UNITED NATIONS — The United States has said it is reviewing its opposition to a 2007 UN declaration enshrining the land, resource and human rights of the world's 370 million indigenous peoples.
"Today, I am pleased to announce that the United States has decided to review our position regarding the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples," US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice told a session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues Tuesday.
She said her administration would conduct a formal review of the US stance on the declaration and would consult extensively "with our valued and experienced colleagues in the federally recognized Indian tribes and interested nongovernmental organizations. "
When the declaration was adopted in 2007, New Zealand, Australia, Canada and the United States were the only countries to vote against it.
Fully 143 countries voted in favor, and 11, including Russia and Colombia, abstained.
Australia said last year it had reversed its decision and would endorse the declaration and New Zealand did so Monday as the Forum kicked off an 11-day session here to discuss the impact of development policies on native peoples' culture and identity.
"There is no American history without Native American history," Rice told the gathering. "America cannot be fully whole until its first inhabitants enjoy all the blessings of liberty, prosperity, and dignity. Let there be no doubt of our commitment. And we stand ready to be judged by the results."
Some 2,000 indigenous people representing UN member states, UN agencies and civil society are taking part in the Forum's session here.
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