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Train tour supports UN declaration

Friday June 24, 2011

The KAIROS Cross Canada Train Tour is raising awareness about the United Nations Declaration on Indigenous Peoples.

The train stopped in Sioux Lookout June 17.

The tour is part of the Roll With the Declaration national campaign organized by KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives.

The campaign calls on the Canadian government to use the UN declaration to improve conditions faced by many Indigenous communities in Canada.

“Because people don’t understand the (UN) declaration, they don’t understand its potential to address the ongoing socio-economic challenges facing Indigenous peoples in Canada,” said Ed Bianchi, coordinator with KAIROS’ Indigenous Rights Program. “This lack of understanding has generated a lot of anxiety, if not fear, about the declaration, and one of KAIROS’ objectives is to address this anxiety/fear by emphasizing that there’ s nothing to be feared.”

Bianchi said the UN declaration doesn’t create any rights for Indigenous peoples or threaten anyone else’s rights.

“What it does is provide governments and corporations and other sectors of society with a guide or blueprint on how to address the systemic and systematic human rights violations against First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples in Canada.”

Local KAIROS groups across the country have been creating banners with positive messages about UN declaration. Trains travelling from Vancouver, Halifax and Sarnia will collect the banners. Once in Ottawa, the banners were joined together into one giant banner and carried through the streets June 20 in a procession to significant locations such as Parliament Hill and the Human Rights Monument on Elgin Street.

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