UN: EU Explanation of vote after the vote on the amended draft resolution on the Declaration on the Rights on Indigenous Peoples (L.18/Rev.1 as amended)

UNGA 61st Session; III Committee,

Explanation of vote  after the vote on the amended draft resolution on the Declaration on the Rights on Indigenous Peoples (L.18/Rev.1 as amended)

Held by Mr. Janne Jokinen, First Secretary, Permanent Mission of Finland to the UN, on behalf of the European Union

New York, 28 November 2006

Mr Chairman,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union.

The Acceding Countries Bulgaria and Romania, the Candidate Countries Croatia* and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, and EFTA country Liechtenstein, member of the European Economic Area, as well as Moldova align themselves with this declaration.

*) Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.

Mr Chairman,

The European Union could not support the resolution on the Working group of the Commission on Human Rights to elaborate a draft declaration in accordance with paragraph 5 of General Assembly resolution 49/214 of 23 December 1994, as amended. We note with regret that, despite the agreement reached in the Human Rights Council and the continued efforts in the III Committee, it was not possible to find a common ground on this resolution.

The European Union has, on several occasions, reiterated its full support to the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, as recommended by the Human Rights Council. We therefore deeply regret the deferral of a final decision on the adoption of the Declaration. The European Union, along with numerous other countries from different regions, welcomed the adoption of the Declaration at the first session of the Human Rights Council. The Declaration is the best achievable outcome of a thorough and open process of work reflecting the wide-ranging discussions of more than twenty years. We value highly the inclusiveness of this unique process of standard-setting, where governments and indigenous peoples themselves were involved on an equal footing. It is requisite to the value of the Declaration as it stands before us, yet the amendments adopted today disregard this.

Contrary to the recommendation of the Human Rights Council, the amendments adopted today paved way for a further delay in establishing this Declaration which would be a valuable addition to the UN toolbox for the promotion and protection of the rights of the indigenous peoples around the world and their continued development. 

Consequently, the European Union abstained on the draft resolution.

Thank you, Mr Chairman.