The United Nations Committee to End Racial Discrimination (CERD) has been in existence for over 50 years under the auspices of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the CERD 93rd convention is now underway in Geneva, Switzerland. The purpose of CERD 93 is to examine reports on many nations regarding Human Rights compliance with data, testimony and submissions from government agencies, international NGOs such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, domestic agencies on the ground and the people who are leading the efforts in their nations. Every member of the UN is subject to review and recommendations from CERD on a rotating basis, with results from the last committee recommendations being entered into the next review phase. Canada is one of the members subject to review at CERD 93.
Looking at this round's reports and the recommendations for Canada from its last review, it is clear to the UNHCR, CERD, international NGOs and stakeholders that Canada has problems. But as far as successive Canadian governments and the corporate press are concerned, Canada is still that mythical defender of Human Rights envied around the world. It is simply not the real picture. And nothing demonstrates this more clearly than the legal, economic and social condition of Indigenous Peoples throughout Canada. All the evidence is there for the world to see, just not Canadians apparently.
Russell Diabo is the editor and publisher of an online newsletter that covers First Nations political and legal issues, the First Nations Strategic Bulletin. He is a member of the Mohawk Nation at Kahnawake, QC and has been an activist on First Nations issues since the age of 16. A member of the Defenders of the Land Network, Russ works with Idle No More and the Unsettling150 campaign for a National Day of Action this past July 1. Russ is a delegate for CERD 93 and he joins us to discuss Canada's false global reputation and what comes next.