THE UNITED NATIONS DECLARATION
ON THE RIGHTS OF
INDIGENOUS PEOPLES

The Ecospirituality Foundation has participated in the layout of the Declaration, completed last June after years of work and discussion within the Working Group on Indigenous Populations of Geneva and the Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York.
The Declaration is an important recognition for Indigenous Peoples and for the protection of their social and spiritual rights. However, since not all the members of the United Nations agree to it, its approval remains still uncertain.
Here is the text of the Declaration approved in June 2006 by the Council for Human Rights and some excerpts of the discussions currently going on at the United Nations.

New York, 13 September 2007
HISTORIC MILESTONE FOR INDIGENOUS PEOPLES WORLDWIDE AS UN ADOPTS RIGHTS DECLARATION


Marking an historic achievement for the more than 370 million indigenous peoples worldwide, the General Assembly today adopted the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the result of more than two decades of consultation and dialogue among governments and indigenous peoples from all regions.
The Declaration was adopted by an overwhelming majority of the General Assembly, with 143 countries voting in support, 4 voting against (Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States) and 11 abstaining (Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burundi, Colombia, Georgia, Kenya, Nigeria, Russian Federation, Samoa, Ukraine).
The Ecospirituality Foundation has actively participated in the debate on the layout of the Declaration, above all as it regards the theme of the defense of the traditional knowledge and the sacred sites.
Among the approved rights of the Declaration we quote:

"Indigenous peoples have the right to practice and revitalize their cultural traditions and customs. This includes the right to maintain, protect and develop the past, present and future manifestations of their cultures, such as archaeological and historical sites, artefacts, designs, ceremonies, technologies and visual and performing arts and literature.
Indigenous peoples have the right to manifest, practice, develop and teach their spiritual and religious traditions, customs and ceremonies; the right to maintain, protect, and have access in privacy to their religious and cultural sites; the right to the use and control of their ceremonial objects; and the right to the repatriation of their human remains. Indigenous peoples have the right to revitalize, use, develop and transmit to future generations their histories, languages, oral traditions, philosophies, writing systems and literatures, and to designate and retain their own names for communities, places and persons.
Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain, control, protect and develop their cultural heritage, traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions, as well as the manifestations of their sciences, technologies and culture.They also have the right to maintain, control, protect and develop their intellectual property over such cultural heritage, traditional knowledge, and traditional cultural expressions.
Indigenous peoples have the right to determine their own identity or membership in accordance with their customs and traditions."

For more information on the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,
please see:
http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/unpfii/en/declaration.html



