MEDIA ADVISORY: Canada’s record under Trudeau Government to be examined for the first time by the UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review process

A Canadian delegation led by Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould will receive questions and recommendations from other countries regarding Canada’s human rights record during the country’s third assessment under the UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review process (UPR) on May 11th. This will be the first time Canada undergoes examination by the top UN human rights body under the Trudeau government.   The procedure was adopted by the UN in 2006 and got underway in 2008.  Canada was previously reviewed in 2009 and 2013. The UPR is particularly significant because it is the only regular process under which a state’s human rights record is examined by other governments.
“The Universal Periodic Review is a particularly significant occasion which arises on average only twice per decade and represents the only moment when Canada’s track record on human rights is brought under focussed scrutiny by dozens of other nations around the world,” said Alex Neve, secretary general of Amnesty International Canada. “At a time when Canada is asserting human rights leadership on the world stage and has adopted important reforms domestically, there are nonetheless many serious and longstanding shortcomings in need of urgent attention. That the delegation is led by the Minister of Justice is encouraging.  How Canada responds to the recommendations received and engages with   Indigenous peoples’ organizations and civil society groups over the coming months in formulating its response will be the true measure of how seriously the process is being taken.”
In a Submission to the UN in advance of Canada’s UPR, Amnesty International raised a number of areas in need of attention, including with respect to the rights of Indigenous peoples, gender equality, corporate accountability and trade policy, economic and social rights, refugees and migrants, and human rights concerns related to Canada’s national security regime.  The Submission also raised concerns regarding a lack of transparent reporting on progress toward implementation of human rights recommendations under the UPR and other human rights reviews, as well as the need for greater coordination across federal, provincial and territorial governments to ensure Canada’s human rights obligations are comprehensively upheld.  Extensive submissions were made by a range of Indigenous peoples organizations and civil society groups across the country and internationally and can be accessed on the official UPR website.
Canada’s review will take place on Friday, May 11th from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Geneva time (3:00 a.m. to 6:30 a.m. ET). A live stream and recording of the Session will be available at 
Canada’s second Universal Periodic Review (UPR) before the UN Human Rights Council took place in April-May 2013. Eighty-two states participated in Canada’s second UPR and asked questions regarding the country’s human rights record, resulting in 162 recommendations set out in the report of the UPR Working Group. The recommendations reflected concerns about alarming levels of violence against Indigenous women and girls; nationwide poverty and homelessness; Canada’s lagging record of ratifying international human rights treaties; lack of respect for the rights of Indigenous peoples; inadequate refugee protection and failure to respect the non-refoulement principle in Canadian laws; lack of corporate accountability for human rights abuses committed abroad by Canadian corporations; failure to uphold human rights in the context of national security; and women’s inequality. In its disappointing response at the time, Canada declined to take up any new measures to deal with obvious and acknowledged human rights problems and essentially recommitted to the status quo.
Jacob Kuehn, Media Relations: / 613-7447667 x 236