Wednesday 9 April, 2008 – Inuvik, NT: Circumpolar Inuit have congratulated Canada’s House of Commons for its adoption yesterday of a resolution to support the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

“This is a positive step forward for Canada,” said Duane Smith, President of the Canadian arm of the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC) who joined with other Canadian indigenous groups in welcoming this development.

“ICC lamented last year’s decision by the Canadian Government to oppose the Declaration when it was adopted by the UN General Assembly. This week’s move in the House of Commons brings fresh hope that the Harper Government will re-consider its position,” he said.

Mr. Smith noted that for Inuit throughout Canada and across the Arctic, the Declaration serves as an affirmation of human rights, and is “not at odds with our domestic land claims and treaties, nor does it diminish them”, as the Canadian government regularly implies.

Mr Smith said ICC would be willing to work with the Canadian Government to assist them in revising their opposition to the Declaration.

Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the USA were the only four states to oppose the Declaration when he was adopted by the UN General Assembly in September last year by an overwhelming majority of member states.

ICC, as the international voice of Inuit from Greenland, Canada, Alaska, and Chukotka in Russia, has promoted the Declaration and assisted in its drafting for more than two decades.

Corinne Gray, Executive Director Ph: 613.563.2642