UN Human Rights Council Tackles Canada
The UN Human Rights Council is set to discuss a report on issues affecting African-Canadians. The report also contains recommendations to the federal government, such as apologizing for slavery and considering providing reparations for historical injustices.
The council explains that “History informs anti-black racism and racial stereotypes that are so deeply entrenched in institutions, policies, and practices, that its institutional and systemic forms are either functionally normalized or rendered invisible, especially to the dominant group.”
They continue to argue that Canada maintains within in it a deep and systematic problem in regards to slavery. This is quite interesting as the British empire had already banned slavery in 1834, and Canada had not become a self-governing dominion until 1867.
Canada also supported the abolitionist movement in the northern U.S. by participated in the Underground Railway that moved escaped slaves out of Canada so that they could not be returned to their masters under the provisions of the Fugitive Slave Act.
Nova Scotia Targeted
The report points out the perhaps darker history of Nova Scotia, where over the course of generations, African-Nova Scotian have demonstrated “resistance and resilience” to develop a distinct culture.
In Halifax, the community of Africville thrived despite extreme opposition.
The working group said city officials employed “deplorable tactics” to displace Africville’s black residents when the neighborhood was razed in the late 1960s, marking a “dark period” in Nova Scotian history.
The city offered a formal apology in 2010 and allocated $3 million to build a museum on the site, which members of the working group welcomed as a recognition of its significance to the African-Nova Scotian community.
The report also suggests that Canada address presumed systemic racism in the Canadian criminal justice system because blacks are “extraordinarily overrepresented” when it comes to being targets of police violence.
The Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission has been invited to address the human rights council on Monday.