Assembly of First Nations Welcomes UN Special Rapporteur Report, Calls on Canada to Work with Indigenous Peoples to Implement Recommendations

OTTAWA, May 12, 2014 /CNW/ - Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Spokesperson Regional Chief Ghislain Picard today welcomed the report by United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples James Anaya, and called on the Government of Canada to work together with Indigenous peoples to implement the recommendations.

"The AFN National Executive Committee acknowledges the efforts of UN Special Rapporteur James Anaya, and we are calling on the Government of Canada to work with First Nations to implement the important recommendations in today's report to ensure these priorities are addressed in ways that work for our peoples," said AFN Regional Chief for Quebec Labrador Ghislain Picard.  "First Nations fully agree that Canada must bring much more attention and action on the issues facing our people, issues that affect all Canadians.  This includes full respect and implementation of First Nations rights, title and Treaties and ensuring safe and healthy communities for our people.  We welcome as well his support for our call for a national public inquiry on missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.  There is a groundswell of support for such an inquiry and the Government of Canada must hear this call and act on it now."

The report is released on the same day that First Nations from Nishnawbe Aski Nation terriory and supporters are gathered on Parliament Hill to honour missing and murdered Indigenous women and continue the call for a national inquiry.

The Special Rapporteur's report examines the human rights situation of Indigenous peoples in Canada based on research and information gathered from various sources, including the Special Rapporteur's visit to Canada October 7-15, 2013. Mr. Anaya traveled to six provinces and visited a number of First Nations communities to meet directly with First Nations citizens with the help of AFN.

The report sets out recommendations for Canada to comply with minimum international standards for treatment of Indigenous peoples, including improving socio-economic conditions with a focus on education outcomes and adequate housing; addressing over-representation in the criminal justice system; taking acting to end violence against Indigenous women and girls, including calling a national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls; addressing legal barriers to the exercise of self-government including meaningful consultation on legislation and the development and implementation of policies and programs; reforming the comprehensive claims process; ensuring that resource development projects do not infringe on Aboriginal rights and title and that First Nations be fully engaged in any such projects.

During the October 2013 visit to Canada by Special Rapporteur Anaya, AFN helped facilitate direct meetings with First Nations and advanced three areas for action:

  • Canada must work with First Nations to develop processes and principles to implement the Honour of the Crown as guided by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples;
  • Canada must clearly recognize First Nations governments and support nation rebuilding;
  • The need for new mechanisms - including fundamental changes to the machinery of government - to reflect and fulfill the nation-to-nation relationship between First Nations and Canada.

Regional Chief Picard acknowledged the important work of UN Special Rapporteur Anaya as he concludes his term: "We thank Mr. Anaya for his dedication and diligence during his time as Special Rapporteur on the rights of Indigenous peoples. He always met with and worked directly with Indigenous peoples in every country he visited to ensure his reports and recommendations were informed by their perspectives.  We commend him for his efforts and look forward to working with the incoming Special Rapporteur Vicky Tauli-Corpuz as she assumes this important position."

The UN Special Rapporteur's report will inform discussions at the United Nations World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, a high-level plenary meeting of the UN General Assembly which will take place September 22-23, 2014 in New York City.

For the full text of the report visit http://unsr.jamesanaya.org/docs/countries/2014-report-canada-a-hrc-27-52-add-2-en-auversion.pdf

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

SOURCE: Assembly of First Nations

For further information:

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


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