U.N. rights official slams Canada, “concerned” over Aboriginal rights

Should the U.N. — which last year elected Assad’s Syria to UNESCO’s human rights committee — devote its scarce time and resources to free democracies and open societies such as Canada?

For context, note that the expert below works for the U.N. Human Rights Council, a dictator-dominated entity that just elected the Chavez government, Pakistan and Kazakhstan as members. They also elected a new vice-president: the representative from slave-holding Mauritania.

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The following press release was circulated today by the office of the U.N. high commissioner for human rights.

Canada: UN expert calls for meaningful dialogue with Aboriginal leaders after weeks of protests

GENEVA (8 January 2013) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, James Anaya, urged the Government of Canada and Aboriginal leaders to undertake meaningful dialogue in light of First Nations protests and a month-long hunger strike by Chief Theresa Spence of the Attawapiskat First Nation.

“I am encouraged by reports that Prime Minister Steven Harper has agreed to meet with First Nations Chiefs and leadership on 11 January 2013 to discuss issues related to Aboriginal and treaty rights as well as economic development,” Mr. Anaya said. “Both the Government of Canada and First Nations representatives must take full advantage of this opportunity to rebuild relationships in a true spirit of good faith and partnership.”

The announcement of the meeting followed weeks of protests carried out by Aboriginal leaders and activists within a movement referred to as ‘Idle no more.’ The movement has been punctuated by Chief Spence’s hunger strike that has been ongoing since 11 December 2012. “I would like to add my voice to the concern expressed by many over the health condition of Chief Spence, who I understand will be joining indigenous leaders at this week’s meeting,” the independent expert said.

The protests and hunger strike are carried in the context of complaints about aspects of the relationships between First Nations in Canada and the Government, including in the context of recent federal legislation and executive decisions affecting Aboriginal peoples.

“Dialogue between the Government and First Nations should proceed in accordance with the standards expressed in the UN Declaration* on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,” the Special Rapporteur emphasized. Mr. Anaya recalled that the Government affirmed a “commitment to continue working in partnership with Aboriginal peoples and in accordance with a relationship based on good faith, partnership and mutual respect,” in its statement of support for the Declaration on 12 November 2010.

In drawing attention to the Declaration as a framework for dialogue, the expert highlighted in particular its preamble, which affirms that “treaties, agreements and other arrangements … are the basis for a strengthened partnership between indigenous peoples and States”.

The Special Rapporteur reiterated his concern about the current situation, as expressed in a written communication sent earlier to the Canadian Government asking the authorities to provide relevant information, in accordance with terms of his mandate from the UN Human Rights Council.

“I will continue to monitor developments as I hold out hope that the 11 January meeting will prompt meaningful and restorative action by the Government and First Nations leadership,” Mr. Anaya said.

(*) Check the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N06/512/07/PDF/N0651207.pdf?OpenElement

ENDS

The UN Human Rights Council appointed S. James Anaya as Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples in March 2008. Mr. Anaya is a Regents Professor and the James J. Lenoir Professor of Human Rights Law and Policy at the University of Arizona (United States). As Special Rapporteur, he is independent from any government or organization and serves in his individual capacity. Learn more, log on to: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/indigenous/rapporteur/ orhttp://unsr.jamesanaya.org/

UN Human Rights Country Page – Canada: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/ENACARegion/Pages/CAIndex.aspx

2 Responses to “U.N. rights official slams Canada, “concerned” over Aboriginal rights”


  • Well of course Canada should be chastised by the human rights watchdogs from Syria, Mauritania, Venezuela and other human rights paragons. Because everyone knows that Canada is controlled by Israel, and that Israel is responsible for the unhappiness of Canadian aboriginals who are suffering terribly as anyone can tell you.

  • I thought the UN was helping my people in Canada? We are missing over 600 women that our government won’t even look for. We are not aloud to grow food or have businesses without consulting them. My people are living in tents in 30 below zero temperatures and dying and our children have pulmonary disease from black mold. We are living in third and fourth world poverty all the while they pass a bill allowing machines to come in and poison our lands so we can’t live on off of it. Exactly why are they in the wrong? They are accusing Canada of crimes against humanity. We have over two thousand case files proving that is true. So exactly why do we not deserve protection and help?

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