Canada’s speech to UNHRC: Commissioner Navi Pillay & her staff “failed to do proper due diligence”

UN Watch transcript of statement by Canada to UN Human Rights Council, delivered by Ambassador Elissa Golberg, June 18, 2012, under Agenda Item 2 (High Commissioner’s Report).

Thank you, Mr. President.

Canada is disappointed that in a world where Iran’s treatment of political prisoners, hard-line governments like Belarus’ jailing of human rights defenders, and countries like Sri Lanka have yet to ensure full accountability in addressing serious human rights violations, the High Commissioner would misguidedly include the reference in her report to the situation in Quebec.

She and her staff have failed to do proper due diligence on this matter. Had they done so, they would have uncovered some basic facts that demonstrate the folly of equating Canada with others that she spoke of.

These facts include:

First: The right to peaceful assembly is guaranteed by the Canadian Constitution, as is the freedom of assembly. Non-violent assemblies and demonstrations receive the highest level of legal protection in Canada.

The law which has attracted the High Commissioner’s interest was adopted by an elected legislative assembly. The law enables students to receive instruction from post-secondary institutions they attend, which were disrupted by increasingly aggressive protests.

The government of Quebec has pursued mediation efforts with student representatives. Demonstrations continue to occur — daily. Freedom of assembly is alive and well in Quebec. The law adopted in Quebec frames the exercise of these freedoms by preserving peace, order and public safety.

Also a fact: Canada has a strong and independent judicial system. Individuals or groups who believe that their rights have been infringed can seek a remedy before independent decision-makers.

And fact: Quebec courts have been seized of the matter and will determine whether Quebec’s law is unconstitutional or not. By failing to do this homework, the High Commissioner has prejudged the issue and wasted a valuable opportunity to further focus on true human rights abuses.

This in a world where innocent Syrians continue to bear the brunt of the Assad regime’s wrath, including, most devastatingly, children. We reiterate our call for an end to the violence, for humanitarian access to be granted, and we support measures that will result in accountability for crimes committed. Canada would be interested in more detail from the High Commissioner on the activities of her office to support the 6-point plan of Kofi Annan.

Grave and systematic violations of human rights also continue in North Korea, where unimaginable sufferings continue, particularly in the North Korean gulags. Camps of political prisoners and their families, public executions, starvation, forced abductions, and general deprivation of rights and freedoms, including a lack of religious freedom and non-respect of the principle of non-refoulement by neighboring countries are all of grave concern.

The situation in Mali and of the broader Sahel region is also very troubling. Canada is encouraged by signals that the Council may be exploring ways to respond to what is an increasingly urgent situation.

In fact, Mr. President, Canada will continue to do what is right, standing up for freedom, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law.

I thank you.

11 Responses to “Canada’s speech to UNHRC: Commissioner Navi Pillay & her staff “failed to do proper due diligence””

  • Bless Canada, the UN has become a joke sadly. US and Canada should take their UN funding money home and let the UN move to Iran or another one of their favorite garden spots they kiss up to. Let them be what they want to be, League of Nations II.

  • Thankfully Canada knows what it is talking about. As usual the UN does NOTHING about real issues….what a farce!!!!

  • Me. Pillay is a front for the worst despicable nations practicing deceit, terrorism, racism and murder. It is no wonder that so many have no respect for the UN anymore. She should be turfed and Canada should cut its dues to the UN because of those like her who would scapegoat and hang the innocent.

  • That UNHRC and her Commissioner should single out Canada for blame
    is an indication of the level of depravation and submission to
    bloodthirsty dictatures this institution has come down to. All the
    actions of UNHRC, in recent years, have seemed to tend toward the
    destruction of all values that have made civilization possible. Till
    when will this masquerade continue ?

  • Navi Pillay and her HRC makes a mockery of its exalted mandate and is the laughing stock of the Free World


  • Bonnie Prince Charlie

    This speech by Commissioner Pillay tells us everything we need to know about the UNHCR and the UN. It would be a joke if it wasn’t so serious. Well done Canada for standing up to these unprincipled bullies. If more countries showed such integrity, perhaps the position and mindset of the UN etc could be changed. But that would take courage.

  • ahhm… “blame Canada blame Canada…”
    (someone had to).

  • People on this blog you are all ignorant, canada is to blame because it is their responsability as a federal gov to be the police and justice of all province in canada, Canada have done nothing to stop the violent police on civilian. the prime minister of quebec has showed many ways his dictatorship and thirst of power.

    we in quebec we pay more taxes and fees then you, Quebec provides more ressources then the rest of Canada. if you are so dumb not to see and understand what is going in Quebec even mcleans and many says Quebec gov is most corrupted gov in Canada what Canada do about that nothing. So the blame goes to Canada because the federal do not step down and and stop charest with his abusif law.

    if you hate so much french quebekors i suggest you to seprate yourself from us. and please dont come to our province anymore. ignorant humanity.

  • What is more pathetic is the title in a local Vancouver paper (24 hour news…not the greatest paper but read on the subway by many) “UN membership questioned after Canada criticized on human rights” of all countries…

  • Tous les états démocratiques membres de, l’ONU et de ses sattélites, feraient grand bien à l’humanité entiére en se retirant de cette organisation qui est devenue une grande farce. cette organisation profite seulement aux dictatures qui font payer la note aux démocraties. j’espere que cet épisode avec l’ONU va reveiller nos chefs d’état dans les démocraties.

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