Premier John Horgan has issued the following statement in honour of the 12th anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples:
“Twelve years ago, the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. Its adoption was the accumulation of nearly 20 years of international collaboration, including the active participation of Indigenous leaders and government representatives from Canada.
“Today, the Declaration is a widely respected framework for recognizing, upholding and protecting the inherent rights — human rights — of Indigenous peoples around the world.
“It has taken far too long for governments to take action to ensure that the principles of the Declaration are reflective of a society that values reconciliation and equal standard of life for all. I, like many people in B.C., believe that the time is now.
“Implementing the principles of the Declaration, and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action, are central to our government’s commitment to meaningful reconciliation, as well as acknowledging that our words must translate into positive and tangible change for Indigenous communities and the province.
“We have made significant progress. We are sharing provincial gaming revenue to support self-government, delivering on affordable housing on- and off-reserve, investing in community-based language revitalization and we are making sure that the care of children remains in Indigenous communities where it belongs. In this way, we are working with Indigenous peoples both to address socio-economic gaps where they exist and build foundations for a more prosperous future together.
“Reconciliation requires a continuous and ongoing commitment to engaging as partners in ways that respect the unique rights, interests and circumstances of Indigenous peoples to determine their own futures. We’re involving First Nations on land-use planning and environmental stewardship, incorporating traditional knowledge into resource decision-making and making innovative agreements. Through these approaches, predictability, good jobs and opportunities are increased, while protecting our environment.
“Building on this momentum, this fall, British Columbia will introduce legislation, which we are co-developing with the First Nations Leadership Council, to bring provincial laws into harmony with the Declaration.
“The new legislation is a significant and important next step that we are taking together on the path to reconciliation. Through this, we will establish a clear framework for moving forward. We’re reaching out to Indigenous, business, labour and municipal leaders throughout B.C. to work together and make sure we get this right. Successful reconciliation takes time, but we’re committed to getting there with a plan that works for everyone in B.C.”
For a French translation, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/20190913_STM_PJH_UNDRIP_Anniversary_French.pdf