Arctic Sovereignty: Part SixPublished on 3 October 2014 Blog by Senator Charlie Watt
The summer of 2014 was busy for our Inuit leaders and I would like to thank them for their outstanding work. There are three events which I would like to highlight.
First, I would like to bring your attention to the Kitigaaryuit Declaration (articles 28, 29) as agreed to by the Inuit of Alaska, Greenland, Canada and Chukotka at the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC) General Assembly July 2014 in Inuvik, NWT.
In this declaration, ICC made the formal commitment to:
28. Mandate ICC leadership to urge Arctic member states submitting positions on the extent of their respective continental shelves to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf under UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) to involve Inuit in those submissions so as to reflect the Inuit perspective and protect Inuit rights and interests;
29. Instruct ICC leadership to engage in the UNCLOS processes to monitor developments to equip Inuit to promote and protect Inuit sovereignty and Inuit rights to the offshore, and take steps to participate in the decision-making of the bodies formed under the UNCLOS whose work has the potential to affect Inuit rights in the Arctic.
The sessions are online. Although all of the presentations were excellent, Dr. Dalee Sambo Dorough in particular, made some comments specific to Canada’s UNCLOS submission, consent, international law, and land claims which may be of interest to you (Look for Day 2, part one (morning) and forward to the 44 minute mark).
Second, in June, Mr. Peter Hutchins and Mrs. Robin Campbell presented their paper, “Canada’s submission to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf and the Legal Protections for Inuit Rights to the Arctic Ocean” to the Canadian Bar Association Aboriginal Law Conference which was held in Iqaluit, NU. If you were unable to attend, the paper is available on the Senator’s website in English, French and Inuktitut: http://liberalsenateforum.ca/blog/arctic-sovereignty-part-five/. We also have copies in the office that we would be pleased to send you.
The third event is the UN World Conference on Indigenous Peoples (UNWCIP) which wrapped up last week. Our Aboriginal leaders across the globe have been preparing for these high level meetings for the last four years. Because this is the first conference of its kind, there were undoubtedly some extra hurdles for them to overcome. Our delegates put a tremendous amount of energy and time into the process and it is good to know the people are working together.
Canada’s response to the UNWCIP is attracting a lot of attention, so I am posting the UNWCIP resolution — http://wcip2014.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/N1453491-WCIP-FINAL-DOCUMENT-EN.pdf — and Canada’s response —http://www.canadainternational.gc.ca/prmny-mponu/canada_un-canada_onu/statements-declarations/other-autres/2014-09-22_WCIPD-PADD.aspx — and the background document which is UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples —http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/unpfii/documents/DRIPS_en.pdf
Canada’s position is not surprising, but is still a disappointment to us. We should continue to keep pushing forward because together we can move ahead.
Again, I point you to an interview with Dr. Dalee Sambo Dorough, our Inuk representative at the UN, for her comments on the proceedings: http://www.dw.de/indigenous-peoples-canada-extremely-regressive/av-17948842
Senator Charlie Watt