National Chief Shawn Atleo Welcomes Commencement of Specific Claims Tribunal

OTTAWA, Nov. 27 /CNW Telbec/ - Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo welcomes today's announcement on the commencement of the work of the Specific Claims Tribunal with the appointment of three judges to this new body.

"We've been waiting a long time for this. We sincerely hope that this Tribunal will provide a viable alternative, not only to the courts, but also to the stalemate that has long characterized negotiations relating to Specific Claims," said National Chief Shawn Atleo.

The Specific Claims Tribunal is an adjudicative body mandated to address Specific Claims valued up to $150 million each. Currently, approximately one thousand claims sit in a government backlog awaiting negotiation or, if these fail, access to the Tribunal. Access to the Tribunal is governed by the Specific Claims Tribunal Act, passed by Parliament in June 2008.

"While there is more work to be done," commented the National Chief, "including establishing a process to deal with Specific Claims that exceed the $150M threshold of the Tribunal, the appointment of judges to this Tribunal represents an important step towards addressing a majority of the Specific Claims in Canada. It is our sincere hope that this Tribunal will provide a meaningful alternative to the courts where, otherwise, many First Nations' claims end up. How this Tribunal functions, and the extent to which it accommodates the unique circumstances pertaining to First Nations' claims will represent its ultimate litmus test."

The Tribunal itself was established through a joint effort of the AFN and the Government of Canada to put into place a new mechanism to adjudicate Specific Claims that are not resolved through negotiations.

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

SOURCE Assembly of First Nations

For further information: For further information: Karyn Pugliese, Acting Director of Communications, (613) 241-6789 ext 210 or (613) 292-1877 or kpugliese@afn.ca


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