Canada and the ratification of the Optional Protocol
On 5 June, the APT appeared before the Sub-committee on International Human Rights of the House of Commons of Canada, in the context of public hearings on the question of the ratification of the OPCAT by that country. On that occasion, the APT was able to explain why it considers that Canada’s adherence to the Protocol would be beneficial not only for its citizens but also for people deprived of their liberty beyond the country’s borders. Canada being an active member of many multilateral institutions, including the Commonwealth and La Francophonie, it would then be in a position to promote increased protection against torture and other forms of ill-treatment to its counterparts within these fora.
Canada has always supported the OPCAT, and has played an active role within the Working Group which spent many years drafting the text of the OPCAT. The ratification has been delayed because of a volatile political context in Ottawa, where two minority governments were elected between 2004 and 2006. The Liberal and Conservative governments have made a number of declarations to the effect that discussions between relevant departments, as well as with the provinces and territories which comprise the Federation were underway.
The OPCAT Campaign in Canada is run in co-operation with the local section of Amnesty International and the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies.