Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Highlights: UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples visits Canada

A United Nations fact-finder visited a remote reserve in northwest Manitoba on Saturday as part of a nine-day visit to Canada, looking into what have been called "Third World living conditions" for some of Canada’s aboriginal communities.

Law professor James Anaya, the UN's special rapporteur on indigenous rights, started his day Saturday in Winnipeg, then travelled to Pukatawagan, a remote Cree reserve with more than 2,500 people.

In some cases, families of 15 are living in three-bedroom homes. Some of the houses on the reserve are infested with bed bugs and have mould issues.

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Special Rapporteur Anaya is visiting Canada from 7 to 15 October 2013 to examine the situation of Indigenous peoples in the country. This visit follows up a mission to Canada by a former Special Rapporteur in 2004. Following the visit, Special Rapporteur Anaya will prepare and make public a report on the visit’s findings, which will be presented to the UN Human Rights Council in September 2014.

“On behalf of the Métis Nation, we wish to express our sincere gratitude to Mr. Anaya for dedicating time on the examination of the human rights situation of Métis during his official visit to Canada” said President Chartier.

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Winnipeg's Portage Avenue and Main Street intersection was shut down this morning as hundreds of supporters gathered to greet UN Special Rapporteur James Anaya. He is currently on a nine day-tour of Canada in urban and remote communities throughout Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. Mr. Anaya will be reporting on the country's progress in improving living conditions within Indigenous communities since the last UN assessment took place in 2003. That report highlighted the inequalities that Canada's Indigenous people faced in terms of economics, social rights, education, housing and health care.

He will hold a press conference in Ottawa next Tuesday (15 October) to review his tour. Mr. Anaya's final report to the UN Human Rights Council is expected to be completed by September of 2014.

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