November 21, 2017
(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde today said the Liberal government’s support of An Act to ensure that the laws of Canada are in harmony with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, is a welcome and positive step that will advance reconciliation and build a stronger country for First Nations and all Canadians.
“The United Nations Declaration provides a framework for reconciliation and renewing the nation-to-nation relationship between the crown and First Nations,” said Assembly of First Nations National Chief Bellegarde. “Giving life to the UN Declaration in Canadian law will build a stronger country, one that upholds human rights and Indigenous rights, values First Nations peoples and cultures, and believes that all children deserve the same opportunities. We look forward to working with Canada to see that any new legislation that is passed fully respects First Nations rights, Treaties, title and jurisdiction.”
Minister of Justice Jody Wilson-Raybould announced yesterday that the government will support Bill C-262, a Private Member’s Bill put forward by NDP Member of Parliament Romeo Saganash. Bill C-262 seeks to ensure all Canadians laws are consistent with the UN Declaration and requires the federal government to create an action plan to implement the Declaration.
National Chief Bellegarde said, “First Nations are looking forward to their opportunity to provide input and comment on the Bill as it works its way through the Parliamentary process. I do want to acknowledge and lift up MP Romeo Saganash for his determination, perseverance and strong stand for our peoples and our rights.”
The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2007, sets out minimum standards for ensuring Indigenous peoples enjoy fundamental human rights, including the collective right to self-determination and rights to lands, territories and resources. Canada fully endorsed the Declaration in 2016. National Chief Bellegarde has been a strong proponent of the UN Declaration, and his Closing the Gap strategy calls for Canada to implement the UN Declaration through legislation and for a joint review of all policies and laws to ensure they are consistent with First Nations rights, including the Declaration.
The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.
For more information, please contact:
Press Secretary – National Chief’s Office
Bilingual Communications Officer
613-299-6330 (cell)Ngahere Wafer