Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs

Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs

April 22, 2010 08:00 ET

UBCIC Calls on New Zealand to Offer Unqualified Endorsement of UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - April 22, 2010) - The New Zealand government announced that it will adopt the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. However, like Canada, New Zealand is offering conditional support for the Declaration within the bounds of its own legal and constitutional frameworks. The Union of BC Indian Chiefs congratulates the Indigenous peoples of New Zealand on their unrelenting struggle for recognition of their rights. We strongly urge the New Zealand government to fully support the Declaration in order to implement its true spirit and intent.

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs stated, "New Zealand's limited support of the Declaration threatens the very purpose, essence and integrity of the Declaration as an international instrument. Clearly, the Declaration advances human rights for Indigenous peoples beyond national status quos and offers a framework for justice and reconciliation- it must be adopted without qualification."

UBCIC applauds U.S. President Obama for his announcement yesterday that the U.S. will be formally reviewing their position on the Declaration, without announcing any qualifications. By resolution, the UBCIC Chiefs Council supports and endorses the full implementation of the UN Declaration.

Grand Chief Phillip concluded, "Given the devastating impacts of colonialism that were imposed on Indigenous peoples, it is simply shameful that modern nation-states like New Zealand and Canada continue to deny the international reality of our Indigenous rights. Accordingly, Canada and New Zealand should both stop their efforts to domesticate international human rights instruments such as the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples."

The UBCIC is a NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.

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