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Adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples:Joint Statement by International Non-Governmental Organizations

13 Sep 2007
[International Secretariat]
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International human rights organizations welcomed today's decision by the UnitedNations General Assembly to adopt the UN Declaration on the Rights of IndigenousPeoples.
The Declaration provides guidance on basic measures needed to ensure the dignity,survival and well-being of some of the worlds most impoverished and marginalizedpeoples.

The Declaration recognizes the rights of Indigenous peoples to the lands,territories and natural resources that are critical to their ways of life. TheDeclaration affirms that Indigenous peoples, like all peoples, have the right toself-determination.

Adoption of the Declaration sends a clear message to the international communitythat the rights of Indigenous peoples are not separate from or less than the rightsof others, but are an integral and indispensable part of a human rights systemsdedicated to the rights of all.

The Declaration was adopted by a vote of 143 to four with 11 abstentions The votewas called by Australia, New Zealand and the US. Only Canada joined these threestates in voting against the Declaration.

The Declaration has been under development for more than two decades within the UNsystem. The Declaration was adopted by the UN Human Rights Council on 29 June 2006,and human rights organizations joined with Indigenous peoples in calling for itsimmediate adoption by the UN General Assembly. However, final adoption was delayedand further amendments were introduced to accommodate the concerns of some states.

We hope that all States will work in good faith to implement in their domestic lawand practice this vitally important and long overdue human rights instrument.

These organizations call on all States to seize the historic opportunity presentedby adoption of the Declaration to enter into a new relationship with Indigenouspeoples based on a principled commitment to the protection of human rights.

Amnesty International
Friends World Committee for Consultation (Quakers)
International Service for Human Rights (ISHR)
International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH)
International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA)
Netherlands Centre for Indigenous Peoples (NCIV)
Rights and Democracy

13 September 2007

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