UN FINALLY Recognizes Indigenous Peoples

This is very good news!!! Thank the Creator, it’s about time! ~Kat

http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=23794&Cr=indigenous&Cr1

United Nations adopts Declaration on Rights of Indigenous
Peoples

13 September 2007 – The General Assembly today adopted a
landmark declaration outlining the rights of the world’s
estimated 370 million indigenous people and outlawing
discrimination against them – a move that followed more
than two decades of debate.

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous
Peoples has been approved after 143 Member States voted in
favour, 11 abstained and four – Australia, Canada, New
Zealand and the United States – voted against the text.

A non-binding text, the Declaration sets out the individual
and collective rights of indigenous peoples, as well as
their rights to culture, identity, language, employment,
health, education and other issues.

The Declaration emphasizes the rights of indigenous peoples
to maintain and strengthen their own institutions, cultures
and traditions and to pursue their development in keeping
with their own needs and aspirations.

It also prohibits discrimination against indigenous peoples
and promotes their full and effective participation in all
matters that concern them, and their right to remain
distinct and to pursue their own visions of economic and
social development.

General Assembly President Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa,
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and High Commissioner for
Human Rights Louise Arbour have all welcomed today’s
adoption.

Sheikha Haya said “the importance of this document for
indigenous peoples and, more broadly, for the human rights
agenda, cannot be underestimated. By adopting the
Declaration, we are also taking another major step forward
towards the promotion and protection of human rights and
fundamental freedoms for all.”

But she warned that “even with this progress, indigenous
peoples still face marginalization, extreme poverty and
other human rights violations. They are often dragged into
conflicts and land disputes that threaten their way of life
and very survival; and, suffer from a lack of access to
health care and education.”

In a statement released by his spokesperson, Mr. Ban
described the Declaration’s adoption as “a historic moment
when UN Member States and indigenous peoples have
reconciled with their painful histories and are resolved to
move forward together on the path of human rights, justice
and development for all.”

He called on governments and civil society to ensure that
the Declaration’s vision becomes a reality by working to
integrate indigenous rights into their policies and
programmes.

Ms. Arbour noted that the Declaration has been “a long time
coming. But the hard work and perseverance of indigenous
peoples and their friends and supporters in the
international community has finally borne fruit in the most
comprehensive statement to date of indigenous peoples’
rights.”

The UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues estimates there
are more than 370 million indigenous people in some 70
countries worldwide.

Members of the Forum said earlier this year that the
Declaration creates no new rights and does not place
indigenous peoples in a special category.

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