Tuesday, March 20, 2007

CERD presses for passage of Indigenous rights at UN

Confederacy of Treaty Six First NationsSuite 204 , 10310 - 176 Street EDMONTON , AB T5S 1L3 ,Tel (780) 944-0334; fax (780) 944-0346
INTERNATIONAL INDIAN TREATY COUNCILAdministration Office Information Office456 N. Alaska Street 2390 Mission St. Suite 301Palmer, AK 99645 USA San Francisco CA 94110 USATel. (907) 745-4482; fax 745-4484 Tel. (415) 641-4482; fax 641-2198

Email: andrea@treatycounci l.org Email: alberto@treatycouncil.org
Press Release, March 8, 2007The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination calls upon Canada to immediately endorse the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples In a ground breaking finding, the CERD Committee today called upon Canada to reverse its position at the General Assembly and support the United Nations Declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples. The United Nations Treaty Monitoring Body also voiced concerns that trans-national mining companies, registered in Canada negatively impact on the rights of Indigenous Peoples outside of Canada and urged Canada to “take measures” to ensure accountability of Canadian transnational mining companies with regard to Indigenous Peoples human rights in other countries. The CERD Committee examined Canada ’s compliance with the International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) at its 70th session, in Geneva , Switzerland , on February 20th and 21st. Their findings were released today. Canada , like all countries that have ratified this legally-binding International Convention, is required to report on its compliance with the Conventions’ provisions. In its Conclusions and Recommendations, embargoed for a day on account of objections citing “factual errors” by the Canadian government, the CERD Committee noted Canada’s past support “and positive contributions” to the Declaration on the rights of Indigenous Peoples, stating that it “regrets” the recent change in Canada’s position. The Committee called upon Canada to “support the immediate adoption of the Declaration at the United Nations General Assembly. NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) “Shadow reports” were submitted by the Indigenous Nations and organizations calling attention to the discriminatory position and actions of Canada in its opposition to the Declaration’s provisions upholding Free, Prior and Informed Consent, Rights to Land and Resources, Self-Determination and Treaty Rights. They pointed out that Canada was one of only two countries which voted against the Declaration when it was adopted last year by the UN Human Rights Council. Canada continues to actively lobby against its adoption at the UN General Assembly unless changes are made to seriously weaken its provisions. This would create "second class rights" for Indigenous Peoples in Canada and around the world. “ Canada has continued to insist on the inclusion of discriminatory language in the Declaration as a requirement for its approval”. This was one of several charges presented to the CERD by the International Indian Treaty Council (IITC) and the Confederacy of Treaty Six First Nations (CT6FN), representing 18 First Nations in Alberta . IITC is an Indigenous Organization with Consultative Status to the UN Economic and Social Council. They were among several organizations representing First Nations of Canada which filed “shadow” or parallel reports to the CERD, challenging the Canadian government’s report. The reports submitted by these organizations as well as the Assembly of First Nations (AFN), the British Columbia First Nations Leadership Council and the Native Women's Association of Canada (NWAC) addressed a range of policies and practices violating Indigenous Peoples' human rights in and outside of Canada . Indigenous Peoples’ submissions were considered along with the Canadian Government’s report when CERD conducted its review of Canada on Tuesday and Wednesday, February 20th and 21st 2007.In addition to Canada ’s position on the UN Declaration, these submissions addressed a range of other urgent concerns for Indigenous Peoples. Of particular concern of many First Nations and their organizations is Canada ’s “modification” and “non-assertion” policies, demanding that First Nations relinquish aboriginal rights to land and natural resources in the settlement of land claims. The Committee voiced concern that these rights are being settled primarily through litigation at a disproportionate cost to Indigenous Peoples. The Committee urged Canada , “to engage, in good faith, in negotiations based on recognition and reconciliation” of Indigenous rights. Other concerns raised by Indigenous Peoples and addressed by the CERD Committee included institutional racism and discrimination within the criminal justice and court systems, Treaty violations, a range of inequities in social services and living conditions, gender discrimination and lack of protection against violence in particular towards Indigenous women, youth and children. On these issues the CERD Committee also called upon Canada to comply with its internationally binding human rights obligations under the CERD Convention.The complete findings of the CERD Committee can be found at their official website, http://www.ohchr. org/english/ bodies/cerd/ cerds70.htm. For more information please contact the Confederacy of Treaty Six First Nations, Edmonton Canada , Mr. Ron Lameman at (780) 944-0334; or the International Indian Treaty Council, Alberto Saldamando, at (415) 641-4482.
++++++++++++ +++++++++ +++++++++ +++++++++ ++Alyssa Macy
Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs , Oregon

Indigenius Mediahttp://www.indigeni usmedia.com

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