UN urges Canada to talk with natives

Activists in Canada protest against the government’s violations of the rights of the aboriginals. (File photo)

After weeks of protests by the indigenous communities in Canada, the United Nations has urged Prime Minister Stephen Harper government to set up a meaningful dialogue with the aboriginal leaders of the country.

UN Special Rapporteur James Anaya stressed on Tuesday that the Canadian government should set up talks in accordance with the standards expressed in the organization’s Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

During the past month, the leaders of aboriginal communities, the First Nation, and activists have carried out nationwide rallies under the name ‘Idle no more,’ accusing the Canadian government of violating the aboriginal’s basic rights and undermining previously agreed treaties on the use of lands and resources.

Since December 11, 2012, Chief of Attawapiskat First Nation in Northern Ontario Theresa Spence has been on a hunger strike demanding a meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

A meeting is set to be held on January 11, after Harper announced a week earlier that he is prepared to hold talks with some leaders of the aboriginal communities to discuss issues of concern.

Commenting on Spence’s situation, the UN expert, Anaya, said, “I would like to add my voice to the concern expressed by many over the health condition of Chief Spence, who I understand will be joining indigenous leaders at this week’s meeting.”

Demonstrations by the aboriginals in Canada have been held since the government approved Bill C-45 through parliament to change the rules about aboriginal land.