UN report on Canada's treatment of aboriginal people made public today

For the full text of the report visit http://unsr.jamesanaya.org/docs/countries/2014-report-canada-a-hrc-27-52-add-2-en-auversion.pdf 


AFN Press Release

Assembly of First Nations Welcomes UN Special Rapporteur Report, Calls on Canada to Work with Indigenous Peoples to Implement Recommendations

OTTAWA, May 12, 2014 /CNW/ - Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Spokesperson Regional Chief Ghislain Picard today welcomed the report by United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples James Anaya, and called on the Government of Canada to work together with Indigenous peoples to implement the recommendations.

"The AFN National Executive Committee acknowledges the efforts of UN Special Rapporteur James Anaya, and we are calling on the Government of Canada to work with First Nations to implement the important recommendations in today's report to ensure these priorities are addressed in ways that work for our peoples," said AFN Regional Chief for Quebec Labrador Ghislain Picard.  "First Nations fully agree that Canada must bring much more attention and action on the issues facing our people, issues that affect all Canadians.  This includes full respect and implementation of First Nations rights, title and Treaties and ensuring safe and healthy communities for our people.  We welcome as well his support for our call for a national public inquiry on missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.  There is a groundswell of support for such an inquiry and the Government of Canada must hear this call and act on it now."

The report is released on the same day that First Nations from Nishnawbe Aski Nation terriory and supporters are gathered on Parliament Hill to honour missing and murdered Indigenous women and continue the call for a national inquiry.

The Special Rapporteur's report examines the human rights situation of Indigenous peoples in Canada based on research and information gathered from various sources, including the Special Rapporteur's visit to Canada October 7-15, 2013. Mr. Anaya traveled to six provinces and visited a number of First Nations communities to meet directly with First Nations citizens with the help of AFN.

The report sets out recommendations for Canada to comply with minimum international standards for treatment of Indigenous peoples, including improving socio-economic conditions with a focus on education outcomes and adequate housing; addressing over-representation in the criminal justice system; taking acting to end violence against Indigenous women and girls, including calling a national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls; addressing legal barriers to the exercise of self-government including meaningful consultation on legislation and the development and implementation of policies and programs; reforming the comprehensive claims process; ensuring that resource development projects do not infringe on Aboriginal rights and title and that First Nations be fully engaged in any such projects.

During the October 2013 visit to Canada by Special Rapporteur Anaya, AFN helped facilitate direct meetings with First Nations and advanced three areas for action:

  • Canada must work with First Nations to develop processes and principles to implement the Honour of the Crown as guided by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples;
  • Canada must clearly recognize First Nations governments and support nation rebuilding;
  • The need for new mechanisms - including fundamental changes to the machinery of government - to reflect and fulfill the nation-to-nation relationship between First Nations and Canada.

Regional Chief Picard acknowledged the important work of UN Special Rapporteur Anaya as he concludes his term: "We thank Mr. Anaya for his dedication and diligence during his time as Special Rapporteur on the rights of Indigenous peoples. He always met with and worked directly with Indigenous peoples in every country he visited to ensure his reports and recommendations were informed by their perspectives.  We commend him for his efforts and look forward to working with the incoming Special Rapporteur Vicky Tauli-Corpuz as she assumes this important position."

The UN Special Rapporteur's report will inform discussions at the United Nations World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, a high-level plenary meeting of the UN General Assembly which will take place September 22-23, 2014 in New York City.

For the full text of the report visit http://unsr.jamesanaya.org/docs/countries/2014-report-canada-a-hrc-27-52-add-2-en-auversion.pdf

The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Comms, @AFN_Updates.

SOURCE Assembly of First Nations

For further information:

Jenna Young AFN Communications Officer 613-241-6789, ext 401; 613-314-8157 or jyoung@afn.ca



From CBC.ca

UN report on Canada's treatment of aboriginal people in spotlight Monday

Canada saw and commented on a 'preliminary' version of the UN report

By Susana Mas, CBC News Posted: May 11, 2014

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The United Nations special envoy on the rights of indigenous people confirms he will publish on Monday his findings on the conditions in Canada's aboriginal communities, following a nine-day cross-country visit last fall.

"The report will be made public on Monday," James Anaya, the UN special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, told CBC News in an email on Saturday.

Anaya's initial assessment of the conditions facing aboriginals in Canada was grim.

"From all I have learned, I can only conclude that Canada faces a crisis when it comes to the situation of indigenous peoples of the country," the UN fact-finder said last October.

Monday's UN report comes at a fragile time for relations between the federal government and First Nations.

The government put "on hold" its prized but controversial First Nations education bill following the sudden resignation of Shawn Atleo as national chief for the Assembly of First Nations.

Bill C-33 will stay on hold until the AFN "clarifies" its position on the bill which it is expected to do during a special assembly of national chiefs in Ottawa on May 27.

'Preliminary' report

The UN report will not come entirely as a surprise to the federal government which had an opportunity to see an earlier copy of it.

Anaya told CBC News that as per the rules and procedures set out by the UN Human Rights Council, the federal government was given a chance to see and comment on an earlier version of the report.

"Canada was given the opportunity to see a confidential, preliminary version of the report, and it did submit to me comments, which I took into account in finalizing the report," Anaya said in an email to CBC News on Saturday.

Otherwise, the report "remains confidential until finalized and made public," Anaya said.

Last fall, the UN envoy also urged the federal government to:

  • not "rush" forward with the tabling of a First Nations education bill
  • "re-initiate discussions" with aboriginal leaders to develop a process and ultimately come up with an education bill "that addresses aboriginal concerns and incorporates aboriginal view points"
  • launch a "comprehensive and nationwide" inquiry into the case of missing and murdered aboriginal women
  • extend the mandate of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission

The federal government introduced Bill C-33 one month ago following what it said was extensive consultations with First Nations which began in December 2012. 

But as recently as two weeks ago, half a dozen chiefs came to Ottawa vowing to scrap the bill after complaining the government never consulted them. The two sides appear to differ on what constitutes a duty to consult.

While the government has refused to launch a national inquiry into the case of missing and murdered aboriginal women, the RCMP said this month there are about 1,186 recorded incidents by police of aboriginal homicides and unresolved missing women investigations. That report is expected to be released soon.

The federal government extended the mandate of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission by a year, until June 2015, so that it can complete its work. An Ontario court ordered the government in 2013 to turn over all residential school documents.

Anaya's term as special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples comes to a close at the end of the month.

The UN Human Rights Council confirmed on May 8 that Vicky Tauli-Corpuz will replace Anaya beginning June 1.