Indigenous’ Rights United Nations Declaration

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Adopted by General Assembly Resolution 61/295 on 13 September 2007 

The General Assembly,
Guided by the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations,

and good faith in the fulfilment of the obligations assumed by States in accordance with the Charter,

Affirming that indigenous peoples are equal to all other peoples, while

recognizing the right of all peoples to be different, to consider

themselves different, and to be respected as such,

Affirming also that all peoples contribute to the diversity and richness

of civilizations and cultures, which constitute the common heritage of humankind,

Affirming further that all doctrines, policies and practices based on or

advocating superiority of peoples or individuals on the basis of national

origin or racial, religious, ethnic or cultural differences are racist,

scientifically false, legally invalid, morally condemnable and socially unjust,

Reaffirming that indigenous peoples, in the exercise of their rights,

should be free from discrimination of any kind,

Concerned that indigenous peoples have suffered from historic

injustices as a result of, inter alia, their colonization and dispossession

of their lands, territories and resources, thus preventing them from

exercising, in particular, their right to development in accordance with

their own needs and interests,
Recognizing the urgent need to respect and promote the inherent rights

of indigenous peoples which derive from their political, economic and

social structures and from their cultures, spiritual traditions, histories

and philosophies, especially their rights to their lands, territories and

resources,
Recognizing also the urgent need to respect and promote the rights of

indigenous peoples affirmed in treaties, agreements and other

constructive arrangements with States,

 

Welcoming the fact that indigenous peoples are organizing themselves

for political, economic, social and cultural enhancement and in order to

bring to an end all forms of discrimination and oppression wherever

they occur,

 

Convinced that control by indigenous peoples over developments

affecting them and their lands, territories and resources will enable

them to maintain and strengthen their institutions, cultures and

traditions, and to promote their development in accordance with their

aspirations and needs,

 

Recognizing that respect for indigenous knowledge, cultures and

traditional practices contributes to sustainable and equitable

development and proper management of the environment,

 

Emphasizing the contribution of the demilitarization of the lands and

territories of indigenous peoples to peace, economic and social progress

and development, understanding and friendly relations among nations

and peoples of the world,

 

Recognizing in particular the right of indigenous families and

communities to retain shared responsibility for the upbringing,

training, education and well-being of their children, consistent with

the rights of the child,

 

Considering that the rights affirmed in treaties, agreements and other

constructive arrangements between States and indigenous peoples are,

in some situations, matters of international concern, interest,

responsibility and character,

 

Considering also that treaties, agreements and other constructive

arrangements, and the relationship they represent, are the basis for a

strengthened partnership between indigenous peoples and States,

 

Acknowledging that the Charter of the United Nations, the

International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

(2) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,

2 as well as the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action,

(3) affirm the fundamental importance of the right to self-

determination of all peoples, by virtue of which they freely

determine their political status and freely pursue their economic,

social and cultural development,
Bearing in mind that nothing in this Declaration may be used to deny

any peoples their right to self-determination, exercised in conformity

with international law,

 

Convinced that the recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples in

this Declaration will enhance harmonious and cooperative relations

between the State and indigenous peoples, based on principles of

justice, democracy, respect for human rights, non-discrimination and

good faith,

 

Encouraging States to comply with and effectively implement all their

obligations as they apply to indigenous peoples under international

instruments, in particular those related to human rights, in consultation

and cooperation with the peoples concerned,

 

Emphasizing that the United Nations has an important and continuing

role to play in promoting and protecting the rights of indigenous peoples,

 

Believing that this Declaration is a further important step forward for

the recognition, promotion and protection of the rights and freedoms of

indigenous peoples and in the development of relevant activities of the

United Nations system in this field,

 

Recognizing and reaffirming that indigenous individuals are entitled

without discrimination to all human rights recognized in international

law, and that indigenous peoples possess collective rights which are

indispensable for their existence, well-being and integral development

as peoples,

 

Recognizing that the situation of indigenous peoples varies from

region to region and from country to country and that the

significance of national and regional particularities and various

historical and cultural backgrounds should be taken into

consideration,

 

Solemnly proclaims the following United Nations Declaration on the

Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a standard of achievement to be

pursued in a spirit of partnership and mutual respect:

 

Article 1

Indigenous peoples have the right to the full enjoyment, as a collective

or as individuals, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms as

recognized in the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal

Declaration of Human Rights(4) and international human rights law.

 

Article 2

Indigenous peoples and individuals are free and equal to all other

peoples and individuals and have the right to be free from any kind of

discrimination, in the exercise of their rights, in particular that based

on their indigenous origin or identity.

