The international human rights work of the Grand Council of the Crees, in collaboration with other Indigenous organizations, is producing some notable sucesses.
At its session in July 2004, ECOSOC decided "the Council would recommend to the General Assembly that it declare a second international decade of the world?s indigenous peoples after the conclusion of the current International Decade of the World?s Indigenous Peoples in 2004." In reaching this decision, ECOSOC relied in part on the Report of the U.N. Secretary-General (see below).
In his report to ECOSOC on Indigenous issues, the U.N. Secretary-General has devoted the entire section on "Summary of comments by indigenous and non-governmental organizations" (see attachment, paras. 10-13) to the Joint Submission presented by the GCC and other Indigenous and non-Indigenous organizations.
Further, in his conclusions, the Report of the Secretary-General states:
"The increased attention being given to indigenous issues within organizations of the United Nations system is a welcome development. The United Nations should continue to mainstream indigenous issues and to expand its programmes and activities for the benefit of indigenous peoples in a coordinated manner. (para. 50, emphasis in original)
Indigenous peoples are often among the most disadvantaged of peoples in the world, and this is a pivotal year in their struggle to end marginalization. They have set their hopes on the full support of the United Nations in efforts for the betterment of their lives and in having their legitimate rights and aspirations respected and protected. We should all do our utmost to respond to their expectations. (para. 53, emphasis in original)"
While the challenges relating to Indigenous peoples at the international level will continue, we are collectively making important progress.