Assembly of First Nations Disappointed by Federal Court Dismissal of Hupacasath Request for Review of Canada-China FIPPA: First Nations Rights, Duty to Consult and Principle of Free, Prior and Informed Consent Must be Upheld
OTTAWA, Aug. 28, 2013 /CNW/ - Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo stated that he is disappointed with yesterday's decision by the Federal Court of Canada to dismiss the application by the Hupacasath First Nation for a review of the Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPPA).
"The Federal Court decision is disappointing but the reality of First Nations rights, the duty to consult and the principles of Free, Prior and Informed Consent as articulated in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples are not going away and must be respected," said AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo. "Any domestic or international agreements that attempt to ignore or deny these rights and principles will be open to challenge and will create legal, political and economic uncertainty for all parties involved. First Nations have warned the federal government that it has a specific responsibility to consult and accommodate First Nations on the development of any international treaties and that all matters of Treaty and First Nations rights and responsibilities require our direct involvement. First Nations will use all available avenues to ensure these rights and commitments are upheld, respected and implemented."
National Chief Atleo expressed these concerns directly in October 2012 in correspondence to the Prime Minister and China's Ambassador to Canada. First Nation Chiefs at the AFN Special Assembly in December 2012 passed a unanimous resolution supporting these principles and, in May 2013, the AFN submitted a statement to the United Nations on extractive industries which spoke to First Nations issues and concerns on foreign investment.
"I want to commend Brenda Sayers, Portfolio Holder for the Canada-China FIPA for the Hupacasath First Nation and the entire Hupacasath First Nation for acting to protect First Nations inherent rights and traditional territories, including lands and waters, from any incursion by domestic or foreign governments," said National Chief Atleo, noting that the Hupacasath First Nation has until the end of September to decide if they will appeal the Federal Court decision. "We call on the federal government to demonstrate its commitment to First Nations rights and its respect for the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by withholding any steps to ratify the agreement during that time."
The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Comms, @AFN_Updates.
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