United Nations declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples: Themes and articles


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Through its 46 articles, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (the Declaration) affirms and sets out a broad range of collective and individual rights. These rights represent the minimum standards for the survival, dignity and well-being of Indigenous peoples around the world.

While the rights in the Declaration are interrelated and may span multiple topics, its articles can broadly be grouped around the following themes, which come from other international human rights instruments. It is important to note that the themes below may not reflect the language of the Declaration, but were written to promote the consideration and understanding of the Declaration as a whole.

  • General Principles (5 articles)
    • Individual and collective rights (art. 1)
    • Equality and Non-Discrimination (art. 2)
    • Minimum Standards (art. 43)
    • Gender Equality (art. 44)
    • No Diminishment of Rights (art. 45)
  • Self-Determination, Self-Government and Recognition of Treaties (3 articles)
    • Self-determination (art. 3)
    • Self-government (art. 4)
    • Recognition, observance and enforcement of treaties (art. 37)
  • Implementation & Redress (6 articles)
    • Measures to achieve ends of Declaration (art. 38)
    • Access to financial, technical assistance (art. 39)
    • Conflict resolution, access to prompt, fair decision (art. 40)
    • UN system contribution (art. 41)
    • UN promotion of the Declaration (art. 42)
    • Respect rights of all and state sovereignty (art. 46)
  • Lands, Territories & Resources (6 articles)
    • Relocation (art. 10)
    • Ownership, use, development and legal recognition (art. 26)
    • Process to adjudicate rights (art. 27)
    • Redress, restitution and compensation (art. 28)
    • Military activities (art. 30)
    • Development strategies, Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC), redress (art. 32)
  • Environment (1 article)
    • Conservation and environmental protection (art. 29)
  • Civil & Political Rights (7 articles)
    • Nationality (art. 6)
    • Security of the person/ genocide (art. 7)
    • Belong to community (art. 9)
    • Labour law (art. 17)
    • Membership (art. 33)
    • Responsibility (art. 35)
    • Communities across borders (art. 36)
  • Participation in decision-making and Indigenous institutions (4 articles)
    • Maintaining and strengthening distinct political, legal, economic, social and cultural institutionsĀ  (art. 5)
    • Participation in decision making (art. 18)
    • Consultation and Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) (art. 19)
    • Institutional structures, judicial systems or customs (art. 34)
  • Economic & Social Rights (5 articles)
    • Maintaining and developing economic and social systems (art. 20)
    • Non-discriminatory improvement of conditions (art. 21)
    • Needs of vulnerable groups (art. 22)
    • Right to developmentĀ  (art. 23)
    • Access to health and wellness services and traditional medicines (art. 24)
  • Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Rights (6 articles)
    • Assimilation prevention and redress (art. 8)
    • Cultural traditions and customs, redress (art. 11)
    • Spiritual and religious traditions and objects (art. 12)
    • Histories, languages, philosophies transmittal and translation (art. 13)
    • Spiritual relationship to traditional territories (art. 25)
    • Maintenance and protection of cultural heritage (art. 31)
  • Education, Information and Media (3 articles)
    • Educational systems, access to education (art. 14)
    • Cultural diversity reflected in public education, promote toleranceĀ  (art. 15)
    • Right to establish media, non-discrimination, cultural diversity (art. 16)