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- Indigenous Issues
Commission on Human Rights
Geneva, 20 March - 28 April 2000
Item 15 of the Agenda
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"RECITING THE SYMPTOMS, IGNORING THE CAUSE:
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OF ABORIGINAL PEOPLES IN CANADA"
A RESPONSE TO
THE GOVERNMENT OF CANADA?S THIRD PERIODIC REPORT
ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE INTERNATIONAL COVENANT
ON ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS
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- International Human Rights Successes
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- Letter to Prime Minister Tony Blair
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- Grand Chief Dr. Ted Moses sends letter to The Right Honourable Tony Blair, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
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- The United Nations General Assembly has formally approved the "Second International Decade of the World's Indigenous People"
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- Urgent Call to Defend the Rights of Indigenous Peoples - Grand Council and Inuit Circumpolar Conference refute call by International Indian Treaty Council to suspend Indigenous rights standard-setting process at UN for up to three years
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RE: U.N. Working Group on the draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples ? Response to FCO Letter of January 13, 2005
- Urgente necesidad de mejora del proceso de elaboraci?n de normas de las Naciones Unidas sobre los derechos humanos de los Pueblos Ind?genas
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Usos Potencialmente Favorables en el Contexto Ind?gena Mundial
- Indigenous Youth Empowerment for a Borderless Region
22 indigenous youth from 4 countries in Central America shared their experiences and worked together towards the construction of a regional network of Indigenous Youth
- United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples - SUPPORTIVE STATEMENTS WORLDWIDE
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A presentation for the World Indigenous Network Conference, Darwin, Australia May 26-30, 2013 By Ashley Iserhoff, Deputy Grand Chief of the Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee)
Related PDF Files »
- Permanent Forum - Joint Statement on Good Governance
The special theme at this year's 13th session is "Principles of good governance consistent with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples". In this regard, see the attached Joint Statement of the GCCEI and other Indigenous and human rights organizations.
Good governance is one of the core principles in the UN Declaration (art. 46(3)). It is also a key principle of Canadian and international law.
- Resolution 2006/2. Working group of the Commission on Human Rights to elaborate a draft declaration in accordance with paragraph 5 of the General Assembly resolution 49/214 of 23 December 1994
Recalling Commission on Human Rights resolution 1995/32 of 3 March 1995, in which it established an open-ended intersessional working group with the sole purpose of elaborating a draft United Nations declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples, considering the draft contained in the annex to resolution 1994/45 of the Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, for consideration and adoption by the General Assembly within the first International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People...
- The Draft U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Millennium Development Goals: Importance of a Human Rights-Based Approach
Introduction, reccomendations, and rationales for such recommendations regarding the Draft U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Millennium Development Goals.
- Annex: Vote of the General Assembly to Adopt the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)
Relationship of UDHR vote to later becoming Party to six core international treaties: International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD), Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)
- Essential Values of an Indigenous Rights Declaration
Indigenous peoples worldwide have worked for decades to ensure that our pre-existing human rights are recognized and upheld by the nations of the world. Clearly, domestic laws have not protected the ability of Indigenous peoples and communities to live secure lives as self-determining peoples. As a result of their persistent efforts, Indigenous representatives slowly began to open doors to the United Nations and the world community.
- El Proyecto de Declaración de las Naciones Unidas sobre los Derechos de los Pueblos Indígenas y los Objetivos de Desarrollo del Milenio: La Importancia de un Enfoque Basado en los Derechos Humanos
- Oxford Amnesty Lectures (OAL), Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford February 2005; 13th Series: Land Rights, Indigenous Peoples and International Human Rights: Eliminating State Discrimination by Romeo Saganash and Paul Joffe
From the Introduction: "International human rights law is intended to safeguard both individuals and peoples, including those who are the most vulnerable. Unquestionably, Indigenous peoples fall into this latter category as one of the most vulnerable and dispossessed peoples in the world. Yet the international community has been painfully slow and too often insensitive or neglectful in addressing the rights of Indigenous peoples."
