Assembly of First Nations press release ...
Assembly of First Nations Expresses Disappointment and Concern Regarding the Vote to Delay Consideration of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
OTTAWA, Nov. 28 - Earlier today a motion was passed in Third Committee to delay consideration of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, at the UN today.
"First Nations are deeply disappointed and seriously concerned about the potential impact of today's vote at the United Nations affecting the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous peoples", said National Chief Phil Fontaine. "First Nations, and Indigenous peoples, expect that regardless of the outcome of the vote today, we will continue to assert indigenous rights to have full participation in any future discussions affecting the UN Declaration.
"We are outraged by today's developments in the 3rd committee of the United Nations - the human rights of Indigenous Peoples have been sidelined," said Grand Chief Ed John, who is in New York representing the AFN. "This no-action motion was engineered through the political maneuvering of the African Union, aided by Canada, the US, Australia and New Zealand. Canada should be called upon to account for its role in this action, particularly as a member of the Human Rights Council." "This vote is a huge insult to the Human Rights Council, and it undermines the credibility of the new body," added AFN Regional Chief Rick Simon, who is also in New York. "This important human rights instrument has become victim to geo-political pressures wherein powerful first world actors including Canada have used undeveloped Nations to thwart the advancement of human rights for indigenous peoples worldwide."
Canada, in campaigning to become a member of the UN Human Rights Council, pledged to support human rights for all. Canada failed to live up to its promises and responsibilities by actively lobbying other countries to stop the Declaration from becoming a UN instrument to address indigenous poverty, ill-health, despair and hopelessness.
The conduct of all the members of the Human Rights Council are subject to review to ensure they live up to their pledges and responsibilities. Canada's conduct as a member of the Human Rights Council should be reviewed as a result of its blatant discrimination against indigenous peoples.
"It is a double standard for Prime Minister Harper and his government to champion the rights of a segment of the Canadian population through the motion the recognition of the Quebecois as a nation within Canada and then actively oppose and manipulate other countries to oppose indigenous peoples rights including those of the Aboriginal peoples in Canada," said National Chief Fontaine.
AFN delegates are meeting with other Indigenous representatives in New York to discuss the implications of the vote, the position of Indigenous Peoples worldwide, and the potential next steps.
The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.
For further information: Bryan Hendry, A/Director of Communications, (613) 241-6789, ext. 229, Cell: (613) 293-6106, firstname.lastname@example.org.