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UBCIC Resolution Calls for Unqualified Support of UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

October 21, 2010

Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Government of Canada
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2
Fax: 613-941-6900

Minister John Duncan
Indian and Northern Affairs
10 Wellington Street
Gatineau, Quebec, K1A 0A6
Fax: 819-953-4941

RE: UBCIC Resolution 2010-33 Calls for Unqualified Canadian Government Support for U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Dear Honourable Ministers,

We are writing to you with respect to the Union of BC Indian Chiefs Resolution 2010-33, “United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Canada’s Intention to Endorse,” which was carried at the Union of BC Indian Chiefs’ Annual General Assembly on September 17, 2010 (enclosed).

In 2006, the UBCIC wrote to you expressing our deep concern that your government had not yet indicated its clear support for the draft UNDRIP, and urged you to adopt the draft UNDRIP without amendment or qualification. The UBCIC formally endorsed and supported the full and unqualified implementation of the UNDRIP in 2008, and requested that the federal and provincial governments do the same. In March 2010, your government announced in the Speech from the Throne that it would take immediate steps to endorse the UNDRIP “in a manner that is fully consistent with Canada’s Constitution and laws.” We strongly urge you to endorse the UNDRIP immediately and without qualification and in a manner that:

• Ensures the survival, dignity, security and well-being of present and future generations of Indigenous Peoples;
• Upholds the April 2008 House of Commons motion calling for the government to fully implement the standards in the UNDRIP; and
• Fully respects the UNDRIP in all relevant international forums and strengthens the international human rights systems for Indigenous Peoples.

Please contact us for any further information. You can reach the UBCIC office at 604-684-0231.

On behalf of the UNION OF BC INDIAN CHIEFS

[original signed]

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip
President

Chief William Charlie
Vice-President

Chief Robert Chamberlin
Secretary-Treasurer

CC: Members of Parliament
UBCIC Chiefs Council
Assembly of First Nations
BC Assembly of First Nations
First Nations Summit
First Nation Provincial/Territorial Organizations

=============

UNION OF B.C. INDIAN CHIEFS
42ND ANNUAL GENERAL ASSEMBLY
SEPTEMBER 15TH-17TH, 2010
VANCOUVER, B.C.
Resolution no. 2010-33

RE: UNDRIP and Canada’s Intention to Endorse

WHEREAS the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) was overwhelmingly adopted by the General Assembly in September 2007, after more than 20 years of discussions;

WHEREAS the UNDRIP is the most comprehensive, universal international human rights instrument explicitly addressing the economic, social, cultural, political, spiritual and environmental rights of Indigenous Peoples;

WHEREAS the UBCIC has formally endorsed and the supported the full implementation of the UNDRIP via UBCIC Resolution 2008-03 Support for the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples;

WHEREAS among the four States that voted against the UNDRIP, Australia and New Zealand have reversed their positions and Canada and the United States are reviewing theirs;

WHEREAS in March 2010, the Canadian Government announced in the Speech from the Throne that it will take steps to endorse the UNDRIP “in a manner that is fully consistent with Canada’s Constitution and laws”;
WHEREAS to limit the UNDRIP in this qualified manner would defeat the purpose of having international standards, which serve to inspire and guide improved protection for human rights and not simply reinforce the status quo;

WHEREAS the government’s qualification could serve to legitimize existing injustices in Canada and undermine the principle of universality that applies to all human rights;

WHEREAS the May 2010 Report of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues urges Canada and the United States to “work in good faith with Indigenous Peoples for the unqualified endorsement and full implementation of the Declaration”;

WHEREAS the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of Indigenous People, James Anaya, also urges “any formal statement of endorsement be made in a manner that is fully consistent with the Declaration’s terms”;

WHEREAS contrary to Canada’s constitutional and internal obligations, the government failed since 2006 to consult Indigenous Peoples on matters relating to the UNDRIP that potentially affect Indigenous rights;

WHEREAS the government is taking unilateral positions in international forums that seriously undermine Indigenous Peoples’ rights and the UNDRIP, including forums relating to the Convention on Biological Diversity, intellectual property and climate change;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Union of BC Indian Chiefs-in-Assembly and UBCIC Executive urge the Canadian government to endorse the UNDRIP without qualification and in a manner that:

1) Ensures the survival, dignity, security and well-being of present and future generations of Indigenous Peoples;
2) Upholds the April 2008 House of Commons motion calling for the Canadian Parliament and government to “fully implement” the standards in the UNDRIP; and
3) Fully respects the UNDRIP in all relevant international forums and strengthens the international human rights system for Indigenous Peoples throughout the world.

Moved: Chief Jonathan Kruger, Penticton Indian Band
Seconded: Terry Doward, Proxy, Tla-o-qui-aht
Disposition: Carried
Date: September 17, 2010


PDF COPY: http://www.ubcic.bc.ca/files/PDF/2010Oct21_UBCIC_LetterUNDRIP_Res2010_33.pdf

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

 

 

 

 

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