OTTAWA, July 23, 2015 /CNW/ - Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde stated that today's five year review report by the United Nations Human Rights Committee on its Concluding Observations on Canada reinforces Canada's obligations to close the gap in the quality of life between First Nations and Canada by upholding Indigenous rights.
"Today's Human Rights Committee report shows that we need action now on the AFN's agenda for closing the gap," said AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde. "It is significant that a report on human rights in Canada by independent experts focuses so much on Indigenous peoples and rights and this speaks to the extent of the challenges and the need to address them. The report is yet another call to action for Canada to work with First Nations as partners to realize our human rights and our Aboriginal and Treaty rights. All governments in Canada should be seized by this report's observations and recommendations and push for action."
Today's UN Human Rights Committee report focuses largely on the situation of Indigenous peoples and points to a number of areas for action consistent with the AFN's agenda of closing the gap. The report contains observations and recommendations supporting Indigenous land rights and title and honoring First Nations rights to free, prior and informed consent over any activities that affect their lands; removing discrimination from the Indian Act; the over-representation of Indigenous people in the justice system; support for Indigenous languages, child welfare and residential schools survivors; missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls (including a call for a national inquiry); action on the Truth and Reconciliation report and addressing the reality that many Indigenous people lack access to basic needs.
The Human Rights Committee is calling on Canada to report back within one year on key issues addressed in the report, including action on its recommendations on murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls and Indigenous lands and titles.
"It is time to work together on real action and fundamental change so that when Canada reports back in one year we can show the world that we are making positive progress," said National Chief Bellegarde. "Many of the observations and recommendations in today's report are not new and have been raised in other reports and studies by national and international human rights bodies. Action and implementation of the recommendations is what's required. Indigenous rights are human rights. Our rights are a strong foundation to build a stronger Canada."
Today's report was issued by the UN Human Rights Committee, a body of independent experts that monitors implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights by its State parties. The report is available online:
SOURCE Assembly of First Nations
For further information: Alain Garon AFN Bilingual Communications Officer 613-241-6789, ext 382; 613-292-0857 or [email protected]