 

Article 3

Indigenous peoples have the right to self-determination. By virtue

of that right they freely determine their political status and

freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.

 

Article 4
Indigenous peoples, in exercising their right to self-determination,

have the right to autonomy or self-government in matters

relating to their internal and local affairs, as well as ways and

means for financing their autonomous functions.

 

Article 5

Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain and strengthen

their distinct political, legal, economic, social and cultural

institutions, while retaining their right to participate fully, if they

so choose, in the political, economic, social and cultural life of the

State.

 

Article 6

Every indigenous individual has the right to a nationality.

 

Article 7

1. Indigenous individuals have the rights to life, physical and

mental integrity, liberty and security of person.

2. Indigenous peoples have the collective right to live in freedom,

peace and security as distinct peoples and shall not be subjected

to any act of genocide or any other act of violence, including

forcibly removing children of the group to another group.

 

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 prevention of,

and redress for:

(a) Any action which has the aim or effect of depriving them of

their integrity as distinct peoples, 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;

(e) Any form of propaganda designed to promote or incite racial

or ethnic discrimination directed against them.

 

Article 9

Indigenous peoples and individuals have the right to belong to an

indigenous community or nation, in accordance with the traditions

and customs of the community or nation concerned.

No discrimination of any kind may arise from the exercise of such

a right.

 

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 11

1. Indigenous peoples have the right to practise and revitalize

their cultural traditions and customs. This includes the right to

maintain, protect and develop the past, present and future

manifestations of their cultures, such as archaeological and

historical sites, artefacts, designs, ceremonies, technologies and

visual and performing arts and literature.

 

2. States shall provide redress through effective mechanisms, which

may include restitution, developed in conjunction with indigenous

peoples, with respect to their cultural, intellectual, religious and

spiritual property taken without their free, prior and informed consent

or in violation of their laws, traditions and customs.

 

Article 12

1. Indigenous peoples have the right to manifest, practise,

develop and teach their spiritual and religious traditions, customs

and ceremonies; the right to maintain, protect, and have access

in privacy to their religious and cultural sites; the right to the

use and control of their ceremonial objects; and the right to the

repatriation of their human remains.

 

2. States shall seek to enable the access and/or repatriation of

ceremonial objects and human remains in their possession through fair,

transparent and effective mechanisms developed in conjunction with

indigenous peoples concerned.

 

Article 13

1. Indigenous peoples have the right to revitalize, use, develop

and transmit to future generations their histories, languages, oral

traditions, philosophies, writing systems and literatures, and to

designate and retain their own names for communities, places and

persons.

2. States shall take effective measures to ensure that this right

is protected and also to ensure that indigenous peoples can

understand and be understood in political, legal and administrative

proceedings, where necessary through the provision of

interpretation or by other appropriate means.

 

Article 14

1. Indigenous peoples have the right to establish and control their

educational systems and institutions providing education in their own

languages, in a manner appropriate to their cultural methods of

teaching and learning.

2. Indigenous individuals, particularly children, have the right to all

levels and forms of education of the State without discrimination.

3. States shall, in conjunction with indigenous peoples, take effective

measures, in order for indigenous individuals, particularly children,

including those living outside their communities, to have access, when

possible, to an education in their own culture and provided in their own

language.

 

Article 15

1. Indigenous peoples have the right to the dignity and diversity

of their cultures, traditions, histories and aspirations which shall

be appropriately reflected in education and public information.

2. States shall take effective measures, in consultation and cooperation

with the indigenous peoples concerned, to combat prejudice and

eliminate discrimination and to promote tolerance, understanding and

good relations among indigenous peoples and all other segments of

society.

 

Article 16

1. Indigenous peoples have the right to establish their own media in

their own languages and to have access to all forms of non-indigenous

media without discrimination.

2. States shall take effective measures to ensure that State-owned

media duly reflect indigenous cultural diversity. States, without

prejudice to ensuring full freedom of expression, should encourage

privately owned media to adequately reflect indigenous cultural

diversity.

 

Article 17

1. Indigenous individuals and peoples have the right to enjoy fully all

rights established under applicable international and domestic labour law.

2. States shall in consultation and cooperation with indigenous peoples

take specific measures to protect indigenous children from economic

exploitation and from performing any work that is likely to be

hazardous or to interfere with the child’s education, or to be harmful

to the child’s health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social

development, taking into account their special vulnerability and the

importance of education for their empowerment.

