Canada’s knuckles rapped again over Lubicon

Canada has taken an “untenable position” on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, says the United Nations official tasked with investigating Indigenous issues around the world.

APTN National News
OTTAWA–Canada has taken an “untenable position” on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, says the United Nations official tasked with investigating Indigenous issues around the world.

James Anaya, the UN’s special rapporteur on Indigenous issues, said Canada had taken a “misplaced” and “overly broad” position on the declaration by insisting that it did not reflect international law.

“It is based on a failure to appreciate the relations between the declaration and widely accepted human rights principles that are undoubtedly parts of customary international law as well as treaty-based law,” said Anaya, in a Sept. 15 report to the UN Human Rights Council. “Such as fundamental principles of non-discrimination, self-determination, cultural integrity and property.”

While Canada initially voted against the declaration, the federal government has since pledged to give the document a qualified endorsement.

Anaya disputed Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s assertion in this past spring’s Speech from the Throne that the declaration is a purely “aspirational” document.

“The declaration is a strongly authoritative statement about the individual and collective rights of indigenous peoples, having been approved by affirmative votes of an overwhelming majority of UN member states on the basis of the mandate of the UN Charter to promote human rights,” said Anaya.

Anaya’s report delved into various Indigenous issues around the globe, including the ongoing impasse between Canada and the Lubicon Lake Cree Nation. It also outlined Akwesasne Mohawk grievances with Canada’s border agents.

Anaya said that Canada continued to breach international human rights standards by its treatment of the Lubicon people.

“It is apparent that federal and provincial government actors are proceeding to advance or facilitate development projects…on the assumption that the Lubicon have no rights to land other than the land the government has already agreed to include in a reserve.”

Anaya’s report on the Lubicons stemmed from the community opposition to TransCanada’s 300 km North Central Corridor natural gas pipeline which cuts through the Lubicons’ traditional territory.

The pipeline began transporting natural gas earlier this year.

Anaya repeated previous UN calls for Canada to stop all new development activity on Lubicon traditional territory until it reaches a land deal with the Lubicon people.

“Until the land claim is resolved…(a) moratorium should be placed on all new oil and extractive activities…in the territory over which the Lubicon assert rights,” he said.

Anaya also called on Canada to stop exploiting leadership divisions which had recently sprouted within the community.

“Care should be taken to not exacerbate or take advantage of any internal leadership divisions that may exist among the Lubicon people.”

The Lubicons have been battling with the federal government for decades to retain control of traditional territories.

Canada has been criticized several times over the last 20 years by the UN for its treatment of the Lubicon.

In 1990, the UN Human Rights Committee ruled that Canada was in violation of the Lubicon’s human rights.

The report also outlined Akwesasne Mohawk grievances with the Canada Border Services Agency.

Anay recounted last year’s border shut-down over Akwesasne’s opposition to the arming of border guards and the more recent claims of border agents harrasing Mohawks.

Anaya said he would continue to monitor the situation before issuing recommendations on the matter.

2 thoughts on “Canada’s knuckles rapped again over Lubicon

  1. Harper has proven (even before he was elected) that he does not care for the U.N, there is also another Declaration by the U.N that he does not wish to follow nor does any Provincial Government in Canada, which is the U.N Declaration of Democracy.
    As for Human Rights in Canada he does not wish for Canadians to have any Rights what so ever (other then prisoner’s) , nor does any other Conservative Party in Canada or North America for that matter. There are many others across Canada who fight for their Rights as well, what needs to be done is for us all to stand up , loud & proud, without fear of reprisal by the Government or any of its supporters, as I personally have been targeted by the Alberta Government in various ways that have put my family in jeopardy : Financially, Physically and Mentally (went as far to remove our children from our home, but they lost in court) all this for speaking out in defense of my Rights and Criminal activity of the Government.” Do not stop fighting for your Rights”

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