"Canada established those institutions. How can they possibly be independent and impartial when it shows that they are culpable and guilty of the deaths of our children?," AFN chief said.
The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) is pressing the United Nations to investigate the genocide by the Canadian government in residential schools for Indigenous children.
"The Canadian government established what I call 'institutions of assimilation and genocide. These institutions were designed to kill the Indian in the child by forbidding them to speak their language, which disconnect them from their families and communities," RoseAnne Archibald, national chief of the AFN, said at a session of the UN Permanent Forum in New York on Monday.
In May 2021, the remains of 215 Indigenous children were discovered at the site of a former Indian boarding school in British Columbia. A month later, hundreds more unmarked graves at the site of another residential school in Saskatchewan were found. Since then, more remains have been located at schools, mainly run by the Catholic Church and funded by the Canadian government.
"I'm calling on the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of Indigenous peoples, along with other special rapporteurs, to conduct full-fledged investigations of the circumstances and responsibilities surrounding these institutions, including full redress, criminal prosecutions and sanctions and other remedies for human rights violations, including genocide," the AFN chief said and called on the International Criminal Court to launch its own human rights investigation into Canada's residential schools.
In its 2022 annual budget, the Canadian government set aside about US$8.2 million over two years to the federal justice department to appoint a special interlocutor to work with Indigenous communities to protect and preserve unmarked burial sites.
A national inquiry into what transpired at residential schools conducted by the "Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada" found that over 4,100 children died while attending the boarding schools.
"Canada established those institutions through policies and legislation. How can they possibly be independent and impartial when it shows that they are culpable and guilty of the deaths of our children?" Archibald said, noting that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police would enter Indian communities, take children forcibly, and threaten parents with arrest.