AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde Marks 9th Anniversary of UN Declaration

OTTAWA, Sept. 13, 2016 /CNW Telbec/ - On the ninth anniversary of the adoption of the UN Declaration by the United Nations General Assembly, Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde today called on Canada to implement the UN Declaration in "full partnership" with First Nations and all Indigenous peoples. The UN Declaration provides a framework for reconciliation and the implementation of inherent and Treaty rights, title and jurisdiction.

"Canada must respect First Nations rights under the Constitution and international human rights law," said AFN National Chief Bellegarde. "The government committed to working in full partnership with Indigenous peoples to implement the UN Declaration and we are ready to move. It is time to close the door on decades of paternalistic and colonial thinking. Canada must use the Declaration to give life to the Treaties and our inherent rights and title. Embracing the Declaration and free, prior and informed consent is a path to peace and reconciliation."

Today marks nine years since the UN General Assembly adopted the UN Declaration, and on May 10th, 2016, the Government of Canada's gave unqualified support for the UN Declaration at the 15th Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII).  In making the announcement, the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs stated that: "It means nothing less than a full engagement and how to move forward with adoption and implementation done in full partnership with First Nations, the Métis Nation and Inuit peoples."

National Chief Bellegarde stated: "The new session of Parliament is approaching and now is the time commit to implementing the Declaration, with legislation as an option.  This sends a strong signal to all Canadians and future governments that the era of assimilation is over and we are moving towards a new era of respect, recognition and partnership."

The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.  Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.


SOURCE Assembly of First Nations

For further information: Jenn Jefferys, Communications Officer, 613-222-9656 (cell),

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