Enforced Disappearances in Canada
Submission to Canada's 4th Universal Periodic Review by the UN Human Rights Council, 2023
On 4 April 2023, Peacemakers Trust made a submission to the UN Human Rights Council for Canada's fourth Universal Periodic Review scheduled for November 2023. The Submission follows up recommendations noted by Canada at its third Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in 2018. At that time, Uruguay, France, Belgium, Japan, Portugal, and Costa Rica recommended that Canada become a State Party to the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (Convention on Enforced Disappearance). In noting this recommendation, Canada explained that federal, provincial, and territorial governments were "in the process of analysing the Convention on Enforced Disappearance and potential domestic considerations." However, to date, there is no reported timeline for these consultations.
Peacemakers Trust's submission highlights concerns and makes recommendations regarding Canada's pattern of failure to ensure effective and timely remedies for enforced or involuntary disappearances of Indigenous persons. The submission discusses three case types of suspected enforced disappearances in Canada:
- Children who remain unaccounted for after going missing from detention in Canada's government-sponsored Indian Residential Schools;
- Indigenous women, girls, two-spirit, and others with diverse gender identities who have disappeared without timely or adequate investigation; and
- Suspected temporary enforced disappearances of Indigenous persons detained by police;
Peacemakers Trust recommended that Canada:
- Take immediate steps to create a timeline for expedited consultation with federal, provincial, territorial, and municipal governments, Indigenous Peoples, and civil society, towards accession to the Convention on Enforced Disappearance.
- Take immediate steps to revise the Criminal Code of Canada to ensure that enforced disappearance is a stand-alone offence that complies with the Declaration on the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance and the Convention on Enforced Disappearance.
- Immediately create a time-bound national action plan in consultation with federal, provincial, territorial, municipal governments, Indigenous Peoples, and civil society, to ensure that police and other officials implement the Minnesota Protocol for investigation of serious crimes, without discrimination, including each and every potentially unlawful death or disappearance.
See the full submission (pdf).