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Amnesty International Welcomes Commitment by Minister Wilson-Raybould to Support Bill C-262

    November 21, 2017

    Amnesty International welcomes the commitment by Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould on Monday to support Private Member’s Bill C-262 toward implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Her remarks came during a conference in Gatineau focussed on implementation of the Declaration. Bill C-262 was introduced by Member of Parliament Romeo Saganash.

    “As the Truth and Reconciliation Commission has stated, full implementation of the UN Declaration is an essential element of reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples in Canada,” says Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada. “Adopting a legislative framework for implementation of the Declaration is a crucial step forward toward ensuring that this important work is carried out in a comprehensive, consistent and collaborative way. We will be watching closely as this important initiative is slated for debate in Parliament next month.”

    BACKGROUND:

    The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2007, establishes minimum global standards for recognizing and upholding the rights of Indigenous Peoples. In a speech to the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in May 2016, Minister of Indigenous Affairs Carolyn Bennett announced that Canada is “now a full supporter of the Declaration without qualification.” However, Canada still lacks concrete and effective mechanisms to uphold the provisions of the Declaration.

    In August 2017, the United Nations’ top anti-racism body, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, strongly supported Indigenous Peoples in urging Canada to adopt a legislative framework and national action plan to implement the UN Declaration. As part of a broad coalition of Indigenous peoples’ organizations and human rights groups, Amnesty International has called on the government of Canada to embrace and build on the framework for implementation set out in Bill C-262. Bill C-262 calls for the repudiation of colonialism and doctrines of superiority; affirmation that the standards set out in the UN Declaration have application in Canadian law; and review and reform of federal legislation to ensure consistency with the minimum standards set out in the UN Declaration. In addition, the Bill requires that a national action plan be developed in partnership with Indigenous peoples.

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    MEDIA CONTACT: Jacob Kuehn, Press Officer, Amnesty International; +1 613 744 7667 x 236; jkuehn@amnesty.ca