Over the summer, Canada's human rights record went under the microscope by the United Nations Human Rights Committee. It was the first major review since Stephen Harper took office as Canada's Prime Minister in 2006.
The review, held in Geneva, took place over three days and included many advocacy groups dedicated to the cause of improving human rights across Canada. There was talk of some advocacy groups being at risk of losing their charitable status because of their political activity within Canada.
Under the subtitle “Freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly and association,” the United Nation report specifically addresses charity audits, and states concerns over the “level of apprehension within a broad sector of civil society" about the Conservatives' policies on political, social and human rights advocacy.
The United Nations Human Rights Committee expressed concern on Canada of failing to take effective action regarding a range of issues, including missing and murdered aboriginal women, political audits of charities, and the federal government's anti-terror legislation.
The report was the first substantive review of the country’s human rights record under Canada’s Conservative government.
“This should be seen as a wake-up call by governments and courts in Canada that increasingly serious violations of civil and political rights in Canada can no longer be tolerated,” said a representative of the group
“Canada Without Poverty”.
With the election of a new Liberal government in Canada, let’s see if there will be a change in how advocacy groups are handled and how Canada’s reputation on human rights evolves.
Several authors contribute to the CAN Blog.