Premise

Affirming that indigenous peoples are equal to all other peoples, while recognizing the right of all peoples to be different, to consider themselves different, and to be respected as such,
Affirming also that all peoples contribute to the diversity and richness of civilizations and cultures, which constitute the common heritage of humankind,
Affirming further that all doctrines, policies and practices based on or advocating superiority of peoples or individuals on the basis of national origin, racial, religious, ethnic or cultural differences are racist, scientifically false, legally invalid, morally condemnable and socially unjust,
Reaffirming also that indigenous peoples, in the exercise of their rights, should be free from discrimination of any kind,
Concerned that indigenous peoples have suffered from historic injustices as a result of, inter alia, their colonization and dispossession of their lands, territories and resources, thus preventing them from exercising, in particular, their right to development in accordance with their own needs and interests,
Recognizing the urgent need to respect and promote the inherent rights of indigenous peoples which derive from their political, economic and social structures and from their cultures, spiritual traditions, histories and philosophies, especially their rights to their lands, territories and resources,
Further recognizing the urgent need to respect and promote the rights of indigenous peoples affirmed in treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements with States,
Welcoming the fact that indigenous peoples are organizing themselves for political, economic, social and cultural enhancement and in order to bring an end to all forms of discrimination and oppression wherever they occur,
Convinced that control by indigenous peoples over developments affecting them and their lands, territories and resources will enable them to maintain and strengthen their institutions, cultures and traditions, and to promote their development in accordance with their aspirations and needs,
Recognizing also that respect for indigenous knowledge, cultures and traditional practices contributes to sustainable and equitable development and proper management of the environment,
Emphasizing the contribution of the demilitarization of the lands and territories of indigenous peoples to peace, economic and social progress and development, understanding and friendly relations among nations and peoples of the world,
Recognizing in particular the right of indigenous families and communities to retain shared responsibility for the upbringing, training, education and well-being of their children, consistent with the rights of the child,
Recognizing also that indigenous peoples have the right freely to determine their relationships with States in a spirit of coexistence, mutual benefit and full respect,
Considering that the rights affirmed in treaties, agreements and constructive arrangements between States and indigenous peoples are, in some situations, matters of international concern, interest, responsibility and character,
Also considering that treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements, and the relationship they represent, are the basis for a strengthened partnership between indigenous peoples and States,
Acknowledging that the Charter of the United Nations, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights affirm the fundamental importance of the right of self-determination of all peoples, by virtue of which they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development,
Bearing in mind that nothing in this Declaration may be used to deny any peoples their right of self-determination, exercised in conformity with international law,
Convinced that the recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples in this Declaration will enhance harmonious and cooperative relations between the State and indigenous peoples, based on principles of justice, democracy, respect for human rights, non-discrimination and good faith,
Encouraging States to comply with and effectively implement all their obligations as they apply to indigenous peoples under international instruments, in particular those related to human rights, in consultation and cooperation with the peoples concerned,
Emphasizing that the United Nations has an important and continuing role to play in promoting and protecting the rights of indigenous peoples,
Believing that this Declaration is a further important step forward for the recognition, promotion and protection of the rights and freedoms of indigenous peoples and in the development of relevant activities of the United Nations system in this field,
Recognizing and reaffirming that indigenous individuals are entitled without discrimination to all human rights recognized in international law, and that indigenous peoples possess collective rights which are indispensable for their existence, well-being and integral development as peoples,
Solemnly proclaims the following United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a standard of achievement to be pursued in a spirit of partnership and mutual respect:

DECLARATION ON THE RIGHTS OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES

Article 1
Indigenous peoples have the right to the full enjoyment, as a collective or as individuals, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms as recognized in the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international human rights law.

Article 2
Indigenous peoples and individuals are free and equal to all other peoples and individuals and have the right to be free from any kind of discrimination, in the exercise of their rights, in particular that based on their indigenous origin or identity.

Article 3
Indigenous peoples have the right of self?determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.

Article 4
Indigenous peoples, in exercising their right to self-determination, have the right to autonomy or self-government in matters relating to their internal and local affairs, as well as ways and means for financing their autonomous functions.

Article 5
Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain and strengthen their distinct political, legal, economic, social and cultural institutions, while retaining their rights to participate fully, if they so choose, in the political, economic, social and cultural life of the State.

Article 6
Every indigenous individual has the right to a nationality.

Article 7
1. Indigenous individuals have the rights to life, physical and mental integrity, liberty and security of person.
2. Indigenous peoples have the collective right to live in freedom, peace and security as distinct peoples and shall not be subjected to any act of genocide or any other act of violence, including forcibly removing children of the group to another group.

Article 8
1. Indigenous peoples and individuals have the right not to be subjected to forced assimilation or destruction of their culture.
2. States shall provide effective mechanisms for prevention of, and redress for: (a) Any action which has the aim or effect of depriving them of their integrity as distinct peoples, or of their cultural values or ethnic identities;
(b) Any action which has the aim or effect of dispossessing them of their lands, territories or resources;
(c) Any form of forced population transfer which has the aim or effect of violating or undermining any of their rights;
(d) Any form of forced assimilation or integration by other cultures or ways of life imposed on them by legislative, administrative or other measures;
(e) Any form of propaganda designed to promote or incite racial or ethnic discrimination directed against them.

Article 9
Indigenous peoples and individuals have the right to belong to an indigenous community or nation, in accordance with the traditions and customs of the community or nation concerned. No discrimination of any kind may arise from the exercise of such a right.

