With Canada in the midst of a snap election, the organization that represents Inuit women in the country is calling on federal party leaders to commit to having Inuit women at the table for all decisions that directly affect them, especially when it comes to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
“Pauktuutit expects that Inuit women will be full participants in the development of the Action Plan to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Persons (UNDRIP) Act in the coming months,” Rebecca Kudloo, the president of Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada said in a news release.
“However, we want an assurance from all party leaders that Inuit women will have an equal voice on how UNDRIP will be implemented by every federal department and agency.”
UNDRIP was adopted by the United Nations in 2007. It includes 46 articles that affirm the rights of Indigenous peoples, and touches on everything from language to culture to resources.
Bill C-15 was introduced by Canada’s Liberal Government in December 2020, and received Royal Assent on June 21. It requires that the law in Canada be consistent with the rights set out in UNDRIP.
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.
The government has set out a time period of no more than two years to develop an action plan to implement the Declaration.
The government has pledged to “engage with Indigenous partners” on the action plan, including organizations, rights holders, modern treaty and self-governing nations, women’s and youth organizations, 2SLGBTQQIA+ Indigenous persons, urban Indigenous people and other identified Indigenous groups.
On Tuesday, Pauktuutit also called for Inuit women to have full inclusion in the ongoing work from the MMIWG.
The MMIWG action plan was released in June, and said work on an implementation plan was a coming part of the process.
“The next step involves preparation of an implementation plan with in-depth descriptions of short-, medium- and long-term priorities, and the identification of those responsible for implementation of each action, as well as milestones and required resources,” the action plan said.
Kudloo said she wants a commitment that Inuit women will have a leadership role in the process.
“Inuit women know best the solutions to protect our personal safety and security,” Kudloo said. “Our experiences, priorities and ideas must inform every element of the plan’s implementation.”
New funding for Inuit-specific shelters and transition housing, increasing the services of Inuit midwives and better access to healthcare services are among the other election priorities for Inuit women, Pauktuutit said.
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