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OHRC releases Indigenous peoples and human rights dialogue report

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November 14, 2018

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Toronto – Today, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) released To dream together: Indigenous peoples and human rights dialogue report. The report summarizes themes and recommendations from the OHRC’s three-day dialogue event (February 21 to 23, 2018), which brought together First Nations, Métis and Inuit (“Indigenous”) Elders and traditional knowledge keepers, along with academics, leaders, artists, advocates, lawyers, policy makers, and human rights institutions to discuss a vision of human rights that reflects Indigenous perspectives, world views and issues.

Major themes explored in the report include:

  • The qualities of meaningful engagement and reconciliation
  • Indigenous perspectives on human rights
  • The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and Indigenous peoples’ contribution to the evolution of human rights law
  • Key Indigenous human rights concerns
  • Recommended institutional responses.

The report includes recommendations to the OHRC, other human rights institutions, organizations and governments. It calls for taking concrete actions towards reconciliation and human rights based on values of respect, honesty, sharing and strength. And it will serve as an important resource as the OHRC moves forward with its work on reconciliation.


“Colonialism and systemic discrimination have resulted in a human rights system that does not reflect Indigenous perspectives and world views. This report highlights the wisdom of diverse Indigenous people on how to reconcile Ontario’s human rights system with Indigenous frameworks, constitutions, processes and laws. It also reinforces our ongoing commitment to realizing the vision of UNDRIP by addressing systemic discrimination in the delivery of essential services.” - Renu Mandhane, Chief Commissioner, OHRC

“Indigenous voices  were consistent about  the importance of seeing human rights  in a values-based, rather than proscriptive context. Living a good life - what the Anishinabek call bimaadziwin - is what will lead to what the UN Declaration calls 'the full enjoyment... of fundamental freedoms...'” – Maurice Switzer, Commissioner, OHRC

“Much of Indigenous peoples' advocacy to date has focused understandably on the potential power of section 35(1) of the Constitution Act, 1982. The UN Declaration invites us to frame our advocacy within the discourse of human rights. The OHRC's dialogue produced a thoughtful and nuanced discussion about the intersection between Indigenous laws, Indigenous rights, and human rights.” – Karen Drake, Commissioner, OHRC


Media contact:
Vanessa Tamburro
Issues and Media Relations Officer
Ontario Human Rights Commission