- Derecho de los pueblos indígenas a la restitución
Varios Estados han afirmado que no existe el derecho a la restitución en el derecho internacional. Este documento demuestra lo contrario. En el contexto de las tierras, territorios y recursos, el derecho a la restitución es esencial para los pueblos indígenas. Cuando se considera la reparación o el remedio, la restitución es la principal forma de reparación. Cuando no sea posible, se aplicarán otras formas de remedio, como la compensación. A menos que los pueblos indígenas lo acuerden de otro modo, la compensación tendrá la forma de tierras, territorios y recursos iguales en calidad, extensión y situación jurídica.
- L’urgence d’améliorer le processus de définition des normes, à l’ONU: Importance que les critères soient « conformes au droit international et à son développement progressif »
L’urgence d’améliorer le processus de définition des normes relatives aux droits des peuples autochtones, à l’ONU, est devenue de plus en plus claire ces dernières années. Nous sommes préoccupés en particulier par le Groupe de travail intersessions, qui prépare le projet de Déclaration de l’ONU sur les droits des peuples autochtones.
- “Disposiciones Generales” del Proyecto de Declaración de la ONU sobre los Derechos de los Pueblos Indígenas
Algunos Estados han sugerido que las “Disposiciones generales” del proyecto de Declaración de la ONU pueden utilizarse para equilibrar los derechos humanos colectivos e individuales y para tener en cuenta los derechos de los Estados y de terceros. Este documento analiza diversas propuestas de los Estados a este respecto y llega a la conclusión de que mayoritariamente tienen una validez cuestionable.
- Le droit des peuples autochtones à la restitution
Certains États affirment qu’il n’y a pas de droit à la restitution dans le droit international. Le présent document démontre le contraire. Quand il s’agit de terres, de ressources et de territoires, le droit à la restitution est essentiel pour les peuples autochtones. La restitution est la première forme de réparation ou de recours. Lorsqu’elle n’est pas possible, d’autres formes de réparation, telle la compensation, s’appliqueraient. L’indemnisation prendra la forme de terres, de territoires et de ressources équivalents par leur qualité, leur étendue et leur régime juridique, à moins que les peuples autochtones en conviennent autrement.
- Les « dispositions générales » du projet de Déclaration des Nations Unies sur les droits des peuples autochtones
Divers États pensent que les « Dispositions générales » du projet de Déclaration de l’ONU peuvent servir en fait à trouver un équilibre entre droits individuels et droits collectifs, et à prendre en considération les droits des États et des tierces parties. Le présent document analyse diverses propositions des États à cet égard, et conclut que, la plupart du temps, leur validité est questionnable.
- Necesidad urgente de mejorar el proceso de elaboración de normas de la ONU: Importancia del criterio de “Coherencia con el derecho internacional y su desarrollo progresivo”
En los últimos años se ha puesto de manifiesto cada con mayor claridad que existe una necesidad urgente de mejorar el proceso actual de elaboración de normas de la ONU en relación con los derechos de los pueblos indígenas. Resulta de particular interés el Grupo de Trabajo entre sesiones (GTPD) que estudia actualmente el proyecto de Declaración de las Naciones Unidas sobre los Derechos de los Pueblos Indígenas.
- Urgent Need to Improve the U.N. Standard-Setting Process: Importance of Criteria of “Consistent with International Law and its Progressive Development”
During the past few years, it has become increasingly clear that there is an urgent need to improve the current U.N. standard-setting process on the rights of Indigenous peoples. Of particular concern is the intersessional Working Group (WGDD) that is presently considering the draft U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
- “General Provisions” of the Draft U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
A number of States have suggested that the “General provisions” in the draft U.N. Declaration can be effectively used to balance collective and individual human rights, as well as take into consideration the rights of States and other third parties. This paper analyzes various State proposals in this regard and concludes that they are most often of questionable validity.
- Indigenous Peoples’ Right to Restitution
A number of States have asserted that there is no right to restitution under international law. This paper demonstrates otherwise. In the context of lands, territories and resources, the right to restitution is critical to Indigenous peoples. In addressing reparation or redress, restitution is the primary form of reparation. Where this is not possible, other forms of redress, such as compensation would be applied. Unless agreed to by Indigenous peoples, compensation shall take the form of lands, territories and resources equal in quality, size and legal status.
