TORONTO, September 20, 2007 - The Canadian Race Relations Foundation (CRRF) is very disappointed with Canada's opposition to the Universal Declaration of Indigenous Peoples' Rights. The CRRF believes that Canada's opposition to the Declaration represents a significant failure to live up to the standards of our commitment to human rights.
"Although Canada has, until recently, supported the spirit and intent of the Declaration, our refusal to sign it is perplexing, particularly in the context of the Federal Government's recent decision to put reforms in place to speed up resolution on the land claims backlog," observed Dr. Ayman Al-Yassini, the Executive Director of the CRRF.
The CRRF believes that the fundamental principles of the Declaration are of the highest importance to indigenous peoples around the world, including Aboriginal peoples in Canada. Many of the principles which acknowledge these rights are not incorporated in Canadian laws, or have been abridged.
"Given Canada's track record in forging new grounds in human rights, both domestically and internationally, starting with John Humphrey's leading role in shaping the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the refusal to sign the Declaration stands against our commitment to protect the rights of Aboriginal Peoples. We urge the Government of Canada to review its approach concerning the Declaration, and affirm the rights of Aboriginal peoples," Yassini concluded.