NFU Urges MPs to support Bill C-262, United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act

(September 12, 2017 - Saskatoon) -  The National Farmers Union (NFU) supports and urges Members of Parliament to vote in favour of Bill C-262, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, which calls upon the Canadian government to fully adopt and implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). 

Bill C-262 would require the Government of Canada to follow up its official endorsement of the UN Declaration with action to bring the laws of Canada into compliance with the UNDRIP.

The UNDRIP, a global human rights instrument adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2007, establishes an agreed-upon standard for treatment of Indigenous peoples, stating that the rights contained within it “constitute the minimum standards for the survival, dignity and well-being of the indigenous people of the world.”

In its Calls to Action, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission identified the UNDRIP as “the framework” for the Canadian government and all Canadians to use to address the terrible harms caused by colonialism.

In 2016, Canada became a signatory to the Declaration when the Minister of Indigenous Affairs officially removed Canada’s status as an official objector. At the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues at the United Nations, the Minister went on to state that Canada intends nothing less than to adopt and implement the Declaration in accordance with the Canadian Constitution.

When it comes to issues related to food sovereignty, Indigenous people’s right to “maintain, control, protect and develop their cultural heritage, traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions” is central. Such protection extends to “seeds, medicines, knowledge of the properties of fauna and flora” and more. Of critical importance to many Indigenous communities in Canada is Article 18, which affirms Indigenous peoples’ right to free, prior and informed consent: “Indigenous peoples have the right to participate in decision-making in matters which would affect their rights, through representatives chosen by themselves in accordance with their own procedures, as well as to maintain and develop their own indigenous decision-making institutions.”

“The promise inherent in implementation of UNDRIP is that the colonial path that Canada has followed will finally be left behind, and a new path of nation-to-nation relationship, with a legislative package that acknowledges Indigenous peoples rights, can be established,” insists Ayla Fenton, member of the NFU’s Indigenous Solidarity Working Group.

The National Farmers Union urges MPs to vote in favour of Bill C-262 and thereby commit to harmonizing Canadian law and policies with UNDRIP to ensure that the rights of Indigenous People are upheld.

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For more information:
Ayla Fenton, NFU Indigenous Solidarity Working Group: nfuyouth@nfu.ca
Maureen Bostock, NFU Indigenous Solidarity Working Group: (613) 259-5757 or maureenbostock@hotmail.com

BILL C-262 - An Act to ensure that the laws of Canada are in harmony with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP)

Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action