The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is the most comprehensive international human rights instrument to specifically address the economic, social, cultural, political, civil, spiritual, and environmental rights of Indigenous peoples.
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.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada called the UN Declaration “the framework for reconciliation.”
Learn about the Declaration
Canadian Friends Service Committee is an active part of the Coalition for the Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which has put together many excellent resources about what the UN Declaration is and is not.
You can also see our most recent public statements about implementing the UN Declaration.
In the video below, shot in 2008, a few months after the UN had adopted the Declaration, CFSC’s Indigenous Rights Program Coordinator Jennifer Preston tells the behind-the-scenes story of the negotiation process that led its adoption and how it was almost stalled at the last minute:
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.