AFN National Chief Presents to United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous
Issues: Calls for Action Based on Principles of the UN Declaration on the
Rights of Indigenous Peoples

OTTAWA, April 22 /CNW Telbec/ - Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo presented today at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues at the UN Headquarters in New York. The National Chief spoke to key areas that require action by First Nations and the Government of Canada, including First Nations Treaties, citizenship, comprehensive land claims, border rights, water rights and highlighted the issue of missing and murdered women. The National Chief setout an approach to resolve these issues based on the principles of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

"The UN Declaration is the way to move forward on the issues that continue to hold back First Nations and Canada in achieving our full potential," said National Chief Atleo. "The Declaration sets out principles and processes based on mutual respect and partnership. Adhering to these principles will ensure we get results that will work in everyone's best interests."

The presentation, part of the North American Panel, was delivered by the National Chief with representatives from the Governments of Canada and the United States, an Indigenous representative from the United States and UNPFII member Ms. Tonya Gonella-Frichner.

"There are many pressing issues facing Canada and First Nations and, while there is movement in some areas, we are focusing our presentation on those areas that require action either because there is no movement or because current approaches threaten or breach our inherent Aboriginal and Treaty rights," said National Chief Atleo.

The National Chief stated that proposed federal legislation on First Nations membership and water are two examples of federal approaches that are inconsistent with First Nations rights and fall short of the standards in the UN Declaration. The National Chief also called on the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of Indigenous Peoples to visit Canada to specifically monitor the critical issue of violence against women.

The National Chief identified relevant standards from the UN Declaration that would act as shared objectives and a process to achieve those objectives.

The National Chief stated: "Our goal is to be constructive and to that end we are putting forward initiatives, plans and approaches that set us on the right course using the guiding principles of the UN Declaration. Canada is now joining the international community by adopting the Declaration and we are seeking a positive and substantive response to our presentation."

The Assembly of First Nations presentation is available on the AFN website at www.afn.ca or upon request.

The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.

SOURCE Assembly of First Nations

For further information: For further information: Karyn Pugliese, A/Communications Director, Assembly of First Nations, Cell: (613) 292-1877 or kpguliese@afn.ca


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