Paul Joffe
Canadian Indigenous Rights Lawyer
Andrew Thompson
Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Waterloo
Play

 

Summary
In this Current Issues podcast, special host Andrew Thompson is joined by Paul Joffe to discuss the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The Declaration, which was adopted in 2007 by the UN General Assembly, is the most comprehensive international human rights instrument that specifically deals with indigenous peoples. Since its adoption, the Declaration has been used in court cases by domestic courts and used at the regional level by key bodies such as the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. Furthermore, the UN is implementing a system wide action plan so that the Declaration is used throughout the United Nations. In Canada, the implications of the Declaration can be seen in the proposed Bill C-262 which is “An Act to ensure that the laws of Canada are in harmony with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.” Thompson and Joffe’s discussion of Bill C-262 shows both the significance of the legislation in Canada and the broader impact of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Resources

  • United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples on the UN website.
  • House of Commons of Canada, Bill C-262. Visit the Parliament of Canada website.
  • Jackie Hartley, Paul Joffe and Jennifer Preston, Realizing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: Triumph, Hope, and Action (UBC Press, 2010). Visit the UBC Press website.

Biography
Paul Joffe is an attorney who, since 1974, has specialized in human rights and other issues relating to Indigenous peoples at the international and domestic level. For over two decades, he has been involved in international standard-setting processes, including those relating to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the draft American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and the Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention, 1989. In 1998, he was involved in the Québec secession referendum, acting on behalf of the Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee) before the Supreme Court of Canada. He is a member of the Québec and Ontario bars.​​

Andrew S. Thompson is an adjunct assistant professor of political science at the University of Waterloo and a fellow at both the Centre for International Governance Innovation and Balsillie School of International Affairs. He is the author of In Defence of Principles: NGOs and Human Rights in Canada.


Recorded April 2018