Ahead of a scheduled visit by José Francisco Calí Tzay, The UN indigenous rapporteur and Expert on Indigenous Rights, Kanyen’kehá:ka yakon:kwe Kimberly Murry submitted a report to his office.
The Independent Special Interlocutor for Missing Children and Unmarked Graves and Burial Sites associated with Indian Residential School raised a red flag regarding a Canadian federal government agreement with a Netherlands-based agency.
Let’s take a closer look!
On November 1st of 2022, the Canadian Press published a story revealing that the Canadian Federal Government had reached out to an international agency demonstrating an intent to engage. At that time, Marc Miller denied any commitment.
According to an undated briefing note obtained under the freedom of information act titled “contracting the ICMP(International Commission on Missing Persons) for Engagement Services”~The Canadian Press
Coincidently the ICMP posted, Project Manager Contract, In Canada, Subject to Funding, over Five Months ago, Sometime in October 2022.
But it wasn’t until January 2/2023, ICMP Director-General Kathryne Boomberger signed the Techinal-Arrangement. Later Finalized by Laura Meideros, Senior Director of the Professional Services Procurement Directorate.
WHO IS THE ICMP?
Formed In 1996 at the urging of former United States President Bill Clinton, the commission was to investigate the whereabouts of approximately 40,000 people who were reported missing during the conflict in the former Yugoslavia.
In 2014, the ICMP obtained a new legal status. That would recognize the ICMP as an independent treaty-based organization headquartered in The Hague, Netherlands.
But even with this status, the historical nature and varying cultural implications of some 630+ communities affected by residential schools and the subsequent untimely deaths within their walls will be uncharted territory for this organization.
Complicating the situation is the Lack of Transparency from the office of Marc Miller surrounding the steps that led from consulting to signing a technical agreement.
Only after several weeks of pressure, CIRNAC issued a Media Release announcing the contract, followed by an announcement by ICMP.
The Call Came From Inside The House
ICMP states that the Request came from the Indigenous Community but fails to identify which specific community. This position confirms one of Kim Murray’s concerns regarding ICMP’s lack of understanding of our diverse ethnic and cultural Identities—ones with very different perspectives on top of our decision-making capabilities.
The Anishinabek Nation is a political organization that represents some 39 Onkwehonwe communities. In a Press Release from a regional deputy chief, Travis Boissoneau recognizes the established and Trusting relationships with the existing Indigenous experts.
The technical agreement stipulates that Canada is the exclusive owner of any reports submitted by the ICMP. Thus leaving the Right to Publish or withhold any elements of the report’s results up to Canada alone.
The ICMP does have a Memorandum Of Understanding with the International Criminal Court Or ICC, which is responsible for dealing with acts of Genocide. The question left to consider is, “Does this MOU supersede any agreement that the ICMP makes with other governments or The agency acting on its behalf?”
It is abundantly clear that if Onkwehonwe are not leading the process or cannot access information about themselves or their family members, the entire investigation will be a catastrophic failure.
When we know more, so will you.
Nya: wen kowa