Canada Palestine Association sent a letter last month to Christine Hanson,
CEO of the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission (NSHRC), enquiring about the reasons behind its rescinding “of the Human Rights Award presented to Rana Zaman”. To date, the NSHRC have chosen not to answer nor even acknowledge our letter.
We are left to conclude that the reason for their arbitrary and cruel action to rescind their award to Ms. Zaman was because of her principled position in defending Palestinian rights. It is worth noting that the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), the main pro-Israel lobby group, commended them on taking this decision.
If the commission thinks that they are fighting anti-Semitism by taking this position, then they are totally misguided. In fact, by conflating Israeli war crimes with the Jewish people, they are spreading anti-Semitism and helping the anti-Semites. We suggest they carefully read the rational position of Independent Jewish Voices Canada, demanding the reinstatement of the award.
We would like to point out to the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission that Human Rights is a universal concept that does not exclude any people. Only supremacists, racists, settler colonialists and their supporters refuse to recognize this fact.
The commission’s call to “all Nova Scotians to consider how they can help to promote human rights, inclusiveness and dignity in their communities” rings hollow.
Those who pretend to defend human rights but exclude Palestinian rights, are not genuine in promoting human rights. Palestinians demand and deserve the same rights as all other peoples; according them anything less only serves to enable the continuing war crimes and ethnic cleansing against the Palestinian people.
Following is our letter that was sent on Dec. 22, 2019, to the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission.
CEO of the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission
Dear Ms. Hanson:
We were baffled and shocked to hear that “The Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission has formally rescinded the Human Rights Award presented to Rana Zaman”.
You owe it to the Canadian public to clearly state what public statements you are referring to, and clarify how they are “directly contrary to the principles of the award.”
It is cruel and unfair to Ms. Zaman to rescind her award without consulting with her. Is it due to her criticism of Israel’s human rights abuses and war crimes? CIJA indicated in one of its tweets that this was the case.
We call on you to please explain your position clearly and in detail. You owe this to the Canadian Palestinian, Arab and Muslim communities and to the Canadian public, including all advocates of human rights. And above all, you owe this to Rana Zaman, whom you have now placed in an extremely precarious situation and exposed to social media backlash and bullying.
We will await your response before issuing a statement by year-end.
Thank you for your prompt attention.
Chairperson, Canada Palestine Association-Vancouver.