UN Reviews Canada’s Human Rights Record

Posted on May, 17 2018 by Action Canada

Last week, Canada had its third Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at the United Nations.

What is the UPR? It is a UN human rights process where each country’s human rights record is reviewed by other UN members, and it was Canada’s turn. The UPR is a powerful tool to hold governments accountable for sexual and reproductive rights violations, and to advocate for change.

Sexual and reproductive rights are human rights. Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights worked tirelessly to prepare for Canada’s review, ensuring that violations of sexual and reproductive rights were raised. We prepared a report on Canada’s track record focusing on unequal abortion access, lack of comprehensive sexuality education, and the criminalization of sex work. We spent weeks visiting embassies here in Canada to ensure that UN member states would raise our issues during Canada’s UPR Review.

Click here to read our report for Canada’s UPR Review

Because of our advocacy work, this is the first UPR review in which Canada received recommendations related to sexual and reproductive health and rights! 

Here’s what countries are asking Canada to do: 

  • Ensure equal access to abortion
  • Ensure equal access to comprehensive sexuality education across provinces and territories
  • Support programs to advance gender equality and prevent gender-based violence
  • Step up measures to address systemic discrimination against LGBTQ2SI people and communities
  • Take steps to investigate and prosecute perpetrators of forced sterilization
  • Ensure universal access to health care

Click here for the full list of UPR30 sexual rights recommendations for all countries under review. 

Canada now has until September to decide which recommendations it will accept or reject. Last week in advance of the UPR Parliamentarians across parties, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, rose in Parliament to declare that abortion is a right.

Now our work begins to ensure our government stays true to their words when September comes. We will work with government officials across the country to improve not only access to abortion but also access to a comprehensive package of sexual and reproductive health information and services, including comprehensive sexuality education.