The United Nations Human Rights Office has called on the Canadian government to launch “exhaustive investigations” into the deaths of Indigenous children at residential schools as well as intensify efforts on finding those who are still missing.
It comes after news this week of the unearthing of 215 bodies of Indigenous children at a former residential school in Canada.
The Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation announced last week that new, ground-penetrating radar has revealed what are believed to be unmarked graves at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia
Between 1831 and 1996 more than 150,000 First Nations children were separated from their families as part of a program to assimilate them into Canadian society.
The last federally operated residential school, in the Saskatchewan province, was closed in 1996.
UN spokeswoman Marta Hurtado said healing would only be possible for families once they are given access to documents about missing or dead family members and remains are properly identified.
Ms Hurtado said appropriate compensation, official apologies and memorials should also be considered.
The discovery has also increased calls for the government to implement recommendations stemming from a Truth and Reconciliation Commission and a National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
Speaking on Tuesday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said it was “the fault of Canada” that children who died at the schools did not go on to become parents, grandparents, elders and community leaders.