Who are Indigenous People?
One of the main issues that was raised by the World Heritage Committee concerning the initiative of WHIPCOE in the 25th COM Helsinki was the definition of Indigenous Peoples. (UNESCO, 2002) in fact, defining the term “Indigenous People” has not only been a challenge but also a deliberate decision in favor of the desire of Indigenous Peoples. According to the Manual United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, part1, Chapter 1, a strict definition was against the will and desire of Indigenous Peoples and does not allow “[…] each indigenous people to define themselves” (APF and OHCHR, 2013) . However, a working definition of “indigenous communities, peoples and nations” based on the Martinez Cobo...
They form at present non-dominant sectors of society and are determined to preserve, develop and transmit to future generations their ancestral territories, and their ethnic identity, as the basis of their continued existence as peoples, in accordance with their own cultural patterns, social institutions and legal system.
It also notes that an indigenous person is:
… One who belongs to these indigenous populations through self-identification as indigenous (group consciousness) and is recognized and accepted by these populations as one of its members (acceptance by the group). This preserves for these communities the sovereign right and power to decide who belongs to them, without external interference.” (APF and OHCHR, 2013)
“ […]Since an official definition of this term has not been presented, some relevant factors were provided by, the Chairperson-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations, contributing to better understanding of the concept of...
Besides, in the system of UN, the emphasis is on the term “Identification” rather than “Definition” of the term “Indigenous”. (UNPFII, 2006)
Moreover, the “Self-definition”, “Self-identification” and “Self- determination” were emphasized by the Working Group of Experts on Indigenous Populations/Communities in Africa to sum up the debate on the definition of “Indigenous” in Africa and specifically to respond to the argument of whether “[…]all African peoples are indigenous to Africa”. (APF and OHCHR,...
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