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MKO grand chief to take part in UN human-rights review

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Manitoba’s northern Grand Chief David Harper is headed to Switzerland to talk to the United Nations about indigenous rights violations

"MKO has been invited to Speak in Geneva, Switzerland. United Nations General Assembly April 22-24 Human Right Council Universal Periodic Review," Harper said today on Facebook.

The grand chief has previously made trips to the Vatican to raise an aboriginal profile abroad.

This time, Harper said, said he’ll highlight four topics where aboriginal people feel the federal government has neglected or abused treaty rights and violated basic human rights. They include rights to drinking water, sewer and sanitiation, and protection from mining and resource extraction on lands claimed as traditional by aboriginal communities, he said.

Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak represents 30 northern First Nations, including some of the poorest and most remote communities in Manitoba.

Many lack running water and basic plumbing, and the Mathias Colomb Cree Nation in Pukatwagan is the focus of an injunction after Idle No More blockades this winter at a mining site.

The UN's Human Rights council's universal periodic review process assesses the human-rights situations in all 193 UN member states.  Each country is reviewed in a 3.5-hour session based on their compliance with a variety of human-rights related charters, agreements, laws and pledges.

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