UN Declaration

 
UN World Conference on Indigenous Peoples. Photo: Jennifer Preston

UN World Conference on Indigenous Peoples. Photo: Jennifer Preston

CFSC (Quakers) Indigenous Rights Icon SmallIndigenous peoples globally continue to face discrimination, dispossession of their lands and resources, forced assimilation, and other grave human rights abuses. The UN 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 UN 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 September 13, 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).

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, and 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 Declaration and free, prior and informed consent as related to fracking. Photo: Ruth Walmsley

CFSC associate member Rob Hughes speaks about the 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

Here are other resources that will help you to learn about the Declaration and how it can be put to use as the framework for reconciliation in Canada. All of these resources are meant to inform and to engage. Today the Declaration is honoured, celebrated, and increasingly, being implemented.

  • The video of a panel discussion on the UN Declaration:.
  • Statements of support worldwide for the UN Declaration, featuring support from the UN, international agencies, governments, civil society groups, and Indigenous peoples.