AFN seeks more time to develop plan implementing UN declaration on Indigenous rights

OTTAWA- The Assembly of First Nations passed a resolution today that calls on the federal Liberals to extend the deadline to finalize a plan on the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.


First Nations chiefs gathered for a special meeting this week to discuss the draft plan the Department of Justice published last month, and spent more than an hour debating a resolution setting out their response.


The document seeks to lay out the first steps in Ottawa’s blueprint for aligning Canadian laws with the UN declaration, which affirms the rights of Indigenous Peoples to self-determination and to their language, culture and traditional lands.


A law passed by the Liberal government in 2021 required the federal government to return to Parliament with an implementation plan by this June, but chiefs decided that timeline should be extended so as to allow for better consultation.


Justice Minister David Lametti said in an address to the chiefs on Wednesday that the draft is not perfect, final or complete, and that there will be “intense discussion” about its contents over the next few months.


The resolution passed today also includes a request that Ottawa publish action plans on the declaration’s implementation every year, and that it provide more resources so that First Nations can meaningfully participate in their development.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 6, 2023.

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