AFN National Chief Phil Fontaine, Former Conservative Minister, urge support for passage of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

    OTTAWA, Aug. 9 /CNW Telbec/ - National Chief Fontaine is dismayed that
Canada continues to oppose the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of
Indigenous Peoples on this, World Indigenous Day.
    "It's really about setting standards and holding governments to their
obligations to ensure the human rights of all people - including Indigenous
peoples - are respected," National Chief Fontaine said.
    "This declaration is overwhelmingly supported by many countries because
it recognizes the rights of Indigenous peoples around the globe. These basic
human rights include land, language and self government."
    National Chief Fontaine noted the Department of Indian and Northern
Affairs promotes international rights on its website, but at the UN, Canadian
government officials are actively lobbying other countries against it the
    Former Conservative Minister David MacDonald also expressed his
disappointment over the federal government's position.
    "I can't believe our own government would act this way," Mr. MacDonald
said. "Our country should be setting a good example internationally."
    MacDonald was a Conservative MP for nearly 20 years. He was also the
Federal Interlocutor to Métis and Non-Status Indians between 1979 and 1980.
    The draft declaration will be voted on by the UN General Assembly early
next month. National Chief Fontaine said the government should accept the
declaration as it is.
    "The Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is the result of
more than 20 years of consultations with indigenous people around the world,"
the National Chief said.
    "The Canadian government has not been able to provide an adequate
explanation as to why it reversed its earlier support for the document and is
now actively opposing it," National Chief Fontaine concluded. "Canada's
reputation as a fair and just country is suffering on the international stage.
It is time for this government and Canada to do the right thing and support
the Declaration for the good of all Canadians and Indigenous people around the

    The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing
First Nations citizens in Canada.

For further information:

For further information: Josee Bellemare, Bilingual Communications
Officer, (613) 241-6789, ext. 336,

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