UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

The Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples establishes standards of treatment for indigenous peoples to combat discrimination and marginalization from society. It is not a legally binding instrument, however, establishes international norms for the equal treatment and inclusion of indigenous peoples. It was adopted by the General Assembly on September 13th 2007  with a majority of 144 to 4,(opponents: Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States), with 11 abstentions.It highlights the principle of non-discrimination for indigenous peoples and gives them the rights of land ownership and self-determination. It also stresses free and informed consent before seizing their land for other purposes. Although it is not a legally binding instrument under international law, indigenous and civil society spokespersons consider the declaration to be a benchmark in the treatment of tribal and indigenous peoples.

Goal: to establish a standard of equality between indigenous peoples and wider society in order to avoid and eliminate discrimination and human rights violations against these groups.

Relevant Clauses:[i]

Article 8

1.       Indigenous peoples and individuals have the right not to be subjected to forced assimilation or destruction of their culture.

2.       States shall provide effective mechanisms for […]:

a)      Any action which has the aim or effect of depriving them of their integrity […] or of their cultural values or ethnic identities;

b)      Any action which has the aim or effect of dispossessing them of their lands, territories or resources;

c)       Any form of forced population transfer which has the aim or effect of violating or undermining any of their rights;

d)      Any form of forced assimilation or integration;

 

Article 10

Indigenous peoples shall not be forcibly removed from their lands or territories. No relocation shall take place without the free, prior and informed consent of the indigenous peoples concerned and after agreement on just and fair compensation and, where possible, with the option of return

 

Article 25

Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain and strengthen their distinctive spiritual relationship with their traditionally owned […] occupied and used lands, territories, waters and coastal seas and other resources […]

 

Article 26

1.       Indigenous peoples have the right to the lands, territories and resources which they have traditionally owned, occupied or otherwise used or acquired.

2.       Indigenous peoples have the right to own, use, develop and control the lands, territories and resources that they possess by reason of traditional ownership or other traditional occupation or use, as well as those which they have otherwise acquired.

3.       States shall give legal recognition and protection to these lands, territories and resources. Such recognition shall be conducted with due respect to the customs, traditions and land tenure systems of the indigenous peoples concerned

 

Article 29

2.       States shall take effective measures to ensure that no storage or disposal of hazardous materials shall take place in the lands or territories of indigenous peoples without their free, prior and informed consent.



[i]United Nations General Assembly. (2007, September 13). United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Retrieved August 2013, 28, from United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues: http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/unpfii/documents/DRIPS_en.pdf

 

 

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