U.N. expert cites woes of Canadian native peoples

An independent United Nations human rights expert has asked Canada to clarify what it is doing to address the dire socio-economic conditions of the Attawapiskat aboriginal community, noting that many of its members live in unheated shacks or trailers with no running water.

James Anaya, the special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, said in a news release that he has been in touch with the Canadian government to voice his deep concern about the conditions of the Attawapiskat community, which he said exemplifies the conditions of many aboriginal communities in the country.

The Attawapiskat settlement is a remote community in northern Ontario comprised of about 1,800 members. Anaya, who has visited Costa Rica, noted that the poor living conditions are particularly serious as winter approaches the area, which faces winter temperatures as low as -28 degrees C or -18 F.

“The social and economic situation of the Attawapiskat seems to represent the condition of many First Nation communities living on reserves throughout Canada, which is allegedly akin to Third World conditions,”Anaya said.

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