US 'reviewing' refusal of UN declaration on native rights

The declaration says indigenous peoples "have the right to the lands, territories and resources which they have traditionally owned, occupied, or otherwise used and acquired."

US 'reviewing' refusal of UN declaration on native rights

The United States has said it is reviewing its opposition to a 2007 UN declaration enshrining the land, resource and human rights of the world's 370 million indigenous peoples.

The move, announced by Washington's U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, came one day after New Zealand said it now supported the declaration passed by a large majority in the General Assembly in September 2007.

The declaration says indigenous peoples "have the right to the lands, territories and resources which they have traditionally owned, occupied, or otherwise used and acquired."

"Today, I am pleased to announce that the United States has decided to review our position regarding the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples," US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice told a session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues Tuesday.

She said her administration would conduct a formal review of the US stance on the declaration and would consult extensively "with our valued and experienced colleagues in the federally recognized Indian tribes and interested nongovernmental organizations. "

When the declaration was adopted in 2007, The United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, each with sizable aboriginal populations, resisted the declaration at the time.

Fully 143 countries voted in favor, and 11, including Russia and Colombia, abstained.

"There is no American history without Native American history," Rice told the gathering. "America cannot be fully whole until its first inhabitants enjoy all the blessings of liberty, prosperity, and dignity. Let there be no doubt of our commitment. And we stand ready to be judged by the results."

Some 2,000 indigenous people representing UN member states, UN agencies and civil society are taking part in the Forum's session here.

U.S. officials said at the time -- when the Bush administration was in office -- that the text was "unclear" and that those who drafted it had failed to seek consensus.


Agencies

Last Mod: 21 Nisan 2010, 14:07
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