By Xu Yizhen
The Lower Kootenay Band announced on June 30 the discovery of the remains of 182 people in unmarked graves around a former indigenous residential school near Cranbrook in British Columbia province of Canada. This is the third time in more than a month that a large number of unmarked graves have been found near the site of a former indigenous residential school.
In history, Canada had killed indigenous people, looted their land, eliminated their culture, and tried to forcibly "assimilate" them by establishing a residential school system for indigenous children. In residential schools, any indigenous cultural activities were prohibited, and the children were not allowed to speak their mother tongue.
In many schools, students were referred to only by numbers. They lost their cultural affiliation and their basic right to life was completely ignored. These schools are educational institutions in name, with the real purpose to carry out cultural extermination through assimilation education so that the indigenous people can no longer exist as unique legal, social, cultural, religious and ethnic entities.
A report published by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) in 2015 showed that from the 1840s to the 1990s, at least 150,000 indigenous children were forced to enter residential schools, and many were brutally abused. And at least 3,200 people were abused to death. But some experts said that the death toll is seriously underestimated.
The remains of 215 indigenous children were found in British Columbia in May. On June 24, a Saskatchewan indigenous community announced that 751 unmarked graves had been found near the site of a residential school in the province alone. Many indigenous leaders believe that this is just the "tip of the iceberg."
The United Nations General Assembly passed the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (CPPCG) in December 1948, which listed cultural genocide as one of the crimes of genocide. At present, the indigenous people of Canada are increasingly calling for investigations of unknown graves.
In addition to the problem of residential schools, systemic racial discrimination against other minorities in Canada is also widespread. The lives of ethnic minorities have become increasingly difficult under the COVID-19 pandemic. A report by the Office of the Human Rights Commissioner of British Columbia published in September last year showed that 56 percent of black people have been laid off or forced to reduce working hours since the outbreak. The rate is much higher than that of white people. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other dignitaries have publicly acknowledged on many occasions that there is systemic racism in Canada. However, the Canadian government does not seem to be eager to change the status quo. Basically, it is "saying more and doing less" and it lacks substantive measures to protect the legitimate rights and interests of minorities.
For a long time, some Western countries such as Canada, out of political motives, arbitrarily fabricated rumors about China on the pretext of human rights based on false information. They interfere in China's internal affairs under the banner of human rights and their purpose is to suppress and contain China and hinder China's development process. Ironically, the "model human rights student" who are keen to talk about human rights and make irresponsible remarks about the human rights situation of other countries is in fact the complete opposite. Canada turns a blind eye and avoids the serious issues of its own serious violations of human rights.
If Canada really values human rights, it should focus on conducting comprehensive and impartial investigations of all the indigenous peoples, especially child abuse cases in the country, and ensuring that all responsible persons are brought to justice, rather than point fingers at other countries and put false charges on them.
Otherwise, Canada would be the discriminator, hypocrite, and loser as its several parliamentarians reprimanded before leaving office recently.