AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde Calls for Legislation to Implement UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

OTTAWA, May 30, 2016 /CNW/ - Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde today participated in a seminar for MPs, Senators, and their staff on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (the Declaration), urging all parties to work cooperatively with Indigenous peoples on measures to adopt and implement the Declaration in Canada.

"You have an historic opportunity to work with us to ensure the human rights of First Nations are finally respected through concrete action all across this country," National Chief Bellegarde told the MPs and Senators. "We must turn Canada's unqualified support for the Declaration into action. We need to craft legislation that supports the Declaration and ensures all levels of Government in Canada respect and honour its principles. The UN Declaration provides a framework for reconciliation and the implementation of inherent Treaty rights, title and jurisdiction. The Declaration is a clear path forward."

National Chief Bellegarde spoke today at a Library of Parliament Seminar on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which included Paul Joffe, a lawyer with extensive experience in international human rights and constitutional law. The National Chief called on Parliamentarians to commit to working together to implement the UN Declaration, stating that Canadian law must be reformed to ensure it reflects and supports the UN Declaration and to create legislation supporting the Declaration.

The Declaration was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2007. It sets out minimum standards for ensuring Indigenous peoples enjoy all fundamental human rights as peoples and individuals - from culture and language to education and the collective right to self-determination in their traditional territories. On May 10, the Minister of Indigenous Affairs and Norther Development, the Honourable Dr. Carolyn Bennett stated at the 15th Session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues that Canada now fully supports of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples without qualification.

The Assembly of First Nation is the national organization representing First Nation citizens in Canada.  Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Comms, @AFN_Updates and visit the AFN website at


SOURCE Assembly of First Nations

For further information: Jenna Young Castro AFN Communications Officer 613-241-6789, ext. 401; 613-314-8157 or; Alain Garon AFN Bilingual Communications Officer 613-241-6789, ext. 382; 613-292-0857 or

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