Battered Women’s Support Services (BWSS) commemorates International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, today, August 9, 2018.
The theme set by the UN this year is, Indigenous peoples’ migration and movement “as a result of loss of their lands, territories and resources due to development and other pressures, many Indigenous peoples migrate to urban areas in search of better prospects of life, education and employment. They also migrate between countries to escape conflict, persecution and climate change impacts”.
After a decade opposing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), Canada finally announced that it now supports UNDRIP. It is not enough for Canada to say they support UNDRIP, there is a big gap between Canada’s constitutional requirements for the treatment of Indigenous people and the requirements of International law. When it comes to International law, it has to be implemented through Canadian laws which mean we have to legislate it into existence for it to be part of Canadian law.
Today, on International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, we urge the Canadian government to pass Bill C-262, an Act to ensure that the laws of Canada are in harmony with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Should it become law, Bill C-262 would require a process for the review of federal laws, to ensure consistency with the standards set out in UNDRIP. It would also require the government to work with Indigenous peoples to develop a national action plan to implement the declaration. Also part of the requirements would be provisions for an annual reporting to parliament on the progress made toward implementation.
At BWSS, we know that Indigenous women, trans, and two spirit people are particularly vulnerable to violence because of historical and ongoing systemic sexism, racism, and trans/misogyny. Article 22 in Bill C-262 states that particular attention shall be paid to the rights and special needs of Indigenous elders, women, youth, children and persons with disabilities in the implementation of this Declaration and that States shall take measures, in conjunction with Indigenous peoples.
The passing of this Bill will help ensure that Indigenous women, girls and LGBTQ2*S peoples can live safely in our communities.