http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/Pages/Highlights3February2009am.aspx A number of delegations also posed specific recommendations. These included: For Canada to re-consider its position and endorse the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; to consider ratifying ILO Convention 169; to ensure that all relevant recommendations of UN treaty bodies were fully taken into account and that these did not restrict the development of Aboriginal rights in the country; to redouble efforts to settle territorial claims by Aboriginal people; to establish immediate means of redress and protection of rights of Aboriginal people and other ethno-minorities; to give the highest priority to addressing inequalities between Aboriginal and other citizens in Canada, particularly in economic development, education, citizen empowerment and protection of the vulnerable, resolution of land claims and reconciliation, governance and self-governance; to continue its efforts to tackle discrimination against Aboriginal women; and to address the root cause of domestic violence against women, in particular Aboriginal women.Canada wants to improve human rights as nobody's perfect: justice official GENEVA — A Canadian official said Tuesday Canada has a good human rights record but there is always room for improvement.John Sims, a deputy minister of justice and head of the Canadian delegation to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, said Canada is proud of its record."No, it is not perfect, but it is very good," he said in an interview.He acknowledged that "nobody is perfect and that's true for Canada too. We know we can improve and we want to improve."The delegation is in Geneva to take part in the new Universal Periodic Review process at the UN Human Rights Council, which scrutinizes the record of its member countries.Much of the criticism of Canada from non-governmental organizations has been on the way its Aboriginal people have been treated."It's clear that there's been a very difficult past with Canada's Aboriginal people," Sims said. "Wrongs were done."He noted the prime minister made an apology last June "for the very sad legacy of the Indian residential schools.""So, we are trying to make amends. We are working very hard in partnership with Aboriginal communities to agree on the priorities that ought to be addressed and we are moving forward on a wide front on many, many issues." The UN council is spending several hours examining Canada's record. It is expected to report its findings and recommendations later in the week.Council members are looking at material presented by the government delegation as well as two independent reports providing less flattering views. A report by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights compiles the observations and recommendations of experts in various fields.It notes that Canada has ratified 11 of the 16 core universal human rights treaties. When measured against many other countries, Canada comes out looking pretty good.But one group cited expresses concern that "Aboriginal and ethnic minority women suffer from multiple discrimination in employment, housing, education and health care, with high rates of poverty, lack of access to clean water and low school completion rates." The Special Rapporteur on adequate housing notes that for a highly developed, wealthy country, "Canada's poverty figures were striking."Another group of rights experts criticizes the broad definition of terrorism under the Anti-Terrorism Act. It calls on Canada to resist "racial profiling" and recommends that it include an explicit anti-discrimination clause in the law.The second parallel report submitted by 50 non-governmental organizations and other groups is even harsher in tone. It highlights the lack of equality, and the discriminatory treatment of Aboriginals, ethnic minorities, women and poor people.
Other recommendations included: To consider specific legislation on domestic violence; to take measures to help the effective access to justice for victims of domestic violence; to criminalize domestic violence; to properly investigate cases of the death of indigenous women; to take on board the recommendations of CEDAW to criminalize domestic violence; to strengthen enforcement of legislations and programmes on prohibition of commercial sexual exploitation of children; to monitor closely the situation of victims of human trafficking, women migrant workers and women prisoners; and to conduct a review of the effectiveness of legislation relevant to trafficking in human beings and to implement reforms, where necessary, to strengthen the protection of the rights of victims of trafficking.
Additionally, States recommended that Canada: Give appropriate attention to end racial discrimination against the Arab and Muslim communities in Canada including racial and religious profiling; to avoid the misuse of procedures to profile on the basis of race, religion and origin; to apply provisions of its hate speech law in a non-selective manner to cover incidents that may lead to incitement to racial and religious hatred and violence; to review its discriminatory national laws on security and to adopt sensitization campaigns to protect racial profiling and stereotyping certain national ethic, descent and race with terrorism; to combat socio-economic discrimination; to address the root causes of discrimination; to consider ratifying the Convention of the rights of persons with disabilities; and to ensure appropriate representation of minority communities at all levels of government.
Another set of recommendations included: To submit to scrutiny the regulations governing the use of “Taser” weapons; to accede to the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture; to reinstate the current policy with regard to seeking clemency on behalf of all Canadian citizens sentences to death in other countries; to ensure that detention and prison facilities as well as standards for the treatment of juveniles were adjusted so that they were gender sensitive and ensure effective protection of personal safety of detainees and prisoners; to ensure effective access to justice; to consider ratifying the Convention on enforced and involuntary disappearances; to accede to the Convention on the Rights of Migrant Workers and Members of their families; to make immigration procedures more transparent and objective and take concrete measures; to accede to the pending visit request of the Special Rapporteur on human rights of migrants; and to launch a comprehensive reviews leading to legal and policy reforms which protected the rights of refugees and migrants.
Other recommendations included: To ratify international human rights instruments it had yet to; to establish an effective and inclusive process to follow up on UPR recommendations; to associate itself with the Institution Building package of the Human Rights Council; to intensify efforts to ensure that higher education was equally accessible to all on the basis of capacity; and to take on board the recommendations of the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing, specifically to extend and enhance the national homelessness programme and the Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Programme.