SUMMARY OF AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL’S SUMISSIONS TO THE UN HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL ON CANADA’S UNIVERSAL PERIODIC REVIEW
Canada underwent its first Universal Periodic Review (UPR) before the UN Human Rights Council in February 2009. Amnesty International provided submissions highlighting our concerns with Canada’s failure to ratify or support a number of international human rights instruments; approach to implementing international human rights obligations; and failure to consistently provide disaggregated data about human rights protection. Amnesty International also expressed concern about Canada’s failure to protect the rights of Indigenous peoples, refugees, and migrants, to uphold human rights in counter-terrorism activities and the administration of justice, and to protect economic, social and cultural rights.
OUTCOMES OF THE REVIEW
The Working Group on the UPR released 69 recommendations made to Canada by 69 delegations from other states participating in Canada’s review process. Among the many recommendations, the states urged Canada to:
- ratify a number of international human rights instruments, including the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment;
- ensure the legal enforcement of economic, social and cultural rights and develop a national strategy to eliminate poverty;
- ensure human rights protection in the context of counter-terrorism and combat racial and religious discrimination against Arab and Muslim communities in Canada;
- take effective measures to combat and end discrimination against Indigenous peoples, respect the rights of Indigenous people, fully implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and take additional steps to protect Aboriginal women from discrimination and violence; and
- protect the rights of refugees and migrants, and ensure respect for the principle of non-refoulement.
Canada accepted 32 of the 68 recommendations, accepted in part 22 recommendations, and did not accept 14 recommendations. Recommendations Canada did not accept included calls to ratify additional international human rights treaties and to fully implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Canada also refused to provide legal protection for economic, social and cultural rights or to develop a national strategy to end poverty. Canada disagreed with the view that its counter-terrorism activities were falling short of international human rights standard. It also refused to ensure full respect for the principle of non-refoulement.
Canada’s Report to the UN Universal Periodic Review (A/HRC/WG.6/4/CAN/1, 5 January 2009)
Compilation prepared by the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (A/HRC/WG.6/4/CAN/2, 17 December 2008)
Joint NGO Submission: “Promise and Reality: Canada’s International Human Rights Implementation Gap” (8 September 2008)
Summary of Stakeholders’ Information (A/HRC/WG.6/4/CAN/3, 24 November 2008)
Amnesty International’s submission to the UN Universal Periodic Review (February 2009)
Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review (A/HRC/11/17, 5 October 2009)
Canada’s Response to the Recommendations of the Universal Periodic Review (A/HRC/11/17/Add.1, 8 June 2009)
Report of the Human Rights Council on its eleventh session (A/HRC/11/37, 16 October 2009)