- Nations Unies Conseil économique et social: Questions autochtones, Droits de l'homme et questions autochtones
Rapport du Rapporteur spécial sur la situation des droits de l'homme et des libertés fondamentales des populations autochtones, M. Rodolfo Stavenhagen
- United Nations Economic and Social Counsel: Indigenous Issues Human rights and indigenous issues.
Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous people, Rodolfo Stavenhagen
- Socialist Worker, 4 December, 2004. "Why these people are angry with Tony Blair" by Charlie Kimber.
Indigenous Peoples from Canada and the Arctic travelled to London last week to campaign against Tony Blair’s government for its refusal to recognise collective human rights. Collective rights to land would give tribal and indigenous people some democratic control over if, and on what terms, companies were allowed to take over mining rights. They would also limit the ability of armed forces to use areas for military exercises.
- Letter to The Right Honourable Tony Blair, M.P. Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from Grand Chief Dr. Ted Moses requesting a response to letter sent on January 13, 2005.
Grand Chief Dr. Ted Moses requests a response from Tony Blair to the urgent and growing international criticisms relating to the positions of his government in regard to Indigenous peoples’ human rights.
- GRAND COUNCIL OF THE CREES (EEYOU ISTCHEE) SUBMISSION TO THE OFFICE OF THE U.S. TRADE
REPRESENTATIVE APRIL 13, 2000
This brief, filed by the Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee) on behalf of the people of the
Cree Nation of Eeyou Istchee, addresses the issue of softwood lumber trade between Canada and
the United States of America.
Nearly 60% of Quebec’s softwood lumber comes from the boreal forests on Cree traditional
lands in the James Bay Territory of northern Quebec, known to us as Eeyou Istchee. Any future
arrangements for lumber trade will have a direct impact on the Cree people, particularly the
4,000 full-time Cree subsistence hunters. The Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee) wishes
to influence the trade discussion to more fairly account for our rights and circumstances.
- Urgente necesidad de renovación de mandato y mejora del proceso de elaboración de normas de las Naciones Unidas sobre los derechos humanos de los pueblos indígenas
Intervención Conjunta de Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee), Na Koa Ikaika Kalāhui Hawai’i, Traditional Kirati Peoples' Alliance (Nepal), International Organization of Indigenous Resource Development (IOIRD), Samson Cree Nation, Ermineskin Cree Nation, Montana Cree Nation, Louis Bull Cree Nation, Fédération des Organisations Autochtones de Guyane (FOAG), Nepal Indigenous Peoples Development and Information Service Centre (NIPDISC), First Peoples Human Rights Coalition...
- Urgent Need to Renew Mandate and Improve the U.N Standard-Setting Process on Indigenous Peoples’ Human Rights
Joint Statement of the Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee), Na Koa Ikaika Kalāhui Hawai’i, Traditional Kirati Peoples' Alliance (Nepal), International Organization of Indigenous Resource Development (IOIRD), Samson Cree Nation, Ermineskin Cree Nation, Montana Cree Nation, Louis Bull Cree Nation, Fédération des Organisations Autochtones de Guyane (FOAG), Nepal Indigenous Peoples Development and Information Service Centre (NIPDISC)...
- Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights Assessing the International Decade Urgent Need to Renew mandate and Improve the UN Standard-Setting Process on Indigenous People's Human Rights
The International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People is coming to an end in December 2004. The U.N. standard-setting process relating to the draft U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples could also be terminated around the same time. The adoption by the U.N. General Assembly of a declaration on the rights of Indigenous peoples is a major objective of the Decade. It is a grave and widespread concern among Indigenous peoples that this essential goal could be facing impending failure.
