On November 12, Canada endorsed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). Canada was one of only four states to vote against the adoption of UNDRIP by the UN General Assembly in 2007 (the others were the United States, New Zealand, and Australia, the latter two of which have since endorsed it). The United States is currently undergoing a review and consultation process to determine whether or not to endorse it.
Natural Justice is very pleased that Canada has joined the rest of the world in supporting UNDRIP. However, despite the Conservative Government’s self-congratulatory press release, the country’s performance at the recent Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Nagoya, Japan, and throughout the negotiation processes leading up to it was criticized by many for being nothing short of obstructionist. For example, Indigenous peoples and supporting human rights lawyers from Canada held a press conference at COP10 to call attention to Canada’s position as the sole Party to call for removal of all references to UNDRIP in the negotiations towards the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing. More views on the country’s position at COP10 are published on Indigenous Peoples Issues and Resources and Daily Yomiuri. Canada also received the Dodo Award, granted to Parties by the CBD Alliance for “demonstrating a definitive and unmatched failure to evolve”. Indigenous peoples and civil society groups are looking forward to concrete demonstrations of Canada’s newfound support for UNDRIP both in domestic and international fora.