UN rights experts criticize Canada’s failure to end racist drug policies affecting Black and Indigenous people

TORONTO, August 28, 2017 — The Government of Canada must take immediate steps to implement recommendations by the United Nations’ highest body for combatting racism calling for an end to punitive drug policies that disproportionately impact Black and Indigenous Peoples, the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network said today.

In its Concluding Observations on its review of Canada, which occurred from August 14–15, 2017, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) expressed serious concern about the disproportionately high rate of incarceration of Indigenous and Black people for drug crimes in Canada — a violation of the government’s obligations under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. The expert body called on Canada to re-examine its drug policies and provide evidence-based alternatives to incarceration for non-violent drug users.