OTTAWA – The theme of this year’s UN International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples is Leaving no one behind: Indigenous peoples and the call for a new social contract. The global event commemorates the inaugural meeting of the Working Group of Indigenous Populations 39 years ago.
The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs is calling on nation states to develop a new social contract with Indigenous Peoples and commit to reconciliation by combatting the legacy of exclusion and marginalization, ensuring their right to meaningful and effective participation in decision-making and obtaining their free, prior and informed consent.
“Indigenous Peoples around the world still experience inequality, discrimination and oppression,” said Green Party Leader Annamie Paul. “In this country, the discovery of the buried remains of 215 children at the former Kamploops Indian residential school on the Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc reserve prompted further investigations across Canada. Sadly, more graves have been uncovered and more will likely be found in the coming months. The grief and pain experienced by the families whose loved ones were taken is unimaginable.”
The Green Party of Canada reaffirms its support for the implementation of the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and welcomes the recent passage ofBill C-15, An Act respecting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
“Any meaningful path towards reconciliation in Canada must ensure that First Nations, Inuit and Métis leaders are leading the decisions about the future of their people, their lands and territories, and must respect nation-to-nation relationships,” said Ms. Paul.
Ms. Paul said that the federal government’s proposed $8 billion dollar settlement agreement to compensate Indigenous communities for the lack of potable water is a step in the right direction, but noted that 51 long-term drinking water advisories in 32 First Nations communities remain unresolved.
“It is simply unacceptable that in a rich country like Canada it has taken two national class action lawsuits against the federal government to get action. Trust must be earned, and can easily be broken when commitments are not honoured. On this International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, let’s commit as settlers to honour all of our obligations to the original peoples of this land.”
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