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UN rights chief chides Canada on weakened rights advocacy

[JURIST] UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour [official website] Monday chided the Canadian government for not doing enough to maintain Canada's reputation in the global community as an advocate for human rights [JURIST news archive]. Arbour, a former Canadian Supreme Court justice, said at a diversity conference in Ottawa that her country's longstanding commitment to the protection and advancement of rights worldwide has been slipping, especially after Canada's rejection of a new UN treaty [text] outlining the global human rights of approximately 370 million indigenous people and banning discrimination against them. The treaty text was approved by the UN General Assembly [JURIST report] last month despite additional opposition by the United States, Australia, and New Zealand. Canadian UN ambassador John McNee [official website] at the time expressed "significant concerns" [statement text] that the treaty contradicted provisions of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms [text] and did not provide adequate guidance on issues such as implementation.

In June, Amnesty International (AI) accused [JURIST report] the Conservative Party government of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper [official website; JURIST news archive] of actively lobbying other states with questionable human rights records to oppose the UN declaration. Reuters has more.

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