Promoting Democracy, Governance, Human Rights and Rule of Law

Democracy, capable and inclusive institutions, human rights and rule of law are essential to lasting stability and prosperity. In many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, political stability is improving and democracy is taking root. Nevertheless, challenges remain and significant reforms are still required.

Canada's Role

Canada supports political and economic reforms in Africa that are based on democracy, strong public sector institutions, rule of law and human rights.

Canada is working with African countries and international organizations, such as the African Union, to strengthen democratic institutions and actors, reduce corruption and promote transparency and accountability. For example, Canada helped establish the African Union's African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance, which commits member states to establish independent electoral bodies, codes of conduct and standards as well as creating an obligation to respond to unconstitutional actions within member states.

Canada continues to supply electoral assistance, including support to electoral commissions, deployment of domestic and international election observers and support for public education about elections for voters.

Ending child, early and forced marriage is a foreign policy and development priority for Canada. Canada is working with partners around the world, including in Africa, to reach this goal. As part of these efforts, Canada launched an advocacy campaign to build greater awareness of the causes and consequences of child, early and forced marriage, and program initiatives include a project with UNICEF to accelerate the movement. Also, in collaboration with international partners, Canada played a leadership role in the development of the first-ever stand-alone resolutions on child, early and forced marriage and the Human Rights Council and the United Nations General Assembly in 2013. The leadership of countries where this practice is prevalent is essential and Canada welcomes the recent launch of the African Union Campaign to End Child Marriage.

Through the Office of Religious Freedom, Canada promotes Canadian values of pluralism and tolerance abroad, protects and advocates on behalf of religious communities under threat, and opposes religious hatred and intolerance. In Kenya, Canada is supporting dialogue between Muslims and other faith communities in the interest of peace and security in Nairobi's informal settlements. Canada is also supporting inter-community and inter-faith dialogue and conflict mediation in Nigeria.

Quick Facts

  • Since 2010, Canada's Counter-Terrorism Capacity Building Program has provided more than $28M, supporting programs in the Sahel, such as training and mentoring law enforcement, military and government officials, to strengthen security and the capacity of government authorities to respond to terrorist activities in the region
  • In 2014, representatives from 15 African countries participated in the Canadian-supported annual International Human Rights Training Program, teaching human rights education and strengthening the capacity of those participants to engage effectively on human rights issues in their countries
  • Canada recently announced a $20 million contribution to UNICEF to implement a project to accelerate the movement to end child, early and forced marriage, including in countries in Africa.