The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Rachel Myers, (212) 549-2689 or 2666;

United States Endorses International Declaration On Indigenous Rights

ACLU Says Support For Declaration Is Essential To Upholding U.S. Obligations Under International Law


an important step toward upholding and promoting the United States'
commitment to international human rights at home, President Obama
announced Thursday that the U.S. will lend its support to the U.N.
Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). The decision
is a reversal of the position taken by the Bush administration in 2007,
when the U.S. voted against UNDRIP even as 145 nations supported it.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the Human Rights at Home
Campaign (HuRAH Campaign) have long called for unqualified endorsement
of UNDRIP, which articulates the rights set forth for indigenous peoples
in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The following can be attributed to Jamil Dakwar, Director of the
ACLU Human Rights Program and steering committee member of the HuRAH

"We commend the Obama administration for endorsing this important
declaration and rectifying the Bush administration's rejection of an
essential human rights document. Unqualified endorsement of this
declaration is essential to protecting the rights of all indigenous
peoples, especially Indian and Alaska Native nations in the United
States. The administration should work in close partnership with
indigenous peoples and tribal governments to address the serious human
rights challenges that continue to face indigenous communities in this

The following can be attributed to Laura W. Murphy, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office:

"Guaranteeing basic human rights for our indigenous population should
be considered a priority and we are happy to see that the Obama
administration agrees. We will continue to work with Congress and the
administration to ensure that it remains so. We are hopeful this
endorsement will lead to a renewed effort to bolster human rights
protections both here in the U.S. and abroad."

The following can be attributed to Professor Lisa Crooms, chair of the HuRAH Campaign:

"The Obama administration's endorsement of the Declaration is a welcome
first step towards matching U.S. rhetoric on human rights with concrete
actions. Effective promotion and implementation of the declaration will
require the administration to work in full partnership with indigenous
peoples and civil society to build a human rights infrastructure here at

The ACLU and the HuRAH Campaign also urged the Obama administration to
issue an executive order to reconstitute the Inter-Agency Working Group
on Human Rights, which is essential to promoting and implementing UNDRIP
and other declarations and ratified treaties across the government.

The U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is available online at:

The HuRaH statement in support of the UNDRIP is available here:

The American Civil Liberties Union was founded in 1920 and is our nation's guardian of liberty. The ACLU works in the courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all people in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.

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