The Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the World Indigenous Movement

Abstract : Over the last decade, under the auspices of the Commission on Human Rights, indigenous peoples have been associated by the United Nations (UN) in the negotiations concerning the Draft Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Even though the whole story started with the mobilisation of Northern, Central and South Amerindian organisations, which remain extremely active, indigenous representatives are now coming from all over the world to participate in the annual sessions. Known to be an aspirational document, equivalent to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and able to protect indigenous collective rights, the Draft Declaration is to be adopted through the formation of a consensus, by the Working Group, by the Council of the Human Rights and the General Assembly. Nothing was been adopted in 2005, and the controversies regarding the language of the Draft Declaration, as well as the oppositions between state and non-state actors, demonstrate that the international identification of a people and the definition of collective human rights remain difficult. However, in the last three years a series of changes concerning the development of indigenous issues have been observed, both in the UN's Working Group on the Draft Declaration (WGDD) and on the national and regional stages where constitutional changes (South America) and a reflection on the definition of indigenous issues (Africa,Asia) are being introduced. Based on participant observation of the process held in the UN, the following article deals with the politics of this negotiation and analyses the positions of the different actors involved and their impact on the development of the world indigenous movement. Eventually, the Declaration was adopted on September 13, 2007.
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Irène Bellier. The Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the World Indigenous Movement. Griffith Law Review, Griffith University, Griffith Law School, Socio-Legal Research Centre, 2005, 14 (2), pp.227-246. ⟨halshs-00425489⟩

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