Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Rights of Indigenous Peoples

The rights of indigenous peoples are the collective and individual rights that specifically recognise and protect the rights of indigenous communities, groups, and individuals. These rights are grounded in the distinct cultural, historical, and traditional relationships that indigenous peoples have with their lands, territories, and resources.

Right to self-determination: Indigenous peoples have the right to determine their own political status, pursue their economic, social, and cultural development, and freely determine their priorities for development. This includes the right to autonomy or self-government within their traditional territories.

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 otherwise used. This includes the right to maintain, control, protect, and develop their cultural heritage, traditional knowledge, and traditional cultural expressions.

Free, prior, and informed consent: Indigenous peoples have the right to participate in decision-making processes that affect their rights, lands, territories, and resources. States are obligated to obtain the free, prior, and informed consent of indigenous peoples before adopting or implementing measures that may affect them.

Cultural rights: Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain, practice, and revitalise their cultural, religious, and spiritual traditions, customs, languages, and ways of life. This includes the right to preserve their cultural heritage, protect sacred sites, and participate in cultural life.

Right to non-discrimination: Indigenous peoples have the right to be free from all forms of discrimination, including discrimination based on their indigenous identity or ethnicity. States should take measures to combat prejudices and stereotypes against indigenous peoples.

Right to remedies and reparations: Indigenous peoples have the right to access effective remedies for violations of their rights, including the right to seek justice, reparations, and redress for any harm suffered.

Participation and consultation: Indigenous peoples have the right to participate in decision-making processes at the local, national, and international levels that may affect their rights, lands, territories, and resources. States are required to consult and cooperate with indigenous peoples in good faith to obtain their free, prior, and informed consent.

These rights are recognised in various international instruments, such as the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), the International Labour Organisation Convention No. 169 on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples, and regional human rights instruments.

However, it is important to note that the recognition and implementation of indigenous peoples' rights vary across countries, and indigenous communities continue to face challenges in the protection and realisation of their rights. Efforts are ongoing to promote and protect the rights of indigenous peoples, including through advocacy, legal frameworks, and dialogue between indigenous peoples and states.
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