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10th anniversary of United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People
Courtesy of Amnesty International

10th anniversary of United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People’s is marking its 10th anniversary today.

The declaration provides crucial framework to achieve reconciliation. It is a human-rights bases approach to address racism and descrimination around the world and 144 countries immediately voted in favour, with only Austrailia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Stated voting against and 11 countries abstaining from voting.

Since then the Canadian government has pledged to incorporate UNDRIP into it’s policies in 2016 once Trudeau came in to office, and the BC NDP government has gone one step further and incorporated it in to mandate letters of all the ministers.

Ten years ago the declaration was adopted and that marked a crucial evolution in international human rights law.

For decades Indigenous people pushed forward to advance the movement and visions of self-determination, decolonization and non-discrimination.

On three occasions the UN has unanimously reaffirmed the Declarations, and continue to pressure Canada for full implementation.

The Union of BC Chiefs say that Canada has not done enough to implement these policy changes. That would mean a commitment to make meaningful and lasting changes to laws, policies and practices to ensure Indigenous people are able to make their own decisions about their lives and their futures, on a national level.

BC Premier John Horgan says that his government is committed to working in partnership with Indigenous people to embrace and implement UNDRIP.

“It is a pivotal moment in our province and in our country. For the first time, we can see a path toward meaningful reconciliation with First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples, and a true government-to-government relationship, based on rights, reconciliation and respect.

“Our government understands the enormous responsibility we have to Indigenous peoples, in the face of historical wrongs that have never been made right and in the wake of inaction by government after government,” said Horgan in a statement.

They say they’re ready to do the hard work.

The First Nations summit says they’re ‘buoyed’ by the commitments the NDPs have made. They are also commending the Fed’s 10 Principles guiding relationships with Indigenous peoples, and the dissolution of Indigenous and Northern Affairs.

They are still urging both governments to adopt an approach to implementation that establishes genuine partnerships, with full collaboration, consistent with 46 articles of the Declaration.

The Summit says to fully implement the Declaration there needs to be strong, bold and steadfast commitments from leaderships of all levels.

“The last 150 years, a time of “cultural genocide” for Indigenous peoples in this country, have not served us well. We must seize the historic opportunities before us and work together in partnership to achieve constructive and long-lasting solutions on a collective path to reconciliation,” reads a statement from the summit.

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