B.C. rights commissioner says Israel-Hamas conflict causing surge of discrimination

British Columbia’s human rights commissioner says the devastating events in and around the Gaza Strip are causing a surge of discrimination and violence targeting Jewish and Muslim people.

Kasari Govender says in a statement that she is deeply concerned about the rising number of hate incidents and she’s calling for immediate and sustained action to address and prevent further proliferation.

Govender says Vancouver police alone have reported 18 hate incidents aimed at the Jewish community, while the National Council of Canadian Muslims has said the last few weeks have been the worst in decades for reports of Islamophobia.

Click to play video: 'Gaza becoming ‘graveyard for children,’ UN chief says, calls for ‘humanitarian ceasefire’'

Gaza becoming ‘graveyard for children,’ UN chief says, calls for ‘humanitarian ceasefire’

She says the latest surge follows a wave of discrimination this fall against trans and gender-diverse people, which came after a dramatic rise in hate during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Govender says while hate isn’t new, it will rise during times of crisis in society and be amplified by the spread of misinformation if no concerted action is taken.

She says it’s critical that those affected by discrimination have appropriate avenues for reporting incidents — and that justice is pursued for hate crimes.

The dozen recommendations to counter hate that she made in a report to the B.C. government last year need to be implemented to address the rise in hate that happen during moments of societal crisis, she adds.

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