Canada Endorses the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

November 18, 2010

On November 12th, Canada joined the majority of the world in supporting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). The Declaration is a non-legally binding human rights instrument which affirms universal standards for the survival, dignity, and well-being of all Indigenous Peoples.

Adopted by the United Nations in 2007, the United States was one of four countries, along with Australia, New Zealand, and Australia, that voted against the Declaration. Australia and New Zealand reversed their initial positions, and now, with Canada’s endorsement, the United States remains the only country that has not yet endorsed the UNDRIP.

It is past-due time for the United States to endorse the UNDRIP. Unqualified support for the Declaration is fundamental to ensuring that the United States follows international human rights standards for Indigenous Peoples, who are among the most disadvantaged and vulnerable peoples in the world. In the United States, nearly 24% of indigenous people live in poverty. Endorsement of the Declaration is critical to demonstrating U.S. commitment to upholding the rights of, and addressing the issues faced by indigenous populations here at home.

In April 2010, the United States announced it would formally review its position on UNDRIP. While we are heartened by President Obama’s leadership in reviewing the U.S. position on the Declaration – we continue to urge that the United States endorse the UNDRIP immediately and without qualifications, affirming U.S. commitment to protecting the rights of Indigenous people both at home and abroad. Show President Obama your support for the UNDRIP by taking action NOW!

Eleni Orphanides contributed to this post.