Representation and suspicion in Canada’s appearance under the Universal Periodic Review

Benjamin AUTHERS

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Abstract

Introduction In an acerbic concluding comment on Canada’s first appearance under the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), the Cuban delegation reflected on what it saw as the decline of Canada’s dedication to the global good. Cuba indicated that it ‘missed’ Canada’s former ‘pro-third-world approach’ and a national stance that was ‘always on the side of the weakest’. It also lamented that Canada no longer held its former commitment ‘to the noblest causes’. Given the circumstances in which they were made (as a reflection on the UPR and in the UN Human Rights Council), these comments read as an accusation by Cuba that Canada, presented as once having been a champion of social justice and human rights, no longer warrants such a characterisation. The idea that Canada is (or was) a champion of rights has had broad circulation and considerable international currency in the past half-century, currency that has been given further value through Canada’s early involvement in global peace-keeping and the award of the 1957 Nobel Peace Prize to former Canadian Secretary of State for External Affairs (and future Prime Minister) Lester B. Pearson. More recent examples of Canada’s work in promoting human rights ideas can be seen in its sponsorship of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty, which produced The Responsibility to Protect report (2001), or its role in circulating ‘non-papers’ suggesting new human rights reporting procedures for what ultimately became the Universal Periodic Review.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHuman Rights and the Universal Periodic Review
Subtitle of host publicationRituals and Ritualism
EditorsHilary Charlesworth, Emma Larking
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
PublisherCambridge University Press
Pages169-186
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781316091289
ISBN (Print)9781107086302
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameHuman Rights and the Universal Periodic Review: Rituals and Ritualism

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AUTHERS, B. (2015). Representation and suspicion in Canada’s appearance under the Universal Periodic Review. In H. Charlesworth, & E. Larking (Eds.), Human Rights and the Universal Periodic Review: Rituals and Ritualism (pp. 169-186). (Human Rights and the Universal Periodic Review: Rituals and Ritualism). United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781316091289.013