February 9, 2015
Equitas is proud to have contributed to the development of the new International Development and Humanitarian Assistance Civil Society Partnership Policy that was released by the Minister for International Development and La Francophonie, the Honourable Christian Paradis. This policy highlights Canada’s resolve to work with civil society to promote democracy and human rights.
“We are very pleased to see that the new policy takes into account many of the comments made by Equitas and other Canadian civil society organizations (CSOs),” says Ian Hamilton, Executive Director of Equitas. Equitas is particularly pleased that the policy statement reflects Canada’s values and priorities in the promotion and respect of human rights (especially those of vulnerable and marginalized groups) and of gender equality.
The Policy also states that civil society can flourish only if it operates in an environment that protects and promotes responsible institutions, respecting human rights, and where the rule of law promotes freedom of expression, of association and of peaceful assembly. Equitas also welcomes the decision of Minister Paradis to hold annual consultations with CSOs and create a ministerial advisory council with members of civil society and other actors.
Canadian civil society and human rights
The policy states in part that Canadian civil society organizations dedicated to international development and humanitarian assistance “support the realization of human rights internationally, in particular, those of vulnerable and marginalized groups such as children, persons with disabilities and from ethnic and religious minorities and of indigenous origin, especially the rights of women and girls”. The document also states that “the views of marginalized populations such as women, children, seniors, the disabled, refugees, and internally displaced people, as well as indigenous, religious, ethnic, indigenous, and sexual minorities, are particularly germane. “
The International Development and Humanitarian Assistance Civil Society Partnership Policy has an important framework for strengthening the collaboration between Canadian CSOs and government. Equitas looks forward to continuing to work with the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD) to ensure that these policy principles become operational and contribute to more effective development and fulfillment of the human rights of all.