By Cindy Cen, Grade 10
If you did not know the lyrics to “O Canada” in English, no one would really mind in ordinary circumstances, aside from being awed by your poor memory. The most they would do is perhaps to joke a little about your seemingly unpatriotic behaviour or something along those lines. However, what if you were to be imprisoned or even tortured for forgetting just one word of the national anthem?
North Korea has been labelled consistently as one of the worse human rights offenders in the world. (And when I say “human rights,” I am referring to the rights that we take for granted because we have gotten used to having them in our lives.) If you were living in North Korea, you would have no liberty. You would have no freedom of speech, and you wouldn’t be able to do what you want. The government, or you’re your neighbours, would be watching your every move to see if you were following the rules set down by “Dear Leader” Kim Jong-il (or King Jong-un, now that he has succeeded his late father as the supreme leader of North Korea). (more…)
By Winnie Liang, Grade 12
That Albert Einstein — brilliant scientist, social activist, and humanitarian — was a refugee is a well-known fact. Aside from him, however, an incalculable number of people have fled their homelands in the face of rampant human rights violations and armed conflicts. A couple notable examples are British playwright Tom Stoppard, who fled from the imminent Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia as a child refugee, and Somali Canadian musician and activist K’naan, who left his home country to escape from the raging civil war.
Likewise, hundreds of thousands of North Koreans have fled to neighbouring China for survival. Whether the number of defectors is 30,000-50,000 (as estimated by the State Department) or 300,000 (as estimated by some non-governmental organizations), they are all refugees as defined by the U.N. Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. Unfortunately, unlike the very few lucky individuals who have successfully gained asylum, most of them must live underground to avoid being captured by Chinese authorities. Anyone who has ever so unfortunately been caught is to be repatriated to North Korea, where they may face imprisonment, torture, and even execution. The Chinese government’s action is a clear violation of international law.
By: Emily Chan, Grade 11
To Whom It May Concern,
I’m writing this letter on behalf of environmentalists across the world. If you’re unaware, there will a world meeting taking place from December 11th – December 18th of this year. It’s taking place in Copenhagen, Denmark, and is meant to create a replacement for the 2005 Kyoto Protocol.
This protocol was an international agreement to lower the amount of global production of greenhouse. In 2005, there were 187 states that agreed to follow a list of guidelines to reduce their carbon footprint. There were three mechanisms to the protocol.
The first was the Carbon Market. Its idea was to only allow each country to produce a certain amount of carbon. They were given “carbon credits,” which allowed each nation to produce a certain amount of greenhouse gasses. Otherwise, they would be destructing the environment because of the emissions. However, the wealthier countries were allowed to buy these carbon credits from the poorer countries, therefore enabling these richer countries to continue unreasonable carbon production.
The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) was the second mechanism to be deployed. It allowed countries pledged to Kyoto to implement projects to minimize the gas produced. Some alternative-energy initiatives include solar panels or energy-efficient boilers.
By: Cassandra Ly, Grade 11
When was the last time it was known to everyone that protesting, a simple display of civil disobedience, has transformed into something disastrous and even deadly? Recently, there have been many of these so-called “peaceful” protests occurring in China. This is in regard to many issues including employment, safety, and security demands in different aspects of the Chinese society. These dangerous protests have occurred in the city of Urumqi, Xinjiang; starting off as a crowd of citizens demanding change to the public health system to having paramilitary policemen being brought in.
So, what is the reason for this hysteria? In early September, many incidents of syringe stabbings were reported in the city of Urumqi. Approximately 600 citizens became victims of these arbitrary stabbings, and fortunately only 100 cases “showed any sign of injury.” Innocent people have been targeted on crowded buses and other well-populated areas in the city. Due to the dangers of these “hypodermic syringe needles”, many parents have been very concerned about the safety of their children at school, especially since the H1N1 flu and many other diseases are infecting more and more people.