• Mission of the UN Special Rapporteur to Canada: Another another blatant case of injustice to First Nations
Mar 05, 2013

Press release

Mission of the UN Special Rapporteur to Canada:

Another another blatant case of injustice to First Nations

 

Wendake, Monday March 4, 2013 – On March 5, the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador Health and Social Services Commission (FNQLHSSC), will join hundreds of Canadians to express its concerns about the right to food for First Nations. In the context of an interactive webinar broadcasted across the country, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Mr. Olivier De Schutter, will present the results of his mission to Canada to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. During his visit in May, Mr. De Schutter, among other things, met with First Nations representatives and visited some communities. These visits enabled him to become aware of the gap between First Nations and Canadians on the socioeconomic level. Mr. De Schutter stresses in his report that “A long history of political and economic marginalization has left many indigenous peoples living in poverty with considerably lower levels of access to adequate food relative to the general population.”

 

The FNQLHSSC, in collaboration with the Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador (AFNQL), submitted to Mr. De Schutter during his mission to Canada a report on the phenomenon of food insecurity among the Quebec First Nations. Entitled “Food Insecurity, Poverty and Social Exclusion: The Situation of the First Nations of Quebec”, this report describes the deplorable conditions faced by most First Nations. Canada was ranked third worldwide according to the UN Human Development Index (HDI) in 2007-2008, whereas the First Nations of Canada were ranked in position number 68 (UNICEF, 2009, p. V). This is the same ranking that we find in the countries of the third world. All indicators point in the same direction: there is an increasing gap between the socio-economic condition of aboriginal peoples and those of the rest of the Canadian population. Some First Nations communities in Canada and in Quebec still have no access to drinking water, electricity or other services which are essential for social economic development.

 

Regarding food insecurity, 31% of adults living in a household with children suffer from a moderate or severe situation of food insecurity. In remote communities, this proportion rises to almost 50% (49.6%).

No one should suffer from hunger

 

In a country as rich as Canada, food insecurity is an unacceptable and shameful reality. Under international law, the government of Canada has an obligation to ensure the respect for the right to food for all Canadians, including First Nations.

 

The government of Quebec has taken a first step by committing to support First Nations in the fight against poverty. However, concrete and lasting actions from the federal government are slow in coming. The federal government must take action and adopt a national strategy to combat poverty and social exclusion among First Nations. Without a strategy and concrete means, First Nations will continue to suffer from hunger, like many other Canadians.

 

We invite the media to participate in this event on March 5th at noon at our offices.

 

 

- 30 -

 

 

 

Source:      Chantal Cleary, Communication Officer

First Nations of Quebec and Labrador
Health and Social Services Commission          

 

Phone:       418 842-1540

 

 

Please visit our website (www.cssspnql.com) to access the fact sheet entitled "The food insecurity index among First Nations: Highlights".