Article 10
Indigenous peoples shall not be forcibly removed from their lands or territories. No relocation shall take place without the free, prior and informed consent of the indigenous peoples concerned and after agreement on just and fair compensation and, where possible, with the option of return.

Article 11
1. Indigenous peoples have the right to practice and revitalize their cultural traditions and customs. This includes the right to maintain, protect and develop the past, present and future manifestations of their cultures, such as archaeological and historical sites, artefacts, designs, ceremonies, technologies and visual and performing arts and literature.
2. States shall provide redress through effective mechanisms, which may include restitution, developed in conjunction with indigenous peoples, with respect to their cultural, intellectual, religious and spiritual property taken without their free, prior and informed consent or in violation of their laws, traditions and customs.

Article 12
1. Indigenous peoples have the right to manifest, practice, develop and teach their spiritual and religious traditions, customs and ceremonies; the right to maintain, protect, and have access in privacy to their religious and cultural sites; the right to the use and control of their ceremonial objects; and the right to the repatriation of their human remains.
2. States shall seek to enable the access and/or repatriation of ceremonial objects and human remains in their possession through fair, transparent and effective mechanisms developed in conjunction with indigenous peoples concerned.

Article 13
1. Indigenous peoples have the right to revitalize, use, develop and transmit to future generations their histories, languages, oral traditions, philosophies, writing systems and literatures, and to designate and retain their own names for communities, places and persons.
2. States shall take effective measures to ensure this right is protected and also to ensure that indigenous peoples can understand and be understood in political, legal and administrative proceedings, where necessary through the provision of interpretation or by other appropriate means.

Article 14
1. Indigenous peoples have the right to establish and control their educational systems and institutions providing education in their own languages, in a manner appropriate to their cultural methods of teaching and learning.
2. Indigenous individuals, particularly children, have the right to all levels and forms of education of the State without discrimination.
3. States shall, in conjunction with indigenous peoples, take effective measures, in order for indigenous individuals, particularly children, including those living outside their communities, to have access, when possible, to an education in their own culture and provided in their own language.

Article 15
1. Indigenous peoples have the right to the dignity and diversity of their cultures, traditions, histories and aspirations which shall be appropriately reflected in education and public information.
2. States shall take effective measures, in consultation and cooperation with the indigenous peoples concerned, to combat prejudice and eliminate discrimination and to promote tolerance, understanding and good relations among indigenous peoples and all other segments of society.

Article 16
1. Indigenous peoples have the right to establish their own media in their own languages and to have access to all forms of non-indigenous media without discrimination.
2. States shall take effective measures to ensure that State-owned media duly reflect indigenous cultural diversity. States, without prejudice to ensuring full freedom of expression, should encourage privately-owned media to adequately reflect indigenous cultural diversity.

Article 17
1. Indigenous individuals and peoples have the right to enjoy fully all rights established under applicable international and domestic labour law.
2. States shall in consultation and cooperation with indigenous peoples take specific measures to protect indigenous children from economic exploitation and from performing any work that is likely to be hazardous or to interfere with the child's education, or to be harmful to the child's health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development, taking into account their special vulnerability and the importance of education for their empowerment.
3. Indigenous individuals have the right not to be subjected to any discriminatory conditions of labour and, inter alia, employment or salary.

Article 18
Indigenous peoples have the right to participate in decision-making in matters which would affect their rights, through representatives chosen by themselves in accordance with their own procedures, as well as to maintain and develop their own indigenous decision-making institutions.

Article 19
States shall consult and cooperate in good faith with the indigenous peoples concerned through their own representative institutions in order to obtain their free, prior and informed consent before adopting and implementing legislative or administrative measures that may affect them.

Article 20
1. Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain and develop their political, economic and social systems or institutions, to be secure in the enjoyment of their own means of subsistence and development, and to engage freely in all their traditional and other economic activities.
2. Indigenous peoples deprived of their means of subsistence and development are entitled to just and fair redress.

