Statement - Assembly of First Nations



    OTTAWA, March 18 /CNW Telbec/ -


    National Chief Pays Tribute to UN's commemoration of International Day
    for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and issues the following
    statement:


    "Today is the International Day for the Elimination of Racial
Discrimination and this year's theme Dignity and Justice - the Cornerstones of
Combating Racial Discrimination, deeply resonates with First Nations people in
Canada.
    This past year, Common Experience Payments (CEP) to residential school
survivors have been processed. While these payments do not erase the grave
injustice experienced by many First Nations children and their families, its
aim is to address the past indignity and injustice endured by many generations
of First Nation children in residential schools. It is hoped that residential
school survivors can work towards healing and strengthening their families and
communities and begin to move forward.
    On this International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination we
call for common action here in Canada and abroad to realize the goals of The
International Convention of the Elimination of All Forms of Racial
Discrimination (ICERD) such as social justice, equality and respecting the
dignity and the human rights and freedoms of all. As a signatory to the
Convention, Canada must work towards honouring its international obligations
to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination here at home.
    However, we continue to wait for Prime Minister Harper to engage us in
discussions to finalize the appointment of Commissioners to the Truth and
Reconciliation Commission and to draft an apology to all former residential
school students and their families.
    I also encourage Prime Minister Harper to follow in the footsteps of the
new Australian government and to reverse its negative position regarding the
United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People which has been
overwhelmingly endorsed by the international community."




For further information:

For further information: Joan McEwen, AFN Communications Director, (613)
241-6789 ext. 242 or cell (613) 324-3329 or jmcewen@afn.ca


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