OTTAWA, Feb. 13, 2012 /CNW/ - Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National
Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo continues calls for fair and equitable
treatment of First Nation children and families on the first day of
Federal Court appeal hearings regarding the Canadian Human Rights
Tribunal's (CHRT) dismissal of a human rights complaint filed by AFN
and the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society (FNCFCS) in 2007.
"Equity for our children is a first imperative and necessary to create
safety, security and to ensure our children have the opportunity to
succeed," said AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo, who attended this
morning's hearing at the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa. "First
Nations must have access to human rights mechanisms for basic
services. We must end discrimination and support and enable success
for this generation and future generations."
On March 15, 2011 the CHRT dismissed a 2007 complaint filed by AFN and
FNCFCSC. The human rights complaint is based on the discrimination
caused by unequal funding for First Nation children in the child
welfare system. The Chair of the CHRT dismissed the complaint based on
a questionable legal basis which suggests the federal government can
provide a different and inequitable level of service to First Nation
children as long as the provinces and territories provide the service
to all other children.
"Just as we said when we gathered last month for the Crown-First Nations
Gathering, First Nations are committed to a path of mutual respect.
This means fairness, recognition and jointly designed approaches that
work for our peoples," said National Chief Atleo. "We are standing
firm in protecting our rights and our children. We will be vigilant."
Today is the first day of a three day hearing for presentation of
appeal. The Federal Court will hear arguments from AFN, FNCFCS,
Canadian Human Rights Commission, Chiefs of Ontario, Amnesty
International and the Government of Canada.
On Parliament Hill tomorrow, about 700 students from Ottawa area,
Manitoba and New Brunswick will gather for "Have a Heart Day" to raise
awareness of a number of campaigns seeking to achieve equity in
services for First Nation children, including "I am a Witness,
Shannen's Dream and Jordan's Principle."
National Chief Atleo will be in Vancouver tomorrow participating in the
annual memorial march for Missing and Murdered Aboriginal women.
The Assembly of First Nation is the national organization representing
First Nation citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @NCAtleo, @AFN_Comms, @AFN_Updates.
SOURCE ASSEMBLY OF FIRST NATIONS
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