This news brought to you by: INTER PRESS SERVICE
| 4.Aug.22 | Twitter
What Makes a Human Rights Success?
- The largest ever settlement in Canadian legal history, 40 billion Canadian dollars, occurred in 2022, but it didnÃ¢Â€Â™t come from a court Ã¢Â€Â“ it followed a decision by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal. In 2016 the Tribunal affirmed a complaint that the Government of CanadaÃ¢Â€Â™s child welfare system discriminated against First Nations children. (First Nations are one of three groups of Indigenous people in Canada). When I heard about that amount and subsequently how the government was negotiating the details of that settlement, I was astounded. Although IÃ¢Â€Â™ve had an interest in and reported regularly about human rights in the past three decades, my most intense experience has been here in Nepal, where for a couple of years I worked at the United Nations human rights office. NepalÃ¢Â€Â™s Human Rights Commission has a long history of having its recommendations virtually ignored by the government of the day. In fact, since 2000, only 12% of the NHRCÃ¢Â€Â™s 810 recommendations have been fully implemented. So when I compared the situation in Nepal to the tribunalÃ¢Â€Â™s decision and aftermath in Canada, my first question was Ã¢Â€Â˜howÃ¢Â€Â™? How could the human rights situation in the two countries be so different that one government was compelled to pay out $40 billion for discrimination while another could virtually ignore recommendations? First, I have to confess that my understanding of the human rights framework in Canada and Nepal was lacking. As todayÃ¢Â€Â™s guest, Professor Anne Levesque from the University of Ottawa, explains, Canada, like Nepal, has a federal human rights commission (as well as commissions in its provinces). But Canada also has the tribunal, a quasi-judicial body that hears complaints and can issue orders. Nepal however, lacks a human rights body that has legal teeth. But is that the whole story, or are there other reasons why the Government of Canada must Ã¢Â€Â“ and does Ã¢Â€Â“ pay up when it loses a human rights case while the Government of Nepal basically files away the NHRCÃ¢Â€Â™s recommendations for some later date? Nepal, by the way, is not a human rights pariah. It is serving its second consecutive term on the UN Human Rights Council and the NHRC has been given an Ã¢Â€Â˜AÃ¢Â€Â™ rating by an independent organization for conforming to international standards. Resources As a lawyer whoÃ¢Â€Â™s helped fight for the rights of First Nations children, hereÃ¢Â€Â™s what you need to know about the $40 billion child welfare agreements Ã¢Â€Â“ article by Anne Levesque Ruling of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal Public advocacy for the First Nations Child Welfare complaint