Ottawa, Feb. 26, 2007 — The Geneva-based non-governmental organization UN Watch today presented at Parliament in Ottawa a “Human Rights Scorecard” assessing Canada’s record on human rights and democracy issues at the United Nations in 2006-07.
The report assessed Canada’s actions in the ongoing sessions of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva and the UN General Assembly in New York. The study found that Canada voted positively at the UN on human rights and democracy issues—the most positively, in fact, of any Human Rights Council member. In the Council, Canada voted to hold Sudan accountable for atrocities in Darfur, and in the General Assembly, it voted to censure egregious human rights violators Iran, North Korea, Belarus, Burma/Myanmar, and Uzbekistan. In addition, Canada showed solid opposition to repressive regimes’ attempts to not only spoil needed reform but undermine the few meaningful mechanisms of UN human rights protection that already exist.
Nevertheless, the study also revealed that Canada did not bring initiatives or speak out as strongly or as often against as many abuser states as it could have. Although Canada should be commended for the positive actions it did take, it still said or did nothing about the violations of 13 of the world’s 19 most repressive regimes.
The report urges Canada to commit itself to speaking out on far more situations of gross violations, and to do so more vigorously. It also calls upon Canada to marshal the considerable international respect it enjoys and mobilize an alliance of democracies to take the initiative to ensure that the UN’s human rights bodies live up to their promise.