Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Friday, September 14, 2007

A triumph for indigenous peoples throughout the world

The United Nations General Assembly on Thursday voted to adopt the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People by a vote of 143 to 4 with 11 abstentions, according to a press release from Cultural Survival.

The 25 years of debate over the measure – a period in which indigenous peoples suffered tremendous hardship – was the longest in U.N. history.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called the adoption of the declaration “a triumph for indigenous peoples around the world.”

General Assembly President Haya Al Khalifa said that “by adopting the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples we are making further progress to improve the situation of indigenous peoples around the world.” He added: “We are also taking another major step forward towards the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all.”

In recent decades, hundreds of thousands of indigenous people have been routed from their homes, massacred in their villages and had their lands and resources appropriated.

Unfortunately, the United States together with three other countries (Canada, New Zealand, and Australia) voted against the declaration. Cultural Survival argues that this sends a message to Native Americans and to the international community that once again that the U.S. is not ready to take action to support human rights, even if it is for the benefit of American citizens.

“The Declaration gives [Indigenous Peoples] the platform for addressing the continuing abuses of human rights against Indigenous Peoples and for shaping a future where it can be realized that all peoples are truly equal” said Indigenous Peoples Caucus president and Cultural Survival Program Council member Les Malezer.

For full article, click here.


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