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Canada’s Participation in UN Universal Periodic Review advances work to promote and protect human rights
November 10, 2023 – Ottawa, Ontario
The Honourable Arif Virani, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, the Honourable Pascale St-Onge, Minister of Canadian Heritage, and the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement:
“The Government of Canada remains committed to the protection of human rights, both at home and abroad, and to strengthening Canada’s role within the international human rights system.
“Today, Minister Virani had the honour of leading the Canadian delegation, with support from federal and provincial representatives, for Canada’s fourth Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva. The UPR is a peer-review process through which all UN Member States have the opportunity to review the human rights records of all other Member States. This process is an important one as it allows countries, including ours, to learn and grow through the recommendations received from other states.
“Throughout Canada’s review, we welcomed meaningful and constructive dialogue on issues such as advancing reconciliation and renewing the relationship with First Nations, Inuit and Métis based on recognition of rights, respect, cooperation and partnership; addressing the overrepresentation of Indigenous, Black and racialized people in the justice system; countering hate crimes and hate speech; and tackling the rising cost of living and the housing crisis, among other issues. This was a very important review, and we are grateful to have had the opportunity for this open and constructive engagement.
“Canada has introduced several strategies, action plans, and legislative and administrative measures since Canada’s last UPR in 2018, to further advance human rights within our country. Whether through important legislative action to advance the implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, increasing access to justice for all persons in Canada, or addressing systemic racism and gender-based violence—the goal to advance respect for human rights in Canada has remained consistent.
“Our government benefits greatly when we listen to and collaborate with First Nations, Inuit and Métis partners, civil society and national human rights institutions. This is why Canada invited stakeholders, partners and rights holders to provide their views on our draft report prior to its submission to the UN before the review. We consolidated their comments in a “What We Heard” annex recognizing their valuable contributions to the advancement of human rights in Canada. We look forward to further engagement to ensure that decision-making by federal, provincial and territorial governments on the response to the recommendations made here today, will be informed by their priorities, experience and expertise.
“We thank our federal and provincial partners for being part of the Canadian delegation and for taking the time to discuss key human rights issues faced by people across Canada. With six provinces participating in the delegation, Canada is demonstrating an integrated, cross-jurisdictional approach to the implementation of our international human rights obligations. We also thank the UN Member States who contributed to this meaningful dialogue and put forward important recommendations here today.
“As we approach the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, this milestone serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of protecting the rights of every individual, both at home and around the world. We recognize that continuous efforts must be undertaken to improve the way we implement our international human rights obligations. Today’s review will inform our efforts and ongoing work toward our goal of advancing the human rights of all people in Canada.”
For more information, media may contact:
Office of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
Department of Justice Canada
Office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs
Media Relations Office
Global Affairs Canada