Ottawa Endorses UN Indigenous Peoples Declaration

Friday, November 12, 2010 at 15:11



The federal government has formally endorsed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples “in a manner fully consistent with Canada’s Constitution and laws”.


Canada was one of four countries that initially refused to endorse the Declaration when it was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2007 — but the Conservative government committed to endorsing the Declaration in the Speech from the Throne earlier this year.


Indian Affairs Minister John Duncan says Canada has endorsed the Declaration “to further reconcile and strengthen our relationship with Aboriginal peoples in Canada”.


The UN Declaration describes the individual and collective rights of Indigenous peoples.


It also sets out a number of principles intended to guide harmonious and cooperative relationships between Indigenous peoples and states, such as equality, partnership, good faith and mutual respect.


In a release, the government says it “strongly supports these principles and believes that they are consistent with the government’s approach to working with Aboriginal peoples”.


While the Declaration is not legally binding, Ottawa says endorsing it as an important aspirational document is a significant step forward in strengthening relations with Aboriginal peoples.


Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo is welcoming the government’s decision, saying it marks an important shift in the relationship between the government and First Nations.


Atleo also says it sets the stage for a new era of fairness and justice for First Nations.