The UN Human Rights Council approved on June 29 the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The text will now be reviewed during the UN General Assembly in the second half of this year, where it needs to be finally approved by consensus.
This consensus still has to be built, since there were 30 votes in favor of the text as it is and two against it (from Canada and Russia) and there were 12 abstentions.
If approved, the Declaration will be an additional instrument to ensure respect for indigenous rights. The text ensures self-determination rights to original indigenous populations and, as a result, the right to preserve and strengthen their different political, legal, economic, social, and cultural organizations, while preserving their right to take full part in the economic, social, and cultural life of the countries they live in if they choose to do so.
The declaration is based on the assumption that indigenous peoples, collectively or individually, have the right to enjoy all the fundamental human rights and liberties recognized by the UN. They are free and equal to all other peoples and they have the right to be free from any type of discrimination.
Indigenous leaders from Brazil participated in the discussions actively and pressured the Brazilian government to approve the text.
During the voting session, the Brazilian representative in the Human Rights Council, Clodoaldo Hugueney, said:
"The Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is very important for us to fight discrimination and distortions created by centuries of discriminations."
Cimi – Indianist Missionary Council – www.cimi.org.br
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