A report released on June 23 by the Canadian Council of Provincial Child and Youth Advocates, titled Aboriginal Children and Youth in Canada: Canada Must Do Better, has pointed to how Aboriginal children and youth are the most “important and neglected human-rights issue in this country”.

The report reaffirms the need, coordinated by both federal and provincial governments along with First Nations, to create a national strategy to protect and support First Nations children.

The Canadian Council consists of advocates from nine provinces and one territory to serve as watchdogs where children and youth are concerned. This latest report details how First Nations, Métis and Inuit children and youth from across Canada significantly lag behind in terms of social and economic indicators compared to those of the general population.

Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo released his own statement after the press conference in support of the report’s findings, stating:

“As Canada prepares to host the international community at the G8 and G20 meetings, we have yet another report setting out the harsh reality that Canada is failing First Nations children right here at home.

“Canada is a signatory of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and has a responsibility to work with us to ensure we can close the gaps in health, education, poverty, child welfare and so many other areas where our children are falling behind. We endorse the report’s call for all governments, including First Nation governments, to work together to take urgent, coordinated action to improve the living conditions and well-being of First Nations children. This is consistent as well with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which calls for us to work together in partnership.”