United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
In September 2007, the United Nations passed the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). The Declaration covers Indigenous self-determination, culture and language, health, education, land rights, and Indigenous law. In 2007, 144 nations voted in favor of UNDRIP, with only Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and the United States voting against the Declaration. The four countries which voted against UNDRIP all have complex colonial histories and are rooted in settler nation states with ongoing colonialism that continues to impact the lives of Indigenous Peoples today.
Between 2009-2010 the four hold out countries signed on to the Declaration, and since that point have made varying levels of progress on implementing the recommendations of UNDRIP. Australia moved to adopting UNDRIP in 2009. New Zealand followed by adopting the Declaration in 2010 and began developing a plan for measurable actions toward implementing UNDRIP in 2019. The Government of Canada endorsed the Declaration in 2010 and in 2020 introduced legislation to implement the Declaration in Canada. The United States announced its support for UNDRIP in December 2010.
UNDRIP is not a legally binding declaration. Rather, it emphasizes the rights of Indigenous Peoples and provides a framework for nation to nation relationships. UNDRIP has not been fully implemented in Canadian laws, policies, and procedures.