I'll speak briefly about how we see the risks of publishing a list in any sort of human rights report. Witnesses before me have outlined significant concerns that the government sees in publishing any sort of list of names, or even the circumstances of potential conditions of detention and the circumstances of that detention. I'll briefly outline some of those again.
The first, of course, is that the government has the responsibility and the obligation to do no harm. In supporting human rights defenders, what we would call in this case “prisoners of conscience” or any other person whose case we are engaging on or particular pieces we are doing advocacy for, Canada's approach is to do no harm and to make sure there is informed consent. The safety and privacy of these folks is paramount.
If the government is required to publish a list that sets out the names and circumstances of human rights defenders detained worldwide or other people who might be detained in contravention of their human rights standards, it is not guaranteed in any way that these values will be respected. In addition to that, when we think about the personal safety of those who are detained, it's not just the personal safety of the potential prisoner who is detained; we have to also think about doing no harm to their family, their community and others who are working on these same issues, as well as potential consular issues and any Canadians who may be travelling in that area.
We also want to think through the risk that a publicized list that sets out the names and circumstances of human rights defenders potentially endangers their safety and, in the most serious cases, their lives, so we would be very cautious about proceeding with any sort of publicized list.
I think your second question was about the importance of the discretion—that the government have a level of discretion or some sort of assessment of that personal safety. Again, here I would say that there are legitimate reasons not to include certain cases on a list. Even if names are not included, there may be certain identifiable circumstances whereby that person could be identified while detained, and that person therefore may be in a position of facing reprisal by their detaining authority or by the detaining institution. There are also potentially reprisals for their families, their communities, their loved ones and Canadian consular cases, as I mentioned.
It undermines our ability to make sure we are doing no harm and pulling in informed consent from all of those folks. Government discretion and an assessment of the personal safety of all involved in these cases would be vital for us to have in this amendment.
I think I've answered all of them, so I'll leave it there. If there's anything else to be clarified, I'm happy to do so.