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United Nations Human Rights Committee Critiques Canada's Human Rights Violations of Indigenous Peoples

Today, the United Nations Human Rights Committee released its Concluding Observations on Canada's sixth report in relation to Canada's compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (advanced unedited version). While it commended recent legislation adopted by individual provinces in relation to human rights, there was no overall commendation for Canada. In fact, the majority of the report expressed numerous concerns about Canada's failures in relation to the basic human rights of Indigenous peoples.

The United Nations Human Rights Committee directed Canada to "widely disseminate" this report among judicial, legislative and administrative authorities, civil society, non-governmental organizations and the general public. It is not likely that Canada will do so, therefore, here is a summary of some of their concerns and key recommendations specific to Indigenous peoples:

GENDER EQUALITY

Concern: "persisting inequalities between women and…

My Brief for the Human Rights Committee's Concluding Observations of Canada: Clarifications Related to Canada's Testimony

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Corporate Social Responsibility
In the review, Canada stated that international treaties ratified by Canada are not binding law in Canada. Canada also stated that Canadian companies doing business abroad are expected to demonstrate Canadian values and follow applicable human rights laws. However, if the State does not consider ICCPR applicable law in Canada, then its corporate entities would have no reason to respect the human rights contained therein. 

I would thus recommend that the Committee both clarify the UN’s position in this regard and recommend to Canada to specifically implement the ICCPR into domestic law.
Gender Equality
In the review Canada stated that it is committed to gender equality and claimed that women make 91% of what men make. In fact, the national wage gap in Canada is 18%, much higher than other countries. In some provinces like Ontario, that gap can reach 31%.The gap is significantly higher for Indigenous peoples at 30% compared to average Canadian, and in some ar…

My Submission to United Nations Human Rights Committee on Canada's Human Rights Violations

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Statement of Pamela Palmater to the 114th Human Rights Committee Session: Formal Briefing on Canada
(July 6, 2015 Geneva, Switzerland)
Kwe, n’in teluisi Pam Palmater.I am from the sovereign Indigenous Nation of the Mi’kmaq in Mi’kma’ki, Canada. I am here as an impacted Indigenous individual thanks to the support of Franciscans International. Today I would like to testify to three urgent situations related to Canada’s obligations under the Covenant which are also raised in the joint submission presented by the NGO Mining Working Group in response to the List of Issues which I fully support:
First, the criminalization of Indigenous peoples in Canada for our human rights advocacy and defense of our lands.
Federal and provincial laws and regulations have criminalized Indigenous peoples’ traditional occupations and trade economies by making it illegal to hunt, fish, gather or use our natural resources within our traditional, treaty, title, trapping or reserve lands. Engaging in Indigenous rig…