UN Declaration

 
UN World Conference on Indigenous Peoples. Photo: Jennifer Preston

UN World Conference on Indigenous Peoples. Photo: Jennifer Preston

 
Indigenous Peoples globally continue to face dispossession of their lands and resources, discrimination, forced assimilation and other grave human rights abuses.
 
The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is the most comprehensive international human rights instrument to specifically address their economic, social, cultural, political, civil, spiritual and environmental rights. In its own words, the Declaration sets out minimum standards necessary for the “dignity, survival and well-being” of Indigenous Peoples.
 
The UN General Assembly overwhelmingly adopted the Declaration on 13 September 2007. This historic adoption followed more than 20 years of deliberation and debate in which Indigenous Peoples worked directly with states to elaborate upon and advance their human rights.
 
The Declaration affirms the inherent or pre-existing collective human rights of Indigenous Peoples, as well as the human rights of Indigenous individuals. It provides a framework for justice and reconciliation, applying existing human rights standards to the specific historical, cultural and social circumstances of Indigenous Peoples.
 

Get your copy of the Declaration

Digital copies

The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is available:

in English in PDF, MOBI, and EPUB,
in French in PDF, MOBI, and EPUB, and
in Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) in PDF thanks to the translation efforts of the Mohawk Language Custodians Association of Kanehsatà:ke.

Kanien'kéha Kontinonhstats
Pocket size copies

Pocket size copies of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples are available in both English and French. Contact us to place an order (50 cents per booklet plus shipping).

Poster

A poster version of the Declaration is available, double sided in English and French. They can be ordered by contacting us.

Book

Realizing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: Triumph, Hope, and Action (2010)

“The Declaration is a visionary step towards addressing the human rights of Indigenous Peoples” proclaims United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “[I]t provides a momentous opportunity for States and indigenous peoples to … promote reconciliation and ensure that the past is not repeated.”


Edited by Jackie Hartley, Paul Joffe & CFSC’s Jennifer Preston, Realizing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: Triumph, Hope, and Action documents the story of the Declaration from idea to adoption by the UN. A very readable introduction to this fascinating and important topic.

CFSC member Rob Hughes speaks about the UN Declaration and free, prior and informed consent as related to fracking. Photo: Ruth Walmsley

CFSC member Rob Hughes speaks about the UN Declaration and free, prior and informed consent related to fracking. Photo: Ruth Walmsley

Other ways to learn about the Declaration

46 Indigenous representatives made a 5 and a half minute video to present a short version of the Declaration.
 
The Indigenous Bar Association of Canada produced a handbook: Understanding and Implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: An Introductory Handbook.
 
The UN has also put out several documents aimed at informing different audiences about the Declaration:

Further Resources

Below are a number of other resources which we hope will help you learn about the Declaration and some of the work that has been done around it in recent years by many partners (including CFSC). All of these resources are meant to inform and to engage. In particular, CFSC wishes to demonstrate that the Declaration is honoured, celebrated, and, increasingly, being implemented.

  • We were present together with several of our partners at the symposium Linking Arms Together in 2013. You can view the full panel discussion on the UN Declaration below.
      
    .

An event at the former Commission on Human Rights in Geneva to promote the UN Declaration in April 2005. Left to right: Chief Wilton Littlechild, Dalee Sambo Dorough, former Special Rapporteur Rodolfo Stavenhagen, Rachel Brett (of Quaker UN Office, now retired), UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour, Mililani Trask

Amnesty International hosted 24-hour drum marathon on Victoria Island in support of the UN Declaration. Photo: Craig Benjamin.

Historical

We have been working to realize the full implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples for a long time. You will find joint statements from 2010 onward on our Statements & Resources page. If you are interested in the earlier work done to encourage Canada to endorse and implement the Declaration, below are several examples.

Chief Wilton Littlechild. Photo: Craig Benjamin.

  • Closing the Implementation Gap, a report organized at the request of the former UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of Indigenous people. The purpose was to review responses to his 2004 mission to Canada and report to the Commission on Human Rights. The report illustrates the will and capacity of Indigenous Peoples and civil society to be part of the process of identifying indicators and strategies for implementation of the recommendations of the special mechanisms and treaty bodies.

»crosslinked«