Canadian HR activist continues fasting

Chief of the troubled Attawapiskat First Nation in northern Ontario, Theresa Spence

Canadian rights activist Theresa Spence says she will continue her hunger strike as aboriginal protesters gear up for fresh demonstrations against the violation of their rights.

Spence, chief of the troubled Attawapiskat First Nation in northern Ontario until the government holds a new meeting to discuss the rights of Indians.

The activist has been on a hunger strike since December 11, 2012.

Spence boycotted the first meeting joined by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and native leaders on Friday.

Spence had said in a statement issued on Wednesday that she would not attend the meeting with Harper held on Friday, because Governor General David Johnston, who is a representative of Queen Elizabeth II, would not be taking part in it.

Spence went to the second meeting, but left the session quickly as she cited the meeting as pointless.

During the 4-hours-long meeting on Friday, Harper agreed to pay more attention to native demands and aboriginal issues, but made no promises.
Harper’s office said in a statement that the “government remains committed to ongoing dialogue on aboriginal issues and to taking achievable steps that will provide better outcomes in First Nations communities.”

The protests have been staged across the North American country after Spence went on a hunger strike on December 11, 2012.

Many of Canada’s natives live in poor conditions with unsafe drinking water, inadequate housing, addiction, and high suicide rates.

In a report released on December 19, 2012, Amnesty International called on Canada to address human rights abuses in the country, particularly with respect to the rights of indigenous peoples.

AO/SZH