UBCIC Calls on Trudeau Government to Truly Commit to UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

(Coast Salish Territory / Vancouver, B.C. – May 17, 2016)  At the 15th session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Canada publicly stated it would be a full supporter of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (Declaration) without qualification and then immediately qualified the statement by adding “to adopt and implement the declaration in accordance with the Canadian Constitution.”

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs observed, “Canada must commit to the true spirit and intent of the Declaration, by not doing so threatens the very purpose, essence and integrity of the Declaration as a fundamental international human rights instrument for all States to honour. The Declaration advances human rights for Indigenous peoples beyond the status quo and offers a framework for justice and reconciliation. Clearly it should be Canada’s own legal and constitutional frameworks that must adapt to the Declaration, not how the Declaration can be domestically defined, especially our free, prior and informed consent (FPIC), solely on one section of the Constitution of Canada.”

Chief Bob Chamberlin, Vice-President of the UBCIC stated, “There is a clear difference between FPIC and Consultation and Accommodation. FPIC is based on Indigenous peoples’ inherent sovereignty and inalienable rights. Consultation and Accommodation, as typically used, is within the decision-making process of the state. While certainly robust dialogue and substantive measures to address our interests is needed - these are part of the path of Indigenous Peoples making decisions pursuant to our indigenous laws and authorities. FPIC is the right to say yes and the right to say no to development on our traditional lands and territories in order to safeguard the salmon, trees, waters for our future generations.”

Kukpi7 Judy Wilson concluded, “It is critically important our inherent Title and Rights are recognized and affirmed in all forums and processes Canada and BC engages in at the international level. When our Title and Rights are entirely disregarded or domestically diluted, governments should be liable. Such actions weighed against such international instruments like the Declaration should be reflected in financial determinations of credit rating agencies like Standard and Poor’s, Moody’s, DBRS and Fitch.”

Media inquiries:
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, Union of BC Indian Chiefs: (604) 684-0231