United Nations Committee Criticizes Canada for Persistent Poverty in the Midst of Wealth: Notes Discriminatory Impact on Women

Tuesday, July 27 2010

May 23, 2006 (Ottawa) In Concluding Observations released yesterday in Geneva, the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights expressed great concern about persistently high rates of poverty among women, Aboriginal peoples, African Canadians, people with disabilities, youth and single mothers. The Committee reviewed Canada's 4th and 5th periodic reports on its compliance with the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights during its 36th session, which ended in Geneva on Friday.

"The Committee concluded that Canada is failing to fulfill the rights in the Covenant, including the right to an adequate standard of living, despite Canada's wealth and economic prosperity," said Shelagh Day, who was at the review to represent FAFIA, a broad alliance of women's and human rights groups, and the National Association of Women and the Law. "The Committee is also concerned that Canada's human rights deficiencies have a discriminatory impact on the women who are already significantly disadvantaged."

"The Committee has made important recommendations to Canada. If implemented, these steps would immeasurably improve women's lives," said Day. These include:

"The key issue now is Canada's implementation of the treaty body recommendations. There is no question - Canada has the wealth and the infrastructure necessary to correct the deficiencies in its human rights record," said Day. "And Canada cannot ignore the critical assessments from United Nations treaty bodies of its own performance, while being a member of the new United Nations Human Rights Council and urging others to respect the United Nations human rights system. Specific, transparent follow-up procedures are needed if Canada is to be accountable for its human rights obligations of Canadians. Action is needed now."


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