Human Rights and Indigenous People Essay

Submitted By Emma-Refreek
Words: 2552
Pages: 11

Indigenous People’s Rights Indigenous peoples across the world have had their rights stripped for centuries. Living as second class citizens, they have struggled for even basic rights. Today, the clash between non aboriginals and aboriginals a bitter battle. Even in the most economically powerful countries, natives are still knee deep in poverty. Indigenous people account for 15 percent of the world’s poor, even though they are about 5 percent of the population. In America, Russia and even Canada, the indigenous people are still facing terrible conditions. Despite all the setbacks handed to them by governments in the form of broken promises and treaties, indigenous people still manage to create thriving communities that contribute to their societies. Yet, there is still serious problems with the conditions of native peoples on reservations. According to the UN Special Rapporteur, in the United States Native Americans on reservations have “disproportionately high poverty rates, nearly double the national average”. Indigenous people’s lands in Russia have been the targets of energy projects because of the richness of natural resources. However, taking indigenous people’s lands leave people unstable and homeless. In Canada there is a large gap between the living standards of aboriginal people and non-aboriginal Canadians. Today, the relationship between the government and native Canadians is a stressed but slowly improving one. The discriminatory practices of one bill, called the Indian Act was changed in 1985 with the amendment C-31. The policy that was changed was one that stated previously that if any aboriginal woman married a non-aboriginal man, her status as a native would be lost to her and all of her descendants. Bill C-31 abolished this and nearly 60,000 people gained their statuses back. Other improvements in the relationship between the native and nonnative Canadians was the formation of the National Indian Brotherhood, which evolved into the Assembly of the First Nations. Started in 1978, the Assembly of First Nations works with the Canadian federal government about issues such as education and land and provides critiques of the government’s handling of issues that pertain to the native population. On the world stage, Canada has been at the forefront of discussion about aboriginal peoples and their rights. Canada attends the World Conference on Indigenous People’s Rights. In 2014, the WCIP published a document that included the use of Free Prior and Informed Consent, the ability that allows natives to make decisions about their lands, which Canada does not approve. Canada subsequently rejected the document and has fallen under international critique. However, the documents does go against Canada’s constitution and agreeing to it would undermine the federal law. “Canada’s position on this issue is well known and not change,” states a document released by the federal government in September 2014. “While the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Outcome Document for this World Conference are not legally binding and do not reflect customary international law, or change Canadian laws, we regret that our concerns were not taken into account.” The lives of the native peoples in Canada and around the world are important. Addressing poverty, water and housing are large important and need to be dealt with. To combat these issues, Canada has proposed many different services for its aboriginal population. Education programs, such as scholarship for registered and unregistered Indians, and it has set a standard for drinking water on reservations and with the First Nation Infrastructure fund, supports the building of new infrastructure in native communities. Canada believes that programs that specifically address the needs of the native population are necessary for getting a visible change in the community. Also the main issue that Canada has with the UN Declaration on Indigenous Rights is that it