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CAEFS attends UPR in Geneva


The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is the mechanism through with member states of the United Nations are provided the opportunity to assess and comment on the human rights records of other member states. This year marked the fourth periodic review for Canada and the Canadian delegation was led by Minister of Justice Arif Virani.

Leading up to the UPR, on October 16th, 2023 CAEFS joined a number of Canadian civil society organizations at the Amnesty Canada headquarters to discuss pressing human rights issues with the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Turk.

On November 8th, CAEFS participated in a side event organized and moderated by Amnesty Canada English and French sections to bring to light some of the pressing human rights issues in Canada. The event was held at the UN headquarters in Geneva on November 8th, 2023, and included remarks on the criminalization of the Wet’suwet’en land defenders, the human rights violations experienced by the Innu community of Pessamit in Quebec, A class action lawsuit on behalf of Black Canadians to permanently address systemic racism and discrimination in the Public Service of Canada, and the human rights issues that CAEFS advocates on with regards to criminalized women and gender-diverse people, including the mass incarceration of Indigenous women and gender-diverse people and the need for binding oversight.

On November 10th, Canada presented on their human rights record and heard recommendations from over 120 member states at the UPR in Geneva. The ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT) was recommended by more than 20 States who participated in the review. CAEFS has advocated for the ratification to OPCAT to add a layer of accountability to the oversight of prisons in Canada. CAEFS was also pleased to hear specific recommendations to reduce the mass incarceration of Indigenous women and gender-diverse people by a number of States. We will continue to urge Canada to take real and concrete steps over the coming years to address these important issues in light of its candidacy for a seat on the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) for the 2028 to 2030 term.