UNPFII

Joint Open Letter to the Senate of Canada

OPEN LETTER TO THE SENATE OF CANADA

Indigenous peoples’ organizations participating in the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues urge Canadian Senators to support Bill C-262, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples sets out minimum standards necessary to combat some of the world’s worst and most pervasive human rights abuses.

Indigenous peoples from all regions of the world worked diligently for more than two decades to reach agreement with states on these minimum standards. With the adoption of the Declaration by the UN General Assembly on September 13, 2007, we entered into an era where the proper question is no longer whether states should uphold these standards – the UN Declaration and at least 10 consensus resolutions from the UN General Assembly confirm that all states are expected to do so. The question now is how to best move forward with full and effective implementation.

In this light, our peoples and organizations are watching with great interest as Bill C-262 progresses through the Canadian Parliament with the prospect of becoming law this year. It is our understanding that the Bill does three things:

1. It calls on the Government of Canada to engage in a cooperative process with Indigenous peoples to ensure that Canada’s laws live up to and support the minimum standards set in the UN Declaration.

2. It calls on the Government of Canada to work collaboratively with Indigenous peoples in Canada to create a National Action Plan for implementation, as urged by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in 2017.

3. It promotes transparency and accountability by requiring regular reporting to Parliament on progress toward implementation.

We believe that Bill C-262 represents a positive model for implementation of the human rights of Indigenous Peoples. We urge Canadian Senators to support its passage into law so that the federal government can set a positive example in Canada and also for other states.

This statement was endorsed by the following individuals and organizations:

Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP)

Center for Support of Indigenous Peoples and Civic Diplomacy "Young Karelia", Russian Federation

Chittagong Hill Tracts Citizens Committee, Bangladesh

Grand Conseil Coutumier des Peuples Amérindiens et Bushinenge, Guyana

Hawai'i Institute for Human Rights

Highlanders Association, Cambodia

Indigenous Peoples Network, Malaysia

International Indian Treaty Council (IITC)

Jeunesse autochtone de Guyane

National Congress of American Indians (NCAI)

Organisation des Nations Autochrones de Guyane francaise

Sami Council Sami Parliament Norway

Carlos Chex, Experto Indígena, Consultor Independiente, Guatemala

Terri Henry, Independent Expert for North America

Mariam Wallet Aboubakrine, past chair, United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, and Tin hinane Sahel, Mali

Dr. Wilton Littlechild, IPC

For more information on Bill C-262 and implementation of the UN Declaration, please see the website of the Coalition for the Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples:

https://www.declarationcoalition.com/

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