World community urges response to human rights violations facing Indigenous peoples in Canada

                    Joint News Release. April 29, 2013

           Amnesty International Canada  |  Amnistie  internationale Canada francophone  |  Canadian Friends Service  Committee (Quakers)  |  Chiefs of Ontario  |  Federation of  Saskatchewan Indian Nations  |  First Nations Child and Family Caring  Society of Canada  |  First Nations Summit  |  Grand Council  of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee)  |  International Indigenous Women’s  Forum (North America)  |  KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice  Initiatives  |  Native Women’s Association of Canada  |   National Association of Friendship Centres  |  Union of British  Columbia Indian Chiefs

(Geneva) Many of Canada’s closest diplomatic  allies and trading partners are urging the federal government to do more to  address the serious human rights issues facing First Nations, Inuit and Métis  peoples.
On Friday, Canada’s human rights record was examined in a peer  review process under the United Nations Human Rights Council.
During the  process, called the Universal Periodic Review, more than 80 states offered  comments and recommendations on Canada’s human rights record. The vast majority  of state comments related to persistent human rights violations experienced by  Indigenous peoples in Canada.  These include violation of land rights,  inequalities in education, health, drinking water and sanitation, food  insecurity, control over lands and resources, and racial discrimination.
More than 20 states raised specific concerns about high levels of violence  against Indigenous women in Canada. New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland and others  urged Canada to adopt a comprehensive and coordinated national action plan to  end such violence.  Ireland called on Canada to also conduct an independent  national inquiry into missing Indigenous women and establish effective  databases. Australia recommended that the Aboriginality of victims of  gender-based violence be accurately recorded.
The United States noted  that on a per child basis, federal funding for child and family services in  First Nations communities “has fallen to less than 80 percent of that provided  by provincial and territorial governments for services in predominantly  non-Aboriginal communities.” The United States urged Canada to “ensure parity of  funding and services between Aboriginal and non Aboriginal  communities.”
The United Kingdom, Finland and Germany were among states  that highlighted the importance of the UN Declaration on the Rights of  Indigenous Peoples.  Canada endorsed the UN Declaration in November 2010  but has denied any obligation to implement its provisions.
A number of  states highlighted the importance of open collaboration with UN experts like the  Special Rapporteur on the rights of Indigenous peoples and respect for  recommendations from UN treaty bodies.
Inequalities in access to  drinking water and sanitation systems were also noted. Norway, for example,  recommended that Canada take measures to ensure that all Canadians have full and  equal access to clean water and sanitation.
Canada was previously  examined under the Universal Periodic Review in 2009. Many of the same concerns  were raised at that time. Although Canada acknowledged “the underlying  principles” of state concerns, actions to date on their specific recommendations  remain inadequate.
The report of the latest review will be released by  the United Nations on Tuesday, April 30.
More information, including  Canada’s statement and formal report, the comments and recommendations of other  states, and the reports submitted by Indigenous peoples’ organizations and civil  society groups, can be found at: [A password to access the extranet site can be set up at:]
Elizabeth Berton-Hunter Media Relations Amnesty  International 1-416-363-9933 ext 332
Cindy Blackstock Executive  Director  First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada 1-613- 230-5885
Mervin Brass Executive Director of  Communications Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations  1-306-956-1026 Cell: 1- 306-220-7187
Teresa Edwards Director of  International Affairs and Human Rights  Native Women’s Association of  Canada 1-613-899-2057
Andre Morriseau Media Relations Chiefs  of Ontario 1-416-580-9320
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip  Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs 1-250-490-5314
Jennifer  Preston Canadian Friends Service Committee 1-416-920-5213
Anne  Ste Marie  Media Relations Amnistie internationale 514-766-9766  ext 230 Cell: 1-514-268-4983

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