[JURIST] Canada is stalling the discussion and adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples [text], according to a Thursday statement by Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website]. The declaration was adopted by the UN Human Rights Council [official website] by a vote of 30-2 [press release] with 12 abstentions in June of last year, and has been submitted for a vote in the UN General Assembly since late-2006. Canada and Russia were the only two members on the Human Rights Council to oppose the adoption of the declaration. AI accuses the Conservative Party government of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper [official website; JURIST news archive] of actively lobbying other states with questionable human rights records to oppose the declaration. Harper's government has denied the allegations, saying it is instead seeking to reach a broad agreement amongst the international community.
Since taking power, Harper's government has been criticized for failing to honor the Kelowna Accord [backgrounder], an agreement between Canada and indigenous leaders that committed $5 billion over a period of 10 years to address poverty on Canada's First Nations reserves [backgrounder]. AP has more.