The Declaration emphasizes the rights of indigenous peoples to maintain and strengthen their own institutions, cultures and traditions and to pursue their development in keeping with their own needs and aspirations. It addresses both individual and collective rights, cultural rights and identity, rights to education, health, employment, language and others. The Declaration explicitly encourages harmonious and cooperative relations between States and Indigenous Peoples. It prohibits discrimination against indigenous peoples and promotes their full and effective participation in all matters that concern them. It establishes a universal framework of minimum standards for the survival, dignity and well-being of the indigenous peoples of the world and for combating discrimination and marginalization. It also elaborates on existing human rights standards and fundamental freedoms as they apply to the specific situation of indigenous peoples. The Declaration is the most comprehensive international instrument on the rights of indigenous peoples.
The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) was adopted by the General Assembly on Thursday, 13 September 2007, by a majority of 144 states in favor, 4 votes against (Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States) and 11 abstentions (Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burundi, Colombia, Georgia, Kenya, Nigeria, Russian Federation, Samoa and Ukraine). Years later, the four countries that voted against have reversed their position and now support the UN Declaration. The United States was the last nation in the world to ratify UNDRIP and it declared its support for UNDRIP as aspirational and not legally binding.
“The 13th of September 2007 will be remembered as an international human rights day for the Indigenous Peoples of the world, a day that the United Nations and its Member States, together with Indigenous Peoples, reconciled with past painful histories and decided to march into the future on the path of human rights.”Ms. Vicky Tauli-Corpuz, Chairperson of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
- United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples | United Nations For Indigenous Peoples
- United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Document Published March 2008
- UN General Assembly Resolution
- UNDRIP Summary – A Quick Reference
- Obama announces US endorsement of UNDRIP (YouTube)
- USET Resolution: 2011:025 United Nations Declarations on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Consultation