Government must take “concrete steps” to address human rights concerns inside CSIS: National Council of Canadian Muslims

THE National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM), a civil liberties and advocacy organization, says a recent report about discriminatory behaviour inside the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) underscores why the government must take concrete steps to restore public trust in Canada’s national intelligence service.
Earlier this year several CSIS employees, including three Muslim employees, launched a lawsuit alleging discrimination, racism and Islamophobia within the Service.

On October 25, the Director of CSIS publicly released the executive summary of an independent report into the CSIS Toronto Region Office that confirmed the existence of problematic behaviour in the Service.  Some of those findings include:

  • An “old boys culture” that includes yelling, swearing, disrespectful, demeaning, misogynistic, offensive and “inappropriate” comments and jokes.
  • Many employees do not trust CSIS management as well as the Service’s decision making processes, noting that management inaction in the face of clearly inappropriate behavior is left unchecked.
  • Discriminatory comments are still being made about the ethnicity and the communities being monitored by CSIS, as well as bias towards women and a lack of consideration towards cultural differences.

“We urge Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale to investigate the findings of this report and take concrete steps to rectify the serious problems identified and hold accountable those responsible for these failings.  Canadians need the reassurance that their national intelligence agency can carry out its mandate free of discrimination, racism and Islamophobia,” says NCCM Executive Director Ihsaan Gardee.

“This becomes all the more important given the recent debate about the intrusive security powers provided to CSIS.  It is therefore critical that the government implements the recommendations of the Canadian Human Rights Commission to bring accountability for respecting human rights within CSIS policies and operations,” adds Gardee.

The NCCM is an independent, non-partisan and non-profit advocacy organization that is a leading voice for Muslim civic engagement and the promotion of human rights.
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