The UN expresses its concern about the draft law on secularism

Three experts appointed by the United Nations Human Rights Council express their “concern” over the Quebec government’s draft law on secularism.
In a letter to the Permanent Mission of Canada to the United Nations, these special rapporteurs argue that provisions are “likely to undermine the freedom of conscience and religion and the principles of equality”.

The three experts are concerned about the lack of definition of religious symbols that “may lead to a discretionary and potentially discriminatory interpretation”.

Radio-Canada first reported this letter to the Permanent Mission of Canada on Wednesday.

The five-page long letter is dated May 17 and written in French.

The signatories are particularly concerned about certain impacts that would violate the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, which Canada ratified on October 14, 1970.

“Since religion often intertwines with racial and ethnic affiliations, these legal provisions may have a discriminatory and disproportionate impact on racial and ethnic groups and thus lead to racial discrimination in violation of the Convention,” he said. read in this letter.

The three special rapporteurs express particular concern about the consequences for those who may be “disadvantaged or excluded from employment or holding a public post because of the potential effects of the proposed bill”.

They also disagree with the provision regarding the provision and reception of certain services with their faces uncovered, fearing that this “in fact mainly affects certain religious minorities”.

In a brief statement sent to the CBC, Simon Jolin-Barrette, the Government House Leader and Minister of Immigration, takes note of the letter and promises to analyze it well.

“The Government of Quebec is proud of Bill 21; he is pragmatic, applicable and moderate. It reflects the consensus of the largest number of Quebecers on this issue. This bill is the logical and legitimate follow-up to a specific history in Quebec. It aims to ensure a better life together by establishing a typical Quebec model of secularism, “says the press secretary of the Minister, Marc-Andre Gosselin.

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