Human rights

“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”

Article 1, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Canadians expect their government to be a leader in the human rights field by reflecting and promoting Canadian values on the international stage. The promotion and protection of human rights is an integral part of Canadian foreign policy.

Canada’s international human rights policy

Canada has been a consistently strong voice for the protection of human rights and the advancement of democratic values. Canada takes principled positions on important issues to ensure that freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law, values that define this country, are enjoyed around the world. For more information, see Canada’s international human rights policy.

Canada’s human rights commitments

Canada takes its international human rights obligations seriously and is committed to maintaining a constructive dialogue with the UN human rights treaty bodies, which are a vital aspect of a strong and effective international human rights system. For more information see Canada's human rights commitments.

Children’s rights

It is because of the unique vulnerability of children that their rights are of priority concern within Canada’s foreign policy. For more information, see Children’s human rights.

Gender equality

Canada is a world leader in the promotion and protection of women’s rights and gender equality. These issues are central to Canada’s foreign and domestic policies. For more information, see Canada’s commitment to gender equality and the advancement of women’s rights internationally.

Indigenous affairs

Aboriginal people in Canada are taking an increasingly active role on the world stage, in fields such as human rights, respect of cultural and linguistic diversity, environmental protection and more. For more information, see Canada and international indigenous affairs.

Universal Periodic Review

Canada was a leading proponent of the initiative to review the human rights performance of every UN member state on a regular basis. For more information, see Universal Periodic Review.

International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia & Biphobia

What are human rights?

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights describes the rights shared by all human beings.

Learn more

A free Internet

Canada believes individuals’ rights and freedoms should be protected online just as they are offline.

For more information, see Internet foreign policy issues.