If Canada wants a seat on the UN’s Human Rights Council, it needs to step up on its own record

Taha Ghayyur is the executive director of Justice for All Canada, a non-profit human rights and advocacy organization based in Toronto dedicated to preventing genocide.

Canada is bidding for a seat on the United Nations Human Rights Council 14 years after it last acted as a member, but it will likely face scrutiny over its global human-rights advocacy track record in the process.

While Canada has been vocal in condemning atrocities in Ukraine and recognizing the genocides of the Rohingya and Uyghur populations (in Myanmar and China, respectively), critics point out that the country’s human-rights policies are often linked to issues that do not harm its economic or political interests. Canada’s silence on human-rights violations by India, Israel, Egypt and Tunisia, among others, has drawn particular criticism, with even its positioning on Saudi Arabia being called hypocritical owing to its arms sales to the kingdom.