10th Anniversary of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

September 2017

Today is the 10th Anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UN Declaration). To commemorate this moment, HRI has produced a brief overview of some key milestones in the development of the UN Declaration and the initial steps towards implementation in Canada.

These moments in the history of the UN Declaration are not exhaustive, and do not reflect the extensive work of Indigenous peoples and organizations who have advocated for the recognition of the rights of Indigenous peoples internationally, and within Canada.

For more information, see the links below.

August 2017 – The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD Committee) issues Concluding Observations on the twenty-first to twenty-third periodic reports of Canada. The CRED Committee calls on Canada to fully implement the UN Declaration and the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions (TRC) 94 Calls to Action.

September 13 201710th Anniversary of United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UN Declaration).

February 2017 – The Prime Minister announced a Working Group of Ministers on the Review of Laws and Policies Related to Indigenous Peoples.

May 2016 – Government of Canada announced its commitment to fully implement the UN Declaration, without qualification.

December 2015 – Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) report calls on Government of Canada to fully adopt and implement UN Declaration.

December 2015 – The new Federal government’s Throne Speech emphasizes the priority of reconciliation through a renewed “nation-to-nation” relationship with Indigenous peoples in Canada.

September 2014 – The World Conference on Indigenous Peoples publishes an outcome document with an unanimous agreement to support the implement the UN Declaration in consultation and cooperation with Indigenous peoples.

November 2010 – Government of Canada endorsed the principles of the UN Declaration.

September 13 2007 – The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly, with a majority of 144 states in favour, 4 votes against (Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States) and 11 abstentions (Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burundi, Colombia, Georgia, Kenya, Nigeria, Russian Federation, Samoa and Ukraine).

June 2006 –  United Nations Human Rights Council adopted the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

2005-2015 – United Nations Human Rights Commission (now UN Human Rights Council) on Human Rights established a Second International Decade of the World’s Indigenous Peoples.

1995-2004International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People.

1995 – Open-ended inter-sessional working group was established to consider and elaborate on the text of the draft declaration.

1994First draft of the declaration is completed.

1992Drafting for the declaration was initiated.

1982 – Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) established the Working Group on Indigenous Populations to develop a set of minimum standards that would protect indigenous peoples.

July 1981 – Special Rapporteur, Mr. Jose Martinez Cobo published Study of the Problem of Discrimination Against Indigenous Populations.

Additional resources:

Amnesty International: 10th Anniversary of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: Canada needs a legislative framework to fulfill the promise of this vital human rights instrument, September 2017.

Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami: Implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Canada through comprehensive legislation, April 2017.

Open Canada: Why the UN’s declaration on Indigenous rights has been slow to implement in Canada, July 21, 2017.

 Centre for International Governance Innovation: UNDRIP Implementation: Braiding International, Domestic and Indigenous Laws, Special Report, 2017.