December 10, 1992 Banner

Indigenous Leaders Address the General Assembly


Ovide Mercredi
Ovide Mercredi
Assembly of First Nations

Mr. Secretary General, your Excellencies, my brothers and sisters. On behalf of the Assembly of First Nations of Canada I would like to express first our gratitude to the members of the United Nations for providing us this opportunity to speak.

We condemn governments that participate in committing acts of genocide against our Indigenous brothers and sisters. I believe that it is very important to end colonization as it affects all of humanity and that decolonization is a right for all human beings, including the Indigenous Peoples around the world.

There are many things that can be done at the United Nations level and as a concrete sign of good will we ask all the members of this assembly to support a resolution creating within this agency a Commission on Indigenous Peoples under the auspices of the Secretary General of the United Nations whose mandate would include to monitor human rights violations and to ensure the guarantee of development of Indigenous Peoples around the world.

Mary Simon
Inuk Leader

Speaking on behalf of Inuit, the Crees of James Bay, non-status and off-reserve Indians and Metis, representing a majority of the Indigenous Peoples of Canada and the International Organization of Indigenous Resource Development

We believe that the urgent concerns of millions of Indigenous Peoples throughout the world can no longer remain a footnote to the overall work of the United Nations. At the very least, the rights of Indigenous Peoples must finally gain a place on the formal agenda of the Commission of Human Rights.

More fundamentally, we recommend the following: that the Institutional framework of the U.N. be appropriately strengthened to recognize the increasing paramountcy of the issues affecting Indigenous Peoples. And, the creation of a Permanent Advisory body within the United Nations, made up of representatives of Indigenous Peoples themselves. The struggle against apartheid has benefited from such an Advisory Committee. This is a model we should seek to emulate.

I emphasize that we cannot rely entirely upon domestic law to provide the necessary protection and promotion of our human rights and fundamental freedoms. These include our collective and individual rights. We must go beyond the protections provided for Minorities under Article 27 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which are simply inadequate.


Permanent Forum
Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues


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