Canada to reject 14 of 68 international human rights recommendations including for a national strategy to eliminate poverty

www.cwp-csp.ca – list serve – Canada to reject 14 of 68 international human rights recommendations including for a national strategy to eliminate poverty
June 6, 2009.   Rob Rainer <rob@cwp-csp.ca>

On Friday June 5, 2009 the Government of Canada made public Canada’s response to the 68 human rights-related recommendations made to Canada by the UN Human Rights Council, per the 2009 Universal Periodic Review (in English at http://www.pch.gc.ca/pgm/pdp-hrp/inter/upr-eng.cfm; in French at http://www.pch.gc.ca/pgm/pdp-hrp/inter/upr-fra.cfm).  This response will be communicated by the government before the Council on Tuesday June 9, 2009.

To aid your understanding of the UPR recommendations to Canada and Canada’s response, and for ready reference, please see the attached two documents.  The first is a Word document in which Canada’s response (in English) has been pasted.  The second is a Word document (in English) in which the 68 recommendations are listed, and in which the reasons provided by Canada for rejecting or partially accepting 29 of the 68 recommendations have been added per the “Comment” bubbles shown within.

Of the 68 recommendations, Canada is accepting 39, rejecting 14 and partially accepting 15.  Canada is rejecting some recommendations that, were they to be accepted, would mean Canada would join and/or ratify several international human rights treaties.  The rejected recommendations also include a number specific to economic and social rights, including:

- #1 (Ratify the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights)
- #10 (Recognize the justiciability of social, economic and cultural rights, in accordance with the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; ensure legal enforcement of economic, social and cultural rights in domestic courts; grant the same importance to and treat equally civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, in its legislation at all levels); and
- #17 (Develop a national strategy to eliminate poverty)

On #17, that Canada is rejecting the call for a national strategy to eliminate poverty undermines the recent or current efforts of the House of Commons’ HUMA Committee and various Senate committees and sub-committees to help determine the appropriate role of the federal government in combating poverty Canada-wide.  It also flies in the face of calls from at least a couple of provinces (e.g., Newfoundland and Labrador, Ontario), pursuant to their provincial poverty action strategies, for complementary engagement of the federal government to help ensure progress on poverty.

If you have not already done so, please register your support for the new Dignity for All Campaign for a Poverty-free Canada (www.dignityforall.ca).  Through this campaign civil society will strengthen its press for enduring federal commitment for a pan-Canadian approach to combating poverty, in which the federal government exercises the leadership it ought to exercise.  Such leadership includes convening a process by which a pan-Canadian strategy to eliminate poverty, that complements and supports provincial and territorial strategies, will be realized, with a strong foundation in Canada’s international and domestic human rights commitments.

Rob Rainer
Executive Director / Directeur executif
CANADA WITHOUT POVERTY / CANADA SANS PAUVRETÉ
1210 – 1 rue Nicholas Street
Ottawa, ON K1N 7B7
(613) 789-0096 (1-800-810-1076)
rob@cwp-csp.ca
www.cwp-csp.ca and www.dignityforall.ca

Everyone is entitled to realization of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his [her] dignity and the free development of his [her] personality.
- From Article 22 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

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