General Assembly President, HE Madame Sheika Heya Rashed Al Khalifa, receives greetings from Indigenous delegate, Jose Carlos Morales. The President listened to requests that the Indigenous Peoples be acknowledged in the General Assembly when the Declaration is formally adopted.

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How States voted in the
Human Rights Council

13 October 2006

View Webcast Video - 42 minutes

This media conference occurred at the UN on 13 October 2006 to discuss the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples including its history, significance and current status.

H.E. Mr Enrique Berruga, Permanent Representative of Mexico;
Mr Aqqaluk Lynge

Innuit Circumpolar Conference
Mr Kent Lebsock
Executive Director
American Indian Law Alliance
Ms Elsa Stamatopoulou
Chief, Secretariat, UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues;

UN thumps Indigenous Peoples
28 November 2006

Today, the Third Committee of the United Nations' General Assembly refused to adopt the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

A vote on the resolution proposed by Namibia, acting on behalf of the African governments, decided that the Declaration be shelved while the Africans decided whether to acknowledge the Indigenous Peoples living in their own countries.

Once again, the cry 'we are all indigenous' went up from the African governments as they pretended to care about human rights rather than their own political powers.

Without shame or regret the African States, well supported by the Arab States, decided that 23 years of hard work in UN expert bodies and promises by the UN General Assembly to deal with the human rights of Indigenous Peoples, was irrelevant. They wanted to decide for themselves what human rights the Indigenous Peoples can have.

These States used their numbers as a political block, coached by Australia, New Zealand and Canade, as they trashed the concept of universality of human rights and brought the UN into disrepute with the peoples of the world.

Archbishop Tutu defends Bushmen
6 November 2006

First People of the Kalahari, which represents Bushmen from Central Kalahari area, wish to inform the world that Archbishop Tutu from South Africa has heard our cries and is asking the Botswana government to stop oppressing Bushmen. The Archbishop is saying what we have been saying for a long time, that it is not right to move us from our ancestral lands and drive away our traditions. He says 'when a culture is destroyed in the name of progress, it is not progress, it is a loss for our world'. For us his words are very important because we know he is an old and wise man and we know he stood up for all oppressed peoples in South Africa during many times during apartheid regime. We know he speaks the truth. Now many peoples in Botswana, South Africa and all around the world are supporting us. We say again to the Botswana government, let us go home!

Archbishop Tutus statement can be seen on video on:

Jumanda +267 7190 9972
Roy +267 72535641

FPK Botswana
Email: [email protected]

It's not too late, Canada!
9 November 2006

It is not too late for Canada to take a firm and principled stand on this vitally important and long overdue human rights instrument. Canadian Parliamentarians, human rights groups and Indigenous peoples organizations are urging Canada to vote in favour of the Declaration when the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly makes its decision next week. An independent public opinion poll, commissioned by Amnesty International, asked Canadians what Canada should do to protect the human rights of Indigenous peoples around the world. The results will be presented at the press conference.
Read more ...

Resolution for Declaration is tabled in the Third Committee
3 November 2006

Peru has tabled the resolution for the UN General Assembly to adopt the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The resolution was co-sponsored by more than thirty States from all regions of the world.

Discussion on the resolution will occur on 10 November when the President of the Human Rights Council will accept an invitation from the Third Committee for an interactive dialogue on the work of the Human Rights Council.

Indigenous delegations attending the Third Committee meetings expect the resolution will be endorsed by the Third Committee at the end of discussions, around Tuesday, 14 November. The General Assembly will adopt the resolution in early December 2006.

Ambassadors call for adoption of the Declaration
1 November 2006

A number of Ambassadors at the United Nations yesterday jointly signed and sent out a letter to all Missions to the UN calling upon them to adopt the Declaration consistent with the United Nations' commitment to universal promotion and protection of all human rights.

They point out that the Declaration constitutes a legitimate and long-time demand by Indigenous Peoples to recognize the unique heritage and contributions of Indigenous Peoples.
Read the letter ...

