While one is reminded of the horrible memories of Hitler’s Nazi Germany’s Holocaust policies toward the Jews during the second world war when one reads about the cultural genocide in Canada.
Canada’s assimilation laws’ implementation has seen no Nuremberg Trials or repercussions from other nations to bring in a case for the disappearances of many Indigenous tribes and the destruction of their culture and lifestyle. (Know more read Part-I here)
The Genocide Convention and Canada
Ironically, Canada is a signatory to the “Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, 1948.” Which states in Article 2 that genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
(a) Killing members of the group
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
Role of Canada & the Rome Statute
Canada was the 14th country to sign the Rome Statute in 1988. On June 29 2000, Canada enacted the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act, becoming the first country to adopt comprehensive legislation implementing the Rome Statute. Similarly, on July 7, 2000, Canada ratified the Rome Statute.
The Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act officially criminalize genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes based on customary and conventional international law, including the Rome Statute.
In addition, defining these crimes in Canadian law allows Canada to take advantage of the complementarity provisions under the Rome Statute.
Thus, Canada enjoys the jurisdiction under the “The Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes” Act which incorporates several grounds of jurisdiction:
i)Active nationality and territorial jurisdiction ensures Canada holds jurisdiction over crimes committed on Canadian territory and by Canadians anywhere in the world.
ii)Passive nationality jurisdiction, which gives Canada jurisdiction over crimes committed against Canadian nationals.
iii) Universal jurisdiction allows Canada to prosecute any individual present in Canada for crimes listed in the act regardless of that individual’s nationality or where the crimes were committed.
Insights into the Investigation
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was appointed to look into the matter, present even graver details.
It is known that thousands of the Indigenous children sent to these schools never made it back home. So much so that the death rate for children at residential schools was nearly five times higher than that of other Canadian school children.
Despite being armed with all the laws, regulations and international obligations, there have been no efforts made by the Canadian government to address these wrongs.
Even the international community stays tight-lipped to comment on this issue, highlighting that politics and influence will be trampling human rights and violence.
What would have happened if this was the case for some less influential African, Central American, or Asian countries? The answer is obvious, the International community would have created a commotion, imposing sanctions, criticizing them globally and even sending their own commissions for investigation.
The brutality of European colonialism and their assimilation policies reveals the farce that they try to impose on other nations, condemning them and the violations taking place in those regimes, smoothly covering up their past.
These nations, people, communities who suffered definitely owe an apology from their colonizers. Instead, further discrimination, racial abuse and hatred are all that’s reserved for them.
Despite advancements made by these nations, races and communities, they are still looked down on and frowned upon by the superpowers, be its Asians, Hispanics or Africans.
By Yash Arya.