Civil-liberties group sounds alarm on racial profiling – Report details how people are treated under new security measures at borders
Ottawa — A civil liberties coalition says racial and religious profiling has become a fact of life at the Canada-U.S. border.
In a report released Wednesday, the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group calls on parliamentarians to look at the way people are treated at border points and airports, saying the practices are unconstitutional.
“The government must acknowledge this reality and Parliament should engage in a review of these practices to reaffirm that they are inappropriate under the Charter of Rights.”
The Ottawa-based group also urges creation of an outside watchdog to monitor the Canada Border Services Agency.
The organization teamed up with other rights and labour groups to release the report, based in part on personal stories of people who say they’ve been unduly hassled at the border. The evidence was collected by researchers over two years.
It says many travellers with common names such as Smith, Martin and Khan have been victimized by no-fly rosters and other watchlists. But members of the Muslim and Arab communities have borne much of the brunt of the security measures.
“Every time I enter the airports or get ready to travel, I do so with the caution of a criminal who is careful not to get caught,” said one Muslim man from Western Canada. “The only difference is, I’m not a criminal.”
He recounted how he has been frequently searched and questioned about his religion, his travel and his life upon his return to Canada.
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