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Call to Action # 44: United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (43-44)

AFN Acknowledges the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Action Plan and Calls for Concrete Implementation

June 21, 2023

NationTalk: (Ottawa, ON) The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) acknowledges the introduction of the federal government’s United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) Action Plan. The release of this plan follows the passing of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (UNDA) in Parliament in June 2021.

Today, the UNDA Action Plan was unveiled alongside British Columbia AFN Regional Chief Terry Teegee, AFN National Chief RoseAnne Archibald, the Honourable David Lametti, Minister of Justice, and Attorney General of Canada, accompanied by the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations.

Led by Department of Justice Canada, with input from First Nations, Metis, and Inuit, the UNDA Action Plan provides a roadmap for the Government of Canada to advance the rights and self-determination of First Nations, Metis, and Inuit, through 181 distinct measures aimed at upholding the human rights of Indigenous Peoples. The Action Plan aims to address departmental injustices, violence, prejudice, systemic racism, and discrimination. The measures also aim to ensure the consistency of all Government of Canada laws and policies with the UN Declaration.

Additionally, the Action Plan supports the advancement of self-determination and self-government, treaty implementation, participation in decision-making over lands, territories, and resources, as well as the creation of a healthy environment and the revitalization of languages, cultures, and legal systems.

BC AFN Regional Chief Terry Teegee views this action plan as another important step on the path to reconciliation. “The federal government has developed its road map to improve the quality of life for Indigenous people in this country. However, this is only the beginning, which is a lesson hard learned in British Columbia. The UNDA Action Plan offers an opportunity for Canada to establish a renewed nation-to-nation and government-to-government relationship and ensure the full implementation of its principles, standards, and rights set out in the UN Declaration. But this requires taking immediate and concrete actions to ensure its effective implementation, including ongoing dialogue and collaboration with provinces and territories as well as municipalities to adopt a comprehensive and coordinated approach.”

As a living document, the Action Plan will evolve through ongoing reviews and updates in consultation and cooperation with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities. The AFN calls for the plan to remain responsive to the evolving priorities of First Nations peoples. Implementation of the UN Declaration must be led by First Nations.

AFN Resolution 20/2023 was approved at a Special Chiefs Assembly in April 2023. The resolution calls on the government to, among other things, amend the Action Plan document on an annual basis and to develop processes with transparency and good faith for Indigenous Peoples to be consulted and accommodated pursuant to section 6(1) of the UNDRIP Act, and Section 35 of the Constitution Act of 1982.

In December 2022, First Nations-In-Assembly passed AFN Resolution 43-2022, which urges the federal, provincial, and territorial governments to legislate municipal implementation of UNDRIP accountability and reporting measures, ensuring that local governments adhere to the minimum standards of the UN Declaration.

Regional Chief Teegee emphasizes that the AFN will continue to monitor the government’s implementation of items outlined in this Action Plan. “We are aware of the lack of progress made by this government on other important issues, including implementation of the Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. We will hold the government accountable to ensure the work on this plan does not take a similar pace. It is essential that we establish clear accountability mechanisms and take tangible steps to ensure the implementation this plan into meaningful change for First Nations.”

The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) is a national advocacy organization that works to advance the collective aspirations of First Nations individuals and communities across Canada on matters of national or international nature and concern. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.

For more information please contact:

Matthew Bisson
Communications Officer
Assembly of First Nations

Annette Schroeter
Communications Officer
BC Assembly of First Nations