OTTAWA, Sept. 13, 2013 /CNW/ - Today, on the sixth anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) by the United Nations General Assembly, Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo expresses the urgent need for the federal government to work together with First Nations to implement and give life to the rights clearly articulated in the UN Declaration as endorsed by Canada November 2010.
"The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is a statement that embraces the inherent rights of First Nation peoples in Canada and Indigenous peoples around the world," said AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo. "Now, three years after Canada's endorsement, it is a reminder of how far we still have to go to see government work with First Nations to give life to those rights. This is the era of action. First Nations are writing their own laws and setting out plans for governments to work with us. The federal approach so far has been paternalistic at best and assimilationist at worst. The time is now for Canada to engage with us in a way that respects and honours the spirit and principles of the UN Declaration, the Treaties and First Nations rights."
Today marks six years since the UN General Assembly adopted the UNDRIP, and November 12 will mark three years since Canada's endorsement of the universal human rights instrument that was drafted together with the rights-holders: Indigenous peoples around the globe.
"First Nations across this country participated in the drafting of the UN Declaration and strongly advocated for Canada's endorsement," said National Chief Atleo. "The Declaration sets out important principles like free, prior and informed consent on any activities or laws that affect our lives and our lands. Embracing these principles will move us all forward and create real harmony and progress. First Nations cannot and will not wait. Our peoples are engaged like never before and ready for the hard work of addressing the urgent needs and priorities of our nations. We must come together all our ancestors did hundreds of years ago in mutual respect and mutual recognition and clear the path forward to drive change today for success in this lifetime."
October 7 will mark the 250th anniversary of the Royal Proclamation which led to the Treaty of Niagara one year later. While some view the Proclamation as merely a pre-cursor to colonization, it is also widely viewed as setting the foundation for Treaty-making between First Nations and the Crown (now Canada), an approach that was to be based on partnership, mutual respect and mutual recognition and something that remains absolutely relevant today.
The full text of the UN Declaration can be found at: http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/unpfii/documents/DRIPS_en.pdf.
The AFN is working with First Nations across the country to mark the 250th anniversary of the Royal Proclamation. National Chief Atleo and AFN will participate in and host events in Ottawa October 7, 2013. Details will soon be available at www.afn.ca.
SOURCE: Assembly of First Nations
For further information:
Jenna Young AFN Communications Officer 613-241-6789, ext 401; 613-314-8157 or [email protected]