Federal, Provincial and Territorial Ministers Must Reform Canada’s Approach to Human Rights Implementation in Canada

In a joint statement released today, a group of 26 Indigenous peoples’ organizations and civil society groups are calling on Ministers from the federal, provincial and territorial governments to initiate a process of reform to address long-standing shortcomings in Canada’s implementation of international human rights obligations.  For the first time in 29 years, Ministers have met to discuss cross-jurisdictional weaknesses and challenges in implementing Canada’s commitments under an array of binding international human rights instruments.
“As a group, we have brought forward a practical framework and principles for urgently-needed reform to ensure governments across Canada live up to our promise to meet our important international human rights commitments,” says Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada. “For too long, Canada’s approach to human rights implementation has been uncoordinated and unaccountable, depriving Canadians of fundamental rights to which they are entitled and diminishing Canada’s standing on the global stage. Today, Indigenous peoples’ organizations and civil society groups are calling on all levels of government to launch a process of reform in order to ensure these longstanding shortcomings are addressed in a concerted and meaningful way and for a demonstration of political will from governments in Canada to uphold the rights of all.” 
The joint statement was presented during an interactive session between the Ministers and five Indigenous peoples’ organizations and twenty-two civil society groups on December 11th. It provides a series of recommendations for inter-governmental collaboration and coordination on human rights implementation; essential guiding principles for the interpretation and implementation of Canada’s human rights obligations; involvement in the implementation process by Indigenous peoples organizations, civil society, Parliament, provincial and territorial legislatures and human rights institutions across the country; and  measures to ensure accountability and access to justice for those affected by human rights abuses. 
MEDIA CONTACT: Jacob Kuehn, Press Officer, Amnesty International; +1-613-744-7667 x236; jkuehn@amnesty.ca.