Despite an ongoing re-examination of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the United States now finds itself as the only country to have voted against the 2007 document. That's because Canada, as Australia and New Zealand earlier, has unexpectedly made a u-turn and decided to adopt the Declaration.
Indigenous Inuit throat singing in Canada
Human Rights Now, the blog of Amnesty International USA, has a post by staff member Angela T. Chang on Canada's action:
On November 12th, Canada joined the majority of the world in supporting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). The Declaration is a non-legally binding human rights instrument which affirms universal standards for the survival, dignity, and well-being of all Indigenous Peoples.
It is past-due time for the United States to endorse the UNDRIP. Unqualified support for the Declaration is fundamental to ensuring that the United States follows international human rights standards for Indigenous Peoples, who are among the most disadvantaged and vulnerable peoples in the world. In the United States, nearly 24% of indigenous people live in poverty.
Chang asks her readers to send a message to Barack Obama urging endorsement of the Declaration.
Not everyone is happy with Canada's endorsement, however. Pam Palmater a Toronto lawyer and professor, writing on the blog Non-Status Indians, defending the rights of those who are not officially recognized as Indians, calls the news “The Illusion of Justice in Canada”:
I would like to think that Canada has moved past some of its double-dealings of the past, but this limited endorsement of UNDRIP by the Conservatives proves otherwise. From one side of their face they promise to make changes to address our issues and from the other side, they rally public support against us and find creative political spin to keep from acting on their promises. Canada did not truly, in letter and spirit, endorse UNDRIP – they issued a “Statement of Support” that does not change Indigenous rights (or lack thereof) in Canada.