Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

By Patrick Thornberry | Go to book overview

5

CERD General Recommendation
XXIII: indigenous peoples

Indigenous Peoples
(Fifty-first session, 1997)
1. In the practice of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, in particular in the examination of reports of States' parties under article 9 of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the situation of indigenous peoples has always been a matter of close attention and concern. In this respect, the Committee has consistently affirmed that discrimination against indigenous peoples falls under the scope of the Convention and that all appropriate means must be taken to combat and eliminate such discrimination.
2. The Committee, noting that the General Assembly proclaimed the International Decade of the World's Indigenous Peoples commencing on 10 December 1994, reaffirms that the provisions of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination apply to indigenous peoples.
3. The Committee is conscious of the fact that in many regions of the world indigenous peoples have been, and are still being, discriminated against and deprived of their human rights and fundamental freedoms and in particular that they have lost their land and resources to colonists, commercial companies and State enterprises. Consequently, the preservation of their culture and their historical identity has been and still is jeopardised.
4. The Committee calls in particular upon States parties to:
a. Recognise and respect indigenous distinct culture, history, language and way of life as an enrichment of the State's cultural identity and to promote its preservation;
b. Ensure that members of indigenous peoples are free and equal in dignity and rights and free from any discrimination, in particular that based on indigenous origin or identity;
c. Provide indigenous peoples with conditions allowing for a sustainable economic and social development compatible with their cultural characteristics;

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