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UN Adopts Historic Statement on Native Rights

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Despite strong objections from the United States and some of its allies, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution Thursday calling for the recognition of the world's 370 million indigenous peoples' right to self-determination and control over their lands and resources.


The adoption of the Universal Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples comes after 22 years of diplomatic negotiations at the United Nations involving its member states, international civil society groups, and representatives of the world's aboriginal communities.


An overwhelming majority of UN member countries endorsed the Declaration, with 143 voting in favor, 4 against, and 11 abstaining.


The United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand stood alone in voting against the resolution. The nations that neither supported nor objected were Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burundi, Colombia, Georgia, Kenya, Nigeria, Russia, Samoa, and Ukraine.


"It's a triumph for indigenous peoples around the world," said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon after the General Assembly vote. "This marks a historic moment when member states and indigenous peoples have reconciled with their painful histories."



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