Ontario, Jul 25 (Canadian-Media): A lawsuit seeking $400,000 in damages against the Ontario Government, two identified Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officers and a number of unknown officers was filed in Toronto on July 22, media reports said.
OPP. Image credit: Twitter handle
According to the lawsuit, OPP allegedly falsifying their notes to justify a racially influenced violent takedown of two First Nations brothers in the front yard and driveway of May's home in Orillia, Ont. and was captured in cellphone video that was obtained by CBC News .
It alleges that the two officers, acting on a report that a "Native male" had fallen off a bicycle, illegally assaulted Randall May, 57, of Nipissing First Nation, and Aaron Keeshig, 50, of Neyaashiinigmiing First Nation.
According to the statement of claim, the lawsuit also alleged that an OPP officer, assigned to investigate a complaint over the incident filed by May, offered to have May's charges dropped if he abandoned the complaint.
"In order to justify the illegal assault, detention and arrest, the police falsified police notes, falsely accused both brothers of offences they did not commit and wrongly charged Mr. May of assaulting police," said the statement of claim, filed in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. "Mr. May and Mr. Keeshig, who are both First Nations men, assert that the illegal, violent and entirely unjustified treatment they suffered was the result of racial profiling, racial bias and discrimination."
The OPP said in a statement that the OPP's professional standards bureau investigated the complaint filed by May in February 2019, at the direction of the police watchdog, the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) and that the internal investigation concluded that the allegations were "unsubstantiated" and that the findings were relayed by the OIPRD to May.
The file was closed in May 2019, the OPP's statement said.
May told CBC News he doesn't remember ever receiving the results of the investigation from the OIPRD. The lawsuit claims he suffered the worst during the takedown. He was not only thrown to the ground and punched but also repeatedly Tasered to the point where he lost control of his bodily functions, according to the statement of claim.
"I could hear myself screaming," May said in an interview with CBC News outside his home, at the spot where the incident occurred on Sept. 15, 2018.
The statement of claim alleges that the officers "illegally" detained May and Keeshig, not informing them the reason for their arrest. The document said the brothers were the victims of "assault and battery" at the hands of the officers.
The legal action takes place at a time of awareness of racial profiling by the police against Black and Indigenous people and amid worldwide protests over recent high-profile incidents of police brutality. Two Indigenous people in Canada were shot and killed by police in New Brunswick within a span of eight days in June. Chantal Moore, 26, was killed by police in Edmundston during a wellness check at her home, while the RCMP fatally shot Rodney Levi, 48, of Metepenagiag First Nation.
#Ottawa;#IndigenousPeople; #IGPP; #Sustainability; #Biodiversity; #EcosystemConservation
Ottawa, Jul 22 (Canadian-Media): Government of Canada announced July 22 $600,000 in funding for 10 new projects across the country for the period 2020–2021 in the First Nations tier 1 stream under the Indigenous Guardians Pilot Program ( IGPP), media reports said.
Jonathan Wilkinson. Image credit: Twitter handle
A joint working group of First Nations experts and federal representatives selected 10 successful projects out of more than 100 proposals against rigorous criteria for their benefit to Indigenous communities and sustainability.
Being leaders in environmental stewardship, sustainable development, and natural resource management, Indigenous-led work would be advanced by IGPP to protect and conserve ecosystems, develop and maintain sustainable economies, and reinforce cultural connection to the land.
"Indigenous Peoples have protected nature since time immemorial, which is why we are pleased to support their leadership in safeguarding our natural environment—for now and for generations to come,” Jonathan Wilkinson, Canada's Minister of Environment and Climate Change.
Indigenous Environment Network. Image credit: Twitter handle
"It means...more lands and waters will be managed for the benefit of all, ” Valérie Courtois, Director of Indigenous Leadership Initiative.
This would also result in creation of both seasonal and full-time employment opportunities for the indigenous people as their territories contain as much as 80 percent of the world’s remaining forest biodiversity.
#UN; #WHO; #Covid19; #IndigenousAmericans;
New York, Jul 21 (Canadian-Media): With the Americas still the epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic, the impact on the region’s indigenous people is of deep concern, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday.
The Bogotá Ministry of Health have sent a Muisca nurse to Suba, in the north of Bogotá, Colombia, to check on the local indigenous population.
Image credit: PAHO/Karen González Abril
More than 70,000 cases and over 2,000 deaths were reported among this population as of 6 July, according to the UN agency.
There have been at least six cases among the Nahua people, who live in the Peruvian Amazon, latest information has revealed.
A vulnerable population
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus explained that because indigenous people are among the world’s poorest and most vulnerable groups, they are especially at risk of contracting the disease.
“Like other vulnerable groups, indigenous peoples face many challenges. This includes a lack of political representation, economic marginalization and lack of access to health, education and social services”, he said, speaking from Geneva during the regular crisis update.
“Indigenous peoples often have a high burden of poverty, unemployment, malnutrition and both communicable and non-communicable diseases, making them more vulnerable to COVID-19 and its severe outcomes.”
Stepping up action
WHO’s Regional Office for the Americas recently published recommendations for preventing and responding to COVID-19 among indigenous peoples.
