Human Rights Agreements are for Canadians too!

The gap between Canada’s signature on human rights agreements and implementation in Canada was a common theme of over 50 Canadian groups who sent submissions for review of Canada’s record by the UN Human Rights Council. This is a main issue for children’s rights, and the CCRC is a partner in the efforts to fix the system for all rights.

As a result of the review, Canada received over 80 recommendations from other states. Most call on Canada to close the gap by putting in place better mechanisms in Canada – mechanisms that will allow Canadian citizens to exercise their rights under international agreements Canada has signed. In June Canada needs to say which recommendations it intends to implement; four years from not there will be another review.

The most important benefit of this process may be to alert both federal and provincial governments about their obligations. It also pressed home the point that Canada lags behind other states  in many areas of human rights. Canada has four years to make major reforms in structures and policies.

This is an opportunity for children’s rights as well. The CCRC has been advocating for basic mechanisms to implement the Convention in Canada. In 2007 the Senate Human Rights Committee joined the call. Will we see any action now?

Governments need to hear that Canadians care about this. You can register your views by responding to a survey on the Canadian Heritage website.

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