Thursday, December 16, 2010

U.S. to Endorse the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Human Rights USA welcomes today's announcement that the United States of America will (finally) sign the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The Declaration affirms universal standards for the survival, dignity, and well-being of all Indigenous Peoples and thus provides a global framework for indigenous issues. Since the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration in 2007, more than 140 countries have endorsed it -- including New Zealand, Canada, and Australia, who voted against the Declaration with the U.S. then. Since 2007, those countries had changed their positions. Finally, after consultation with tribal leaders and human rights organizations, the U.S. has also officially changed its position and acknowledged the rights of Indigenous Peoples worldwide.

You can read President Obama's statement at the White House Tribal Nations Conference here. One quote in particular stands out:

"What matters far more than words - what matters far more than any resolution or declaration - are actions to match those words. ... That's the standard I expect my administration to be held to."

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