Thirty years after Indigenous representatives first came to the United Nations in 1977, the General Assembly finally adopted the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) on September 13th, 2007. Indigenous Peoples around the world celebrated this event as a milestone of their continuous efforts to have their rights acknowledged on an international level.

The UNDRIP is the first UN document which entitles Indigenous Peoples not only to general human rights but also specific collective rights as Peoples, particularly concerning their right to self-determination, identity, culture as well as their Indigenous lands and resources.

Today Indigenous Peoples are an ever-growing presence at the international level and 10 years after its adoption, some countries have incorporated the declaration into their national law to set minimum standards for their relationship with Indigenous Peoples.

Regrettably so far, Canada has not appropriately implemented its obligations and duties towards Indigenous Peoples as laid down in the UNDRIP, which has already been criticized by many UN bodies and Committees, most recently by the UN CERD in August 2017.

In fact, Canada was one of only four countries that actually voted against the UNDRIP at the General Assembly in 2007. Only after immense international political pressure did the Canadian government endorse the declaration in 2010, but with severe reservations.”

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