Joint Statement of Response to Canada’s Endorsement of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (Marketwire)

16 Nov Joint Statement of Response to Canada’s Endorsement of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (Marketwire)

Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs


VANCOUVER, BC, NEWS RELEASE–(Marketwire – Nov. 16, 2010) – On November 12th the Canadian government endorsed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We urge the government to move ahead with the implementation of its provisions in a principled manner that fully respects their spirit and intent.

The Declaration is more than an aspirational instrument. Governments, courts and other domestic and international institutions are increasingly relying on the Declaration to interpret Indigenous peoples’ human rights and related state obligations. It establishes minimum standards for the survival, dignity, security and well-being of Indigenous peoples.

The Declaration’s provisions reflect established international human rights norms, including standards that are already legally binding because they are part of general and customary international law. It is simply inaccurate for the government to continue to claim that the Declaration “does not reflect customary international law”. This is a “manifestly untenable position” as concluded by the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of Indigenous peoples.

Canada was one of only four countries to vote against the Declaration when it was adopted by the UN General Assembly on September 13, 2007. In the last three years, the government aggressively campaigned against the Declaration, opposing its use. Both domestically and in international fora, the government has attempted to undermine the specific rights and related state obligations in this human rights instrument. Such ongoing actions are affecting present and future generations in international negotiations on biodiversity, climate change and intellectual property.

“We remain concerned that Canada’s actions, both domestically and abroad, are not reflecting the standards that the government now professes to support,” says Grand Chief Edward John, First Nations Summit, “Actions are more important than words. We will be carefully looking for concrete evidence that the government’s endorsement of the Declaration reflects a genuine willingness to uphold its provisions.” …Go to article.