United Nations reviews Canadian Human Rights

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StephenHarperUN

Several Canadian advocacy groups are in Geneva taking part in the United Nations Human Rights Committee hearings after The Canadian Human Rights Commission submitted a list of human rights issues, brought forward by these groups, to the UN for examination.

For the first time in a decade, the UN will be investigating Canadian Human Rights and whether or not our country has been complying and adhering to its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

At least 26 human rights organizations including The Canadian Civil Liberties Association, Amnesty International Canada and Human Rights Watch have brought forward their own separate reports which can all be found here under Canada’s “Info from Civil Society Organizations (for the session)”.

The UN committee results will be issued on July 23; whatever the outcome, the findings are not legally binding but it will place a spotlight on our current governments controversial policies regarding social issues that effect the Canadian Indigenous population, including missing and murdered women’s cases; Bill-51, the heavily criticized new anti-terror bill which grants the government several new security powers; and Bill C-24 which reduces Canadians with duel citizenship to second-class citizens with limited rights.

Below is a summery of the two most highlighted issues.

Indigenous Rights

There are several pressing matters regarding civil rights and social issues for Indigenous people in Canada.

According to Amnesty International (AI), Indigenous women and girls in Canada are almost five times more likely to be on the receiving end of violence than other women and girls in the country. AI also claim that the homicide rate is seven times higher for aboriginal females than for all other women and girls.

A report by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in 2013 found that as of Nov.4 2013 a total of 1, 181 aboriginal females are missing or have been victims of homicide.

In their submission, AI recommends that Canada should:

  • Develop a comprehensive national plan to address violence against women in the country
  • Establish an independent public inquiry to examine violence against Indigenous women and girls with a view to developing and implementing a comprehensive national plan of action on violence and discrimination against Indigenous women and girls
  • Improve Canada’s foreign policy to ensure the protection of the full range of sexual and reproductive rights for all women

Bill C-51—Anti-Terror Bill

The Conservative government passed bill C-51 in June 2015 with the help of the Liberals despite protests, petitions and rallies.

This bill increases the powers of CSIS, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, but it also limits free speech, the rights of protesters, expands the no-fly list, allows federal law enforcement to make preventative arrests and also lets government employees share private information freely among 17 government institutions.

According to the Canadian Civil Liberties Association several leading human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, the Canadian Muslim Lawyers Association, the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group, La Ligue des Droits et Libertés and the National Council of Canadian Muslims want the bill to be revoked and withdrawn.

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association writes in their submission, “National Security is not a carte blanche”

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Sarine Gulerian Sarine is an Editorial Assistant at the Vancity Buzz. Her interests vary from abstract philosophical concepts, politics, and social issues to brand new school supplies and Tina Fey.
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