FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 9, 2008
“The Union of BC Indian Chiefs welcomes yesterday’s historic vote in Parliament endorsing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,” said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs. “However we are exasperated and infuriated that the Conservative members of Parliament voted against the motion to endorse this vitally important international human rights instrument.”
After more than 20 years of development and negotiation, the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was adopted by the UN General Assembly in September 2007 with an overwhelming majority of 143 in favour, 4 opposed and 11 abstentions. Canada was one of four countries to vote against the adoption of the Declaration. Since then, the Government of Australia, also one of the four countries opposed, has endorsed the Declaration.
Yesterday, Parliament passed a motion to endorse and “fully implement” the Declaration as adopted by the UN.
“In a country that continues to build its prosperity through the ongoing exploitation and vast development of the lands and resources of Indigenous Peoples, it should come as no real surprise that the Conservative government continues to take every opportunity to undermine and deny Aboriginal Title and Rights” added Grand Chief Phillip. “Rather than recognize Indigenous land rights, the Harper Conservative Government would much rather witness the jailing of Indigenous leaders who seek to protect and safeguard their rights.”
“We challenge Canada to do the right thing. Take a progressive step forward on the international stage, reverse its opposition and work with us to implement and uphold the principles contained in the Declaration” concluded Grand Chief Phillip.
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FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip
UBCIC is a NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.