Press Releases

Stand for the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Posted on: Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Keywords: Women's Health, Combating Violence Against Women, Peace Building, Economic Justice, Environmental Justice, Indigenous Rights

MADRE Calls for the Adoption of the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

On September 13, the UN General Assembly will decide whether to adopt the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The Declaration establishes a framework for Indigenous human rights law - including recognition of Indigenous Peoples' collective rights - that is essential to empowering Indigenous Peoples and defending the full range of their social, economic, and cultural rights.

Indigenous Peoples, including women from MADRE's partner organizations in Nicaragua, Guatemala, Panama, Colombia, Peru, and Kenya, have been working for the adoption of the Declaration for 22 years. The Declaration is not only critical to the women and families of MADRE's sister organizations: the document addresses issues that lie at the heart of our planetary crisis, including ecological destruction, climate change, resource depletion, and economic practices that affect all of humankind. As the Declaration's Preamble states, "respect for Indigenous knowledge, cultures and traditional practices contributes to sustainable and equitable development and proper management of the environment."

Unfortunately, some of the world's most powerful governments oppose the Declaration, mainly because it would restrict the extensive control they currently exercise over the territories and natural resources of Indigenous Peoples. After the Declaration was approved in June 2006 by the UN Human Rights Council, the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand began lobbying against its passage in the UN General Assembly. Apparently at the behest of these states, a bloc of African countries, led by Namibia, pushed through a resolution in November 2006 to postpone a decision about the Declaration in the General Assembly. The upcoming discussion in September is seen by many as the last chance to secure passage of the Declaration.

MADRE is calling on the UN General Assembly to adopt the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples before the end of its 61st session in September 2007.

Add your voice to our call: click here to contact your Ambassador to the UN.


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