UN PASSES DECLARATION ON THE RIGHTS OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES
18.09.2007 13:55 GMT+04:00
/PanARMENIAN.Net/ The 143 members of the UN General Assembly voted for
the non-binding Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples that
outlines the rights of some 370 million indigenous people worldwide.
Only the United States, Canada, New Zealand and Australia – all nations
with large native populations – voted against the text, expressing
concerns over some provisions, including those on self-determination
and rights to land and resources. Eleven nations, including Russia,
Azerbaijan and Georgia, abstained from the vote.
The passage of the Declaration creates no new rights and does not
place indigenous people in a special category, but it does lay out
their rights in a number of areas including culture, employment and
language, while prohibiting discrimination against them.
The UN member states are concerned that indigenous peoples have been
deprived of their human rights and fundamental freedoms, resulting,
inter alia, in their colonization and the dispossession of their lands,
territories and resources, thus preventing them from exercising,
in particular, their right to development in accordance with their
own needs and interests.
"Indigenous people have the right of self-determination. By virtue
of that right they freely determine their political status and
freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development,"
the Declaration says.
"Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain and strengthen their
distinct political, economic, social and cultural characteristics,
as well as their legal systems, while retaining their rights to
participate fully, if they so choose, in the political, economic,
social and cultural life of the State," it says.
"Indigenous peoples shall not be forced from their lands or
territories. No relocation shall take place without the free and
informed consent of the indigenous peoples concerned and after
agreement on just and fair compensation and, where possible, with
the option of return," it says.