- Oficina del Alto Comisionado Para Los Deprechos Humanos: EVALUACIÓN DEL DECENIO INTERNACIONAL URGENTE NECESIDAD DE RENOVACIÓN DE MANDATO Y MEJORA DEL PROCESO DE ELABORACIÓN DE NORMAS DE LAS NACIONES UNIDAS SOBRE LOS DERECHOS HUMANOS DE LOS PUEBLOS INDÍGENAS
El Decenio Internacional de las Poblaciones Indígenas del Mundo llega a su fin en diciembre de 2004. El proceso de elaboración de normas de las Naciones Unidas relacionado con el proyecto de Declaración de las Naciones Unidas sobre los Derechos de los Pueblos Indígenas podría también llegar a su fin al mismo tiempo. La adopción de una declaración sobre los derechos de los pueblos indígenas por parte de la Asamblea General de las Naciones Unidas es un objetivo primordial del Decenio Internacional. Es una preocupación grave y amplia de los pueblos indígenas que este objetivo esencial podría encontrarse frente a un fracaso inminente.
- Pushed to the Edge of Extinction: Racism Against Indigenous Peoples in Canada
Canada is one of the richest countries in the world — with one of the
highest standards of living. Also, Canada presents itself as a world leader
in respect of human rights.
The situation in Canada facing indigenous peoples is Canada’s hidden
shame. The fundamental human rights of indigenous peoples in Canada
are being violated on an ongoing basis. Indigenous peoples in Canada still
endure landlessness, mass poverty and unemployment, ill health, “third
world” living conditions, state violence and police brutality, disproportionate
incarceration, and suicide epidemics.
- United Nations: Economic and Social Council: Information concerning indigenous issues requested by the
Economic and Social Council
The present report is submitted in accordance with Economic and Social
Council decision 2003/307, entitled “Review of indigenous issues within the United Nations system”. The report contains a summary of replies received from
Governments, non-governmental organizations and indigenous peoples’
organizations as well as from the United Nations system. Analysis and observations are contained in chapters V and VI of the report.
- ANNEX (of Letter to UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, September 10, 2004, from Indigenous nations and organizations and non-Indigenous organizations): Towards a UN Declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples: Injustices and Contradictions in the Positions of the United Kingdom
In 1993, after nine years of careful discussion and reflection, the expert members of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations (WGIP) formulated and approved the draft U.N. Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Throughout this dynamic process, Indigenous peoples, States, specialized agencies and academics actively participated and exchanged views...
- Presentation of Grand Council of the Crees Romeo Saganash Commonwealth Policy Studies Unit: Guyana Consultation - June 24, 2003
We are grateful for the invitation we received to
participate in this important Commonwealth process. We
acknowledge the role of the Commonwealth Policy Studies
Unit and its funders in convening this important series of
We believe that the Commonwealth, as an organization
born from foundations of global colonialism, has a
responsibility and special experience in the challenges faced
by indigenous peoples.
- A Study in Contrasts: A New Vision of Aboriginal Inclusion in Quebec and the Continuing Federal Government Imposition of Extinguishment of Aboriginal Rights Across Canada: Submission of the Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee) to the
Indigenous Rights in the Americas Project Americas & Caribbean Regional Experts Meeting Georgetown, Guyana
June 23rd - 25th 2003
As an organization born from foundations of global colonialism, we believe that the
Commonwealth has both a particular responsibility and special experience in the challenges
faced by indigenous peoples.
We welcome this opportunity for dialogue, exchange and advocacy, in our on-going
campaign to build foundations for post-colonial, nation-to-nation relationships between
aboriginal peoples and the nation-states in which they live or are enclaved.
We acknowledge the role of the Commonwealth Policy Studies Unit and its funders in
convening this important series of seminars.
The Grand Council began working on the international level when it realized in 1980 that Canada and Quebec were not going to implement the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement in a straight forward manner, attuned to the needs of the communities. At the time, Canada was refusing to live up to obligations in respect to sewer and water systems in the communities and for housing as well as other aspects of community and economic development. Quebec had neatly excused itself from any responsibility for these matters on Category 1 Lands that it said were under Federal Jurisdiction. The Crees decided to take their problems to the Pope and began to look around at the various international fora where there was a possibility that Canada and Quebec could be held to international standards in their treatment of the Crees.
