During the extreme challenges caused by the current threat of the coronavirus, our Nations and organizations are profoundly concerned with ensuring respect for Indigenous peoples’ rights, particularly their rights to self-determination, health, security and well-being. Related Treaty rights of Indigenous peoples must also be fully considered.
The Coalition for the Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples is a network of Indigenous Nations, national and regional Indigenous peoples’ organizations, human rights groups, and individual experts and advocates. The Coalition works to promote understanding and implementation of international standards for advancing the human rights of Indigenous peoples, in particular, the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
In light of the highly infectious nature of COVID-19, and the particular threat that it poses to vulnerable communities with inadequate access to health care, housing, water and other essential services, it is imperative that federal, provincial and territorial governments respect the right of Indigenous peoples to set conditions of entry into their territories. Indigenous communities must be able to restrict access of industry workers, tourists, cottagers, and others. Where Indigenous communities have required suspension of certain activities in their territories, this must be respected.