December 10th: International Day for Human Rights

12-9-11

Saturday, December 10, marks international Human Rights Day for 2011.  This occasion “commemorates the day in 1948 the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights….Although the Declaration with its broad range of political, civil, social, cultural and economic rights is not a binding document, it inspired more than 60 human rights instruments which together constitute an international standard of human rights. Today the general consent of all United Nations Member States on the basic Human Rights laid down in the Declaration makes it even stronger and emphasizes the relevance of Human Rights in our daily lives.”

Many human rights as described in the Declaration and enshrined in international human rights law remain to be protected in Canada.  Some such rights relate directly to poverty, for example the right to food and housing.  Listeners to yesterday’s The Current national radio program on CBC would have heard story after story of Canadians whose rights to food, housing and other necessities of life have been or are being, in effect, denied.  Our federal, provincial and territorial governments have a duty to rectify these injustices.  They have a duty to ensure that the human rights commitments they have signed to on behalf of the citizens of Canada will be honoured.  As Canadians, we need to remind our elected officials of this duty and to hold them to account.  This includes before the United Nations when, for example, Canada in 2013 will next report to the Human Rights Council in the context of the second Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Canada’s human rights performance (the first UPR was in 2009).

Canada Without Poverty (formerly the National Anti-Poverty Organization or NAPO) has worked on poverty as a human rights issue since our founding in 1971.  We have appeared several times before UN bodies to give testimony on Canada’s performance with respect to economic and social rights.  We aspire to step up our efforts in economic and social rights education and advocacy, the latter through our sister organization, the CWP Advocacy NetworkYou can help strengthen our voice for eradicating poverty as a human rights obligation by donating now through Canada Helps or calling 613-789-0096 (1-800-810-1076).  For more information, please contact us.