(Ottawa, ON) – On behalf of the Assembly of First Nations, Treaty 6 Grand Chief Wilton Littlechild is participating this week at the meeting of the United Nations Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples underway in Geneva, Switzerland. The meeting includes focus on an international study on “free, prior and informed consent” as set out in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Grand Chief Littlechild, who is also a former Commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, is delivering statements on the requirement of free prior and informed consent on behalf of the AFN and several members of the Coalition for Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
“The voices of Indigenous peoples in Canada must inform this international study on free, prior and informed consent, a critical and essential component of international law,” said Grand Chief Wilton Littlechild. “Free, prior and informed consent is an integral aspect and expression of Indigenous peoples’ inherent right of self-determination. It is a standard of rigorous human rights protection made necessary by the entrenched patterns of colonialism, racism and other forms of discrimination that have marginalized and dispossessed Indigenous peoples. The final study by the Expert Mechanism must clearly and explicitly express that it is not enough for states, including Canada, to merely commit to ‘seek the consent’ of Indigenous peoples in an attempt to fulfill the obligation of free, prior and informed consent. Further, whenever free, prior and informed consent applies to the actions of States and other third parties, they must ensure that decisions proceed only if Indigenous peoples give their free, prior and informed consent.”
The AFN is in Geneva this week to contribute to this international study on free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) in international law. FPIC is an international human rights standard that member states of the United Nations must meet prior to any development or decisions that can affect Indigenous peoples’ rights in their territories, their lives and well-being.
The Coalition for Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples brings together Indigenous Nations and organizations, including AFN, as well as experts and human rights organizations in common purpose to advance understanding and full implementation of the UN Declaration and other international human rights standards.
The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.
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