United Nations adopts Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

September 13, 2007, the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in an historic vote.  The Declaration was adopted by a substantial majority of nation states, with 143 voting in favor, 4 against, and 11 abstaining.  The Declaration was forwarded to the General Assembly by the Human Rights Council last year.

Center staff have worked with the many indigenous nations, tribes and communities we represent for over 30 years toward the adoption of this historic human rights instrument.  Please follow the links below and visit the Resources section, for more information.

Chief Stuart Patterson, Will David, Chief Karl Hill, Robert "Tim" Coulter, Chief Howard Thompson, John Lewis, and Chief Darwin Hill.


United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People


Center Press Release Regarding Adoption of the Declaration



General Assembly Adopts Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples; 'Major Step Forward' Toward Human Rights for All, Says President.
United Nations Department of Public Information. September 13, 2007


United Nations Press Release Regarding Adoption of the Declaration



Final text of UN Declaration as proposed by its 67 Co-Sponsors and adopted by General Assembly
This is the text of the Declaration as adopted, showing compromise amendments that were proposed by the 67 co-sponsors of the Declaration.  The Declaration was adopted as amended here.


Human Rights Council Resolution 2006/2 - Forwarding the Declaration to the General Assembly
Human Rights Council resolution forwarding Declaration to the General Assembly (June 2006)


Status of UN Declaration: How Tribes can Ensure their Human Rights are Recognized and Protected  |  by the staff of the Indian Law Resource Center, September 2007 




Recently, the UN Human Rights Council approved the draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and recommended it for adoption by the UN.  After many years, we are at last close to achieving an historic goal.  We expect the UN General Assembly to adopt the Declaration in 2007 — calling for countries to respect a broad range of important rights.


The UN Declaration is a great breakthrough, because for the first time the fundamental rights of groups are recognized as well as individual human rights and because our right of self-determination is explicitly recognized.  The Declaration will be a powerful statement of legal standards that will help to reform and improve the laws and policies of countries worldwide.  The Declaration sets out rights to maintain indigenous cultures, rights to education, rights to intellectual and cultural property, rights established by treaties, economic rights, and many others.


We are fighting hard to win the support of all countries of the world for the Declaration.  A number of important countries do not yet fully support the Declaration — including the United States and Canada — and we are trying hard to build political pressure to gain their support.  In this human rights advocacy we are cooperating with the Navajo Nation, the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, the Haudenosaunee (Six Nations), and others.