The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) is a landmark document that sets out the individual and collective rights of indigenous peoples around the world. It was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on September 13, 2007, with an overwhelming majority of member states voting in favor.
UNDRIP recognizes the inherent rights of indigenous peoples and emphasizes the importance of respecting their cultures, traditions, and institutions. It provides a framework for addressing historical injustices and promoting the well-being and self-determination of indigenous communities. The declaration encompasses a wide range of issues, including land and resource rights, self-governance, cultural preservation, education, and participation in decision-making processes.
Some key principles and rights outlined in UNDRIP include:
- Right to self-determination: Indigenous peoples have the right to freely determine their political status, pursue their economic, social, and cultural development, and maintain and strengthen their distinct identities.
- Land and resource rights: Indigenous peoples have the right to own, use, develop, and control the lands, territories, and resources they have traditionally owned, occupied, or used.
- Free, prior, and informed consent: States must obtain the free, prior, and informed consent of indigenous peoples before adopting or implementing measures that may affect their rights, lands, or resources.
- Cultural rights: Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain, protect, and develop their cultural heritage, traditional knowledge, and traditional cultural expressions.
- Right to participation: Indigenous peoples have the right to participate in decision-making processes that may affect their rights, lives, or territories.
- Right to redress and compensation: Indigenous peoples have the right to access effective remedies for the violations of their rights, including the right to seek redress and fair compensation for any land or resources that have been taken or damaged.
It is important to note that UNDRIP is a non-binding declaration, meaning it does not create legally enforceable obligations on states. However, it has become an influential and widely recognized standard for the promotion and protection of indigenous rights globally. Many countries have incorporated its principles into their domestic legislation and policies, and it has served as a guide for indigenous peoples’ organizations, activists, and advocates in their efforts to secure their rights and promote their well-being.