UN Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples: Canada must fully support vital human rights instrument
"Adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by the General Assembly was a momentous event, and recent statements of formal support, or movement towards support, by the few States that originally voted against its adoption are to be welcomed. But these achievements cannot be seen as the final or principal goals. Rather, it is the faithful implementation of these rights that must be the focus of concerted attention." - The UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
While Canada is generally known as a leader in the global promotion of human rights, there are clearly significant problems with current laws and policies in respect to the rights and well-being of Indigenous peoples. Canada's endorsement of the Declaration would be meaningless if the government recognized only those provisions that consistent with existing laws and policies and rejected those that would encourage reform and change.
Send a short, polite letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
- Note that the UN Declaration is intended to address the discrimination that has denied Indigenous peoples around the world the full enjoyment of their human rights.
- Welcome the fact that with Canada's official endorsement of the Declaration there is now near universal consensus among states in support of this vital human rights instrument.
- Urge the government to work collaboratively with Indigenous peoples to achieve the full and effective implementation of the Declaration, including by reviewing Canada's domestic and foreign policies that affect the rights of Indigenous peoples.
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa ON K1A 0A2
Fax: (613) 941-6900
Dear Prime Minister
The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples makes a unique and much needed contribution to global understanding and promotion of human rights. Rights affirmed by the Declaration include the right of self-determination, land rights, rights to cultural identity, and protection against genocide and discrimination.
Canada was one of only four countries that voted against the Declaration when it was adopted by the UN General Assembly. Australia and New Zealand has since publicly endorsed the Declaration while the USA has publicly announced plans to review its position.
In a public statement released on the third anniversary of the UN's adoption of the Declaration, Indigenous peoples' organizations and human rights groups in Canada called for immediate action on the following critical priorities for implementation:
- Making the recognition and protection of Indigenous peoples’ collective rights to lands and resources an explicit objective of federal policies.
Institutionalizing decision-making processes consistent with the Constitutional duty of Aboriginal consultation, accommodation, and consent, as affirmed by the Supreme Court of Canada.
Eliminating discrimination in the provision of government services to Indigenous people and communities.
Establishing a comprehensive national plan of action to address the disappearance and murder of Indigenous women and girls in Canada and ensure that they enjoy the full protection of the law.