Declaration is no threat to States
26 October 2006

Luis Enrique Chavez, a representative of Peru at the United Nations told a panel meeting that the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples does not contain any threats for States in terms of their territorial integrity. Article 46 of the Declaration is very clear in this respect. Responding to criticisms that the text is ambiguous he said it would be impossible for the Declaration not to be ambiguous, but this is a virtue rather than a defect. The Declaration does not codify preferential rights; it recognises specific rights aimed at protecting a vulnerable social group. He accepts that it is not a consensual text, but this should not be reason for concern in the human rights field, as it is increasingly difficult to reach unanimity in these matters. In the face of this situation, he said, the most important thing is to make the decision to support indigenous peoples.
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Special Rapporteur calls for immediate adoption of Declaration
16 October 2006

Rodolpho Stavenhagen, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of fundamental human rights and fundamental freedoms of Indigenous People, told the UN Third Committee that there remained an implementation gap between the legal standards and the substantive change in the lives of indigenous people.  Public officials often were ignorant of international norms and the jurisprudence of courts often did not reflect international standards.  The divide between formal and real protections represented a violation of the human rights of indigenous people. Generally speaking, there were no adequate mechanisms in place to monitor the effectiveness of indigenous legislation and to evaluate its impact, he said. 
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UNGA Third Committee discusses Indigenous issues
16 October 2006

The Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly held its general discussion of issues concerning indigenous people on 16 October 2006. The Committee had before it the Secretary-Generals note on the status of the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Populations (document A/61/376), and the Secretary-Generals note transmitting the report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous people (document A/61/490).
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Indigenous delegations representing all regions of the world during this session of the UN General Assembly

Declaration is a historic document, out of a historic process
4 November 2006

The rights contained in the Declaration are not new. There are no new rights in the Declaration. They are rights that have been codified by the member States of the United Nations in countless treaties and have existed for the entire life of this organization since the adoption of the universal declaration of Human Rights. But they are rights that have been violated - if we are to be frank, with impunity - vis-a-vis Indigenous Peoples for as long as these rights have existed.
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USA urged to not oppose the Declaration
25 October 2006

Representatives of the Council of Large Land Based Tribes are urging the United States to not vote against the declaration. During a meeting on October 24, 2006, the CLLBT passed a resolution by consensus supporting the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and requesting the United Nations to adopt the same.
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Open Letter to all UN Permanent Missions
from Union of BC Indian Chiefs

October 30, 2006

On behalf of Indigenous Peoples of the world, we are writing to ask your Government to assist in the vital objective of adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by the UN General Assembly before the end of the year, as recommended by the Human Rights Council. We respectfully urge you to vote in favour of the adoption of the Declaration when it arises at the General Assembly.
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Canadian position supports adoption of the Declaration
2 November 2006

The Canadian Standing Committee of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development has resolved that the Government should immediately pledge their support for the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
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Amnesty International says Declaration is a good framework for justice and respect
2 November 2006

The Declaration a provides a good framework for addressing the wrongs of the past and a vision of future collaboration and partnership between states and indigenous peoples on the basis of justice and respect for the rights of all. The General Assembly must seize this historic opportunity to adopt this text with the strongest possible support.
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Canada increasingly isolated in unprincipled stand against human rights
2 November 2006

The Conservative government has slowly disclosed a long list of articles that it wants rewritten. However, its arguments to date do not stand up to scrutiny. Nor has it been able to convincingly explain why Canada has reversed its previous position in support of the Declaration. Indigenous peoples and human rights organizations say that the government should uphold Canadas international reputation, respect the will of Parliament and support the Declaration. However, the Conservative government has rigidly refused to consult Indigenous peoples on this crucial human rights issue and has already announced that Canada will continue to vote against the Declaration.
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Australian Prime Minister lobbied Canada to oppose Indigenous Rights
31 October 2006

The Australian Prime Minister did lobby the newly-elected Canadian Government to switch its position and vote against the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The Governments of Australia and New Zealand have both introduced major legislation in recent years to steal Indigenous lands and resources. The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has condemned Australia and New Zealand for being in breach of the International Convention against racism. These two governments have been successful in lobbying Canada to vote against the adoption of the Declaration. For Canada, it has been a major reversal of its policies of support for Indigenous rights. The Government of Canada is being heavily criticised by the Indigenous Peoples for betraying its role as a human rights defender on the Human Rights Council. Only Canada and the Russian Federation voted against the Declaration when the Declaration was formally adopted by the Human Rights Council in June this year.
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