Protocol for Follow-up to Recommendations from International Human Rights Bodies
On this page
- Roles and Responsibilities
- Protocol application
- Implementation of the Protocol
- Annex A
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.
- Promotes the full participation of FPT governments in following up on the recommendationsFootnote 3 made by various international bodies responsible for the protection and promotion of human rights.
- Outlines an approach for FPT governments in considering and responding to these recommendations.
- Aims to enhance the implementation of international human rights obligations and the protection and promotion of human rights in Canada and to improve an understanding of actions undertaken by Canada to meet its international human rights obligations.
The following principles are underpinned by the CCOHR’s Mandate and Modalities:
- It establishes a collaborative approach, within and between governments, while allowing each jurisdiction to take into account their unique challenges, capacities and priorities;
- It does not affect the responsibility of respective FPT governments. Each CCOHR member remains responsible for acting on behalf of and is accountable to their respective government;
- It promotes proactive dissemination and sharing of information that takes into account the principles of good governance.
The Protocol applies to the recommendations made by or through:
- International treaty bodies following Canada’s participation in an appearance before a committee, or in their final views following a complaint or an inquiry;
- Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council;
- Other United Nations Member States under the Universal Periodic Review;
- The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (i.e. recommendations in their final opinions on individual complaints, recommendations of their special procedures and recommendations made following general hearings).
Implementation of the Protocol
The Government of Canada, as co-chair of the CCOHR and responsible for its secretariat:
- Provides secretarial services and support for CCOHR activities carried out under the Protocol;
- Forwards recommendations to CCOHR members;
- Shares, as appropriate, documents (e.g., backgrounders, basic briefing materials, etc.) to explain Canada’s international human rights obligations and to support CCOHR member governments in the analysis and implementation of recommendations; and
- Shares, as appropriate, a timeline for the analysis and consideration of recommendations in accordance with the modalities established by the international mechanisms responsible for the promotion and protection of human rights.
- Identify and inform, within their respective governments, relevant departments responsible for the subject matter of the recommendations to facilitate their consideration. To this end, they shall establish such mechanisms, as they deem appropriate, to facilitate the sharing of information and the engagement within their governments.
Each FPT government:
- Determines, according to the mechanism it deems appropriate, the recommendations that could be prioritized and implemented in its jurisdiction; and
- Targets actions to be prioritized for discussion or in-depth review relating to the recommendations.
- Determine which recommendations may be prioritized for further CCOHR discussion/consideration;
- Exchange, on an ongoing basis, information on the implementation of the Protocol and actions undertaken to address recommendations, including sharing best practices; and
- Establish links, through the two co-chairs, with other FPT tables relevant to the content and issues raised in the recommendations.
Monitoring and follow-up
- Share information on their respective governments’ achievements and challenges regarding the implementation of the Protocol at the annual meeting of the CCOHR and, if appropriate, with the SOCHR;
- Participate in determining the outline for reporting to treaty bodies to ensure that reports provide a balanced assessment of the progress made by FPT governments in implementing the recommendations;
- Collaborate with the CCOHR Secretariat to provide general information to civil society and Indigenous groups on actions taken to implement the recommendations. This information may also be disseminated by each FPT government, as they deem appropriate;
- Include in their respective governments’ contributions to Canada’s reports information on key measures undertaken to implement the recommendations; and
- Jointly ensure that the implementation of the Protocol is on the agenda of FPT meetings of ministers responsible for human rights when appropriate.
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.
|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
|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
|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
|Committee on the Rights of the Child
Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), ratification in 2010
|Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
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