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Amnesty Launches Indigenous Rights Petition

Amnesty International has launched a petition calling on states around the world to support the adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples at the UN General Assembly in 2006.

August 9 marks International Day of the World's Indigenous People, yet Amnesty estimates that 370 million Indigenous women, men and children worldwide face racism, discriminatory laws and eviction from lands central to their cultures and livelihoods. These include 5.5 million Ahwazi Arabs, who have faced land confiscation and cultural and political repression since Tehran imposed central government control over their homeland in 1925.

The UN is edging towards approving global human rights standards to protect the rights of Indigenous peoples. The draft UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was adopted by the UN Human Rights Council at its historic first meeting in June. The Declaration must now be adopted by the UN General Assembly in order to become part of the body of international human rights standards.

The draft Declaration is intended to inspire and inform measures to address the widespread discrimination and deeply entrenched racism faced by Indigenous peoples in every region of the world.

The Declaration affirms the right of Indigenous peoples to have meaningful control over their own lives, to maintain their distinct cultural identities for future generations, and to have secure access to the lands and natural resources essential to their ways of life.

Canada, United States, Russia, New Zealand and Australia have opposed the adoption of the Declaration. It's feared that the small group of states that have opposed the Declaration will put pressure on other governments to join them in voting against the Declaration when it comes before the General Assembly later this year.

In order to push through the declaration, Amnesty International has launched a petition to urge governments to approve human rights for Indigenous peoples. The British Ahwazi Friendship Society (BAFS) is one of the organisations backing the petition.

Click here to sign Amnesty International's petition supporting the UN General Assembly's approval of the draft UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.