Justin Trudeau Uses UN Speech to Highlight Human Rights Abuses – In Canada

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the UN General Assembly
Justin Trudeau Uses UN Speech to Highlight Human Rights Abuses – In Canada

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau used his UN General Assembly speech to highlight the struggle of indigenous people in his country.

“For indigenous peoples in Canada, the experience was mostly one of humiliation, neglect and abuse,” he said.

“For First Nations, Métis Nation and Inuit peoples in Canada, those early colonial relationships were not about strength through diversity, or a celebration of differences.”

Mr Trudeau’s speech also drew attention to inequalities in education, and denounced previous administrations’ assimilation policy which saw hundreds of thousands of indigenous children forcibly removed from their parents and placed in residential schools.

Indigenous Canadians experience much higher rates of unemployment and poverty than the non-indigenous population, and are less likely to have received post-secondary education.

A 2016 study conducted by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives found last year that indigenous children in Canada are more than twice as likely to live in poverty than non-indigenous children.

Mr Trudeau also pointed to his government’s attempt to address some of these inequalities,  including a programme which will see 4,000 new homes built on reserves.

“I remain confident – for Canada’s experience shows this to be true – that any challenge can be met if we meet it together.”

However, the Canadian government has faced regular criticism from indigenous leaders since his election in 2015.

The national inquiry into murdered and missing indigenous women has been dogged with resignations and complaints from indigenous leaders.

The National Women’s Association of Canada, who represent indigenous women, recently said in a statement the inquiry had “lost its way”.

NWAC interim president Francyne D Joe said  “The departure of a commissioner, immediately following the resignation of the executive director, is a clear indication that there are unresolved structural issues occurring at the highest levels.”

The inquiry was called after indigenous campaigners believe up to 4,000 indigenous women have been murdered or gone missing in recent decades.

The Liberals are also currently fighting a legal ruling which linked a spate of suicides in a northern Ontario First Nation with the government’s  failure to implement adequate health care facilities for indigenous children.

Source/The Independent

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