OTTAWA – On the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Peter Julian (Burnaby–New Westminster) introduced his private member’s bill, to extend the authority of Canada’s Federal Court to protect foreign citizens against violations of international law that occur outside of Canada. On December 10, 1948, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations.

The International Promotion and Protection of Human Rights Act (IPPHRA) was developed in close cooperation with Nick Milanovic, Adjunct Professor at the Department of Law of Carleton University, and Mark Rowlinson, Counsel for the United Steelworkers. It is endorsed by the Canadian Association of Labour Lawyers.

This innovative bill will hold violators accountable for gross human rights abuses regardless of where they take place. The IPPHRA would allow lawsuits in Canada for a host of universal human rights violations such as genocide and torture. In addition, it would prohibit activity that significantly degrades the environment or violates key international labour rights. The proposed legislation will allow the victims of these human rights abuses to obtain damages from the perpetrators of these injustices.

“It is high time that Canadian corporate entities lead by example and take responsibility for human rights abuses committed by their corporations outside Canadian borders,” said Julian. “This bill would ensure that victims can seek compensation and would ultimately discourage corporations and individuals from disregarding basic human rights.”

The United States has had legislation that grants its courts the authority to enforce international law since 1789. American courts have interpreted these laws to apply to a host of international human rights claims such as genocide and slavery. These laws have allowed lawsuits against dictators, generals, police and paramilitary groups as well as against corporations allegedly involved in various international human, environmental and labour rights abuses.

“This proposed legislation condemns international human rights abusers who are, in essence, enemies of all humankind. It is now time for each federal representative to declare themselves for the human dignity of each person on this globe by voting for this bill,” stated Milanovic.