With respect to my analysis of the situations of indigenous peoples in specific countries, I would like to provide some comments on my final three country reports, which were developed over the past year in connection with visits to Canada, Panama and Peru.
My report on the situation of indigenous peoples in Canada follows my visit to various locations across that country in October 2013. In my report I highlight that Canada’s relationship with the indigenous peoples within its borders is governed bya well-developed legal framework and a number of policy initiatives that in many respects are protective of indigenous peoples’ rights.
But despite these positive elements, daunting challenges remain. The numerous initiatives that have been taken at the federal and provincial/territorial levels to address the problems faced by indigenous peoples have been insufficient. The well-being gap between aboriginal and non-aboriginal people in Canada has not narrowed over the last several years, treaty and aboriginal claims remain persistently unresolved, indigenous women and girls remain vulnerable to abuse, and overall there appear to be high levels of distrust among indigenous peoples toward government at both the federal and provincial levels.
As I stress in my report, indigenous peoples’ concerns merit higher priority at all levels and within and branches of government. Concerted measures, based on mutual understanding and real partnership with aboriginal peoples, through their own representative institutions, are vital to establishing long-term solutions. To that end, it is necessary for Canada to arrive at a common understanding with indigenous peoples ofobjectives and goals that are based on full respect for their constitutional, treaty, and internationally-recognized rights.