Ottawa continues mulling how to endorse UN declaration

first_imgAPTN National NewsOTTAWA–The federal government is still examining “how to best formalize” its endorsement of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, but appears to stand by its position outlined during debates last week at the UN Human Rights Council that collective rights to not equate to human rights.Truth and Reconciliation Commissioner Willie Littlechild said Tuesday that the Canadian delegation at the council had resisted attempts to equate human rights with the collective rights of Indigenous peoples during debate on the wording of a resolution extending the mandate of a UN official tasked with monitoring Indigenous rights around the world.Littlechild said this position was an “attack” on the rights of Indigenous peoples and made him wonder if he could ever reconcile with Canada.Foreign Affairs issued a statement Wednesday saying that Aboriginal treaty rights were already “recognized and affirmed in our Constitution.”The statement also seemed to affirm the distinction between human rights and collective rights.“Canada fully supports that indigenous individuals are entitled, without discrimination, to all human rights recognized in international law, and that indigenous peoples also possess collective rights,” said the Foreign Affairs statement.“In the domestic context, Aboriginal and treaty rights are already recognized and affirmed in our Constitution. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms further provides for the protection of the rights and freedoms of all individuals, including Aboriginal individuals, noting that they should be balanced with the public interest as part of the fundamental values of Canadians,” the statement said.During an appearance before a Senate committee Tuesday morning, Littlechild demanded Canada meet its Speech from the Throne promise and endorse the UN declaration.The department said the government was working on the issue.“The government of Canada remains committed to taking steps to endorse the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in a manner that is consistent with Canada’s Constitution and laws,” said the statement.“The government is currently looking at how to best formalize its endorsement. Canada supports the overall aspirations of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and believes endorsement will build on this government’s commitment towards a stronger and more respectful relationship,” the statement said.last_img

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