Coast Salish Territory/Vancouver – The First Nations Leadership Council and many other First Nations leaders and human rights organizations sent an open letter to Prime Minister Harper today, the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, urging Canada to support the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
The open letter notes that the UN General Assembly is on the verge of adopting this historic declaration yet Canada is one of a handful of countries trying to redraft key sections of the Declaration. The UN Human Rights Council adopted the Declaration in June 2006, a move that Canada disgracefully voted against.
“The Canadian government has not substantiated any of their claims that the UN Declaration somehow undermines the Canadian Charter of Rights,” said Grand Chief Edward John, a member of the First Nations Summit political executive and First Nations Leadership Council. “The purpose of the Declaration is to ensure uplifting human rights standards and not to reflect existing domestic policies and laws of specific States. In fact, States cannot invoke their constitutions or other domestic laws in order to avoid including human rights norms in a United Nations declaration consistent with their international obligations.”