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UN adopts treaty supporting rights of indigenous peoples

[JURIST] The UN General Assembly Thursday adopted [press release] the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples [text], a non-binding treaty outlining the global human rights [JURIST news archive] of approximately 370 million indigenous people and bans discrimination against them. The General Assembly [official website] passed the measure with the support of an overwhelming majority of member states [list]. Enactment of the treaty has been debated for over two decades.

One hundred forty-three member states voted to adopt the treaty and 11 abstained. Four member states - Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States - notably voted against adopting the treaty, citing concerns that its text conflicted with their countries' own laws, among other contentions. Canadian UN ambassador John McNee [official website] expressed "significant concerns" [statement text] that the treaty contradicted provisions of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms [text] and did not provide adequate guidance on issues such as implementation. BBC News has more. CBC News has additional coverage.

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