Protocol for Follow-up to Recommendations from International Human Rights Bodies

Footnote 1

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Background

Canada is a party to several international human rights treatiesFootnote 2 adopted in recent decades. Implementation of these treaties is supported by measures taken by federal, provincial and territorial (FPT) governments. FPT governments participate actively in international human rights reporting processes. The reporting process includes the preparation and submission of reports on measures taken by FPT governments to support implementation of Canada’s treaty obligations and appearances before international human rights bodies.

United Nations (UN) human rights treaty bodies are composed of independent experts whose mandate is to monitor and make recommendations to States Parties on the implementation of international human rights treaties. Other UN human rights mechanisms that look at Canada’s human rights implementation include the Human Rights Council’s Special Procedures as well as the Universal Periodic Review. Some international and regional mechanisms, such as the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, also address complaints from citizens or organizations.

Since 2000, some international mechanisms and bodies have called on Canada to develop tools to meet its international human rights obligations in a more effective and coordinated manner. Various Indigenous and civil society groups in Canada have reiterated these calls to action, as well as the Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights.

It is in this context that FPT ministers responsible for human rights, at a ministerial meeting in December 2017, tasked the Continuing Committee of Officials on Human Rights (CCOHR) with developing a protocol for following up on the recommendations that Canada receives from international human rights bodies.

The CCOHR is composed of representatives from FPT governments. It is co-chaired by a representative of the Government of Canada and a representative of a provincial or territorial government. The CCOHR’s secretariat resides in the Department of Canadian Heritage. The CCOHR is overseen and guided by the FPT Senior Officials Committee Responsible for Human Rights (SOCHR) composed of Assistant Deputy Ministers representing FPT governments.

The development and implementation of the CCOHR Protocol for follow-up to Recommendations from International Human Rights Bodies (the Protocol), is consistent with the CCOHR's mandate to “encourage information exchange among governments in Canada with respect to the interpretation and implementation of international human rights instruments” and to “facilitate Canada’s international human rights reporting” including “facilitating discussion within and between governments with respect to recommendations Canada receives from United Nations human rights bodies”.

Roles and Responsibilities

The CCOHR supports governments in their implementation of the Protocol and reports annually to the SOCHR.

The SOCHR’s mandate includes monitoring the application of the Protocol. SOCHR members promote the Protocol’s implementation within their respective governments, as they each determine appropriate.

Objectives

The Protocol:

Principles

The following principles are underpinned by the CCOHR’s Mandate and Modalities:

Collaboration

Autonomy

Transparency

Protocol application

The Protocol applies to the recommendations made by or through:

Implementation of the Protocol

Information sharing

The Government of Canada, as co-chair of the CCOHR and responsible for its secretariat:

CCOHR members:

Collaboration

Each FPT government:

CCOHR members:

Monitoring and follow-up

CCOHR members:

Modification

CCOHR members may agree, by consensus, to make amendments to the Protocol if they consider it necessary and relevant. These amendments, if necessary, shall be approved by the SOCHR.

Annex A

International Human Rights Treaties to which Canada is a State Party Respective United Nations Treaty Bodies

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), accession in 1976

  • Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (OP-ICCPR), accession in 1976
  • Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty (OP2-ICCPR), accession in 2005
Human Rights Committee
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), accession in 1976; Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), ratification in 1970 Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), ratification in 1981

  • Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (OP-CEDAW), accession in 2002
Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women
Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), ratification in 1987 Committee against Torture

Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), ratification in 1991. Reservations: Article 12(2) and Article 37(c); Statement of understanding: Article 30

  • Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict (OP-CRC-CA), ratification in 2000
  • Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography (OP-CRC-SC), ratification in 2005
Committee on the Rights of the Child

Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), ratification in 2010. Reservation: Article 12 (2), (3) and (4); declarations: Articles 12 and 33 (2)

  • Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (OP-CRPD), accession in 2018
Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
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