THE UN DECLARATION ON INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ RIGHTS 6
Reflectionon the UN Declaration on Indigenous Peoples’ rights
Reflectionon the UN Declaration on Indigenous Peoples’ rights
The2007 UNDRIP is an empowerment instrument to the Indigenous people asthrough its spirit and articles it establishes a higher moral groundon how the UN and its member states ought to treat them. Therefore,UNDRIP is a major codified collection of fundamental human rightsbesides offering the indigenous communities with a platform both atlocal and international levels for political negotiations in theirquest to attain economic, political and cultural goals moving forwardto future in which their fundamental human rights are upheld andrespected (Morgan,2013).The 2007 declaration has 46 articles that center on the followinghuman rights principles:
(a)The principle of non-discrimination and basic rights
Article1 of the Declaration states that just as other humans, all theindigenous peoples also have a right to fully enjoy their fundamentalfreedoms and human rights as stipulated under the international law.Further, Article 2 emphasizes that the indigenous people have a rightto live free of any discrimination while exercising their fundamentalhuman rights. For instance, Article 7 (1) outlines that their rightto liberty, life and security should be enjoyed without any forms ofdiscrimination. Article 6 also stipulates that they have the right topossess a nationality while Article 17 outlines their basic laborrights devoid of any violations ("UNDRIP2007", 2008).
(b)The principle of Self-determination
Whileadvocating for equal rights, the Indigenous peoples have over theyears fought to be granted a right to self-determination just asother humans. In the 2007 Declaration, Article 3 provision reaffirmsthis right as it aligns with major international covenant treatieswhich outline that all people have a fundamental right to freelypursue their own social, cultural and economic development as well astheir political status. In this sense, I believe that article 3 ofthe Declaration stipulates the same rights are entitled to theindigenous people hence at both local and international levels,measures should be adopted to prevent the constant violation ofArticle 3. Therefore, while state laws can be enacted to end theabuse of this right, various governments can best respect the rightto Self-determination by including and consulting the Indigenousgroups if they are to act in their best interest.
Moreover,self-determination principle is further entrenched by Article 4 whichoutlines that the Indigenous people have a right to autonomy andself-government about how they conduct their local and internalaffairs. Also, Article 18 indicates that the Indigenous peoples havea fundamental right to be incorporated in matters that concern theirlives and rights through their chosen representative. Besides,Article 33 (2) allows the indigenous people to autonomously chooseand determine institutional membership according to their independentprocedures to uphold their right to self-determination.
The2007 Indigenous Peoples rights declaration also anchors on theprinciple of cultural integrity. Article 7 thus outlines that theyhave a fundamental collective right to live peacefully devoid ofatrocities such as genocide or any violence. Further, based onArticle 8, I conclude that at both individual and group levels, theindigenous people should not be subjected to forceful assimilationbecause it, in turn, leads to erosion or destruction of theircultural identity. Therefore, states are under internationalobligation to prevent forced assimilation and to redress such acts bydealing with discriminatory propaganda and land dispossession of theIndigenous peoples. Moreover, to maintain cultural identity, Article35 stipulates that these people not only have a right to determinetheir membership and identity autonomously but also of pickingleaders in their communities hence should be free of externalinterference. Also, maintaining cultural integrity implies having afundamental right to practice their culture and to revitalize thecustoms and traditions in all their various forms of manifestation asdetermined in Article 11. Moreover the 2007 Declaration throughArticle 31outlines that Indigenous peoples are also entitled tointellectual property rights over their indigenous knowledge,cultural heritage and expression. Therefore, states are obligated toestablish effective measures that prevent and stops all forms ofbiopiracy to protect the Indigenous people.
(d)Resources, lands, and territories
Toachieve cultural integrity and self-determination for the Indigenouscommunities, the Declaration through article 26 articulates that theymust have control over their natural resources, land, andterritories. Consequently, governments have legal obligations torecognize and protect the lands, resources and territories that theyhave traditionally owned with careful consideration to theirtraditions and land tenure system. Furthermore, Article 10articulates that Indigenous peoples are free from forceful evictionfrom their territories or lands by the government thus any relocationshould happen after the free and informed agreement of the people.Article 28 also addresses their right to seek redress in case theirlands are taken or damaged.
(e)The principle of socio-economic well-being
Apartfrom articulating the fundamental rights of the Indigenous peoples,the Declaration through article 21 also articulates that they have aright just as others to constant improvement of their economic andsocial condition by the state. Therefore, without anydiscriminations, governments have a duty to cater to the specialneeds of women, children, youths and disabled persons within theIndigenous communities ("UNDRIP2007", 2008).
TheIndigenous Peoples Declaration on the Rights in 2007 is a significantmilestone for the whole humanity in ensuring the protection andpromotion of the well-being, cultural diversity and most importantlythe survival of the Indigenous People of the world. Therefore,because it is anchored on the principles discussed above, I believethe Declaration offers the boldest recognition and protection ofcultural diversity that the world’s Indigenous people. However, thetask now lies on individual governments to ensure these laws areenforced to guarantee their future.
Hall,T. D., & Fenelon, J. V. (2015). Indigenouspeoples and globalization: Resistance and revitalization.Routledge.
Morgan,R. (2013). Transforminglaw and institution: Indigenous peoples, the United Nations and humanrights.Ashgate Publishing, Ltd..
UNDRIP2007. (2008). UNITEDNATIONS DECLARATION ON THE RIGHTS OF THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLES,1-18.