U.S. to consider adoption of UN indigenous rights declaration
08:54, April 21, 2010
The United States may adopt the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice said on Tuesday.
"The United States has decided to review our position regarding the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples," Rice told the annual UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. "We will be conducting a formal review of the declaration and the U.S. position on it."
In 2007, the U.S. was one of four countries — the others being Australia, Canada and New Zealand — that voted against the declaration, which recognizes the rights of indigenous peoples to self-determination.
On Monday, New Zealand announced that it would reverse its decision and support the rights document. Australia reversed its decision last year.
The landmark document outlines the rights of the world’s estimated 370 million indigenous people and outlaws discrimination against them. A non-binding text, the declaration sets out the individual and collective rights of indigenous peoples, as well as their rights to culture, identity, language, employment, health, education and other issues.
Some 2,000 indigenous representatives are estimated to take part in the two-week meeting, which include member states, UN agencies and civil society groups.
"There is no American history without Native American history," Rice said. "There can be no just and decent future for our nation that does not directly tackle the legacy of bitter discrimination and sorrow that the first Americans still live with. And America cannot be fully whole until its first inhabitants enjoy all the blessings of liberty, prosperity, and dignity."
Embassy of Indigenous Peoples