In the 1980's work began which resulted in the Grand Council being accredited as a non-governmental organization (NGO) in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. They also began working with the newly set up UN Working Group on the Rights of Indigenous Populations. In addition the Grand Council worked with the International Labour Organization in its amendments to the ILO instrument dealing with Indigenous Peoples. While many of the Cree leaders have over the years been involved with the international representations of the Grand Council, it has been primarily the work of Dr. Ted Moses and Mr. Robert Epstein.
One of the early attempts of Canada and other States was to have all references to Aboriginal Peoples in the new Draft Universal Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples changed to Aboriginal "Populations" or Aboriginal "People" (singular). This was an attempt to undermine the collective status of Aboriginal Peoples in International Law and would have, among other things, denied their access to the right of self-determination in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. It was particularly ironic for Canada that recognizes the rights of "aboriginal peoples" in its own constitution to take this position.
Another of the battles from the 1980's was when Canada denied that it had treaties with aboriginal peoples and wanted all references to the treaties in international instruments to be to "domestic arrangements".
These were the type of battles that characterized the last 20 or so years in the international fora and that continue to this day.
The Council has worked over the years with a variety of international bodies:
- the Organization of American States on its Inter-American Instrument on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples;
- Dr. Moses represented the Council at the UN Conference on Indigenous Self-Government in Nuuk Greenland in 1991 where a resolution was passed supporting the aboriginal right to self-determination;
- The United Nations Humans Rights Commission in regard to "The Status and Rights of the James Bay Crees in the Context of Quebec's Succession from Canada", the violation of the rights of indigenous peoples caused by Canada's policy of extinguishment;
- The Council attended the RIO Summit : United Nations Conference on Environment and Development
- It took the issue of the James Bay 2 Projects and their environmental review to the International Water Tribunal in Amsterdam;
- In 1992 Dr. Moses was chosen to represent all Aboriginal Peoples in North America at the World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna, where he proposed for the first time the creation of a Permanent Forum at UN for Aboriginal Peoples;
- In 1994/5 the Council made representations to the European Parliament on the proposed European ban on importing fur, because of the use of the leg-hold trap;
- In 1996 the Cree Ambassador, Dr. Moses was invited to participate in the Conference on the Establishment of the Australian Council on Aboriginal Reconciliation, in Melbourne Australia;
- The Council participated in the First Continental Congress of Indigenous Peoples in Mexico;
- First World Food Summit in Rome where it secured mention of the wild food sources of indigenous peoples as a matter for international concern;
- Dr. Moses worked on the Indigenous Initiative for Peace with Rigoberta Menchu Tum;
- The Grand Council signed a twinning agreement between the Grand Council of the Crees and the Veneto Region of Italy;
- The Council has intervened at the UN Working Group On Indigenous Populations on Canada's non-Implementation of the JBNQA, the Cree Right to self-determination and on other matters;
- In 1999 the Grand Council obtained a ruling from the UN Human Rights Committee to the effect that Canada's policy of extinguishing the rights of Aboriginal Peoples was a violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;
- In 1999 the Permanent Forum for Indigenous Peoples was approved by the UN and opened in May 2002;
- Also in 1999, the Grand Council and Dr. Robert Harris of the Cree Board of Health and Social Services presented the problem of the over-crowded and contaminated housing in the Cree communities, in particular Chisasibi, to the World Health Organization;
- In 2001 the Council sent a delegation to the World Conference on Racism in Durban where it made verbal presentations on the importance of the access by Indigenous Peoples to the protections in the international human rights conventions and distributed 12000 Copies in French and English of a pamphlet on racism against Indigenous Peoples in Canada;
- In 2002 the Council made a presentation to the Working Group on Indigenous Peoples on the new agreement between the Crees and Quebec and how this is a recognition and implementation of the Cree International Right to Self-Determination Agreement. It was also cited by the Council as a ground-breaking advancement by the Government of Quebec in recognition of the human rights of Indigenous Peoples;