Joint Statement from the Rights of Non-status Women Network (RNSWN) and the International Human Rights Program (IHRP) at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law
We stand in solidarity with the family of George Floyd, murdered by the police in Minneapolis.
Racism and police brutality must be eradicated everywhere, and Canada is not immune.
JUNE 2, 2020
Law enforcement’s disregard for human rights and human life is blatant and part of a long legacy of colonial and racialized violence at the hands of police across Turtle Island (North America). White Supremacy and Anti-Black racism claimed another victim on May 25, 2020, when George Floyd was murdered by police in Minneapolis in cold blood while begging for air. We stand united with all those who are battling racism and resisting police oppression in all its forms across Turtle Island and around the Globe. Justice must be done. The process for accountability needs to be transparent.
The government response to police violence and community uprisings so far has been cowardly, governed by principles of white privilege and concern for property over Black lives, further fueling public anger, state violence, and perpetuating prejudice and hatred. Charges for officer Derek Chauvin arrested for the death of George Floyd must be upgraded. All other officers responsible must be arrested and charged swiftly given their complicity. The police and those giving them orders must stop the violence and retreat. They must stop protecting and reinforcing racism.
Despite constitutional protection, Canada is also not immune from this abhorrent culture of racist police violence and impunity, stemming from a history of enslavement, and engrained and perpetuated colonialism. Just last week, in the High Park area of Toronto, a mother lost a daughter when Regis Korchiniski-Paquet fell to her death from a balcony, following a suspicious police intervention. The family rightly believes that had police not intervened, Regis would still be alive. Between 2000 and 2017, 699 police officers were involved in fatal interactions with the public. The vast majority of officers faced no charges. 49 incidents are still under investigation, and only 11 resulted in the laying of manslaughter charges according to data provided by the CBC. Out of the 460 fatal incidents, only three murder charges were laid against police officers, and all were second-degree.
In Canada, victims of police killing, violence and harassment are primarily Black, Indigenous and other racialized people. This violence is intentional and systemic. Paramilitary actions and surveillance that terrorize such communities must cease. Some racialized persons might also have no immigration status and end up killed or detained for prolonged periods in jails without having committed any criminal acts. When mental health struggles are present, the individual becomes even more vulnerable.
We at the Rights of Non-Status Women Network and the International Human Rights Program demand transparency and accountability in all cases of injury or death involving police. Specifically, we insist that all officers involved in the killing of George Floyd must be arrested and charged; that the death of Regis Korchiniski-Paquet be adequately and transparently investigated; that police stop repressing protesters standing in solidarity against racist practices; that police stop arresting reporters who are covering the protests; and that proper and substantial funding be allocated to fight racism and provide real, equal opportunity to Black, Indigenous and other racialized groups. We also remain committed to addressing our own complicity in reproducing systemic and interpersonal forms of racism and will continue to hold ourselves and each other accountable for transforming racial inequality at all levels.
We extend our most heartfelt sympathy to the families of Regis Korchiniski-Paquet, George Floyd, Ahmaud Abrey, D’Andre Campbell, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade and to too many others that have lost their lives due to police brutality, and for the unjustified and intolerable pain they were made to suffer.
Contact: rightsofnonstatuswomen @ gmail.com
Contact: ihrp.law @ utoronto.ca
Endorsed by Rights of Non-Status Women Network members:
Assaulted Women’s and Children’s Counsellor/Advocate Program, George Brown College (AWCCA)
Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic
Collaborative Network to End Exploitation (CNEE)
FCJ Refugee Centre
Jane Finch Action Against Poverty (JFFAP)
Newcomer Students’ Association of Ryerson (NSAR)
Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI)
South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario (SALCO)
The Sanctuary Students Solidarity & Support Collective
- Statement from Black Health Leaders:Anti-Black Racism is a Public Health Crisis
- OCASI: End Anti-Black Racism
- Jane Finch Action Against Poverty (JFAAP): Jane Finch Community Demands Justice in the Brutal Murder of George Floyd by Police in Minneapolis
- JFAAP demands justice for Regis Korchinski-Paquet
- JFAAP statement re: the police raid in our community
- Newcomer Students’ Association of Ryerson
- YWCA Toronto: Statement on Racial Justice
- Rights of Non-Status Women Network: Statement on Covid-19
- Template letter to call for action/ defund the police (shared via The Redwood)
- Opportunities for White People in the Fight for Racial Justice
- Policing Black Lives by Robyn Maynard
- White fragility by Robin DiAngelo
- The Skin We’re In by Desmond Cole
- Black Life: Post Black Lives Matter and the Struggle for Freedom by Rinaldo Walcott and Idil Abdillahi
- Until We Are Free: Reflections on Black Lives Matter in Canada edited by Rodney Diverlus, Sandy Hudson, and Syrus Marcus Ware
- Me and White Supremacy by Layla Saad
Articles and Other Readings:
- Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor
- 75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice
- Explaining White Privilege to a Broke White Person
- How White Parents Can Use Media to Raise Anti-Racist Kids
- In Conversation: Desmond Cole and Téa Mutonji
For additional resources you can check out this curated list here.
Places to Donate:
- Black Health Alliance
- In Memory of D’Andre Campbell
- George Floyd Memorial Fund
- Justice for Regis – Donation
- Black Lives Matter – Toronto
- Black Lives Matter – Vancouver
 R v Le, 2019 SCC 34 at paras 69-123 (Supreme Court of Canada).
 On May 29, 2020, the large community complex at Jane and Sheppard (2000 Sheppard Ave. West) was terrorized by a massive police raid involving the use of SWAT with battering rams, automatic weapons, sniper rifles and many police personnel. Hundreds of families with children in these apartments and townhomes were scared and traumatized. See statement by Jane Finch Action Against Poverty at https://jfaap.wordpress.com/2020/05/29/jfaap-statement-re-the-police-raid-in-our-community/.
 Canada (Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness) v. Chhina, 2019 SCC 29, available at https://decisions.scc-csc.ca/scc-csc/scc-csc/en/item/17759/index.do?q=Tusif+Ur+Rehman+Chhina; https://www.macleans.ca/opinion/migrants-are-dying-in-canadian-detention-centres-the-government-needs-to-act/.