Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee
Human Right Council Criticized

Statement by Minister MacKay on Final Decisions of Fifth Session
of Human Rights Council

June 20, 2007

The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, today made the following statement regarding the conclusion of the institution-building phase of the United Nations Human Rights Council at its fifth regular session in Geneva on June 19, 2007.

"Canada is very disappointed that the Human Rights Council, in the important decisions that affect its future work, did not fully respect the principles upon which it is founded.

"In our view, the Council has failed to meet the test of its principles of universality, impartiality, objectivity and non-selectivity. Specifically, Canada cannot accept the inclusion of a permanent agenda item on Palestine and the occupied Arab territories, as it singles out one situation for highly politicized, partial and subjective treatment of a complex issue.

"We are also distressed that the human rights situations in a number of countries whose human rights records are of concern, including Belarus and Cuba, will not get the attention that we believe they warrant, as the Council failed to renew these two country-specific mandates. Lack of cooperation with the full range of UN human rights mechanisms should not be rewarded.

"Canada has actively worked this past year to make the Council a credible, effective and responsive body. We will continue to insist that the Council uphold its own founding principles, as agreed by the United Nations General Assembly in its resolution creating the Council."