4.1.1. United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
The United Nations General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples at its 62nd session in September 2007. (UN Portal) It is not a legally binding instrument but represents a very important political step towards a binding recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples. The declaration explicitly guarantees indigenous peoples - as collectives but also for individual members - a right to the enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms.
The declaration adopted in 2007 is the result of a process of almost 20 years. (UN Portal) Already in 1985, a working group on indigenous population groups is considering a proposal for a declaration....
In addition, the United States, New Zealand, Australia - who are not represented on the Human Rights Council - also spoke out against the declaration and demanded a downward revision of the requirements set out in the final text. (UN, 21) This is one of the central provisions of the proposal that is at the heart of the debate: the right of indigenous peoples to self-determination and control over their natural resources. On the other hand, human rights NGOs and representatives of indigenous peoples are convinced by the text and advocate for a rapid adoption of the text by the General Assembly. The step is taken in September 2007: The General Assembly adopts the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples at its 62nd session. (UN, 9)
The statement does not contain a definition of the central concept of "indigenous peoples". As early as 1982, the working group had stressed the difficulty of such a definition. (UN Portal) Today, the United Nations seems to privilege a characterization of indigenous peoples comprising four fundamental...
(UN, 37) The implementation of the standards of the declaration is the responsibility of the States. Similarly, the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues also ensures the implementation of the provisions contained in the declaration. In addition, NGOs and associations representing indigenous peoples continue to play an important role of political pressure. (UN Portal)
4.1.2. Declaration of the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities
The Declaration on the Rights of Minorities is the only UN instrument - in addition to the more general human rights treaties - that specifically and specifically deals with the rights of minorities. (CSCE, 8) This is a legally non-binding embodiment of Article 27 of the UN Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. (Petricuslc', 49)
The declaration recalls that persons belonging to minorities need special protection. (CSCE, 16) They have the right to enjoy their own culture, to profess and practice their religion and to use their language. States protect national, ethnic, religious and cultural minorities in their territory. In order to ensure that the territorial and political unity of states is not questioned, the declaration recognizes the rights of different members of minorities (as individuals) and not the group as a social...
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