International Human Rights Day

press releases

Human Rights Day would have been celebrated - PFII
UN's human rights record challenged
AOS caucus calls for progress on self-determination

Caucus appeals to Russian President

General Assembly missed opportunity - Stavenhagen

IPACC quotes African Charter on Rights
Namibia slammed for killing UN rights resolution
Civil society organisations condemn delay on Declaration
UNGA fails to bring hope to Indigenous Peoples
Tonatierra defends right of self-determination
Defenders of human rights must support indigenous rights
States are acting irresponsibly - NWAC
Canada accused of disgraceful, disgusting conduct at UN
ILRC continue fight to adopt Declaration
Africa denies Saami and Inuit rights to self-determination
Third Committee defers action on indigenous declaration
Key UN committee delays action on declaration

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.

for more information
on the Declaration

Permanent Forum on
Indigenous Issues

Office of the High Commissioner
for Human Rights

Documentation Centre
for Indigenous Peoples

Tebtebba Foundation

International Indian Treaty Council

American Indian Law Alliance

International Work Group
for Indigenous Affairs

Rights and Democracy

Amnesty International, Canada

University of Minnesota
Human Rights Library

(Download Kit)

Letter to States by
Special Rapporteur & Chair of PFII

Letter to States by
Indigenous Peoples Caucus

Letter to States by
Ambassadors to UN

Ten Key Points

Declaration (download)

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;



10 December 2006

Indigenous peoples would have joyfully celebrated the International Human Rights Day this year if the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was adopted by the General Assembly before the end of 2006. Unfortunately, the decision of the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly on November 28th, 2006, to defer the adoption of the Declaration has weakened the meaning of this day.

At the Fifth Session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues the shared expectation of indigenous peoples, of the UN system and of the Permanent Forum was for the adoption of the Declaration by the General Assembly, as had also been the call of Heads of State at the World Summit in 2005. The Permanent Forum thus adopted the following recommendation at its session in May 2006:

The Permanent Forum is convinced that a declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples will be an instrument of great value through which to advance the rights and aspirations of the worlds indigenous peoples. The Permanent Forum therefore recommends the adoption without amendments of the draft declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples & by the General Assembly during its sixty-first session in 2006. This would represent a major achievement for the Second International Decade of the Worlds Indigenous People.

To the credit of the newly established Human Rights Council, it adopted this Declaration in June 29, 2006, at its First Session. All the regional caucuses of indigenous peoples spoke with one voice and echoed the resolution of the Human Rights Council that this be adopted by the General Assembly at its 2006 Fall Session.

Indigenous peoples were shocked and deeply disappointed at the recent decision of the Third Committee of the General Assembly to defer the adoption, following an initiative of some Members States. I am also deeply disappointed by this move to defer the adoption of the Declaration because this is illustrative of the continuing discrimination against indigenous peoples in many parts of the world.

The Declaration stands out as one of the most extensively discussed and negotiated texts in the history of the UN with the full participation of the subjects of those rightsa process for which the international community should stand proud. The non-participation of some Governments in more than 20 years of drafting and negotiations on the Declaration does not justify a further delay of its adoption.

This Declaration represents the minimum standards for the survival, dignity and well-being of indigenous peoples.

I commend the Member States who voted for the adoption of the Declaration at the Human Rights Council and those who did not support the deferral of its adoption at the General Assembly Third Committee.

I urge all Governments to demonstrate that the UN stands for human rights for all, including indigenous peoples, and to adopt the Declaration without amendments. It is the responsibility of all UN Member States to address the past and continuing injustice, racism and discrimination against indigenous peoples.

International Human Rights Day will be more significant for indigenous peoples once the UN adopts the Declaration and continues building genuine partnerships and solidarity with indigenous peoples.