Canada: Discrimination Against First Nations Brought To The United Nations


The Chiefs of Ontario, and over 20 Indigenous nations and organizations, are holding Canada accountable during the country's periodic review February 22-23, 2012, by the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD).


CERD is an independent body of experts that monitors countries party to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. Countries that have ratified the Convention, including Canada, are obligated to comply. CERD monitors the implementation of the Convention by reviewing periodic reports submitted by countries. Alternate, or shadow, reports by First Nations and non-governmental organizations were welcomed to supplement the government-generated report on the observation of human rights within the country.


An "Alternate Report" was submitted by the Chiefs of Ontario to identify gaps, misrepresentations, and assumptions made in Canada's official report. "We value this opportunity for Indigenous peoples to relay their stories directly to the world on how we are treated," commented Regional Chief Angus Toulouse. "While we understand there are no explicit penalties for violations by the State, these reviews serve to increase awareness at the international level and within Canada. The observations and recommendations made within the Alternate report are by no means new. Indigenous nations and organizations have been raising awareness and advocating action on these priorities for years."


Recommendations were made for Canada to commit to honour the true spirit and intent existing in the Treaties, resolve matters of jurisdiction, realize Treaty implementation, and exercise the principles established in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. These are the key vehicles for conducting and maintaining relationships with Indigenous Nations and addressing socio-economic challenges.


CERD is the key UN body which protects against racism, human rights violations, and affirms the observation of the minimum standards within the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Canada's report for the 2012 review and alternate reports will be analyzed by CERD to provide concluding observations and recommendations on how to eliminate discrimination in Canada. There will be representatives from over 15 Indigenous Nations and organizations to lobby directly the content of their alternate reports in Geneva to CERD members.


The Chiefs of Ontario (COO) is a coordinating body for the 133 First Nations located within the boundaries of the Province of Ontario.


Source: Chiefs of Ontario

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