Highlights from the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

As we celebrate the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples it is important to remember that indigenous peoples everywhere have made significant strides in the recognition of their rights. One of the most momentous achievements in the indigenous peoples’ rights movement is that of the United Nations (UN) Declaration on the Right of Indigenous Peoples. The Declaration was adopted on 13 September 2007 at the United Nations General Assembly by a majority vote. At the time 144 states voted in its favour, with 4 votes against and 11 abstentions.
Almost a decade has passed since the adoption of the UN Declaration. Since then, four countries who voted against the Declaration have reversed their positions and are now in support of it. To this day the Declaration stands as the most comprehensive international instrument on the rights of indigenous peoples. According to the UN, the Declaration establishes “a universal framework of minimum standards for the survival, dignity and well-being of the indigenous peoples of the world”. The Declaration also elaborates on existing human rights standards and essential freedoms as applicable to the unique situation of indigenous peoples. This year’s International Day of the World’s Indigenous People commemorates the 10th anniversary of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. To celebrate here are 7 important rights enshrined in the Declaration

Foundational Rights

Life and Security Rights

Cultural, Religious and Language Rights

Education, Knowledge and Media Rights

Political and Economic Rights

Self-Governance Rights Land, Territory and Resource Rights