To All: Global Regional Leaders
Global Club Executives
Global Cafe Leaders
As you know Global has a special interest in Indigenous issues through the years. Consistently in regions where there are Indigenous peoples, they are the ones who suffer under the most extreme cases of injustice. As an organization with a mandate toward justice we cannot ignore what is happening with Indigenous peoples in the countries in which we partner and especially within our own country.
As a response to the injustice faced by Indigenous peoples Global is asking you to participate in a number of initiatives. These initiatives are of an advocacy and educational nature, therefore will not take a great deal of your time.
The first initiative is a petition to the government of Canada asking them to sign on to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. On Sept. 13, 2007 the United Nations adopted the Declaration on the rights of Indigenous Peoples by a vote of 144 to 4 with 11 abstentions. Canada, the United States, Australia and New Zealand were the four nations that voted against. Australia and New Zealand have changed their decision and both have now signed on to the Declaration.
According to the UN, the Declaration:
• establish a universal framework of minimum standards for the survival, dignity, well-being and rights of the world’ s indigenous peoples; addresses individual and collective rights; identifies rights to education, health, employment and language; outlaws discrimination against indigenous peoples; ensures their right to remain distinct and to pursue their own priorities in economic, social and cultural development;
• encourages harmonious and cooperative relations between States and indigenous peoples.
Canada’ s reason for not signing on to the declaration is that it is incompatible with Canada’ s Constitution and the Canadian charter of Rights and Freedom. They state that the Declaration affirms only the collective rights of Indigenous peoples and fails to balance individual and collective rights or the rights of Indigenous and non-indigenous peoples.
A group of Lawyers and Law professors who have researched and worked in the fields of Indigenous rights and/or constitutional law in Canada, say that the governments claims are misleading and that,” no credible legal rationale has been provided to substantiate these extraordinary and erroneous claims.”
The Assembly of First Nations and other Aboriginal groups in Canada offered to work with the government on a joint Statement of Understanding of the text to address the governments concerns. However, the government declined this offer. The government has sought support for its endorsement strategy from provincial and territorial governments, with no consultation with Canadian Indigenous Peoples. Ontario has responded to the Federal Government with this statement, “ As part of Ontario's continued efforts to enhance cooperation, and to build strong relationships with Aboriginal people based on mutual respect, Premier Dalton McGuinty has asked the Government of Canada to reconsider its position on the United Nations' Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Ontario supports a review of Canada's position on the Declaration as a means to demonstrate its commitment to improving the lives of Aboriginal people throughout Canada. Reconsideration of the Declaration would demonstrate Canada's willingness to foster an open dialogue to improve the lives of Aboriginal peoples.”
The Declaration is a living instrument that is broadly supported and has universal application. It provides a crucial context and framework towards ensuring justice, as well as the dignity, security and well-being of Indigenous Peoples worldwide.
Global Youth Network would like to encourage the government of Canada to work with Canadian Indigenous Peoples (First nations, Metis and Inuit) on a respectful process for the endorsement and implementation of the Declaration.
Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Send a short, polite letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
• Note that the UN Declaration is intended to address the discrimination that has denied Indigenous peoples around the world the full enjoyment of their human rights.
• Welcome the federal government's commitment to endorsing the UN Declaration.
• Call on the government to fully endorse the Declaration, without conditions or limitations.
Dear Prime Minister
I/We are writing to urge the Government of Canada to endorse the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples without qualifications. Such an approach would respect the House of Commons’ Motion on April 8 2008, calling for a full implementation of the Declaration.
The Declaration includes provisions that explicitly state that any interpretation is to be balanced with other human rights protections and principles of justice and equality. Therefore, there is no need to assert conditions or qualifications on support for the Declaration.
I/We encourage the Canadian Government to work with Indigenous Peoples (First Nations, Metis, Inuit) on a respectful process for the endorsement and implementation of the declaration.
The letter should be written in such away as it reflects your specific group, like, University of Guelph Global Youth Network club. or York University Justice club, or Global Youth Network Hamilton region etc.
If you use this letter as a petition you will need to have each person sign their name, address, postal code and phone #.
You can also send this through e mail by going to http://www.amnesty.ca/iwriteforjustice/ake_action.php?actionid=149& type=Internal and cutting and pasting the letter to the Amnesty on line petition. It is important to note a mailed letter or petition has more wait then an e mailed one.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa ON K1A 0A2
Fax: (613) 941-6900
Make sure you send the letter or e mail copy of letter to the opposition party’s Email Address
Mailing Address - Parliament Hill Office
Gilles Duceppe, M.P.
Chef du Bloc Québécois
Chambre des communes
Mailing Address - Parliament Hill Office
Jack Layton, M.P.
Leader of the NDP
House of Commons
Centre Block, 409-S
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
Telephone: (613) 995-9364
Leader, Green Party of Canada
As you take a action with this letter and petition I hope you will keep me informed.
We are presently researching a Global Youth Network response on Aboriginal rights and the oil
sands in Alberta. We are hoping to have an action plan to submit to you in Nov.