CANADIAN HUMAN RIGHTS TRIBUNAL HEARINGS TO PROCEED ON KAHNAWAKE RACE DISCRIMINATION CASES
Montreal, January 24, 2017 — Due to the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake’s rejection of mediation, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal will proceed with hearings into the complaints filed by five Mohawk residents of Kahnawake against the Council due to its racially discriminatory membership law.
Last summer, five Kahnawake residents sought CRARR’s help to file complaints with the Canadian Human Rights Commission, alleging discrimination based on race, gender and family status. These individuals have been denied membership status and rights and services available only to members, because of their biracial backgrounds or because their partner is White. Many residents of Kahnawake in a similar situation face expulsion from the community because of the lack of membership status.
The complaints also alleged that the Band Council not only failed to protect these discriminated residents from intimidation, but that it also contributed to the creation of a racially poisoned environment that jeopardized these residents’ right to physical and psychological security.
In late November 2016, the Canadian Human Rights Commission formally notified all five individuals that their cases will be referred to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal for “further inquiry.”
Since June 2011, after a three-year transition period, the Canadian Human Rights Act fully applies to all First Nations governments and communities, making illegal acts of discrimination and harassment based on prohibited grounds such as race, gender, disability and family status.
CRARR will continue to assist the five Mohawk complainants before the Tribunal. The Canadian Human Rights Commission will appear in the cases in the public interest.