United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People
The United Nations Declaration on the
Rights of Indigenous People affirms the minimum standards for the survival, dignity, security and well-being of
Indigenous peoples worldwide and enshrines their right to be different.
We are now celebrating 12 years since the
Declaration was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 13 September 2007, with a majority of 144
states in favour and four against (Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States).
The Australian Government announced its
support for the Declaration in 2009, with Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin saying it would “reset” the
relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. You can read more about the Government’s decision here.
The Declaration is particularly significant
because First Peoples, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, were involved in its
“The Declaration is the most
comprehensive tool we have available to advance and protect the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
peoples. I use the Declaration as my guide as Social Justice Commissioner.” – Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander Social Justice Commissioner, June Oscar AO.
Knowing about, using and promoting the
Declaration can help bring about positive change.
One of the best ways we can do this is by
using the language of rights when talking about the issues in communities.
As we recognise this milestone, it’s worth
noting again that Australia is still one of the few liberal democracies around the world which does not have a
treaty or formal acknowledgement of First Peoples. We need to work towards this together as set out in the Uluru Statement of the Heart.
Learn more about the United Nations
Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People by watching the video or downloading a copy of the UN Declaration
Booklet or Community
Guide on the Australian Human Rights Commission website.
13 September 2019