ADOPTION OF INDIGENOUS RIGHTS DECLARATION ‘MAJOR VICTORY’ FOR UNITED NATIONS IN LONG HISTORY OF DEVELOPING HUMAN RIGHTS STANDARDS, SAYS CHAIR OF UN FORUM

GA/10613-HR/4932
13 September 2007

ADOPTION OF INDIGENOUS RIGHTS DECLARATION ‘MAJOR VICTORY’ FOR UNITED NATIONS IN LONG HISTORY OF DEVELOPING HUMAN RIGHTS STANDARDS, SAYS CHAIR OF UN FORUM

13 September 2007
General Assembly
GA/10613
HR/4932
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Adoption of indigenous rights declaration ‘major victory’ for United Nations


in long history of developing human rights standards, says chair of UN Forum


Following is the message of Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, Chairperson of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, on the occasion of the adoption by the General Assembly today of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples:


Through the adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the United Nations marks a major victory in its long history towards developing and establishing international human rights standards.  It marks a major victory for indigenous peoples who actively took part in crafting this Declaration.  The 13th of September 2007 will be remembered as an international human rights day for the indigenous peoples of the world, a day that the United Nations and its Member States, together with indigenous peoples, reconciled with past painful histories and decided to march into the future on the path of human rights.


I hail representatives of indigenous peoples who patiently exerted extraordinary efforts for more than two decades to draft and negotiate the Declaration.  This Declaration has the distinction of being the only Declaration in the United Nations which was drafted with the rights-holders, themselves, the indigenous peoples.  I hail the independent experts and representatives of States and NGOs [non-governmental organizations] who contributed actively to this process.  This magnificent endeavour which brought you to sit together with us, indigenous peoples, to listen to our cries and struggles and to hammer out words which will respond to these is unprecedented.


The long time devoted to the drafting of the Declaration by the United Nations stemmed from the conviction that indigenous peoples have rights as distinct peoples and that a constructive dialogue among all would eventually lead to a better understanding of diverse worldviews and cultures, a realignment of positions and, finally, to the building of partnerships between States and indigenous peoples for a more just and sustainable world.


For the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, the Declaration will become the major foundation and reference in implementing its mandate to advise members of the Economic and Social Council and the United Nations agencies, programmes and funds on indigenous peoples’ human rights and development.  It is a key instrument and tool for raising awareness on and monitoring progress of indigenous peoples’ situations and the protection, respect and fulfilment of indigenous peoples’ rights.  It will further enflesh and operationalize the human rights-based approach to development as it applies to indigenous peoples.  It will be the main framework to guide States, United Nations bodies, indigenous peoples and civil society in making the theme of the Second Decade of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, “Partnership for Action and Dignity”, a reality.


The United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues is explicitly asked in article 42 of the Declaration to promote respect for and full application of the provisions of the Declaration and follow up the effectiveness of this Declaration.  On behalf of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, I commit the Forum’s devotion to this duty.


This is a Declaration which sets the minimum international standards for the protection and promotion of the rights of indigenous peoples.  Therefore, existing and future laws, policies, and programmes on indigenous peoples will have to be redesigned and shaped to be consistent with this standard.


Effective implementation of the Declaration will be the test of commitment of States and the whole international community to protect, respect and fulfil indigenous peoples’ collective and individual human rights.  I call on Governments, the United Nations system, indigenous peoples and civil society at large to rise to the historic task before us and make the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples a living document for the common future of humanity.


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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.