Friday, October 23, 2009

Canada Rejects UN Human Rights Recommendations

UNITED NATIONS - Canada has told the United Nations that more than half of the 68 recommendations which other countries says will improve Canada's human rights standards are unacceptable. In an address to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Canada has rejected outright 14 of the recommendations issued in March and partially rejected another 22. Rejected advice touched on issues that included racial discrimination, aboriginal rights,fighting poverty and seeking clemency for Canadians facing the death penalty overseas.
For instance Canada also rejected a recommendation from Egypt that called for the training of judges and prosecutors on the nature of race-based hate crimes.
Canada has also rejected recommendations from Russia and Ghana to launch a national poverty-elimination program. Canada has said that provinces and territories have jurisdiction in that area. On the death penalty Canada also rejected calls by Denmark and the Netherlands to seek clemency for Canadians facing capital punishment in all cases, including those where Canada considers the "rule of law" reigns.
According to Louise Arbour, former Supreme Court Justice and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, "Canada has quandered its international goodwill."
"There is a sense inside the UN and the human-rights community that... We’re not a real presence anymore"... "If you can’t lead on issues that are hard for you, how can you tell other nations to lead on issues that are hard for them?" she says. She also said that "unlike countries such as Norway or Sweden, Canada isn’t spending as much as it could, or should, to promote development and rights." Arbour has also said that Canadian diplomats have also backed away from advancing the rights agenda in international forums.