A Note On Safety and Rights in International Perspective

I once had a three hour conversation with a friend from Chad, Africa and another from Nigeria. We talled about their upbringings and the cultural differences they have observed between their countries and Canada. The very real risk of being killed at any moment in their countries made me feel incredibly grateful to be living in a country as peaceful, democratic, and comparatively safe as Canada.

Daniel told me about how Nigeria is ruled by vigilante groups who overpower the police and how, for instance, if a person is accused of stealing and the exact stolen object found in their possession by vigilantes, they would be killed on the spot in the street. Anyone even strongly suspected of being a homosexual in Nigeria would also tend to be publicly killed by the mob.

In Ahmed’s particular ethic group in Chad, if two people were found to be dating by the parents of the female, her brothers can be sent to kill the guy who she was secretly dating. No punitive action would be taken against the brothers for the murder they perpetrated.

What a contrast with my native Canada, where people are free to date and express their homosexual identity without fear of being killed by their fellow citizens.  I pray that one day all nations will know the freedoms and legal and political guarantees of human rights that we Canadians have had the privilege to enjoy.

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