UN declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples, 2007
1. UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, 2007
• It was adopted by United Nation General Assembly on 13 September 2007 by the majority of 144 states in favour of
• It took 20 years for this declaration to be adopted or formally accepted. The first draft was written in 1985.
• In 1982, the working group on Indigenous population was established and was one of the six sub-Commission of the
Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, the main subsidiary body of the United nation commission on Human
• This Group was an establishment of the well-known study of “the problem of discrimination faced by indigenous people
throughout the world” done by Jose R. Martine Cobo, who was also a Special Rapporteur in the final submission of the
declaration draft. His study outlined many various aspects of the oppression, marginalization, and exploitation suffered
by indigenous people.
• “Indigenous People are descendants of the original people or occupants of lands. Many indigenous peoples have
maintained their traditional cultures and identities which therefore make them a strong and deep connection with their
ancestral territories, cultural and identities.”
3. • The declaration needed various reforms and amendments due to objections raised by various country. This
declaration emphasizes the rights of the indigenous people which help them to live with dignity, maintain
and strengthen their own needs and aspiration, addresses both individual and collective rights, to give the
right to education to children, right to health, employment, languages, and others.
• Approximately 370 million indigenous people in around 90 countries around the world are expressing
their rights and place in the global community. Their knowledge and practices have boosted respect for the
environment and the natural resource of the world’s communities, Food security. Health and education.
Largely, indigenous people’s knowledge of traditional medicines has been given massively to both
indigenous and non- indigenous people.
• UNDRIP contains 46 articles that describe of the specific rights and actions that governments around the
world or in a country must take to protect these rights.
4. TIMELINE OF THE DECLARATION
• The working group submitted their first draft on the rights of indigenous peoples to the Sub-commission on the Prevention of
Discrimination and Protection of minorities which was approved in 1994.
• The need to accommodate these issues led to the creation of the open-ending inter-sessional working group in 1995-2004.
• In 2006, revision within the United nation resulted in the replacement of the UN Commission of Human Rights with the UN
Human right council.
• On 29 June 2006, the United Nation human rights council adopted the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
• On 28 December 2006, the Third Committee of the General Assembly adopted the draft resolution before the end of its sixty-first
session. But an initiative led by Namibia, co-sponsored several African countries, resulted in the draft being amended.Finally, on 13th
September 2007, the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was adopted. Since the adoption of the declaration, Australia,
New Zealand, the United States, and Canada voted against the declaration but reserved their position and expressed their support
later. Colombia And Samoa have also endorsed the Declaration.
• UN Declaration is generally not legally binding. But it embody the dynamic development of international legal norms and reflect the
commitment of the states to move in certain directions, abiding by certain principles. It delivers a detailing or construal of the human
rights protected in other international human right instruments of universal renounce as these apply only to the indigenous people and
indigenous individual. Therefore, as per with that sense, this Declaration has a binding effect for promotion, respect, fulfilment of the
rights violations against indigenous people worldwide.
5. HIGHLIGHTS OF THE DECLARATION
This declaration has 46 articles which aspires to promote and protect the rights of indigenous people.
• Part 1 includes right of self-determination (Article 1-6)
• Part 2 includes Right to life, liberty and security (Article 7-10)
• Part 3 includes Right to practice and revive their culture and tradition (Article 11-13)
• Part 4 includes right to set up and manage their own educational system and access to culturally sensitive education (Article 14-17)
• Part 5 includes Right to take part in decision- making in all matter affecting them .(Article 18-24)
• Part 6 includes Right to land and resources for usage, conservation, development and traditional practices (Article 25-32)
• Part 7 includes right to decide what their identity or membership (Article 33-37)
• Part 8 in Article 38-42, the declaration explains how the governments of the nations around the world along with the United Nation will work
together in ensuring that the rights and liberty will always be protected of the indigenous people.
• Part 9 in Article 43-46, explain how to understand the Declaration. The Declaration contains both rights and responsibilities of indigenous
peoples. Care must be taken to ensure that the rights are not used to deliberately disturb the unity, peace and security of a country.
6. IMPACT ON INDIA’S INDIGENIOUS PEOPLE
• India voted in favour of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) in 2007.
• According to 2011 censes , the population of Indigenous tribes, also know as Adivasi in India is around 104.3
million or 8.6% of India’s Population. Only a percentage of Indigenous Peoples are classified as “Scheduled
Tribes” in the Constitution of India (1950) with over 461 ethnic tribes, and an additional 174 unrecognized
• The Constitution only lists a few tribes but does not define the term “Scheduled Tribes.”
• But the national government largely follows a broad working definition developed by the 1965 Advisory
Committee Report on the Revision of the Lists of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, popularly known
as the Lokur Committee Report.
• The Constitution of India provides for special protections for the classified Scheduled Tribes using paternalistic
and discriminatory language: recognizing their social, educational and economic “backwardness,” and the need
to “protect” them from social injustice and various forms of exploitation, Articles 15(4) and 46.
7. • The rights of Indigenous Peoples are guaranteed within the Indian Constitutional framework. Part IV of the Constitution lays
down the Directive Principles of State Policy that are ‘fundamental to the governance of the country,’ and include ‘Promotion of
educational and economic interests of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and other weaker sections, which must be enforced
as laws by the State.
• India’s Constitution provides special protection and assistance to vulnerable groups in India including Indigenous Peoples
(Adivasi) in order to help alleviate extreme levels of poverty, illiteracy, disease, and early mortality.
• The Fifth and Sixth Schedules of the Constitution offer special laws on Indigenous Peoples’ land rights and self-governance
and are applicable to designated parts of the country with high tribal population including central India and the North-East
• Part III of the Constitution acknowledges Fundamental Rights, and prohibition laws that combat discrimination and
promote “equality before the law or the equal protection of laws, non-discrimination against any citizen on grounds only of
religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them, special provision for the advancement of any socially and educationally
backward class of citizens as well as Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, affirmative action through the reservation of
appointments or posts in favour of any backward class of citizens which, in the opinion of the State, is not adequately
represented in the services of the State, and abolition of ‘Untouchability.
8. • The 1989 Schedules Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Atrocities Prevention) Act enables legal prohibition against
discriminatory attitudes but as a result, atrocities continue towards Scheduled Tribes and strong prejudices from
law enforcement, especially security forces.
• Other acts are The Schedules castes and the scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act,2015,
The Scheduled tribes and other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of forest rights) Acts, 2006, The
Provision of the Panchayats (Extension to the Scheduled to the Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996.
• National Commission for Scheduled Tribes was established by amending Article 338 and inserting a new
Article 338A in the Constitution through the Constitution (89th Amendment) Act, 2003.