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UN rights council passes declaration to protect indigenous peoples

[JURIST] The UN Human Rights Council (HRC) [official website] has adopted [press release] the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples [PDF text], a document which asserts that indigenous peoples [UNHCHR backgrounder] worldwide should have the right to restitution of land and resources taken from them. Bypassing objections from Canada and Russia, the HRC voted by a margin of 30-2 to approve the declaration, which calls for indigenous people to be free from discrimination and have a right to consider themselves different. Twelve countries on the 47-seat Council abstained from the vote Thursday, and three were absent during the session. The Commission for Human Rights [official website], which was replaced by the Human Rights Council earlier this year, had been negotiating the declaration [UNHCHR materials] for indigenous peoples for eleven years.

The HRC also adopted a resolution [JURIST report] Thursday endorsing the draft International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance [PDF text], which would require signatories to refrain from engaging in forced disappearances [Wikipedia backgrounder; UNHCHR materials]. The convention now goes to the UN General Assembly [official website] for final approval. AP has more.

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