The agency also is working with the Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon River Basin, to step up the fight against the disease.
Lessons learned from Ebola
WHO also used the briefing to underline the importance of contact tracing to suppress COVID-19 transmission among indigenous communities and the population at large.
The process is essential as more countries begin to re-open after lifting lockdown measures.
“One of the lessons from the recent Ebola outbreak in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, which was declared over the last month, is that contact tracing can be done even in the most difficult circumstances, with security problems”, Tedros told journalists.
Dr Ibrahima Socé Fall, WHO Assistant Director-General for Emergency Response, said contact tracing helps break further transmission of COVID-19, thus reducing its caseload and impact.
“What we need to understand is that contact tracing is not an isolated practice. It is part of the best practices for epidemiology,” he said, speaking in French.
Experimental vaccine ‘good news’WHO has welcomed promising news about a potential vaccine against COVID-19, as research into treatments in multiple countries, continues.
An experimental vaccine developed by Oxford University and the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, appears safe and triggers an immune response, according to a study published in the medical journal The Lancet.
“It is good news”, said Dr. Michael Ryan, Executive Director of WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme, though he cautioned that “the data is very new”.
Dr. Ryan said the vaccine was given to 1,000 healthy adults aged 18 to 55 years. None appeared to suffer any serious adverse effects, other than chills, muscle aches and headaches, which were expected.
“But again, there is a long way to go”, he said. “These are phase one studies. We now need to move into large-scale, real-world trials, but it is good to see more data and more products moving into this very important phase of vaccine discovery.”
Dr. Ryan reported that 23 COVID-19 candidate vaccines are currently in clinical development.
#UN: #UNOCHA; #Columbia; #Amazon Trapeze; #Covid19Pandemic; #Indigenous; #INGO
Columbia/UNOCHA, Jul 19 (Canadian-Media): The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the weaknesses of health systems and the plight of particularly vulnerable groups around the world, UNOCH reports said.
The city of Leticia, Colombia. Image Credit: UNICEF/Diego López
Indigenous peoples, including those in Latin America, are facing several challenges that threaten their very survival. People living in remote areas along the Amazon river have witnessed the highest transmission rates in the country, partially due to their insufficient access to basic health and sanitation services.
“It’s worrying to see the vulnerability of these populations, mainly indigenous, in a region where there is limited institutional presence and significant logistical challenges,” says Claudia Rodriguez Burrell, the head of OCHA in Colombia. “The needs assessment mission, we were able to deploy in the Amazonas department in May, evidenced the multiple needs and challenges communities in the region are facing. We are pleased a first joint UN and INGO response was rapidly mobilized, but much more needs to be done.”
The OCHA/Mecanismo Intersectorial de Respuesta en Emergencias (MIRE) Consortium evaluation mission in some rural areas of the so-called Amazon Trapeze, which has registered the highest infection rates in Latin America, found that more than 21,000 people from 54 communities had compounded multisectoral needs related to access to sanitation, health and food. Among these, 19 communities along the Amazon river lacked access to health services and clean water. Urban centres, where many people from the area – including from neighbouring countries – seek access to basic services, also require humanitarian action.
#Alberta; #IHCP; IndigenousCommunities; #reconciliation, #inclusion, #opportunity
Alberta, Jul 17 (Canadian-Media): An investment of $32 million will be made by the Alberta government over three years in development of the Indigenous Housing Capital Program (IHCP) to increase the supply of affordable off-reserve, off-settlement and on-settlement housing for Indigenous communities, media reports said.
Alberta Government. Image credit: Twitter Handle
Indigenous governments and organizations would be prioritized for funding by IHCP.
Non-Indigenous housing management bodies and other operators, will only be eligible for funding if they apply with an Indigenous partner.
Since indigenous housing providers will have more autonomy to manage their assets, public and private developers are being encouraged by this redesign of housing market to partner with Indigenous governments and organizations to create economic opportunity and support.
IHCP's guiding principle to support housing designed, delivered and owned by, and for, Indigenous communities would serve to maintain a partnership with Alberta’s Indigenous Peoples in pursuit of reconciliation, inclusion and opportunity, said Josephine Pon, Minister of Seniors and Housing in a news release.
Josephine Pon. Image credit: Twitter handle
“We all know that Indigenous people are grossly overrepresented...in those experiencing homelessness. Everyone deserves a safe, affordable and accessible home...achieving that goal for many,” Rick Wilson, Minister of Indigenous Relations said in a news release.
“Housing is a basic need and there is a significant gap in access to this need in our nation. Through our Métis Urban Housing and Métis Capital Housing corporations, the Métis Nation of Alberta strives to provide safe, clean and affordable housing to our citizens most in need,’’Aaron Barner, senior executive officer, Métis Nation of Alberta and the Métis Capital Housing Corporation said in the news release.
Paul First Nation worked with the government of Alberta’s Seniors and Housing and the private sector during the last 18 months with a commitment to develop an off-reserve housing strategy to provide access to safe, secure, adequate and affordable housing and would be "going forward on this excellent opportunity and working with the Alberta government,’’ Cynthia Rain, off-reserve housing project manager, Paul First Nation said in a news release.