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Canada to pay $2 bn as compensation to Indigenous people

Canada to pay $2 bn as compensation to Indigenous people

Ottawa: As compensation for around a century of abuse on children in residential schools, the Canadian government will give $2 billion to hundreds of Indigenous communities in the country, Agence France-Presse reported.

The settlement came after a class-action lawsuit brought by 324 Indigenous communities, and the fund will be placed in a not-for-profit trust independent of the government, it is learnt.

A press release said that amount would be used to "revitalise Indigenous education, culture, and language - to support survivors in healing and to reconnect with their heritage," AFP quoted.

One of the indigenous leaders and a plaintiff in the lawsuit, Garry Feschuk, said that it took Canada very long to own up to its history and the genocide it committed and recognise the collective harm it caused to their nations by residential schools.

He continued in a statement that it is time for Canada to not only recognise the said harm but to assist in undoing the same, and the latest settlement was the good first step, he said.

During the late 1800s to 1990s, the Canadian government sent around 1,50,000 children to 139 residential schools. Most of the schools were run by Catholic churches, where the children were cut off from their families, language and culture.

Many faced harsh sexual abuse, along with physical torture, while thousands died out of disease, malnutrition and neglect. These atrocities were brought to the present and put into the limelight after more than 1,300 unmarked graves were found at the sites of those former schools over two years. Even ten days ago, a group of graves were found.

Last year, Pope Francis visited the nation and apologised for the abuses.

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TAGS:Canada Indigenous people compensation lawsuit 
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