Canada and the US: Global Laggards?

So, the chastisers become the chastisees.

In an odd coincidence of timing, the US and Canada both came in for significant critique from senior UN actors on separate issues today. The US was on the business end of a statement statement from experts at the UN Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights regarding the grand jury acquittals in the police killings of Eric Garner and Michael Brown. Meanwhile, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon called out Canada for its particularly poor performance on climate change in an interview with CBC’s Peter Mansbridge released today. Neither is a sight one would not have expected even a decade ago, but both incidents suggest that the two countries have, in their own way, fallen far behind on on issues of global significance, and are hearing about it from the key representatives of the international community.
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Op-ed: Never again? Rwanda & the CAR

From my comment on the situation in the Central African Republic, and the relative lack of response from the Canadian government:

Mark Twain supposedly remarked that history doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.

The world today is getting ready for another one of its biennial Olympic parties. Even before the games begin, we have been drawn in by the spectacle. Other events vie for our attention as well — from the misadventures of Rob Ford to Justin Bieber.

Meanwhile, the United Nations is sounding the alarm over the desperate situation in the Central Africa Republic (C.A.R.). John Ging, a senior U.N. official, recently argued that, “the elements are there, the seeds are there, for a genocide.” The normally circumspect U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon stated bluntly that, “the C.A.R. is in free fall,” facing a “crisis of epic proportions.” More than a million have reportedly fled their homes in a country of an estimated 4.5 million.

Click here to read the piece.

photo credit: UNHCR Photo Download via photopin cc