Canada accepts indigenous rights document

OTTAWA, Nov. 13 (UPI) -- Canada has endorsed a U.N. declaration on the human rights of indigenous peoples, reversing its earlier opposition.

The non-binding U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples recognizes rights including self-determination, language, equality and land.


Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United States voted against the declaration when it was adopted by the General Assembly in September 2007. Australia and New Zealand have since reversed course, and the Americans now say they will review their stance.

Canada had expressed concerns about provisions on land and natural resources, saying they were overly broad and could reopen previously settled land claims, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported.

In March, the government said it wanted to "take steps to endorse this inspirational document in a manner fully consistent with Canada's constitution and laws."

But on Friday, the government released a statement saying: "After careful and thoughtful consideration, Canada has concluded that it is better to endorse the UNDRIP while explaining its concerns, rather than simply rejecting the overall document."

Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo praised the announcement.

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