Human Rights in International Law
Canadian lawyer John Peters Humphrey was the principal author of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Consequently, he was the first to enumerate what universal Human Rights are.
While the Declaration is merely a resolution and not a treaty, its principles are widely accepted worldwide. Therefore, it constitutes customary international law, and can be relied upon in Canadian and other domestic courts.
The Declaration strongly influenced Canadian domestic Human Rights legislation. In fact the first two articles of the Declaration form the foundation of Canadian Human Rights laws protecting equality and freedom from discrimination.
International Human Rights Treaties in Canada
Canada has also ratified the seven principal United Nations Conventions and Covenants concerning Human Rights:
- (1965) International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (accession by Canada in 1970)
- (1966) International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (accession by Canada in 1976)
- (1966) International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ratified by Canada in 1976)
- (1979) Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (ratified by Canada in 1981)
- (1985) Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (ratified by Canada in 1987)
- (1989) Convention on the Rights of the Child (ratified by Canada in 1991)
- (2007) Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (ratified by Canada in 2010)