The Promise and Practice of Protecting Human Rights: Reflections on the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms
N. Kasirer & R. MacDonald eds., Mélanges Paul-André Crépeau, (Yvon Blais) 641-678, 1997
21 Pages Posted: 25 Jul 2013
Date Written: 1997
Respect for human rights and freedoms is a core principle of democratic societies. Underlying this ideal is a general consensus that human dignity, equality, and creative individual and community development are intimately connected to the promotion of human rights and freedoms. The widespread endorsement of the ideal of respect for human rights and freedoms, however, belies a deep schism in approaches to the realization of this ideal. The most divisive debates about human rights in the 1990s have focussed on the processes of human rights protection, including the role of human rights commissions, the efficacy of retroactive individual complaints, the potential for group-based and systemic discrimination complaints, and the fairness and effectiveness of proactive employment, pay, and education equity programs.
In this article, I explore the connection between the promise and the practice of human rights protection, focussing on the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms J On July 25, 1971, Professors Frank R. Scott and Paul-André Crépeau submitted a Report on a Draft Bill concerning Human Rights and Freedoms in Quebec. Most of the recommendations of the Scott-Crépeau report were incorporated into the Quebec Charter which came into effect in 1976. Their historic contribution was reflective of an emerging human rights consciousness in Quebec society. I begin, therefore, with the promise of human rights protection in the Quebec Charter and consider briefly the various influences that shaped its development.
Keywords: human rights protection, Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms
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