The UN Human Rights Council urges Canada to do more to improve the lives of Aboriginal people, especially women and girls.
The human rights situation in Canada is being examined this week at the UN Human Rights Council as part of the third universal periodic review of member states. The Canadian delegation was led Friday in Geneva by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Jody Wilson-Raybould.
The Minister indicated that she “heard very well” the Council’s message, including the importance of supporting the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, and addressing the issue of women’s overrepresentation. Aboriginal people in Canadian penitentiaries.
“We know it’s a challenge and need to be addressed,” Wilson-Raybould said in a telephone interview from Geneva on Friday.
As part of the Universal Periodic Review, first established in 2008, the Human Rights Council is reviewing the human rights record of all UN member countries.
Canada had already undergone a universal periodic review in 2009 and 2013, under a conservative regime; this is the first time this year that the Canadian delegation is being led in Geneva by a cabinet member.
Jody Wilson-Raybould appreciated the comments and acknowledged that while Canada had made progress, much work remained to be done.
The federal government has not yet decided whether to extend the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls by two years, as commissioners requested in March.
The minister said the decision would be known “soon”.
“We will ensure that the survivors and loved ones are heard by the commission and that the commission carries out its work so that these voices are heard, the life experiences of aboriginal women are commemorated and the problem is eradicated in Canada. its source, “she said.
In a speech to the Human Rights Council, Wilson-Raybould noted that her government had launched the National Inquiry, worked to eliminate drinking water issues in First Nations communities, and signaled its intention to Adopt the 94 recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
She also revealed that the government plans to work with First Nations, Inuit and Métis to develop a framework for the recognition of their rights, a project the Minister has presented as building on reconciliation efforts. between Ottawa and Aboriginal people.
Jody Wilson-Raybould added that she plans to revise the Criminal Code and that her government is drafting a new pay equity law. She reminded the Council that Justin Trudeau had apologized to the LGBTQ communities for the harms suffered by its members because of old federal legislation.
The Review confirmed, however, that Canada still lacked its “millions of Canadians by depriving Canadians of an equal opportunity to succeed and thrive,” responded Marie-Claude Landry, President of the Canadian Commission. human rights.
“The recommendations contained in this third universal periodic review are not a surprise to anyone,” she said in a statement. For the most part, it was much the same that had been presented in Canada in 2013. However, despite the efforts made at all levels of government, it is clear that Canada is having difficulty dealing with the urgent issues of government. human rights. ”
Ms. Landry acknowledged, however, that the Trudeau government had put human rights on the political agenda and prioritized women’s equality, the protection of homeless people and the rights of LGBTQ communities.
Minister Wilson-Raybould admitted that Canada was not “perfect” and could do better.
“Hearing the opinions of our peers is an opportunity to receive recommendations and do what we can to improve the situation,” she concluded.