The Universal Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Article excerpt

AFTER more than two decades of work, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) approved the Universal Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The declaration marks a milestone in the recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples around the world and brings to an end indigenous peoples' long struggle for self-determination.

Under the declaration, indigenous peoples have the right to the full enjoyment, as a group or as individuals. All human rights and fundamental freedoms as recognized in the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and international human rights law are also to be enjoyed by indigenous peoples.

The declaration recognizes and protects the rights of indigenous peoples to self-determination and, by virtue of that right, they may freely determine their political status and pursue their economic, social, and cultural development.

From the recognition of their right to self-determination, the Declaration recognizes that indigenous peoples have the right to maintain and strengthen their distinct political, legal, economic, social, and cultural institutions, while retaining their rights to participate fully, if they so choose, in the political, economic, social, and cultural life of the state. …