Stone carvings capturing the legislative action in motion.

Nunavut Human Rights Tribunal Report: A Kafkaesque Nightmare?

In Nunavut, the territorial Human Rights Tribunal's systemic failures evoke a chilling scene of bureaucratic dysfunction, trapping applicants in a nightmarish labyrinth of legal violations and administrative chaos.

A damning human rights report by the Amautiit Nunavut Inuit Women’s Association uncovers a legal landscape riddled with blind spots and oversights, leaving Inuit, Indigenous women and 2SLGBTQQIA+ peoples facing continued discrimination and abuse.

The 88-page report was funded by Crown Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada’s Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ People National Action Plan. It saw Amautiit scrutinizing the lack of legal protections for Indigenous women and 2SLGBTQQIA+ (two-spirited, lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual) individuals in Nunavut. The analysis, part of ongoing efforts to address the crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA+ People, sheds light on significant gaps and shortcomings in current legal frameworks.

Amautiit’s analysis of publicly available data highlighted three major deficiencies within Nunavut’s human rights systems. Firstly, there is a notable absence of an agency dedicated to promoting and safeguarding human rights in Nunavut. This gap is compounded by deliberate decisions not to establish a Commission within the Human Rights Act, leading to a lack of accessible public information, awareness and understanding of human rights.

While the original focus of the NHRT and its process serve 2SLGBTQQIA+ people, what the territorial women’s association found was “a process that does not serve any applicant, that breaches the Nunavut Human Rights Act (HRA) and Rules of Procedure, the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the principles of natural justice.” 

The report also makes several recommendations: Without a dedicated agency or commission, Nunavut Inuit and other marginalized northern peoples face a future of systemic barriers in accessing justice and defending their rights. That’s just one of the serious gaps highlighted in a lengthy review of Nunavut’s Human Rights Act by the Amautiit Nunavut Inuit Women’s Association.

In its report, Amautiit also recommended the urgent creation of a Human Rights Commissioner to address these shortcomings and ensure the effective protection of human rights across Nunavut.

Inadequacies identified by the report extend to the operations of the Nunavut Human Rights Tribunal, which has demonstrated limited effectiveness since its establishment in 2005. With only two cases heard and decisions published over nearly two decades, the tribunal’s function appears compromised. A lack of clarity in processes, accountability mechanisms, and compliance with relevant legislation further exacerbates the situation.

To read the full report, visit the Amautiit Nunavut Inuit Women’s Association web site.

Picture of @1860 Winnipeg Arts

@1860 Winnipeg Arts

@1860 Winnipeg Arts is a small, community-driven arts entrepreneurship and cultural entrepreneurship program in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Our program began with a pilot program aimed at building organizational capacity for digital arts administration, skills development and training. It is supported by the non-profit organization Niriqatiginnga.

Stay Connected