3. Indigenous individuals have the right not to be subjected to any

discriminatory conditions of labour and, inter alia, employment or salary.

 

Article 18

Indigenous peoples have the right to participate in decision-making in

matters which would affect their rights, through representatives

chosen by themselves in accordance with their own procedures, as well

as to maintain and develop their own indigenous decision-making

institutions.

 

Article 19

States shall consult and cooperate in good faith with the indigenous

peoples concerned through their own representative institutions in

order to obtain their free, prior and informed consent before adopting

and implementing legislative or administrative measures that may affect them.

 

Article 20

1. Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain and develop their

political, economic and social systems or institutions, to be secure in

the enjoyment of their own means of subsistence and development, and

to engage freely in all their traditional and other economic activities.

2. Indigenous peoples deprived of their means of subsistence and

development are entitled to just and fair redress.

 

Article 21

1. Indigenous peoples have the right, without discrimination, to the

improvement of their economic and social conditions, including, inter

alia, in the areas of education, employment, vocational training and

retraining, housing, sanitation, health and social security.

2. States shall take effective measures and, where appropriate, special

measures to ensure continuing improvement of their economic and social

conditions. Particular attention shall be paid to the rights and special

needs of indigenous elders, women, youth, children and persons with

disabilities.

 

Article 22

1. Particular attention shall be paid to the rights and special needs of

indigenous elders, women, youth, children and persons with disabilities

in the implementation of this Declaration.

2. States shall take measures, in conjunction with indigenous peoples, to

ensure that indigenous women and children enjoy the full protection and

guarantees against all forms of violence and discrimination.

 

Article 23

Indigenous peoples have the right to determine and develop priorities

and strategies for exercising their right to development. In particular,

indigenous peoples have the right to be actively involved in developing

and determining health, housing and other economic and social

programmes affecting them and, as far as possible, to administer such

programmes through their own institutions.

 

Article 24

1. Indigenous peoples have the right to their traditional medicines and

to maintain their health practices, including the conservation of their

vital medicinal plants, animals and minerals. Indigenous individuals also

have the right to access, without any discrimination, to all social and

health services.

2. Indigenous individuals have an equal right to the enjoyment of the

highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. States shall

take the necessary steps with a view to achieving progressively the full

realization of this right.

 

Article 25

Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain and strengthen their

distinctive spiritual relationship with their traditionally owned or

otherwise occupied and used lands, territories, waters and coastal seas

and other resources and to uphold their responsibilities to future

generations in this regard.

 

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 27

States shall establish and implement, in conjunction with indigenous

peoples concerned, a fair, independent, impartial, open and transparent

process, giving due recognition to indigenous peoples’ laws, traditions,

customs and land tenure systems, to recognize and adjudicate the rights

of indigenous peoples pertaining to their lands, territories and

resources, including those which were traditionally owned or otherwise

occupied or used. Indigenous peoples shall have the right to participate

in this process.

 

Article 28

1. Indigenous peoples have the right to redress, by means that can

include restitution or, when this is not possible, just, fair and equitable

compensation, for the lands, territories and resources which they have

traditionally owned or otherwise occupied or used, and which have been

confiscated, taken, occupied, used or damaged without their free, prior

and informed consent.

2. Unless otherwise freely agreed upon by the peoples concerned,

compensation shall take the form of lands, territories and resources

equal in quality, size and legal status or of monetary compensation or

other appropriate redress.

 

Article 29

1. Indigenous peoples have the right to the conservation and protection

of the environment and the productive capacity of their lands or

territories and resources. States shall establish and implement

assistance programmes for indigenous peoples for such conservation and

protection, without discrimination.

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.

3. States shall also take effective measures to ensure, as needed, that

programmes for monitoring, maintaining and restoring the health of

indigenous peoples, as developed and implemented by the peoples

affected by such materials, are duly implemented.

 

Article 30

1. Military activities shall not take place in the lands or territories of

indigenous peoples, unless justified by a relevant public interest or

otherwise freely agreed with or requested by the indigenous peoples

concerned.

2. States shall undertake effective consultations with the indigenous

peoples concerned, through appropriate procedures and in particular

through their representative institutions, prior to using their lands or

territories for military activities.

 

Article 31

1. Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain, control, protect and

develop their cultural heritage, traditional knowledge and traditional

cultural expressions, as well as the manifestations of their sciences,

technologies and cultures, including human and genetic resources, seeds,

medicines, knowledge of the properties of fauna and flora, oral

traditions, literatures, designs, sports and traditional games and visual

and performing arts. They also have the right to maintain, control,

protect and develop their intellectual property over such cultural

heritage, traditional knowledge, and traditional cultural expressions.

2. In conjunction with indigenous peoples, States shall take effective

measures to recognize and protect the exercise of these rights.

 

Article 32

1. Indigenous peoples have the right to determine and develop priorities

and strategies for the development or use of their lands or territories

and other resources.

2. States shall consult and cooperate in good faith with the indigenous

peoples concerned through their own representative institutions in

order to obtain their free and informed consent prior to the approval

of any project affecting their lands or territories and other resources,

particularly in connection with the development, utilization or

exploitation of mineral, water or other resources.

3. States shall provide effective mechanisms for just and fair redress

for any such activities, and appropriate measures shall be taken to

mitigate adverse environmental, economic, social, cultural or spiritual

impact.

 

Article 33

1. Indigenous peoples have the right to determine their own identity or

membership in accordance with their customs and traditions. This does

not impair the right of indigenous individuals to obtain citizenship of

the States in which they live.

2. Indigenous peoples have the right to determine the structures and to

select the membership of their institutions in accordance with their

own procedures.

 

Article 34

Indigenous peoples have the right to promote, develop and

maintain their institutional structures and their distinctive

customs, spirituality, traditions, procedures, practices and, in the

cases where they exist, juridical systems or customs, in

accordance with international human rights standards.

 

Article 35

Indigenous peoples have the right to determine the responsibilities of

individuals to their communities.

 

Article 36

1. Indigenous peoples, in particular those divided by international

borders, have the right to maintain and develop contacts, relations and

cooperation, including activities for spiritual, cultural, political,

economic and social purposes, with their own members as well as other

peoples across borders.

2. States, in consultation and cooperation with indigenous peoples, shall

take effective measures to facilitate the exercise and ensure the

implementation of this right.

 

Article 37

1. Indigenous peoples have the right to the recognition, observance and

enforcement of treaties, agreements and other constructive

arrangements concluded with States or their successors and to have

States honour and respect such treaties, agreements and other

constructive arrangements.

2. Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as diminishing or

eliminating the rights of indigenous peoples contained in treaties,

agreements and other constructive arrangements.

 

Article 38

States in consultation and cooperation with indigenous peoples, shall

take the appropriate measures, including legislative measures, to

achieve the ends of this Declaration.

 

Article 39

Indigenous peoples have the right to have access to financial and

technical assistance from States and through international cooperation,

for the enjoyment of the rights contained in this Declaration.

Article 40

Indigenous peoples have the right to access to and prompt decision

through just and fair procedures for the resolution of conflicts and

disputes with States or other parties, as well as to effective remedies

for all infringements of their individual and collective rights. Such a

decision shall give due consideration to the customs, traditions, rules

and legal systems of the indigenous peoples concerned and international

human rights.

Article 41

The organs and specialized agencies of the United Nations system and

other intergovernmental organizations shall contribute to the full

realization of the provisions of this Declaration through the

mobilization, inter alia, of financial cooperation and technical

assistance. Ways and means of ensuring participation of indigenous

peoples on issues affecting them shall be established.

Article 42

The United Nations, its bodies, including the Permanent Forum on

Indigenous Issues, and specialized agencies, including at the country

level, and States shall promote respect for and full application of the

provisions of this Declaration and follow up the effectiveness of this

Declaration.

Article 43

The rights recognized herein constitute the minimum standards for the

survival, dignity and well-being of the indigenous peoples of the world.

Article 44

All the rights and freedoms recognized herein are equally guaranteed

to male and female indigenous individuals.

Article 45

Nothing in this Declaration may be construed as diminishing or

extinguishing the rights indigenous peoples have now or may acquire in

the future.

Article 46

1. Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any

State, people, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to

perform any act contrary to the Charter of the United Nations or

construed as authorizing or encouraging any action which would

dismember or impair, totally or in part, the territorial integrity or

political unity of sovereign and independent States.

2. In the exercise of the rights enunciated in the present Declaration,

human rights and fundamental freedoms of all shall be respected.

The exercise of the rights set forth in this Declaration shall be subject

only to such limitations as are determined by law and in accordance

with international human rights obligations. Any such limitations shall

be non-discriminatory and strictly necessary solely for the purpose of

securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of

others and for meeting the just and most compelling requirements of a

democratic society.

3. The provisions set forth in this Declaration shall be interpreted in

accordance with the principles of justice, democracy, respect for

human rights, equality, non-discrimination, good governance and good

faith.

 

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