CANADA FALLS SHORT IN LEGALLY BINDING INTERNATIONAL TREATY REVIEW
March 13, 2012: Today in Geneva, Switzerland the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) released an “advance unedited version” of the Concluding Observations from its recent review of Canada. Canada, the United States and other “State parties” to the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) must submit “periodic reports” regarding their implementation of this legally binding international treaty. The CERD also considers alternative or shadow reports submitted by civil society and Indigenous Peoples which usually present a different picture of a State’s compliance with its commitment to eliminate racial discrimination in under the provisions of the ICERD.
For the CERD’s recent review of Canada, the International Indian Treaty Council (IITC) along with 11 other Indigenous Nations and organizations, submitted a Joint Indigenous Alternative Report addressing a wide range of concerns. It was one of more than 20 submissions from Indigenous Peoples and civil society. The CERD’s Concluding Observations contained a number of very important recommendations for actions to be taken by Canada, based on the information provided by Indigenous Peoples and other organizations. These included: (1) the full implementation of treaties between Indigenous Peoples and the Crown (Canada); (2) ensuring that Canadian-based transnational corporations do not cause human rights violations impacting Indigenous Peoples in other countries; (3) implementing Free, Prior and Informed Consent regarding development projects impacting Indigenous Peoples lands; and (4) creating a national plan of action to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Chief Perry Bellegarde, Treaty 4 Spokesperson and Chief of the Little Black Bear First Nation attended the CERD review of Canada in Geneva. He expressed appreciation today for the CERD’s report, commenting that “The CERD’s recommendation that Canada ‘give serious consideration to the establishment of a Treaty Commission with a mandate to resolve treaty rights issues’ is one which I urge Canada to implement.” Danika Littlechild, Ermineskin Cree Nation and IITC Legal Counsel, is focusing on what will happen next: “It is important that we continue the momentum and ensure that Canada actually implements the recommendations of the CERD, especially those relevant to Indigenous struggles in Canada. The CERD has laid out a road map for progress on these issues, including calling for a formal mechanism for implementation.”
The United States is up for review by the CERD in early 2013, and IITC is available to provide training and information in preparation for this process. For more information on Canada’s review, please contact Danika Littlechild, at (780) 312-0246 or via email at email@example.com : mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org .
For more information on the upcoming review of the United States, contact Andrea Carmen at (907) 745-4482 or via email at email@example.com : mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org . The Joint Indigenous Alternative Report, as well as the CERD’s Concluding Observations regarding Canada are available online in full at: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cerd/cerds80.htm : http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/cerd/cerds80.htm