MNC welcomes federal bureaucrats' recommendation that the government back UN Declaration on Indigenous Rights

    OTTAWA, June 8 /CNW Telbec/ - The Métis National Council strongly
supports recommendation by three federal departments that Canada should take a
leading role in adopting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of
Indigenous Peoples.
    According to the international human rights watchdog Amnesty
International, Canadian officials within the departments of Indian Affairs,
Foreign Affairs and Defence do not support Conservative government's current
position of lobbying for the revision of the Declaration. In the past, the MNC
had expressed its deep disappointment concerning this reversal of progress and
Canada's role in it.
    Amnesty International recently accused Canadian government of stalling a
UN negotiation on the rights of Indigenous peoples, saying that the
Conservative government has been lobbying the revision of the Declaration in
the UN General Assembly ever since it came in power in January 2006. Previous
government lead by Paul Martin helped draft and strongly supported the United
Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, but the new
government has not been supportive of that version, arguing that the
declaration is "unconstitutional, could prevent military activities on
Aboriginal land and could harm existing land deals."
    "It is crucial that Canada take leadership in securing the best possible
Declaration ... so that Indigenous peoples will be welcomed into the fold of
humanity as equally deserving of justice, dignity and human rights," said MNC
president Clément Chartier.
    Under the Liberal government, Canada had been a champion of the
Declaration until the last June, when the minority government in a stunning
reversal of international human rights policy and diplomacy voted with Russia
against the Declaration in the Human Rights Council.
    The MNC represents the Métis Nation in Canada at the national and
international level. The Métis Nation's homeland includes the three Prairie
provinces and extends into Ontario, British Columbia, the Northwest
Territories and the northern United States. There are approximately 350,000 -
400,000 Métis Nation citizens in Canada.

For further information:

For further information: Zoran Vidic, Senior Communications Officer,
(613) 242-3216, Cell: (613) 295-9298

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