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Justice Delayed is Justice Denied: Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

June 30, 2006

(Coast Salish Territory/Vancouver BC) The Union of BC Indian Chiefs applauds yesterday’s historic vote of the United Nations Human Rights Council on the Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The UBCIC, however, is bitterly disappointed at Canada's failure to support Indigenous Peoples at this critical vote.

Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, stated today “After years of negotiations and hard work put forward by the combined efforts of Indigenous and State leadership, we have a document that will go forward to the UN General Assembly full and final adoption.”

The Human Rights Council passed the resolution of support for the Draft Declaration with 30 States voting in favour, Canada and Russia voting against, 12 abstained and 3 were absent. Reports state that there was a rousing standing ovation after the vote.

Chief Phillip observed “Since the federal election, Canada’s consistent and evolving discriminatory actions towards Indigenous People at both the domestic and international levels are disgraceful. This attitude is reflected in the gross failure to support the Kelowna Accord and now evident in its conduct as a Council member of the Human Rights Council. As a Council member, Canada agreed and is required to ‘uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights’ but its actions against the approval of the Draft Declaration are totally contrary with this essential commitment.”

Chief Phillip concluded “We are absolutely elated that the vast majority of the member States of the Human Rights Council endorsed the two decades of hard work. No State member should be politicizing its role as a Council member. By no means, should any State, including Canada, seek to institutionalize lower human rights standards for over 370 million Indigenous people worldwide.”

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Chief Stewart Phillip, President
(250) 490-5314

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