Last year, UN Special Rapporteur on the right of indigenous peoples, James Anaya visited Canada to meet with government groups, special interest groups and communities to examine the human rights situation of aboriginal people in Canada. This was a follow up to the 2003 visit by a UN Special Rapporteur.
The findings from James Anaya’s recent visit have been released, along with the findings of his visits to Panama and Peru. The findings in the Canadian report present recommendations for how Canada can “arrive at a common understanding with indigenous peoples of objectives and goals that are based on full respect for their constitutional, treaty, and internationally-recognized rights.”
Although we have had some improvements and move forward on needed areas concerning education, self-governance, treaty and other claims processes, we are still facing a dire level of inequalities. Health outcomes for aboriginal peoples are much lower than for the rest of Canadians and incarceration rates and suicide rates are disproportionately higher than for the rest of Canadians.
The report and its 16 recommendations are important to heed if we want to be a nation were all people are treated equitably and with respect and dignity.