Indigenous rights recognized by Parliament


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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 15/07/2021 (685 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 13, 2007, to enshrine the rights that “constitute the minimum standards for the survival, dignity and well-being of the indigenous peoples of the world.”

The declaration was the result of over two decades of negotiations between Indigenous peoples, civil society groups, and nation-states consisting of a preamble and 46 articles that define the inherent minimum human rights of Indigenous peoples, as there was a recognition that the rights of Indigenous peoples were violated throughout the world.

The articles within the declaration affirm the social, cultural, political, economic, environmental and spiritual rights of Indigenous peoples. This includes the right to self-determination — the right to free, prior and informed consent over matters impacting Indigenous rights including the development of natural resources on Indigenous territories.

After many years of advocacy by Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, including so many in our community of Winnipeg Centre, on June 21, Bill C-15, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, received Royal Assent, after passing both chambers of Canada’s House of Parliament.

The implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is essential, as it confirms its application in Canadian law, meaning that courts can refer and have referred to the declaration to interpret domestic law, in addition to other distinct legal frameworks that also inform the interpretation of Indigenous rights including the constitution, Indigenous law, our treaties, and international legal obligations that also respect and affirm those rights. None of these legal frameworks supersede the others, but are mutually reinforcing.

It is time that this Liberal government starts upholding human rights to ensure that the dignity, safety and security of all persons, including ending all boil water advisories and ensuring access to clean drinking water for all Indigenous people; immediately releasing a plan to implement the 231 Calls for Justice from the MMIWG National Inquiry; and immediately upholding the Human Rights Tribunal’s ruling to stop discriminating against First Nations children through willful and deliberate underfunding.

The passage of Bill C-15 will provide a meaningful step forward in ensuring the human rights for Indigenous peoples are met in Winnipeg Centre and beyond.

It is another tool to hold the Canadian government to account. I would like to thank all Indigenous and non-Indigenous people who have contributed to this work over many decades. This is only the beginning.

Leah Gazan

Leah Gazan
Winnipeg Centre constituency report

Leah Gazan is the NDP Member of Parliament for Winnipeg Centre.

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