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

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    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: Rituals and Ritualism
    Editors Emma Larking and Hilary Charlesworth
    Place of PublicationCambridge, United Kingdom
    PublisherCambridge University Press
    ISBN (Print)9781107086302
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


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