Activists file complaints - Metro US

Activists file complaints

Members of several social activist groups have filed two human rights complaints against VANOC and the government, claiming they’re violating the rights of citizens leading up to the Olympics.

The complaints were filed with the United Nations Commission For Human Rights by the Impact On Communities Coalition.

The first letter claims Olympic organizers and the city are violating peoples’ rights to free speech by restricting access to public spaces during the Games, said David Eby, executive director of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association.

“In August of 2008, John Furlong promised that protests would be allowed (during) the Olympics,” said Eby.

“We now have bylaws being passed that restrict the ability of people to hold signs in an area of more than 40 city blocks,” he said, adding that protest signs will be banned.

The second complaint alleges loopholes in the tenancy legislation will make renters vulnerable to “renovictions” as landlords look to capitalize on high demand for apartments leading up to the Games.

Stefanie Ratjen, a board member with the coalition, said there’s a lack of adequate governmental mechanisms to resolve the issues of restricted civil liberties and tenant rights in the onset of the 2010 Games.

“These governing bodies have placed Vancouver citizens and tenants at a greater risk in the lead-up to the 2010 Games,” Ratjen said.

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