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;



(Arctic Caucus)

November 28, 2006

Today African states should be ashamed of their contribution to one of the worst days in human rights history. Today, African states displayed the fact that they could not accept a human rights instrument that is fair, balanced and consistent with international law and its progressive development in the specific context of the worlds Indigenous Peoples. They did so by advancing a no action motion in the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly, which was considering the adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Rather than support its adoption, African states, on a procedural matter, voted in favor of a delay purportedly for dialogue. For this reason, the Inuit Circumpolar Council and Saami Council are outraged by the open politicization of this important UN human rights instrument.

On the purported basis that some of the African states did not had ample time to consider the import of the Declaration, todays action essentially derails the Declaration and fully rejects over 20 years of State and Indigenous Peoples work at the UN. It is ironic that the African states took such an action in light of the aim of the Declaration: to elaborate the fundamental human rights of the most politically, economically, socially and culturally marginalized peoples in the world Indigenous peoples.

The Inuit Circumpolar Council and Saami Council know that the African states were not acting alone in this mission. We know that they were aided and abetted by the deceitful work of Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United States each of whom have been subjects of early warning/urgent action measures or alarming concluding observations by the UN treaty bodies in direct relation to Indigenous human rights.

Furthermore, this decision is a huge insult to the newly established Human Rights Council and the supposed UN reform of its human rights pillar. The resolution was an outright rejection of the one of the Councils first recommendations. Though Indigenous peoples have been told that they have a home at the UN, Secretary General Kofi Annans own fellow nation-state members could not bring themselves to support the basic human rights of Indigenous peoples.

The Inuit Circumpolar Council and Saami Council are aware that any further action will likely lead us away from the unprecedented consensus language reflected in the Declaration. The world community must recognize that the burden is now upon the African states concerned and whether or not they will put their money where their mouths are. Finally, despite this setback, the Inuit and Saami remain vigilant in the promotion and protection of our human rights.


Dalee Sambo Dorough
Mattias Åhrén

Inuit Circumpolar Council
Saami Council

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