Assembly of First Nations National Chief on Canada’s Formal Removal of All Objections to UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Published: Apr 25, 2017News

April 25, 2017 

(New York, NY):  Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde is at the 16th Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) in New York, NY this week and issued the following statement on Canada’s formal removal of all objections to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: 

“Since the adoption of the UN Declaration 10 years ago, a great deal of work has been done and significant progress has been made in acknowledging the importance of Indigenous peoples rights as a human rights priority. This session of the UN Permanent Forum is especially notable because discussions here have potential to bring us a step closer to greater participation and recognition as Indigenous peoples in UN bodies, including the General Assembly. 

Yesterday, Canada made a significant statement by formally abandoning its 2014 statements on paragraphs 3 and 20 of the 2014 Outcome Document from the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples. In doing so, the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs removed any lingering doubts respecting Canada’s position and put Canada formally on record as fully committed to the standard of free, prior and informed consent expressed in the UN Declaration. 

The next step is to work with Indigenous peoples to develop a National Action Plan for implementation as required by Canada’s international obligations – a plan and a process to establish joint decision-making on all matters that impact our rights. The international standard is free, prior, and informed consent. States should never undertake unilateral actions impacting our inherent rights, title and jurisdiction – nothing about us without us. 

We call on all States to work in partnership with Indigenous Peoples to develop the workplans and priorities for implementation. The adoption of the UN Declaration is a milestone in the history of advancing the rights of Indigenous peoples in Canada and around the world. Let’s move forward together to life to these rights.” 

Today, National Chief Bellegarde will deliver a statement at the UN General Assembly Hall on behalf of a number of Indigenous peoples organizations and human rights non-governmental organizations. The agenda is still being confirmed but this is expected to happen this afternoon between 3 pm – 6 pm (all times local). For live video streaming of all open meetings go to 

This afternoon, from 1:15 – 2:45 p.m., AFN is co-hosting a special side event on the Implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. 

The UN Declaration sets out minimum standards for ensuring Indigenous peoples enjoy fundamental human rights, including the collective right to self-determination and rights to lands, territories and resources.  The Declaration is an essential framework for reconciliation and renewing the nation-to-nation relationship as called for by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). 

The 16th Session of the UNPFII’s special theme is “Tenth Anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: measures taken to implement the Declaration”.  


The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.



For more information, please contact: 

Alain Garon
Bilingual Communications Officer
Cell: 613-292-0857
[email protected] 

Don Kelly
AFN Communications Director
613-241-6789 ext. 200 or cell 613-292-2787
[email protected]