Canada’s Commitment to Human Rights

Canada takes its international human rights obligations seriously. Canada regularly submits its human rights record for review by UN monitoring bodies and accepts the authority of the UN human rights treaty-monitoring committees to hear complaints from Canadian citizens under the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention Against Torture.

These international mechanisms provide an independent perspective on the state of human rights in Canada, and allow the Canadian government to review laws or policies which may be in conflict with international obligations.

This willingness to accept independent, constructive criticism is critical to Canada’s credibility, both domestically and internationally. Canada holds itself to the same standard it expects from other countries.

The Canadian Approach to Advancing Human Rights

Canada relies on a range of bilateral and multilateral tools to advance human rights internationally.

Bilaterally, Canada helps other states to meet their human rights commitments through direct support for development of democratic institutions and practices, legal and administrative training, and the provision of technical assistance. Discussions of human rights issues occur frequently in the context of Ministerial and Prime Ministerial visits, as well as at a working level in Ottawa and abroad between Canadian officials and their foreign counterparts. Responses to specific situations depend upon a number of considerations, including a government’s relative commitment to human rights and the effectiveness of the means of influence at our disposal.

Multilateral fora also provide effective means for influencing other governments. Canada is recognized as a world leader for its efforts to promote and protect human rights at the United Nations, the Commonwealth, La Francophonie,and the Organization of American States (OAS), among others.

For more information:

How Canada works with the United Nations