Article 21
1. Indigenous peoples have the right, without discrimination, to the improvement of their economic and social conditions, including, inter alia, in the areas of education, employment, vocational training and retraining, housing, sanitation, health and social security.
2. States shall take effective measures and, where appropriate, special measures to ensure continuing improvement of their economic and social conditions. Particular attention shall be paid to the rights and special needs of indigenous elders, women, youth, children and persons with disabilities.

Article 22
1. Particular attention shall be paid to the rights and special needs of indigenous elders, women, youth, children and persons with disabilities in the implementation of this Declaration.
2. States shall take measures, in conjunction with indigenous peoples, to ensure that indigenous women and children enjoy the full protection and guarantees against all forms of violence and discrimination.

Article 23
Indigenous peoples have the right to determine and develop priorities and strategies for exercising their right to development. In particular, indigenous peoples have the right to be actively involved in developing and determining health, housing and other economic and social programmes affecting them and, as far as possible, to administer such programmes through their own institutions.

Article 24
1. Indigenous peoples have the right to their traditional medicines and to maintain their health practices, including the conservation of their vital medicinal plants, animals and minerals. Indigenous individuals also have the right to access, without any discrimination, to all social and health services.
2. Indigenous individuals have an equal right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. States shall take the necessary steps with a view to achieving progressively the full realization of this right.

Article 25
Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain and strengthen their distinctive spiritual relationship with their traditionally owned or otherwise occupied and used lands, territories, waters and coastal seas and other resources and to uphold their responsibilities to future generations in this regard.

Article 26
1. Indigenous peoples have the right to the lands, territories and resources which they have traditionally owned, occupied or otherwise used or acquired.
2. Indigenous peoples have the right to own, use, develop and control the lands, territories and resources that they possess by reason of traditional ownership or other traditional occupation or use, as well as those which they have otherwise acquired.
3. States shall give legal recognition and protection to these lands, territories and resources. Such recognition shall be conducted with due respect to the customs, traditions and land tenure systems of the indigenous peoples concerned.

Article 27
States shall establish and implement, in conjunction with indigenous peoples concerned, a fair, independent, impartial, open and transparent process, giving due recognition to indigenous peoples' laws, traditions, customs and land tenure systems, to recognize and adjudicate the rights of indigenous peoples pertaining to their lands, territories and resources, including those which were traditionally owned or otherwise occupied or used. Indigenous peoples shall have the right to participate in this process.

Article 28
1. Indigenous peoples have the right to redress, by means that can include restitution or, when this is not possible, of a just, fair and equitable compensation, for the lands, territories and resources which they have traditionally owned or otherwise occupied or used, and which have been confiscated, taken, occupied, used or damaged without their free, prior and informed consent.
2. Unless otherwise freely agreed upon by the peoples concerned, compensation shall take the form of lands, territories and resources equal in quality, size and legal status or of monetary compensation or other appropriate redress.

Article 29
1. Indigenous peoples have the right to the conservation and protection of the environment and the productive capacity of their lands or territories and resources. States shall establish and implement assistance programmes for indigenous peoples for such conservation and protection, without discrimination.
2. States shall take effective measures to ensure that no storage or disposal of hazardous materials shall take place in the lands or territories of indigenous peoples without their free, prior and informed consent.
3. States shall also take effective measures to ensure, as needed, that programmes for monitoring, maintaining and restoring the health of indigenous peoples, as developed and implemented by the peoples affected by such materials, are duly implemented.

Article 30
1. Military activities shall not take place in the lands or territories of indigenous peoples, unless justified by a significant threat to relevant public interest or otherwise freely agreed with or requested by the indigenous peoples concerned.
2. States shall undertake effective consultations with the indigenous peoples concerned, through appropriate procedures and in particular through their representative institutions, prior to using their lands or territories for military activities.

