By Wojtek Gwiazda |
Thursday 19 September, 2013

Canada’s refusal Thursday (September 19) to accept the UN Human Rights Council’s recommendation of a comprehensive review of violence against Aboriginal women in Canada was criticized by a number of organizations including members of the Indigenous community.

Canada’s response to the Council underlined that it had accepted in whole, or in part, 122 of the 169 recommendations in Canada’s second Universal Periodic Review (UPR) which was originally presented by the UN Human Rights Council on April 26, 2013.

The rejection of a comprehensive review of violence against Aboriginal women, hundreds have died or disappeared in the last few decades, was the focus of criticism in Canada. Other issues were also brought up.

The National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations released the following statement on Canada’s rejection of the review: “First Nations are deeply concerned about Canada’s rejection of the recommendations by the UN Human Rights Council for a comprehensive, national plan aimed at ending violence against Indigenous women and girls. There is strong support for this action domestically among provincial and territorial leaders and the Canadian public and strong international support, not to mention a multitude of reports and investigations that urge Canada to act.”

The Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada’s English Branch Alex Neve’s reaction in part was: “Governments raised critical, concrete recommendations touching on numerous human rights shortcomings that are well known to Canadians. This included alarming levels of violence against Indigenous women and girls, nationwide poverty and homelessness, and Canada’s lagging record of ratifying international human rights treaties.  Other areas included the rights of Indigenous peoples, refugee protection, corporate accountability, national security and women’s equality.”

Meanwhile, the not-for profit Canadian organisation Canada Without Poverty released the following statement from its president, Harriett McLachlan: “Members of the Human Rights Council have made it clear that current levels of socio-economic deprivation in one of the most affluent countries in the world is a serious human rights crisis, demanding urgent attention and national strategies. The Government’s response shows no understanding of its legal and moral responsibility to protect the rights of poor people and steer this country out of poverty.”

More information:
Mike Blanchfield/Canadian Press – Canada rejects UN rights panel call for review of violence on aboriginal women – here
Universal Periodic Review – Canada – Observations and recommendations – here
Canada’s response to UN Human Rights Council – here
Assembly of First Nations press release – here
Amnesty International Canada – Canada Gives Human Rights the Cold Shoulder: Disgraceful Response to UN Human Rights Review Contains No New Commitments – here
Canada Without Poverty press release – Canada Turns its Back on Human Rights at UN – here

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