The Inuit Circumpolar Council, which represents the approximately 180,000 Inuit in Alaska, Canada, Greenland, and Chukotka, Russia, said on Tuesday that it applauds Canada’s move to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
The Canadian government tabled the legislation on Thursday.
“Following decades of direct involvement in the drafting of the human rights affirmed in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, this is welcome news for Inuit and ICC overall,” said ICC Chair Dalee Sambo Dorough in a news release on Tuesday.
“The ICC has raised the interrelated rights of Inuit in a host of intergovernmental dialogues across the globe. This is an extraordinary, concrete step towards achieving the objectives of ICC, a precedent that we hope is followed worldwide.
“As far back as 1977, Eben Hopson, Sr. underscored the need for agreement by governments to uniformly respect our rights and we are now on the cusp of serious, substantive consideration of a bill to fully implement or operationalize such rights in the Canada.” (Eben Hopson is the ICC founder.)
Bill C-15 was introduced by the Liberal Government in Canada on December 3. If eventually passed by Parliament, the bill would require the law in Canada to be consistent with the rights set out in UNDRIP.
UNDRIP was adopted by the United Nations in 2007. It includes 46 articles that affirm the rights of Indigenous peoples.
Implementation of UNDRIP was called for by both the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, set up to examine the legacy of the residential school system in Canada, and the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG), set up to examine the high rates of violence against indigenous women in the country.
ICC Canada encourages support of “historic legislation”
Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK), the national Inuit organization in Canada, helped co-developed the legislation with the government and First Nations and Métis in Canada.
On Tuesday, ICC’s Canadian chapter also applauded ITK’s role
“We also commend Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) in working with Canadian government officials in the co-development of the legislation,” said ICC Canada President Monica Ell-Kanayuk.
“We recognize that tremendous ongoing effort is required to ensure Bill C-15 goes through the legislative process in Parliament and achieves Royal Assent. We add our voice to encourage parliamentarians to support this historic legislation in the ongoing struggle to protect the human rights of Indigenous Peoples.
“The progressive actions of the Government of Canada in this regard, we believe, will help influence other positive legislative actions for Inuit and others across the globe.”
Write to Eilís Quinn at eilis.quinn(at)cbc.ca
Related stories around the North:
Finland: Sámi reconciliation process gains final approval in Finland, Yle News
Norway: The Arctic Railway – Building a future or destroying a culture?, Eye on the Arctic
Russia: Russia removes critical voices ahead of Arctic Council chairmanship, claims Indigenous peoples expert, The Independent Barents Observer