VANCOUVER — The David Suzuki Foundation supports a recent call from the United Nations’ Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination for Canada’s federal government to better protect Mi’kmaw fishers from acts of racism in the ongoing lobster fishery dispute off Canada’s East Coast.
The UN CERD is considering allegations that the RCMP and Fisheries and Oceans Canada “failed to take appropriate measures to prevent these acts of violence and to protect the fishers and their properties from being vandalized,” and that last year, treaty rights weren’t respected.
On review of an April 30 letter from the UN CERD to the Canadian government, David Suzuki Foundation director-general for Western Canada and nature portfolio lead Jay Ritchlin said:
“The UN CERD letter clearly confirms the need for Canada to do better in the Mi’kmaw fishing rights dispute. We call on Canada to come to agreement with Mi’kmaw on a resource management framework that allows the full expression of their rights, including co-management components that would include a role for Mi’kmaw in defining what ‘conservation’ means. Treaty rights and court rulings confirm the Mi’kmaw should have a priority right to a moderate livelihood fishery, within conservation limits. Government has a clear responsibility to protect everyone in Canada from racism, violence and crime, and this case is no exception.”
The UN’s letter asks Canada’s permanent representative to the UN Leslie Norton to respond to allegations by Sipekne’katik First Nation by July 14.
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