The Canadian Human Rights Commission would like to thank former Special Rapporteur James Anaya for his report, and in particular, for bringing to your attention the issues facing Indigenous peoples in Canada. The Commission shares many of his concerns. Acting Chief Commissioner David Langtry was pleased to meet with the Special Rapporteur during his time in Canada and the Commission would like to acknowledge the efforts made by the Government to facilitate Mr. Anaya’s visit.
The Canadian Human Rights Commission is Canada’s National Human Rights Institution.
It works cooperatively with provincial and territorial human rights institutions, Indigenous peoples’ organizations and civil society to promote and protect human rights.
In 2008, the Canadian Human Rights Act was amended so that discrimination complaints could be filed concerning matters governed by the Indian Act. This provided access to avenues of redress that had previously been closed to Indigenous peoples.
Since the coming into force of this amendment, the Commission has received complaints involving many of the important systemic issues identified by the Special Rapporteur such as equitable and culturally appropriate access to child welfare and other services in Indigenous communities. This experience has demonstrated that, while positive steps have been taken, a range of barriers continue to impact Indigenous peoples’ access to human rights justice in a meaningful way.
One such barrier is the fact that Indigenous women and girls in Canada face a persistent and disproportionate level of violence. The Commission recognizes that people facing discrimination and violence suffer more acutely if they lack access to justice.
The Commission will continue its efforts towards ensuring that all Indigenous peoples have access to justice, guided by the human rights principles enshrined in the Canadian Human Rights Act and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. To this end, the Commission is hosting a series of roundtable discussions with Indigenous women from coast to coast to coast, regarding the barriers to justice they encounter, as well as how to eliminate or reduce those barriers.
As a final note, the Commission would like to congratulate Ms. Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, on her recent appointment as Special Rapporteur. The Commission recognizes the positive impact that the Special Rapporteur’s work has on reconciliation, and urges Governments, Indigenous peoples, human rights institutions and civil society in Canada to work towards implementing the recommendations in her predecessor’s report. It’s the Commission’s sincere hope that, through these collective efforts, Ms. Tauli-Corpuz will observe measurable progress in the advancement of the rights of Indigenous peoples should she visit Canada in future years.To paraphrase Sigmund Freud: the CHRC can most highly recommend the UN's "human rights" Special Rapporteurs to everyone.