3076     Fax (613) 231-2614   
WWW: http://www.ncf.carleton.ca/coat    Email: ad207@freenet.carleton.ca
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