April 21, 2016
(Ottawa, ON): Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde commented today on the Private Member’s Bill put forward by Roméo Saganash, NDP Member of Parliament for Abitibi-Baie-James-Nunavik-Eeyou (QC), C-262 – An Act to ensure that the laws of Canada are in harmony with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
“The AFN welcomes this initiative as a means to move Canada forward in adopting and implementing the UN Declaration as an integral part of reconciliation,” said AFN National Chief Bellegarde. “The Declaration confirms the rights of Indigenous peoples as human rights. Its principles provide a framework for the implementation of Aboriginal and Treaty rights in the relationship between First Nations and Canada. Giving life to the Declaration will move all of Canada forward.”
In 2015, National Chief Bellegarde wrote to all Members of Parliament urging them to support an earlier version of this Bill, which was supported in the House by all NDP and Liberals MPs. The National Chief and AFN will examine the latest version of the Bill and engage First Nations and all MPs on next steps.
AFN Quebec-Labrador Regional Chief Ghislain Picard said: “We welcome with enthusiasm a Private Member’s Bill on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples tabled this morning by Mr. Roméo Saganash. We believe that all parties must see this next logical step as an opportunity for Canada to reconcile with its colonial past.”
The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples sets out minimum standards for ensuring Indigenous peoples enjoy fundamental human rights, including the collective right to self-determination and rights in their traditional territories. The Declaration is an essential framework for reconciliation and renewing the nation-to-nation relationship as called for by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). The federal government has committed to implementing the TRC’s calls to action, starting with the implementation of the UN Declaration. The National Chief will be at the United Nations next month to attend meetings of the Permanent Forum on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples where the UN Declaration will feature prominently in the discussions.
The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples can be read at: http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/unpfii/documents/DRIPS_en.pdf
The Assembly of First Nation is the national organization representing First Nation citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Comms, @AFN_Updates.
For more information please contact:
Alain Garon, AFN Bilingual Communications Officer, 613-241-6789, ext. 382; 613-292-0857 or [email protected]
Jenna Young Castro AFN Communications Officer 613-241-6789, ext. 401; 613-314-8157 or [email protected]