Canada Turns its Back on Human Rights at UN

09-18-13

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Wednesday, September 18, 2013 

 Canada Turns its Back on Human Rights at UN

 OTTAWA:  Canada is set to take to the world’s stage on Thursday and reject key human rights recommendations to address poverty, homelessness and hunger, missing an opportunity to show leadership within its own borders.

Canada will face the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva to respond to recommendations made during a review of its human rights record in April. Shockingly, in the wake of the National Household Survey – which showed 15% of Canada’s population is living in poverty – the Government of Canada has decided to thumb its nose at the UN by refusing to commit to any new action to address poverty, homelessness and hunger.

“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,” said Harriett McLachlan, President of Canada Without Poverty.

The UN Human Rights Council’s ‘Universal Periodic Review’ is the highest level human rights assessment required of Canada as a UN member state. Canada’s response is a road map of its intentions regarding the implementation of human rights over the next four years, when Canada will next be reviewed.

“I don’t think the positions being taken by Canada at the UN reflect the values of most people in this country,” said Leilani Farha, Executive Director of Canada Without Poverty. “It’s unacceptable to refuse to take action to address poverty, homelessness and hunger when we have the resources to eliminate these human rights violations.”  Ms. Farha added, “The positions Canada takes on Thursday will have implications beyond its term in office.  For this reason, we are calling on all federal political parties to indicate which of these recommendations they will commit themselves to implementing.”

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 For more information contact:

 Leilani Farha, Executive Director Canada Without Poverty: 1 (613) 302-7769

Megan Yarema, Director Education and Outreach: 1 (604) 613-1434