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Canada Must Act on UN Recommendations

    August 29, 2017

    Amnesty International urges the Canadian government to act on all the recommendations made for Canada by the UN Committee for the Elimination of Racism and Discrimination (CERD).

    The United Nations' top anti-racism body has strongly condemned the continued construction of the Site C dam as a clear violation of Treaty rights and Canada's international human rights obligations and has called for its immediate suspension.

    The UN committee said that it was unacceptable for governments in Canada to force Indigenous peoples to pursue long and costly legal challenges as the only way to uphold rights that the government is obligated to protect. It also noted that federal government support for the Site C dam contradicts the government's public commitments to uphold Indigenous rights, including the right to free, prior and informed consent.

    The committee is an independent, expert body with a mandate to promote compliance with the legally binding UN Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

    The committee was so concerned about the impact of Site C and the Mt Polley spill, that it has asked Canada to work with affected First Nations to undertake a review of the Treaty rights implications and other human rights concerns and report back to the UN within one year.

    The committee’s full recommendations include:

    · Immediately halt construction of the Site C dam in northeast British Columbia

    · Ensure ongoing monitoring of the impacts of the Mt. Polley mine disaster

    · Reform  the decision-making process around resource development in Canada to ensure that potentially destructive projects proceed only with the free, prior and informed consent of Indigenous peoples

    · Adopt a legislative framework for implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

    · Act immediately to ensure that Indigenous women and girls have equal access to services like emergency shelters

    · Establish an independent review mechanism to re-examine unresolved cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls where there is evidence of bias or error in the original investigation

    · Fully implement the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruling on barriers to adequate child and family support services in First Nations reserves

    · Immediately end the detention of children in immigration detention

    · Rescind or at least suspend the Safe Third County Agreement with the United States

    · Swiftly establish an independent ombudsman mandated to receive and investigate human rights complaints against Canadian corporations operating in other countries

    For further information contact:

    Elizabeth Berton-Hunter, Media Relations, 416-363-9933 ext 332

    Sue Montgomery, Media Relations 613-853-2142