We celebrate 12 years since the Declaration was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations.

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 drafting.

“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

UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples