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Indigenus Peoples

Declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples...


Declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples



The High Commissioner for Human Rights welcomes the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by the General Assembly on 13 September 2007, as a triumph for justice and human dignity following more than two decades of negotiations between governments and indigenous peoples' representatives.

The UN Declaration was adopted by a majority of 143 states in favour, 4 votes against (Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States) and 11 abstentions (Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burundi, Colombia, Georgia, Kenya, Nigeria, Russian Federation, Samoa and Ukraine).

The Declaration establishes a universal framework of minimum standards for the survival, dignity, well-being and rights of the world's indigenous peoples. The Declaration addresses both individual and collective rights; cultural rights and identity; rights to education, health, employment, language, and others. It outlaws discrimination against indigenous peoples and promotes their full and effective participation in all matters that concern them. It also ensures their right to remain distinct and to pursue their own priorities in economic, social and cultural development. The Declaration explicitly encourages harmonious and cooperative relations between States and indigenous peoples.



Previous steps:

President of the General Assembly selects facilitator for the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. (Letter from the President of the General Assembly to Member States 6 June 2007).

8th ordinary session of the Assembly of the African Union:

On 30 January 2007, the Assembly of the Union adopted a decision (Assembly/AU/ Dec. 141 (VIII)) on the UN Declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples. In its decision, the Assembly decided to maintain a united position in the negotiations on amending the Declaration and constructively work alongside other Member States of the United Nations in finding solution to the concerns of African States, amongst the most important of which are question about: a) the definition of indigenous peoples; b) self-determination; c) ownership of land and resources; d) establishment of distinct political and economic institutions; and e) national and territorial integrity.

61st session of the United Nations General Assembly:

On 28 November 2006, the Third Committee of the General Assembly adopted the amendments proposed by Namibia, on behalf of the Group of African States (A/C.3/61/L.57/Rev.1) to the draft resolution on the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (L.18/Rev.1) by a vote of 82 in favour, 67 against and 25 abstentions. By adopting the amendments, the third Committee decided to defer consideration and action on the Declaration and conclude its considerations before the end of the GA 61st session.

First session of the Human Rights Council:

The Human Rights Council adopted the Declaration on 29 June 2006 by a vote of 30 in favour, 2 against and 12 abstentions.