Media Centre

Formal Complaint Submission to the United Nations office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights

(June 18, 2020, Iqaluit, Nunavut) On May 28, 2020 Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated (NTI) submitted a formal complaint to Mr. Fernand de Varennes, Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues within the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva, Switzerland.

NTI’s submission charges that Canada has failed and continues to fail to fulfil its international obligations in relation to Inuit as an ethnic and linguistic minority under international instruments to which Canada is a signatory.

Specifically, Canada has failed, and continues to fail, to provide essential services to the Inuit in our first language, Inuktut, including Inuktut language education, health services, administration of justice, and other publicly available government programs and services. This discrimination in the provision of essential services can and does cost Inuit lives.

Such services must be available on an equal basis with that received by the vast majority of Canadians whose first language is one of Canada’s two official languages.

“The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that human dignity is considered to be the foundation for all human rights. It is time for Canada to recognize its role to protect Inuit lives and linguistic identity. Inuit must again live with dignity,” said Aluki Kotierk, President of NTI.

Nunavut Inuit have suffered harm to their lives, and to the Inuit language and culture, by discriminatory treatment of Inuit through various assimilationist colonial policies and measures, which continues to the present, and Canada’s continued failure to take remedial action to correct this damage.

NTI calls on Canada to adopt effective legislative and other measures to provide essential services to the Inuit in their first language, to protect Inuit cultural and linguistic identity and to remedy discrimination and other injustices.

To obtain a copy of NTI’s submission to the Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues within the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, please check NTI’s website at


For further information:

Malaya Mikijuk
Director of Communications Trainee
Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated

Tel: 867-975-4900 Toll free: 1-888-646-0006

Download (PDF, 265KB)