The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was adopted by the UN General Assembly 13 years ago, on September 13th 2007, as a global minimum standard to address widespread, severe, and systemic violations of the collective and individual human rights of Indigenous peoples.
Since that time, the Declaration has been reaffirmed nine times by the General Assembly by consensus. No country in the world formally opposes it.
The Declaration does not create new rights. It affirms the pre-existing, inherent human rights of Indigenous peoples, which constitute the “minimum standards for the survival, dignity and well-being of the Indigenous peoples” globally. Implementation of the Declaration’s minimum standards within Canada is long overdue.
The federal government has publicly committed to introducing legislation to guide national implementation of the Declaration.
The process of moving such legislation forward must not be allowed to languish in endless hearings and debate.
As Canada continues to cope with the tragic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and grapples with the challenges of reopening and rebuilding the economy, implementation of the Declaration is now more urgent than ever.