Responding to news that the federal government introduced legislation to implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Ana Collins, Amnesty International’s Indigenous Rights Campaign Advisor, said:
“Amnesty International welcomes the tabling of Bill C-15, federal legislation to implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples into Canadian law and policy. Bill C-15 will provide a much-needed and long-overdue framework for the federal government to work cooperatively with Indigenous peoples to implement the standards of the UN Declaration in Canada. Implementation will guide the settler-state of Canada towards respect for the values and legal understandings that Indigenous Elders and knowledge keepers first sought to have articulated by a United Nations working group nearly 40 years ago. Because the core purpose of the new Bill provides a framework for implementation, Amnesty International strongly urges the Canadian government to pass this legislation quickly. Moving towards the crucial work of setting priorities and reforming laws and policies in collaboration with Indigenous Peoples will ensure substantial political and social change that respects Indigenous rights.
“Further, we are disappointed to hear yesterday’s statement by Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller that the federal government will not live up to its promise to lift all long-term drinking water advisories in First Nation communities by March. While the Liberal government has made a lot of headway in lifting these long-term advisories, it will not be enough until every First Nation has access to clean drinking water, which is a basic human right. The federal government has known since 2006 that the problem is primarily due to a lack of federal funding. Now, 14 years later, many First Nation communities are learning that they must continue living without clean drinking water. This is unacceptable.”