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United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

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Resolution adopted by the General Assembly
[without reference to a Main Committee (A/61/L.67 and Add.1)]

61/295. United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

The General Assembly,

Taking note of the recommendation of the Human Rights Council contained in its resolution 1/2 of 29 June 2006, 1 by which the Council adopted the text of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,

Recalling its resolution 61/178 of 20 December 2006, by which it decided to defer consideration of and action on the Declaration to allow time for further consultations thereon, and also decided to conclude its consideration before the end of the sixty-first session of the General Assembly,

Adopts
the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous
Peoples as contained in the annex to the present resolution.

107th plenary meeting
13 September 2007

Annex

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

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 Rights2 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 Rights4 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 decisionmaking
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.


Source:
United Nations
Declaration
on the Rights
of Indigenous
Peoples

Published by the United Nations
07-58681—March 2008—4,000

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