NWAC, CAP excluded from main table at first ministers human rights meeting

Monday, December 11th, 2017 5:12pm

Snubbed from main table participation in today’s human rights meeting with federal, provincial and territorial ministers, and leaders of the Assembly of First Nations, Métis National Council and the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, the Native Women’s Association of Canada is claiming sex-based discrimination and will boycott any discussions.

It’s the first such meeting on human rights in 30 years, and yet an equal position for women, via NWAC, has not been offered, a statement from the organization asserts. So much for a Prime Minister’s office which has professed a feminist approach towards gender equality, NWAC says.

“The women of many nations are equal rights holders and deserve equal time,” said NWAC President Francyne Joe. “These women are the heart of our communities and deserve a seat at the national table.

“This sex-based discrimination continues to minimize the voice of Indigenous women and the voices of our grassroots organizations.”

NWAC calls the unilateral federal decision to exclude Indigenous women and girls from an equal seat at the table a failure to recognize the Indigenous women who have chosen the organization to represent them and who are “not adequately represented by other national Indigenous organizations.”

This is not the first time NWAC has been passed over. Exclusions are mounting after the First Ministers meetings of last October, and March and December 2016. NWAC also did not receive an invitation to participate in a “high-level” reconciliation meeting with the Prime Minister’s Office also in December 2016.

Another national organization that did not get a seat at the main table is the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Ministers Meeting on Human Rights is the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples.

CAP is being relegated to a separate session and only given a short duration of time with government representatives,” reads a press statement.

“While I am displeased with the government’s repeated approach of excluding CAP, I will be there at today’s meeting so that our people and their rights are given a national voice,” concluded National Chief Robert Bertrand. One of the issues that is concerning CAP is the lack of action on Daniels, a court case decided by the Supreme Court of Canada a year-and-a-half ago, the statement reads.