Indigenous 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
The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is available:
|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).
“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.
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:
- Know Your Rights! The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (PDF) – a publication aimed at Indigenous youth.
- United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: A Manual for National Human Rights Institutions contains resources for those working toward the implementation of the Declaration at various levels.
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.
- CFSC and our partners have issued many joint statements related to the Declaration.
- CFSC and our partners have produced double-sided educational handouts about the Declaration, perfect for printing and sharing with others.
- In response to misinformation spreading about the Declaration we’ve written op-eds, produced this brief fact sheet, and international human rights lawyer and CFSC associate member Paul Joffe has provided more detailed critical analysis (PDF) of some of the concerns raised about implementing the UN Declaration in Canada. He refutes these concerns as generally inaccurate. In another analysis he explains why the Declaration is much more than just “aspirational.” Paul has also detailed the UN Declaration provisions relevant to “consent” and the significant differences between “veto” and “consent”, two terms that are often incorrectly used interchangeably by people expressing fears about the UN Declaration.
- 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.