On October 9, 2012, LRWC, in collaboration with the BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association, Canadian Journalists for Free Expression, the Centre for Law and Democracy, and PEN Canada submitted their report on the state of freedom of expression in Canada to the 16th Session of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR).
The UPR is a process by which the United Nations Human Rights Council reviews every UN member state every four years in order to assess their compliance with international human rights laws and standards, including compliance with the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the International Covenant on Social and Economic Rights. The UPR was created through the UN General Assembly on March 15, 2006 by resolution 60/251, the same resolution that established the Human Rights Council. The last UPR of Canada was held February 3, 2009.
Leading up to the review, NGOs may file reports with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), which then produces an omnibus summary of the NGO reports (though every NGO concern may not be included) and a compilation of information from treaty bodies, special procedures, and a summary of UN instruments ratified.
In its report, LRWC and the other contributors identify significant shortcomings in Canadian law and policy regarding freedom of expression with respect to areas such as the protection of journalist’s sources, access to Internet among First Nations’ communities, criminal defamation laws, the right to information, freedom of assembly, and whistleblower protection. Acknowledging the relative strength of Canadian democracy and respect for human rights, LRWC and the other contributors nevertheless have called on Canada to avoid complacency regarding its poor record on the right to information. To read the report, please click the link below: