By F.A.C. . . . Last week, the Canadian Supreme Court ruled that mandatory sex offender registration and lifetime sex offender registration were unconstitutional. Basically, removing a judge’s discretion to determine whether someone warrants this label and all the restrictions that come with it, or mandating that someone be on it for life, violates Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Although this decision has no bearing on us here in the US, it’s certainly interesting to see how other countries treat those in this situation.
I’ve always considered Canada to be the country most similar to the United States. We even share the same baseball, basketball and hockey leagues. Drop someone in the center of downtown Toronto and they would likely say, “Wow, someone really cleaned up New York!” The racial and ethnic representation, the language, the clothing, the stores and restaurants, etc. are the same, but what’s radically different about our populations is the civility. It’s the level of courtesy, politeness and respect that people have towards each other that seems so strange to Americans. You always hear the stereotype that Canadians are “so polite,” but aren’t we supposed to be polite? Aren’t we supposed to be kind to strangers and help someone in need? Isn’t there this basic principal underlying most religions that says, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”? If that’s the case, why is it so remarkable that Canadians act as a civilized society is supposed to act? Could it be that by contrast others do not and that’s what makes it unusual?
Many of the world’s civilized countries got together in the 40’s and created the United Nations. The UN is an intergovernmental organization to foster “peace, dignity and equality on a healthy planet.” It was the World War II era, and there was anything but peace, dignity and equality in many parts of the world. There was war, indignity, oppression, discrimination, and injustice. So a number of countries, including the United States, signed this global charter agreeing, “. . . to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, and to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom.” The UN’s role is to combine these nations’ efforts and resources to accomplish these aims.
In the eight decades since the UN was established, some of its member countries have fallen off the wagon a bit. When it comes to the sex offender registry, I’m saddened to say that the United States is the worst when it comes to violations of fundamental human rights and ignoring the dignity and worth of the human person. The registry denies us human rights and strips us of all dignity and worth. In 2014, the UN issued a blistering report, calling out the US on numerous human rights violations. Although it didn’t address the registry, it addressed a lot of the collateral consequences that have become characteristic of sex offender registration, including the criminalization of homelessness, loss of voting rights, and inhumane punishments. Although it didn’t address civil commitment, it admonished non-consensual psychiatric treatment, which is exactly what civil commitment is.
After reading the news about Canada, we wondered what would happen if several registrants showed up at the Canadian Embassy seeking asylum. After all, Canada has determined that the punishments imposed here are unconstitutional under their laws. If anyone cares to test that idea, we would be very interested to know how it works out. But in case you’re not looking to pack up your stuff just yet, there is a way you can seek help from the international community in holding the US and your state accountable for the heinous human rights violations taking place over here.
The Florida Action Committee has initiated a petition to The High Commissioner for Human Rights at the Office of the United Nations. The purpose of the Petition is to Declare Public Sex Offender Registration in the United States a Violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). A link to the petition can be found here.
You do not need to reside in Florida or even the United States to sign this petition. This is a global crisis, and the UN is a global organization. Please take a moment to sign our petition and share it with as many people as you can! Please add your voice to this important petition and lets end this human rights tragedy once and for all.
First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
With Unity Comes Change!
The Florida Action Committee