Article 31
1. Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain, control, protect and develop their cultural heritage, traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions, as well as the manifestations of their sciences, technologies and cultures, including human and genetic resources, seeds, medicines, knowledge of the properties of fauna and flora, oral traditions, literatures, designs, sports and traditional games and visual and performing arts. They also have the right to maintain, control, protect and develop their intellectual property over such cultural heritage, traditional knowledge, and traditional cultural expressions.
2. In conjunction with indigenous peoples, States shall take effective measures to recognize and protect the exercise of these rights.

Article 32
1. Indigenous peoples have the right to determine and develop priorities and strategies for the development or use of their lands or territories and other resources.
2. States shall consult and cooperate in good faith with the indigenous peoples concerned through their own representative institutions in order to obtain their free and informed consent prior to the approval of any project affecting their lands or territories and other resources, particularly in connection with the development, utilization or exploitation of their mineral, water or other resources.
3. States shall provide effective mechanisms for just and fair redress for any such activities, and appropriate measures shall be taken to mitigate adverse environmental, economic, social, cultural or spiritual impact.

Article 33
1. Indigenous peoples have the right to determine their own identity or membership in accordance with their customs and traditions. This does not impair the right of indigenous individuals to obtain citizenship of the States in which they live.
2. Indigenous peoples have the right to determine the structures and to select the membership of their institutions in accordance with their own procedures.

Article 34
Indigenous peoples have the right to promote, develop and maintain their institutional structures and their distinctive customs, spirituality, traditions, procedures, practices and, in the cases where they exist, juridical systems or customs, in accordance with international human rights standards.

Article 35
Indigenous peoples have the right to determine the responsibilities of individuals to their communities.

Article 36
1. Indigenous peoples, in particular those divided by international borders, have the right to maintain and develop contacts, relations and cooperation, including activities for spiritual, cultural, political, economic and social purposes, with their own members as well as other peoples across borders.
2. States, in consultation and cooperation with indigenous peoples, shall take effective measures to facilitate the exercise and ensure the implementation of this right.

Article 37
1. Indigenous peoples have the right to the recognition, observance and enforcement of Treaties, Agreements and Other Constructive Arrangements concluded with States or their successors and to have States honour and respect such Treaties, Agreements and other Constructive Arrangements.
2. Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as to diminish or eliminate the rights of Indigenous Peoples contained in Treaties, Agreements and Constructive Arrangements.

Article 38
States in consultation and cooperation with indigenous peoples, shall take the appropriate measures, including legislative measures, to achieve the ends of this Declaration.

Article 39
Indigenous peoples have the right to have access to financial and technical assistance from States and through international cooperation, for the enjoyment of the rights contained in this Declaration.

Article 40
Indigenous peoples have the right to have access to and prompt decision through just and fair procedures for the resolution of conflicts and disputes with States or other parties, as well as to effective remedies for all infringements of their individual and collective rights. Such a decision shall give due consideration to the customs, traditions, rules and legal systems of the indigenous peoples concerned and international human rights.

Article 41
The organs and specialized agencies of the United Nations system and other intergovernmental organizations shall contribute to the full realization of the provisions of this Declaration through the mobilization, inter alia, of financial cooperation and technical assistance. Ways and means of ensuring participation of indigenous peoples on issues affecting them shall be established.

Article 42
The United Nations, its bodies, including the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, and specialized agencies, including at the country level, and States, shall promote respect for and full application of the provisions of this Declaration and follow up the effectiveness of this Declaration.

Article 43
The rights recognized herein constitute the minimum standards for the survival, dignity and well-being of the indigenous peoples of the world.

Article 44
All the rights and freedoms recognized herein are equally guaranteed to male and female indigenous individuals.

Article 45
Nothing in this Declaration may be construed as diminishing or extinguishing the rights indigenous peoples have now or may acquire in the future.

Article 46
1. Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, people, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act contrary to the Charter of the United Nations.
2. In the exercise of the rights enunciated in the present Declaration, human rights and fundamental freedoms of all shall be respected. The exercise of the rights set forth in this Declaration shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law, in accordance with international human rights obligations. Any such limitations shall be non-discriminatory and strictly necessary solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and for meeting the just and most compelling requirements of a democratic society.
3. The provisions set forth in this Declaration shall be interpreted in accordance with the principles of justice, democracy, respect for human rights, equality, non-discrimination, good governance and good faith.

