CHRC agrees human rights problems have reached "crisis proportions"
OTTAWA, May 12, 2014 /CNW/ - The CHRC commends James Anaya, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, on the release of his report, "The situation of indigenous peoples in Canada."
In his report, Mr. Anaya describes how human rights problems facing Aboriginal people in Canada "have reached crisis proportions in many respects," and that "distressing socio-economic conditions" in a highly developed country like Canada are "most jarring."
Specifically, Mr. Anaya cites gaps between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in health care, housing, education, welfare, and social services. While acknowledging numerous positive efforts by federal, provincial and territorial governments to narrow these gaps, Mr. Anaya observes that these measures have been insufficient, and that conditions for Aboriginal peoples have not changed in the decade since the last visit to Canada by a UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
The UN Special Rapporteur's recommendations to Canada include:
- Take urgent action to address the housing crisis in many Aboriginal communities;
- Provide sufficient funding for social services both on and off reserve;
- Extend the mandate of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission for as long as necessary;
- Ensure new laws and programs affecting Aboriginal people are developed in "true partnership" with them; and
- Launch a nation-wide inquiry into murdered and missing Aboriginal women and girls.
- Citing Government of Canada data, Mr. Anaya notes that "of the bottom 100 Canadian communities on the Community Wellbeing Index, 96 are First Nations, and only one First Nation community is in the top 100."
- Several findings in Mr. Anaya's report echo those of the CHRC in its 2013 Report on Equality Rights of Aboriginal People, which documents the impact of persistent conditions of disadvantage on the daily lives of Aboriginal people.
- The Canadian Human Rights Commission prepared a briefing for Mr. Anaya during his nine-day visit to Canada in the fall of 2013, when he met with Acting Chief Commissioner David Langtry to discuss human rights issues facing Aboriginal people in Canada.
"Professor Anaya's report shines light on one of the most pressing, if not the most pressing human rights issue in Canada today—the chronic conditions of disadvantage faced by many Aboriginal people in their daily lives."
"We echo Mr. Anaya's call for national action on murdered and missing Aboriginal women and girls. We also continue to call for concerted action to eliminate barriers to human rights justice for Aboriginal women and girls."
—David Langtry, Acting Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission
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SOURCE: Canadian Human Rights Commission
For further information: Media Relations, 613-943-9118, www.chrc-ccdp.gc.ca