UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples has
received universal backing from the international community, with the
By adopting the Declaration, States have committed to recognizing indigenous peoples rights under international law, with the right to be respected as distinct peoples and the right to determine their own development according to their culture, priorities, and customary laws.
The Declaration further affirms that Governments shall consult indigenous peoples with a view to obtaining their free, prior and informed consent prior to approval of any project affecting their lands, any potential displacement and relocation of populations, and adoption or implementation of administrative or legislative measures which may affect them.
While endorsing the Declaration, the
The endorsement has sparked many reactions among indigenous
rights circles globally. Tonya Gonnella Frichner, North American Regional
Representative to the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII),
expressed her satisfaction at the
“It is now coming on board with the community of nations
that adopted it at the General Assembly in 2007”, she said. “We are counting on
the good will of the
Myrna Cunningham, from the Miskitu people of Waspam in
Jannie Lasimbang, from the Sabah community of
“It will also emphasize the need to put the Declaration into action, in particular, aspects that will assert the rights of indigenous peoples”, she added. “President Obama in his remarks accords Native Americans the recognition they deserve and the need to learn from history in order to move forward and addressed many aspects related to indigenous peoples' self-determination.”
The Declaration is now among the most widely accepted UN human rights instruments. It is the most comprehensive statement addressing the human rights of indigenous peoples to date, establishing collective rights and minimum standards on survival, dignity, and wellbeing to a greater extent than any other international text.
While such recognition exists in some national laws, some of
the Declaration’s provisions have yet to be respected. This is a particular
concern for Mr. Kanyinke Sena, an indigenous Ogiek from