Права человека и права коренных народов в системе ООН
Los derechos humanos de Las Naciones Unidas y los derechos de los pueblos indígenas
UNDRIP for Indigenous adolescents
Tove Skutnabb-Kangas and Robert Dunbar
Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil,
political, economic, social and cultural rights,
including the right to development
Report of the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous
peoples, James Anaya
Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human
rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous people
State of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

New Zealand Backs UN Declaration on Indigenous Rights
NEW YORK -- New Zealand on Monday announced its support for a U.N. declaration protecting the rights of more than 370 million Indigenous peoples worldwide, and the United States is set to announce that it will review its opposition to the declaration, Associated Press reports.

The declaration affirms the equality of indigenous peoples and their right to maintain their own institutions, cultures and spiritual traditions. It also establishes standards to combat discrimination and marginalization and eliminate human rights violations against them.

When the General Assembly adopted the declaration in September 2007, there were four opponents - the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand - who argued that it was incompatible with their existing laws.

Australia announced its support for the declaration in April 2009, and New Zealand´s Minister of Maori Affairs Pita Sharples announced his government´s approval at Monday´s opening session of the U.N. Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, which about 2,000 native peoples are attending.

U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice is scheduled to address the forum on Tuesday and will announce that "we will be conducting a formal review of the declaration and the U.S. position on it," according to an excerpt from her prepared text obtained by The Associated Press.

"Our first nations face serious challenges: disproportionate and dire poverty, unemployment, environmental degradation, health care gaps, violent crime and bitter discrimination," Rice says. "We recognize that, for many around the world, this declaration provides a framework for addressing indigenous issues."

The Canadian government said in a speech by the governor general last month that it would take steps to endorse the U.N. declaration "in a manner fully consistent with Canada´s constitution and laws." Indigenous groups have urged the government to embrace the human rights instrument without conditions or limitations.

The declaration, which is not legally binding, was approved by the 192-member General Assembly after more than 20 years of deliberation. The vote was 143-4, with 11 abstentions and 34 countries not voting.

It calls on states to prevent or redress the forced migration of indigenous peoples, the seizure of their land or their forced integration into other cultures. It also grants indigenous groups control over their religious and cultural sites and the right to manage their own education systems, including teaching in their own languages.

The opponents and many countries that abstained said they wanted to work toward a solution, but they took exception to several key parts of the declaration which they said would give indigenous peoples too many rights and clash with existing national laws.

New Zealand´s Sharples said that "when voting took place in 2007, Maori - my people - were hugely disappointed that our country had voted against it and since that time many Maori have been working" to reverse the government´s position.

"I hope that they´re relieved and happy that we now have a commitment as a country to the declaration without any conditions being laid down onto it," he told a news conference.

Sharples said the government´s change of heart "reflects perhaps the impact of a Maori party that has just developed, and its influence on the government." He said New Zealand will now be able to address human rights and indigenous rights throughout the world.

Tonya Gonnella Frichner, a North American member of the Permanent Forum and founder of the American Indian Law Alliance, said she is "hopeful" that both Canada and the United States will support the declaration.

During President Barack Obama´s campaign for the White House, she said, "he did state very clearly to indigenous leaders here in the United States that he was committed to the adoption of the declaration, ... so we still feel very positive about that and hope that he will commit to that promise."

Frichner, a lawyer, professor and member of the Onandaga nation, said indigenous delegates have also been lobbying countries that abstained, and Colombia is now supporting the declaration.

Get the AP story here

Here are some facts about the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples:

- The Declaration says indigenous people have the right to the lands and resources they traditionally owned.

- They have the right to self government

- They also have the right to maintain distinct political, legal, economic, social and cultural institutions.

- The declaration is non binding, which means it has no legal force

-  There are around 370 million indigenous people on the planet

- The Declaration was first adopted by the UN General Assembly during its 62nd session at UN Headquarters in New York City on 13 September 2007

- The idea originated in 1982 when the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) set up its Working Group on Indigenous Populations (WGIP), on the problem of discrimination faced by indigenous peoples

- The vote in 2007 was 143 countries in favour, four against, and 11 abstaining. The four that voted against were Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States

-  The abstaining countries were Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burundi, Colombia, Georgia, Kenya, Nigeria, Russian Federation, Samoa and Ukraine

- Another 34 member states were absent from the vote

- Bolivia has become the first country to approve the UN declaration of indigenous rights and make it law there.

- Australia signed the declaration after Kevin Rudd came to power. His government formally endorsed it on April 3, 2009.

- New Zealand, under PM John Key, which is in government with the support of the Maori Party, approved the declaration on April 20, 2010

- Canada is on the path of approving the declaration

- The US and the UK have yet to approve the declaration. The US states the declaration does not provide a clear definition of exactly whom the term "indigenous peoples" is intended to cover and the UK states that no specific group in the UK can be described as "indigenous" in the way the Declaration states.

- After 20 years of negotiations between Indigenous Peoples and nation-states, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in September 2007.

The Declaration recognises the human rights of Indigenous peoples to: self-determination; land and natural resources; developing and protecting cultural, political, religious and educational institutions, and intellectual property; freedom from discrimination, assimilation and destruction of culture; economic and social development; environmental conservation; free, prior and informed consent, consultation, and participation in decision-making; fair and mutually acceptable procedures for conflict resolution; and fair and adequate compensation for rights violations.

In particular, the Declaration calls attention to the needs of Indigenous elders, women, youth, children and persons with disabilities in the implementation of these rights.

1 The New Zealand Government’s commitment to achieving a ‘just and enduring solution’ appeared in Attorney General Chris Finlayson’s Foreword of the Reviewing the Foreshore and Seabed Act 2004 Consultation Document, http://www.justice.govt.nz/policy-and-consultation/reviewing-the-foreshore-and-seabed-act-2004/documents/100330%20Consultation%20document.pdf/view

Read the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in full at Gáldu here:


Updated 21.04.2010
Published by: Magne Ove Varsi