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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 11, 2009
Coast Salish Territory/Vancouver – On the eve of the second anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Canada continues its shameful opposition and disregard of this valuable human rights instrument.The UN Declaration affirms the “minimum standards for the survival, dignity and well-being of the indigenous peoples of the world”. It was overwhelmingly supported by the United Nations General Assembly on September 13, 2007, with 144 States voting in favour of adoption.
“Canadians must continue to put pressure on the Conservative government to abandon their offensive and ill willed opposition to the UN Declaration and the collective rights of the indigenous peoples in Canada and around the world”, said Grand Chief Edward John, a member of the First Nations Summit Political Executive. “It is unfortunate that despite vast global support, Canada has chosen to disregard the rights of the world’s Indigenous peoples and thus can no longer be looked at by the international community as a leading advocate for human rights.”
Canada is one of only four nations to have voted against the Declaration in the General Assembly. Australia has since decided to support the UN Declaration and the United States and New Zealand are currently reviewing their position. By maintaining opposition to the implementation of the UN Declaration, Canada continues to ignore the democratic will of the House of Commons, which on April 8, 2008 passed a motion endorsing the UN Declaration and calling upon Parliament and the Government of Canada to “fully implement the standards contained therein”.
“We are deeply disappointed that Canada has maintained a position of international isolation by continuing to oppose the UN Declaration despite ongoing global implementation. This is a direct reflection of the 150 year struggle the indigenous peoples of Canada have endured as we fight for the recognition of our collective rights”, added Chief John.
The First Nations Summit speaks on behalf of First Nations involved in treaty negotiations in British Columbia. Further background information on the Summit may be found at www.fns.bc.ca.
For Further Information:
Grand Chief Edward John
First Nations Summit Political Executive
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