UN indigenous rapporteur unable to enter Canada
A United Nations (UN) rapporteur on indigenous rights is still waiting for permission to enter Canada more than a year after sending the federal government a formal request.
James Anaya, the UN special rapporteur on the rights of Indigenous peoples, originally sent a request make an official visit to Canada in February 2012 and, despite sending two more requests, has yet to get a response from the federal government.
In a letter sent to the Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) obtained by APTN National News, Anaya wrote that the Canadian government has continued to ignore his year-old request to visit Canada to investigate the “human rights situation of Indigenous peoples.”
“I have communicated with the government of Canada to request its consent for me to conduct an official visit to the country to examine and report on the human rights situation of Indigenous peoples there,” Anaya wrote in the Feb. 20 letter to UBCIC. “I initially made the request in February of 2012 and am still awaiting a response from the government.”
Anaya had written in response to an invitation from Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, president of the UBCIC.
Anaya had previously met with Canadian officials last summer where they discussed some issues related to his mandate.
If the federal government does not respond, Anaya wrote that he may have to meet with chiefs through unofficial channels.
“If I do not receive a positive response from the government in the coming months, I can explore ways of meeting with First Nations leaders from Canada outside the context of an official visit,” Anaya wrote.
The prime minister’s office has yet to reply to a Wawatay interview request. However, APTN reported that a Foreign Affairs spokesperson said in an e-mail that Anaya’s request is “under active consideration.”
Indigenous rights has been an issue in Canada in recent years, especially over the winter when many protests and rallies took place in the name of Idle No More. The movement arose as the government introduced a number of bills affecting First Nations without consultation. The movement founders say the government is violating First Nations treaty rights.
Anaya’s term ends in May 2014.
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