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A United Nations-affiliated body is reviewing allegations that Canada’s Human Rights Commission discriminated against Black and other minorities, potentially impacting the commission’s role in UN human rights activities, Reuters reported.

The Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions, which accredits national human rights bodies, announced the special review in a report published Friday.

The review follows findings by Canada’s Senate and Treasury Board Secretariat of systemic racial discrimination within the commission. These findings highlighted higher dismissal rates of race-based complaints and the exclusion of Black employees, as well as employees of color being disproportionately denied promotions.

The Canadian Human Rights Commission claimed it has made significant progress in supporting race-based discrimination complaints and is committed to creating a diverse, respectful workplace. It welcomed the review and plans to provide information on its efforts to address systemic anti-Black racism.

The commission manages human rights complaints against the federal government, and its responsibilities include representing the public interest in litigation, conducting research and reporting to Parliament.

It received an “A” status accreditation in 1999 and again in 2006, 2011, 2016 and 2023. A downgrade to “B” status would strip the commission of its independent participation rights at the UN Human Rights Council.

The Black Class Action Secretariat, which filed the complaint in February, cited systemic discrimination as the basis for the review.

Executive Director Nicholas Marcus Thompson warned that a downgrade would significantly impact Canada’s international standing, adding that the Canadian government “cannot claim to be a global leader in human rights while discriminating against its own right here at home.”

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