New federal cabinet ministers must uphold and protect human rights: Amnesty International
November 18, 2019
OTTAWA – Today, two days before Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unveils his new cabinet, Amnesty International is publishing an open letter urging the Prime Minister to prioritize human rights in the mandates of all ministers.
In the letter, Amnesty International Canada Secretary General Alex Neve and Amnistie internationale Canada francophone Executive Director France-Isabelle Langlois say upholding and promoting human rights “must be a hallmark” of the Liberal Party’s second term of government.
“It is vital that your government at all times puts human rights first in international diplomacy, and does not allow economic or other strategic considerations to create double standards,” the letter states. “It is also vital that human rights not be compromised or sidelined in any of the laws you propose, policies you adopt or decisions you take.”
Amnesty International is recommending the Liberal Party work with all federal parties to:
- Advance bold action to address the global climate crisis by halving carbon emissions by 2030 and achieving net-zero emissions as soon as possible thereafter.
- Prioritize adoption of legislation to implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
- Address mercury poisoning at Grassy Narrows First Nation, including by immediately building a specialized health care facility in the community.
- Develop a national action plan to prevent and address gender-based violence as well as a separate action plan on violence against Indigenous women, girls and two-spirit people.
- Implement the United Nations Committee against Torture’s recommendations to end and address sterilization of Indigenous women without their consent.
- Suspend the Canada/US Safe Third Country Agreement with respect to refugee protection.
- Establish a maximum time limit on the duration of immigration detention.
- Strengthen corporate accountability for human rights by granting full investigative powers to the Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise and by adopting mandatory human rights due diligence legislation.
- Address racism in policing, including by ending racial profiling and carding.
- Ensure that the use of solitary confinement in Canadian prisons conforms to the UN’s Mandela Rules.
Please see the attached letter for a full explanation of Amnesty International’s 10 recommendations.
The federal cabinet will be announced on Nov. 20.
To arrange an interview with an Amnesty International spokesperson, either in advance of the cabinet announcement, or to provide feedback after the unveiling, please contact: Lucy Scholey, Media Relations, Amnesty International Canada (English branch), 613-853-2142, firstname.lastname@example.org