Thursday, September 13, 2007

Indigenous world celebrates passage of UN Declaration on Indigenous Rights

From around the world, Indigenous respond to the passage of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

International Indian Treaty Council celebrates passage of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
History is made for Indigenous Peoples at the United Nations!

Treaty Rights, Land Rights and Self-determination of Indigenous Peoples are recognized internationally with the adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by the UN General Assembly on September 13th 2007. On September 13, 2007 the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
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Statements from Canadian Grand Chief Edward John:

Grand Chief Edward John, Executive member of the First Nations Summit, Representative of the Assembly of First Nations on international issues, and Co-Coordinator of the North American Regional Indigenous Peoples Caucus:

"What a tremendous day. It's all over now and we have in our hands a Declaration we helped construct and one on which we can proudly stand. Notwithstanding Canada's 'NO' vote they will have to be accountable against the Declaration's standards. It cannot pick and choose the human rights it wants. We should all be proud in our collective achievement. I was proud to be a part of our tremendous effort and achievement!" Grand Chief Edward John

Les Malezer: Indigenous declaration framework for the future, tool for justice


By Les Malezer
The adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by the United Nations marks a momentous and historic occasion for both Indigenous Peoples and the United Nations.One quarter of a century ago the United Nations agreed that the situation of indigenous peoples around the world was so desperate and consistently exploited, that it warranted international attention.
Within a few years of brief examination and assessment, the United Nations decided that a human rights standard on the rights of indigenous peoples was required.
Simultaneously, the indigenous peoples of the world were uniting, because of our increasing capacity to communicate to each other, but also out of necessity to achieve an international voice.
Together we found out that Indigenous Peoples around the world shared a common situation of loss of control of our lands, territories and resources and a history of colonisation.The Declaration, as a deposition, represents a meeting of authorities, i.e. the United Nations and the indigenous peoples.Today's adoption of the Declaration occurs because the United Nations and the Indigenous Peoples have found the common will to achieve this outcome. Read more ...

Indigenous Peoples Caucus Regional Steering Committee
Contact: Rainy Blue Cloud
United Nations General assembly adopts the UNITED NATIONS Declaration on the rights of Indigenous Peoples
NEW YORK -- Today, the United Nations General Assembly, the highest body of the United Nations system, in an historic session adopted the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, after more than 20 years of intensive negotiations between nation-states and Indigenous Peoples. The vote won with an overwhelming majority in favour, 143 with only 4 negative votes cast (Canada, Australia, New Zealand, United States) and 11 abstentions (Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burundi, Colombia, Georgia, Kenya, Nigeria, Russian Federation, Samoa, Ukraine).
Indigenous peoples from around the world, many of whom have worked tirelessly for the adoption of the Declaration since its inception, were present to witness its passage at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
As Les Malezer, Chair of the Global Indigenous Peoples’ Caucus states: “The Declaration does not represent solely the viewpoint of the United Nations, nor does it represent solely the viewpoint of the Indigenous Peoples. It is a Declaration which combines our views and interests and which sets the framework for the future. It is a tool for peace and justice, based upon mutual recognition and mutual respect.”

North American Regional Statement:
Indigenous Representatives from the North American Region share the following statement with the world community:
We bring you respectful greetings from our Leaders, Elders, men, women and children of all the Indigenous Peoples of North America. It is a great day when Indigenous Peoples can be counted among all the other Peoples on Mother Earth. Today at the United Nations, States have finally recognized what we have always known – We are Peoples, equal in all ways to all other Peoples, with inherent and inalienable rights to our survival, our way of life, lands and self-determination. We, Indigenous Peoples of this land, are part of Creation, in the homelands we inherited from our ancestors. We understand from our original teachings that we are meant to live in harmony with all Creation and with other Peoples, including with those who came to our homelands seeking a better life for themselves and their children. Our Nations entered into sacred Treaties with them. Sadly, these treaties have been violated time and time again. The tragic and brutal story of what happened to us, especially at the hands of the governments, is well known. But today, with the adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by the United Nations General Assembly, we see the opportunity for a new beginning, for another kind of relationship with States in North America and indeed throughout the world.
We celebrate that the fundamental human rights which we have all worked so hard to uphold in this Declaration are still intact in the final text now adopted by the UN General Assembly. Read more ...

Inuit Circumpolar Council and Saami Council
The Indigenous peoples of the Arctic today celebrate the adoption by the United Nations General Assembly of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples! The Inuit Circumpolar Council and Saami Council welcome this momentous occasion. For the first time, the world community has proclaimed a universally applicable human rights instrument in order to end centuries of marginalisation and discrimination, and to affirm that Indigenous peoples are peoples, equal in dignity and rights with all other peoples. (Photo Jens Dahl) Read more ...

Pacific Regional Caucus Statement on the Adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
The Indigenous Peoples of the Pacific region were appraised of the text of the modified United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in early September 2007. They communicated their overwhelming support for its passage from 11 different countries spanning the vast reaches of Oceania, which is the largest geographical region of the world and the home of many diverse cultures who are Polynesian, Melanesian and Micronesian. Pacific leaders and Indigenous Peoples have been consistent and unwavering in their support for the human rights for the world's Indigenous Peoples since the inception of this effort 21 years ago in Geneva. We recognize and thank the Government of Fiji - the first State in the world to adopt the Sub-Commission draft of the Declaration - for their efforts to bring agreement among all States and for their leadership in this monumental task. (Photo: Child in Tahiti, Photographer: Palle Kjærulff-Schmidt) Read more ...


Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, Regional co-coordinator for Asia for the Steering Committee of the Indigenous Peoples’ Caucus The Asian Indigenous Peoples’ Caucus celebrates the adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
This as a historic milestone in the struggle of Indigenous Peoples for their human rights and fundamental freedoms. This Declaration affirms our collective rights to self-determination, to our lands, territories and resources, our cultures and intellectual property rights, our right to free, prior and informed consent and our right to determine what development should be in our communities, among others. We celebrate this as a major victory for Indigenous Peoples of the world, in general, and Asia, in particular. Read more ...

AFN National Chief applauds today’s passage of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples – Recognizing 20 years of work in the making
The National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations said today is an important day in Canada’s history. It’s a day to celebrate, and a day to act.
“This recognition was a long time coming,” said National Chief Phil Fontaine. “The declaration recognizes our collective histories, traditions, cultures, languages, and spirituality. It is a call for First Nations in Canada and Indigenous peoples around the world to act on their rights, to implement them wherever and however they are able, to give them meaning in their lives, and in the lives of their children and their communities.” Read more ...

Africa -- A l’occasion de l’adoption de la déclaration des Nations Unies sur les Droits des Peuples Autochtones par l’Assemblée Générale
13 septembre 2007
Nous coordination des organisations autochtones d’Afrique présentent à NY lors de l’adoption de la déclaration des Nations Unies sur les Droits des Peuples Autochtones, saluons la sage décision de la majorité des Etats membres des nations Unies qui adopte cette déclaration le 13 septembre 2007. (Photo: Congo Twa Peoples/Photographer: Dorothy Jackson) Read more ...

Saami celebrate passage of UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
The Saami Council and the Saami parliaments in Finland, Norway and Sweden celebrate the adoption by the United Nations General Assembly of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The adoption of the Declaration constitutes a historical milestone in the struggle for the recognition of indigenous peoples’ human rights and fundamental freedoms, ending Centuries of marginalisation and discrimination, and confirming that indigenous peoples are peoples, equal in dignity and rights with all other peoples. Read more ...

Venezuelan Indigenous leader welcomes Declaration

Venezuelan National Assembly (AN) deputy and president of the indigenous peoples permanent committee, Wayuu indian, Noehli Pocaterra has welcomed the decision, saying that it reflects some of the consecrated rites in Venezuela's Bolivarian constitution.
"We are a country that defends its ethnic groups, respects their identity and spaces. While the declaration places a moral obligation on governments, it doesn't in our case because there is political will to attend to the needs of our brothers in other parts of the world." Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States opposed and voted against the non-binding declaration.

Historic UN Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples adopted today

NEW YORK, NY, Sept. 13 /CNW Telbec/NEW YORK -- The United Nations has adopted the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples at a meeting of the General Assembly at UN Headquarters in New York by an overwhelming majority of 143 votes in favor, four opposed and 11 abstentions.The Métis Nation, represented by Métis Nation of Ontario President Tony Belcourt joined leaders of Indigenous Peoples from around the world at this momentous occasion to applaud the Nation States which voted to approve the Declaration and to express its profound disappointment in Canada and the small number of other countries (Australia, New Zealand, USA) which voted in opposition to its adoption.Mr. Belcourt stated: "This is a truly remarkable milestone in the history of the struggle by Indigenous Peoples for the recognition of their rights by the global community of Nation States. It is the result of debate and negotiation between Indigenous peoples and Nation States for more than two decades since it was first drafted in 1985. The Declaration is an aspirational affirmation of our rights consistent with international law and as such provides a framework for the protection Indigenous peoples and the promotion of harmonious relations within the States where they live. We call on Canada to work with the Métis Nation and other Aboriginal peoples to develop policies and actions which are consistent with the provisions of the Declaration despite its opposition to its adoption. Now that we have achieved this great moment in history, it is incumbent on all States, including Canada, to work in a spirit of cooperation with Indigenous peoples within their borders towards the implementation of the provisions of this historic Declaration."For further information: Chelsey Quirk, Communications Assistant, (613) 798-1488, Ext. 104, Cell: (613) 299-6085,; For the text of the Declaration and other statements see the MNO website at:

NGOs: Indigenous Declaration affirms self-determination

Australia Labor vows to ratify: Australia's Labor vows to ratify Indigenous Declaration: 'LABOR last night broke ranks with the federal Government on Aboriginal affairs with a vow to ratify a UN declaration on indigenous rights rejected by the Howard Government as legitimising customary law, including practices "not acceptable in the modern world". Read article:,25197,22421223-5013172,00.html


the thistle said...

Thanks for the round-up of responses. Is the text of the resolution available somewhere online? said...

Comment to the Censored Blog, from Navajo filmmaker Arlene Bowman, living in Vancouver, B.C.:

"It's sad and good news, but all those countries that voted against it, they have the indigenous people whom people usually ignore in the media, print, films and videos. Usually they highlight the stereotypes or the negative more than the positive characteristics of the Indians, Maoris or Aborigines.
But am I surprised about the rednecks, that they are for voting 'No!' They're more interested in digging up uranium and not caring about the indigenous people who live there, although Indian people do live there. What does Canada, USA, Australia and New Zealand care about when it comes to indigenous peoples' rights.
The greed they have."

Brenda Norrell said...

Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
The Declaration is available in all languages: