One year ago, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruled that the Canadian government`s persistent underfunding of supports for First Nations families was a form of racial discrimination – and ordered immediate action.
It was a landmark day for human rights and for the thousands of First Nations children and young people living in state care simply because First Nations children`s agencies are unable to provide the support their families need.
But a full year later, the most basic form of discrimination identified by the Tribunal – the failure to provide enough funds to meet the actual needs of First Nations children and families – has not been addressed.
In last year`s federal budget, the government significantly increased the funds allocated for First Nations family services. But the increase was not enough to close the gap between First Nations children and all other children in Canada.
A year is a long time in the life of a children taken from her family and community.
It`s even longer when you consider that, because of the federal government`s legal tactics, the case dragged on for eight years — and that the federal government was aware of the underfunding issues for at least a decade before the case was launched.
The Tribunal ordered the federal government to immediiate “cease its discriminatory practices” and that`s what it must do.
The historic case was led by the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society. The Society is now once again before the Tribunal calling for its ruling to be implemented.
Amnesty International continues to stand behind the Caring Society in this crucial cause for rights and reconciliation. On Valetine`s Day, February 14th, our members will join with the Caring Society and a great many other supporters to urge the federal government to Have a Heart for First Nations children.