While fierce opposition to the Declaration was openly declared by New Zealand, Canada, Australia, and the United States, around the world Indigenous Peoples were shocked and outraged by the action of African States, most of whom had chosen not to participate throughout this standard-setting process.
"Considering that we have entered the Second UN International Decade of the World's Indigenous Peoples, an initiative based on the theme ‘action with dignity’, the hijacking of the Declaration is an utter disgrace.” stated Roberto Mucaro Borrero (Taino), Chairman of the NGO Committee on the United Nations International Decade of the World's Indigenous Peoples.
The Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which represents more than 20 years of work within the UN, was acknowledged to constitute the minimum standards for their survival, dignity and well-being.
Grand Chief Ed John, of the Assembly of First Nations, stated “Today is a very sad day for the United Nations and a very serious setback for the integrity of the newly formed Human Rights Council who urged the General Assembly to formally adopt this historic document. It now appears that the most likely outcome will be that the United Nations never formally adopts the Declaration. This is a remarkable and bizarre development.”
Adopted in June of this year, the Declaration was considered a substantial achievement of the Human Rights Council.
In a statement issued by the Indigenous Peoples Caucus at the United Nations, the group clearly noted that "these actions are a politicization of human rights that show complete disregard for the ongoing human rights abuses suffered by Indigenous Peoples. This betrayal and injustice severely impacts 370 million Indigenous people in all regions of the world, who are among the most marginalized and vulnerable."