1 June 2015

Secretary-General Praises Canada’s Truth, Reconciliation Commission for Setting Example by Addressing Systemic Rights Violations against Indigenous Peoples

Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message on the release of the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, in Ottawa, today:

I congratulate the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the peoples of Canada and the Government on the release of the final report to inform all about what happened in the “Indian residential schools” over the course of 126 years.  I join Canada in honouring the memory of all whose human rights were violated in these schools through forced assimilation.

The support of the United Nations for the work of the Truth Commission is rooted in a conviction that historical injustices contribute to a legacy of continuing disadvantages and ongoing violations of indigenous peoples’ rights.  Recording and sharing the truth enables those affected to come to terms with their suffering, loss and grief.  Informing society about how the rights of individuals and peoples have been violated is vital to preventing the recurrence of such tragedies.

I would like to recognize the courage of the survivors who carried their childhood wounds into their adult lives, and have lived to tell the truth.  I also admire those who have agreed to accept the findings of this report.  Truth-telling is important but not sufficient for reconciliation.  I encourage all involved in this effort to follow up on the report’s recommendations, using the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a road map.

The United Nations stands with all peoples of Canada in remembering your losses and suffering, and calls upon other States with similar residential school practices to examine historic wrongs and legacies of injustice.

For information media. Not an official record.