Coast Salish Territory/Vancouver – Late this afternoon (Friday April 3rd Australian time) Australian Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin made a statement announcing Australia’s support for the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (“UN Declaration”) at Parliament House in Canberra, Australia. This reversal of position by Australia now leaves the United States, New Zealand and Canada as the only countries opposing the UN Declaration.

“We welcome the news that the Australian Government has reversed its previous position opposing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We stand together with the indigenous peoples of the world in raising our hands in honour of the Australian government and their decision to support the UN Declaration”, said Grand Chief Edward John of the First Nations Summit Political Executive.

The Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is a set of principles which describe equality, non-discrimination, partnership, consultation and cooperation between indigenous peoples and governments. The Declaration affirms minimum human rights standards necessary for the “survival, dignity and well-being of the Indigenous peoples of the world.” The Declaration also explicitly requires that all provisions are to be balanced with the rights of others and interpreted in accordance with principles of justice, democracy, non-discrimination, good governance and respect for the human rights of all.