APPENDIX

THE DISCUSSIONS AT THE UNITED NATIONS

November 14th, 2006

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

Please find attached two documents on why the UN Declaration on Indigenous Peoples should be adopted by the member-states of the GA. As you may know the Third Committee of the General Assembly is meeting now to discuss the adoption of the Declaration. while it is clear that the US, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Russia are against its adoption, many othe states are for it.
However, the African Governments seem to have been pressured by this group of countries to push their agenda. Some of the African governments are tabling a resolution asking for the postponement of the adoption which is precisely what these anti-adoption countries want. They might be able to get some Asian governments to support their resolution. China, India, Philippines, Nepal, etc. spoke in favor of its adoption but there might still be Asian countries who will support the African resolution.
So, please try your best to lobby your government at the capitals to support the adoption. Give them a call, email them and send them these two statements and urge them to support the Peru resolution which is co-sponsored by many governments calling for the adoption. They will be meeting again today, so the earlier you do this, the better the results can be. The vote against any resolution to postpone the adoption it what is crucial at this stage.

Warm regards

Vicky Tauli-Corpuz
Chairperson, UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues





General Assembly
61st session
United Nations, New York
November 12th, 2006

U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Human Rights Response:
Why a proposal to delay adoption should not be supported

1 - Declaration based on core international principles and values. The Declaration is based on core international principles and values that embrace tolerance, peace and respect for the dignity of all cultures and peoples. In particular, the Declaration is described as a "standard of achievement to be pursued in a spirit of partnership and mutual respect".

2 - Human rights of all must be respected. Human rights are generally relative in nature and not absolute. Consistent with the U.N. Charter, the Declaration specifically requires that the "human rights and freedoms of all shall be respected".

3 - Provisions must be read in overall context. Each provision of the Declaration cannot be read in isolation, but rather interpreted in the context of the instrument as a whole. To do otherwise, would lead to extremist and absolute interpretations that could not be justified under the Declaration or international human rights law as a whole. Regretfully, the CANZUS group - Canada, Australia, New Zealand and United States - continues to interpret the Declaration in this fragmented and erroneous manner.

4 - No new rights created. The Declaration does not create new rights. It elaborates upon existing international human rights standards as they apply to Indigenous peoples.

5 - Rule of law and other core international principles always considered. Every provision of the Declaration must be "interpreted in accordance with the principles of justice, democracy, respect for human rights, equality, non-discrimination, good governance and good faith." This allows for both flexibility and balance. The reference to "good governance" ensures that the rule of law within States is fully considered in every instance without exception. As an aspirational instrument, the Declaration does not upend the rule of law domestically or internationally.

6 - Broader agreement not possible. As the Chair of the intersessional Working Group on the Declaration has concluded, along with many States, additional time will not lead to any broader agreement. This is in large part because of the obstructionist role repeatedly played by United States, Australia and New Zealand during the Working Group.

7 - Re-opening negotiations likely to kill the Declaration. Re-opening negotiations on the Declaration is certain to create serious new divisions and prevent its adoption by the General Assembly. Such an extreme step would be unconscionable.

8 - Harmonious and cooperative relations encouraged. The Declaration explicitly encourages "harmonious and cooperative relations" between States and Indigenous peoples. Nine preambular paragraphs and 15 operative articles specify consultations, cooperation or partnership between Indigenous peoples and States.

9 - Over 20 years of discussion. There have already been more than 20 years of discussions on the Declaration among States and Indigenous peoples in U.N. Working groups. This makes the Declaration one of the most discussed and studied declarations in U.N. history. All revisions by the Chair were based on prior discussions.

10 - Any "procedural" resolution for delay would be highly detrimental. It is shocking and disturbing that there could be an amendment or resolution to re-open negotiations on the Declaration. Such a proposal is not procedural since it could destroy the Declaration.

