OTTAWA, May 18, 2012 /CNW/ - The Child and Family Caring Society of
Canada (CFCSC), together with the Assembly of First Nations (AFN),
Chiefs of Ontario and Amnesty International today expressed concern
following the Government of Canada's application for appeal in a human
rights case that could mean fair and equitable treatment of First
The federal government's application for appeal comes after an April 18,
2012 decision by the Federal Court directing the Canadian Human Rights
Tribunal to examine evidence that First Nations children are being
discriminated against because of federal underfunding of child
protection services on reserve. That court decision confirmed the
Government of Canada could be held accountable under the Canadian Human
Rights Act for ensuring that First Nations people on reserve have fair
and equitable access to government services.
"It is so disappointing to see the federal government put its interests
ahead of the interests of children again by pursuing these legal
technicalities and trying to avoid a full hearing on the discrimination
matter," said FNCFCS Executive Director Dr. Cindy Blackstock.
"This application for appeal will only continue to delay the hearing of
our human rights complaint, while the lives and futures of our children
continue to be compromised," said Assembly of First Nations National
Chief Shawn Atleo, adding that the Government of Canada made false
assurances just last week at the United Nations Permanent Forum on
Indigenous Issues. "The Tribunal was set up for a reason. We must use
this and all other avenues to ensure the safety of our children - the
future for all of us. An appeal process will only add barriers and
further violates the rights of some of the most vulnerable."
Just last week, at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous
Issues, the Government of Canada stated: "Canada is committed to
promoting reconciliation between the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal
population in Canada. The process of reconciliation includes a
commitment to continually improving the relationship with Aboriginal
peoples based on knowledge of our shared past, mutual respect, and a
desire to move forward together in partnership."
"Canada's assurances to the international community are false when their
conduct in Canada is completely adversarial, contrary to reconciliation
and partnership and is a continuing and deliberate violation of the
rights of the most vulnerable sector of the domestic population in
Canada, First Nations children," said AFN Ontario Regional Chief Angus
The FNCFCS and AFN filed the discrimination complaint in February 2007
based on the under-funding of child welfare services on reserve
compared to that for off reserve. Currently, First Nations receive 22%
less funding than other agencies in the country.
The Canadian Human Rights Commission, the Chiefs of Ontario and Amnesty
International have intervened in support of the complaint.
"Canada has a clear obligation to stand up for the best interests of
children and ensure that everyone has access to timely redress for
human rights violations," said Craig Benjamin, a spokesperson for
Amnesty International Canada. "In putting further, unnecessary
roadblocks to a full hearing before the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal,
the federal government is once again failing in its human rights
obligations toward First Nations children."
SOURCE ASSEMBLY OF FIRST NATIONS
For further information:
Cindy Blackstock, First Nations Child and Family Caring Society: 613-230-5885 ext. 222 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Jenna Young, Assembly of First Nations: 613-241-6789, ext. 401 or email@example.com
André Morriseau, Chiefs of Ontario: 416-597-1266 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Elizabeth Berton-Hunter, Amnesty International Canada: 416-363-9933, ext. 332