Canada must take action on the United Nations Human Rights Committee's Concluding Observations
The ESCR-Net Strategic Litigation Working Group joined Canadian organizations in highlighting the United Nations Human Rights Committee's concluding observations in relation to Canada. The Human Rights Committee expressed serious concerns about new human rights issues, such as the impact of the Anti-Terrorism Act, the chill on freedom of expression and association, the failure to regulate the activities of Canadian corporations operating abroad, the failure to provide health care to all refugees and irregular migrants, and indefinite detention of non-citizens. They also express concerns about long-standing issues on which too little progress has been made, including Canada's failed relationship with Aboriginal peoples, pay equity, discrimination and violence against women, and inadequate implementation of international human rights obligations.
The state of human rights in Canada has seriously deteriorated since the United Nations Human Rights Committee last reviewed Canada's record a decade ago. Today the Committee released its concluding observations and recommendations to Canada on its implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). They reflect the comment made by a member of the Committee to the Canadian government delegation: 'This is not the Canada I once knew.' Read the full press released here.
The ESCR-Net Strategic Litigation Working Group, in conjunction with two Canadian members--the Social Rights Advocacy Centre (SRAC) and the Charter Committee on Poverty Issues, submitted a parallel report on "Violations of the Right to Life and to Non-discrimination of those who are Homeless and Migrants in Need of Health Care in Canada." The Working Group, with the leadership of SRAC and the Global Initiative for ESCR, also reinforced aspects of its analysis in a written submission for a General Discussion on the Preparation for a General Comment on Article 6 (Right to Life) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, noting that the right to life requires States to abide by both negative and positive human rights obligations, and that issues such as homelessness and denial of access to water, sanitation and health care all rise to violations of Article 6.
Photo: Amnesty Canada.