OTTAWA, June 8 /CNW Telbec/ - Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo said that findings of a 200 page study released yesterday by Harvard's International Human Rights Clinic echo the situation facing First Nations across the country. The findings state that B.C.'s mining regulations do not recognize First Nations rights to self-determination and the critical need for First Nation involvement right from the beginning of any exploration.
"I commend Takla First Nation and the group, First Nations' Women Advocating for Responsible Mining for undertaking this important work with Harvard University. This partnership confirms through independent, expert research the position of First Nations and the recommendations point the way forward. I support the recommendations and urge both levels of government to carefully consider them and work towards implementation with First Nations," the National Chief stated. "Takla Lake First Nation, and many other First Nations, are seeking a balanced approach to economic development that is responsible and sustainable and this requires their involvement right from the beginning."
The National Chief added that provincial and federal governments also need to take new measures in land planning in order to avoid confrontations between mining companies and First Nations communities. The National Chief noted that better support for First Nations in developing their own land use plans will help when the time comes to discuss prospective mining developments with the industry.
The report, "Bearing the Burden: The Effects of Mining on First Nations in British Columbia," was authored by Bonnie Docherty, an expert on international human rights law and a lecturer with Harvard Law School's International Human Rights Clinic. The report says that despite the unfair burden that mining places upon First Nations they "do not always reap economic benefits" from the sector. It also states the province's mining regime fails to live up to international laws and treaties that Canada has signed or domestic law, thereby leaving First Nations without the proper protection that these laws are intended to provide.The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.
SOURCE Assembly of First Nations
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