11 - Misleading strategy already attempted at Human Rights Council. Last June, Canada tried and failed with a similar strategy at the first meeting of the Council. In its Statement on June 27, 2006, Canada quoted its Minister of Indian Affairs as saying issues could be resolved by all parties "in a few more months". This claim was knowingly false and misleading. Just the day before, Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper indicated in writing the need for a "two-year negotiation mandate".

12 - CANZUS group of States politicizing rights in the Declaration. Based on their own domestic agendas, a few Western States are actively encouraging other States to delay the adoption of the Declaration under the guise of seeking "improvements". In so doing, the CANZUS group is continuing to politicize Indigenous peoples' human rights. Such actions severely undermine the Council and current U.N. reforms.

13 - For the past 8 months CANZUS group has avoided all consultations with Indigenous peoples. The CANZUS group already had the past eight months to consult with Indigenous peoples within their own respective countries on any State concerns with the Declaration. Yet none of these States engaged in any consultations with Indigenous peoples. None of these States genuinely seek to "improve" the Declaration.

14 - Canada violating its constitutional and international obligations. Despite its constitutional obligations to consult Indigenous peoples, Canada has opted to vigorously and unilaterally oppose the Declaration through procedural and other strategies during the past eight months. As a Human Rights Council member, Canada is failing to "uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights [and] fully cooperate with the Council", as required by the General Assembly.

15 - Essential for survival, dignity and well-being of Indigenous peoples. The Declaration promotes equality and non-discrimination for all. The Declaration is essential for the survival, dignity and well-being of the Indigenous peoples of the world.

16 - Strengthens international human rights system. Adoption of the Declaration by the General Assembly supports the vital work of the Human Rights Council and strengthens the international human rights system as a whole.

Issued by the Indigenous Peoples' Caucus - November 12, 2006





UNITED NATIONS DECLARATION ON THE RIGHTS
OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES
SUPPORT THE DECLARATION

1 - The Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples will be adopted by the General Assembly during this session. Consistent with the promotion and protection of human rights for all, it is in best interest of all States to support the adoption of this historic Declaration.

2 - For more than 20 years the provisions of the Declaration were discussed in depth by Member States, Indigenous Peoples, and other parties. No other United Nations document has ever been elaborated with such full and democratic participation of all parties concerned. As a result the Human Rights Council adopted the Declaration at its first historic session on June 29, 2006.

3 - The Declaration affirms that Indigenous Peoples make a unique contribution to the diversity and richness of civilizations and cultures, which constitutes the common heritage of humankind. The Declaration promotes and enhances the plurality of societies. The 2005 World Summit Outcome document reaffirms the commitment of the international community to adopt a final text of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as soon as possible.

4 - The Declaration is of utmost importance to combat discrimination against Indigenous Peoples created by more than five centuries of racism, marginalization and exclusion. The Declaration explicitly encourages harmonious and cooperative relations between States and Indigenous Peoples. Every provision of the Declaration will be interpreted consistent with the principles of justice, democracy, and respect for human rights, non-discrimination and good faith.

5 - The Declaration is a reaffirmation of the commitment of the international community to respect cultural diversity and the right to be different.

6 - The Declaration is based upon principles of partnership, consultation and cooperation between Indigenous Peoples and States. This is fully consistent with the theme of Second International Decade of the World's Indigenous Peoples "Partnership for Action and Dignity" adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2005.

7 - The Declaration is an aspirational human rights instrument of great value for all. It establishes a valuable framework for resolving issues and achieving the common objectives of the international community and the UN Charter.

8 - The Declaration does not create new rights. It elaborates upon existing international human rights standards and principles as they apply to Indigenous Peoples.

9 - The Declaration promotes equality and non-discrimination for all. The Declaration is essential for the survival, dignity and well-being of Indigenous Peoples of the world.

10 - The Declaration strengthens the international human rights system as a whole.

Issued by the Indigenous Peoples' Caucus - October 18, 2006