UN adopts declaration to protect indigenous people
The members of the UN have adopted a declaration designed to protect the world's 370 million indigenous people. Note that this is a declaration, not a convention, meaning that it is a statement of intent, not a law.
UNITED NATIONS DECLARATION ON THE RIGHTS OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES
Adopted by the Human Rights Council on 29 June, 2006
Latest update on the Declaration at the 61st Session of the United Nations General Assembly
An agreement agreement reached between the co-sponsors (67 countries) of the Declaration and the African Group of States (53 countries) on an amended text of the Declaration. This amended text will be submitted as a draft resolution to the General Assembly for adoption on 13 September. The draft resolution is now available in all languages.
Secretary general of the UN Ban Ki Moon welcomed the move by the UN's member states, sayingit was a triumph for indigenous peoples around the world. He
noted that it marked a historic moment when UN Member States and indigenous
peoples reconciled with their painful histories and resolved to move forward
together on the path of human rights, justice and development for all.
ban Ki Moon called on Governments and civil society to urgently advance
the work of integrating the rights of indigenous peoples into international
human rights and development agendas, as well as policies and programmes at all
levels, so as to ensure that the vision behind Declaration becomes a reality.
“UNICEF welcomes the General Assembly’s approval yesterday of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and congratulates UN Member States on taking this important step.
“In particular, UNICEF welcomes the recognition in the Declaration that indigenous children sometimes need special assistance to realize the rights – to an education and to protection from exploitation, discrimination and harm – that all children posses.
UNICEF, the UN's agency for children, also made a statement welcoming the approval of the declaration.
“There are approximately 370 million indigenous people in the world. The majority are children and adolescents. In many instances, they are among the most vulnerable and marginalized members of their societies. In Latin America, for example, social and economic indicators for the majority of indigenous communities are far below national averages.
"It is important that this Declaration is now followed by the development and implementation of policies and programs to address the poverty, discrimination and exclusion that has often limited the opportunities available to indigenous children.