April 24, 2017 — Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami released a discussion paper today on why the Canadian government should implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) through comprehensive national legislation. The discussion paper builds on recommendations made by ITK in our January 2017 position paper on implementing the UN Declaration in Canada. It outlines the importance of implementing the UN Declaration in its entirety rather than in incremental parts to respect the interrelated, interdependent, indivisible and interconnected nature of human rights.
The discussion paper also emphasizes the importance of rule of law by recommending that Canada’s recognition of Indigenous peoples’ human rights must be accompanied by the development of an apparatus for Indigenous peoples seeking remedies for Indigenous human rights violations. To that end, ITK reinforces the call for a legislative approach whose focus would be the development of an independent Indigenous Peoples Human Rights Commission in Canada responsible for engaging in promoting, assessing, and monitoring of implementation, as well as providing redress for Indigenous human rights complaints.
“This discussion paper contributes to the necessary dialogue and engagement between Inuit and the federal government on implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,” said ITK president Natan Obed. “We have now publicly identified specific paths we wish to take on implementing the UN Declaration, and we stand ready to engage with Canada on how to ensure Inuit rights are recognized, affirmed and enforced.”
Canada announced in May 2016 at the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York that it is now a full supporter of the UN Declaration without qualification and stated that its adoption and implementation would be carried out “in full partnership with First Nations, the Metis Nation and Inuit Peoples.”