Assembly of First Nations Welcomes Report by Canadian Council of Child and Youth Advocates, Continues Calls for Respect for First Nation Rights to Full Engagement

OTTAWA, Nov. 9, 2011 /CNW/ - Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo today welcomed a report by the Canadian Council of Child and Youth Advocates, urging all levels of government to take seriously its important recommendations in relation to the respect and recognition of First Nation rights and the health and social development of First Nation citizens and communities in Canada.

In a special report to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child presented last week, the Canadian Council of Child and Youth Advocates made 40 recommendations for consideration as Canada prepares for a review of its compliance under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. In the report titled "Aboriginal Children - Canada Must Do Better: Today and Tomorrow", child advocates recognize First Nation children as needing more attention in a way that is coordinated by First Nation governments, provincial and federal governments.

"This report has important recommendations that speak to the need for First Nations to be fully engaged in decisions that will impact the current reality and future of our peoples, particularly our youth and families," said AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo.  "I strongly urge all levels of government to take seriously these recommendations, as First Nations advance our own approaches and plans that work for our peoples and communities.  We will no longer take a back seat, particularly where our young people and futures are at stake.  We are acting now to reach our full potential and to achieve fair and sustainable agreements for our peoples based on our rights and jurisdiction and the specific needs in our communities - for the benefit of our peoples and Canada as a whole."

The council of advocates notes that Canada will be called to report to the UN in 2012 on its progress. In order to meet its obligations, Canada will need to outline in detail a plan for improving the lives of Aboriginal children.

The report makes specific recommendations in regard to the full participation and engagement of First Nations in the matters that impact their citizens and communities, including developing a rights-based lens for reviewing and amending legislation.  The report also recommends the Government of Canada convene a special conference of federal/provincial/territorial representatives, with Aboriginal leaders and child delegates, to explore key issues specific to Aboriginal children, suggesting that this conference would inform a national Aboriginal children's plan.   Other key recommendations include naming a National Children's Commissioner.

Specific recommendations in regard to First Nations health are timely, given that AFN is wrapping up a three-day National Health Forum in Ottawa today.  Key recommendations to address health inequities for First Nations include offering the same standard of health care as provided to children living off-reserve, the ongoing collection of disaggregated data, improving health infrastructure, the full implementation of Jordan's Principle and monitoring and evaluation of current initiatives and educational incentives for First Nation students in health care.

The AFN National Health Forum gathered almost 800 First Nation health directors and health experts to showcase advancements in health and to develop a new way forward.  It wraps up at the Ottawa Convention Centre today.

The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.  Follow AFN and National Chief Atleo on Twitter @AFN_Updates, @AFN_Comms and @NCAtleo. 

SOURCE ASSEMBLY OF FIRST NATIONS

For further information:

Contact information:
Jenna Young, AFN Communications Officer 613-241-6789, ext 401 or cell: 613-314-8157 or jyoung@afn.ca

Alain Garon, AFN Bilingual Communications Officer 613-241-6789, ext 382 or cell: 613-292-0857 or e-mail agaron@afn.ca

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ASSEMBLY OF FIRST NATIONS

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