GENEVA, Feb. 3 /CNW Telbec/ - "Canada cannot pride itself of being a
great nation, for as long as there will be communities that live in conditions
similar to the Third World. This applies also to Quebec with its desire to be
recognized as a founding nation, but which on the other hand, scorns the
peoples who have occupied and developed the territory way before the arrival
of Christopher Columbus". It's in these terms that the Assembly of the First
Nations of Quebec and Labrador (AFNQL) expressed itself within the scope of
Canada's Universal Periodic Review before the Human Rights Council, which is
being held this week, at the Geneva-based headquarters of the UN.
A delegation of the AFNQL is present on site, along with representatives
of numerous groups from Canada, in an effort to show the whole world that
Canada is not the paradise of living conditions, in opposition to the image
that is being circulated. The AFNQL denounces particularly the refusal of
Canada to support the International Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous
Peoples, adopted on September 13 2007 by the United Nations General Assembly.
This Declaration was endorsed massively by 143 countries. Only 4 countries
voted against, including Canada, thus tarnishing its reputation as protector
of human rights on the international scene.
"More than 25 years after the adoption in the Canadian Constitution of
the recognition of the rights of aboriginal peoples, time has come to face
facts and to acknowledge that the evolution of our rights is not as we were
expecting", stated the Chief of the AFNQL, Ghislain Picard.
Under-funding of Education
In its presentation to the UN, the AFNQL insists on the chronic
under-funding of education for the First Nations and underlines that the
federal government totally ignores the dire financial needs of the First
Nations in education. "It is a grave injustice that is even more blameworthy
that the government cannot plead ignorance, denounces the AFNQL. The
consequence of this negligence is that the First Nations are maintained in a
state of dependency, which unfortunately has illustrated their past, and of
which they wish to free themselves from. This negligence is slowing down the
course of history of the First Nations on the path to autonomy which they
desire to achieve, and which represents an objective that is quite legitimate
for these aboriginal peoples who have contributed to build this country."
The Assembly of the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador is the regional
organization regroups the Chiefs of the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador.
For further information:
For further information: Alain Garon, Communication Officer, AFNQL,
(418) 842-5020, Cellular: (418) 956-5720