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Montreal, April 25, 2012 --- The Québec Human Rights and Youth Rights Commission (CDPDJ) will be asked to proceed to investigate complaints lodged by Mr. Kamal Maghri and another resident of Arab origin after they rejected mediation in two discrimination cases against the City of Gatineau for the publication of the Code of Values for Immigrants.

The mediation option was considered but ultimately rejected when the city’s lawyer told the CDPDJ that no financial compensation would be offered to settle the complaints.

Mr. Maghri is not only denouncing the Code of values for its discriminatory nature, but also the religious and ethnic profiling by a city employee of which he was the target. The employee, Ms. Anne Claude Scholtès, contacted an Islamic centre to gather information on Mr. Maghri and also carried out an internet search on his background after he had made a complaint to the Mayor. She then sent an email to city officials and copied in Mr. Maghri by mistake.

“I am not taking this course of action for the money, but to ensure that a principle or fundamental value of 21st century Québec is upheld, that is human right violations must carry a heavy cost. What is more serious here is that public bodies use taxpayers’ money to promote discriminatory ethnic stereotypes and wilfully infringe citizen’s fundamental freedoms,” said Mr. Maghri.

“The City’s reaction to the negative public response, including an ombudsman investigation of questionable impartiality into the way I, as a citizen, was treated, seems to confirm a serious lack of respect for human rights principles,” he added. “I am not interested in mere excuses for the administrative wrongdoings which the City itself created, particularly as it has already expressed its intent to produce another version of the Code.

CRARR has lodged complaints on behalf of the two men that call for the Code of Values to be withdrawn and replaced by an official declaration on official declaration of civil rights based on principles from the Charters of Rights and Freedoms. They also call for a public apology to all immigrants living in Gatineau and Mr. Maghri in particular, as well as a civic education program for all Gatineau residents. Finally the complaints also call for damages to be paid.

The complainants will request that the CDPDJ examine, in its investigation, the aid received from the Quebec Ministry of Immigration and Cultural Communities and the Ministry of the Status of Women to produce the Code of Values. The investigation should also examine the member or members of the City administration who authorized the development, production and publication of the Code, the type of consultation carried out with interested parties, the actions and accountability of the City regarding civil servants’ actions and the implementation of measure to prevent discrimination and racial profiling in Gatineau’s municipal services.