FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 29, 2018
Experts on UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Tour Northwest BC
TERRACE, BC – Two of Canada’s authoritative voices on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) will be speaking in northwest communities on the declarations positive impacts. Both the Canadian and British Columbian Governments recently committed to fully adopt and implement the UNDRIP.
The Office of the Wet’suwet’en, Kispiox Seniors Association, Gitwilgyoots Tribe, and The Gitanyow Hereditary Chiefs will host Paul Joffe, a lawyer for the Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee) and Jennifer Preston, Indigenous Rights coordinator for Canadian Friends Service Committee (Quakers). Joffe and Preston were actively involved in the development of the Declaration and its adoption by the United Nations in 2007. They will be presenting in Smithers, Hazelton, Terrace and Prince Rupert from February 5th – 8th.
Last year Preston and Joffe presented in Prince Rupert to a group of Northwest Indigenous Leaders who wanted to know more about the UNDRIP and the legal framework regarding Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC). A key objective was to gain a better understanding of how to use the Declaration to safeguard their rights, including those relating to lands and territories.
Although provincial and federal leaders have promised to rebuild Nation-to-Nation relationships with Indigenous communities, very few feel they’ve fulfilled their promise.
With a dramatic increase of resource extraction proposals throughout the Northwest in recent years, many are deeply concerned that their Indigenous Rights are being undermined by decisions made far from their traditional lands by non-Indigenous governments.
“What many are hoping to get from these presentations is a better understanding of how the Declaration protects Indigenous Rights and what that means for our communities moving forward in modern Canadian society,” said Chief Na’Moks of the Wet’suwet’en Nation.
Last year Chief Na’moks, along with other Indigenous leaders from the Gitxsan and Haida Nations traveled to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) In Geneva to report on the continued discrimination of Indigenous Peoples in Canada. Na’Moks hopes the presentations will give people a clear understanding of how to use the UNDRIP to defend their Indigenous Rights.
For more information, visit: undripnorthwest.ca
Jennifer Preston (Quakers) – (519) 835-5213
Paul Joffe (Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee) – (450) 465-3654
Chief Na’Moks of the Wet’suwet’en Nation (John Ridsdale) – (250) 643-0771