Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Specific Instruments
  General Instruments
  Selected Case Law
  Case Law Websites
  Human Rigths Actors
Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Specific Instruments
Permanent Sovereignty over Natural Resources
Date of adoption: 1962 Entry into force: -
System of protection: Universal
Convention concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries
Date of adoption: 27/6/1989 Entry into force: 5/9/1991
System of protection: Universal
Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Date of adoption: 23/8/1993 Entry into force: -
System of protection: Universal
Draft United Nations declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples
Date of adoption: 26/8/1994 Entry into force: -
System of protection: Universal
Proposed American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Date of adoption: 26/2/1997 Entry into force: -
System of protection: Organization of American States
Interamerican Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (Draft)
Date of adoption: 18/9/1995 Entry into force: 2000
System of protection: Organization of American States
World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance: Declaration and Programme of Action
Date of adoption: 8/9/2001 Entry into force: -
System of protection: Universal
General Instruments
Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action
Date of adoption: 25/6/1993 Entry into force: -
System of protection: Universal
American Convention on Human Rights (Pact of San Jose, Costa Rica)
Date of adoption: 22/11/1969 Entry into force: 18/7/1978
System of protection: Organization of American States
Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)
Date of adoption: 10/12/1948 Entry into force: -
System of protection: Universal
African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights (Banjul Charter)
Date of adoption: 27/6/1981 Entry into force: 21/10/1986
System of protection: Organization of African Unity
Restitution as a Precondition of Reconciliation: Native Hawaiians and Indigenous Human Rights
Haunani-Kay TRASK
Latest update: 20/02/2004 First published: 12/2002
Reference: Borderlands e-journal, On What Grounds? Sovereignties, Territorialities and Indigenous Rights, Volume 1, No.2, 2002
Haunani-Kay Trask, an indigenous hawaiian academic and nationalist, argues that colonial crimes must be addressed before indigenous peoples can secure rights, principally rights to self-government, land, nationality, etc, and move on.
United Nations Human Rights Apparatus for the Protection of Indigenous Peoples
Latest update: 19/07/2003 First published: 1998
Reference: Mediterranean Journal of Human Rights, Vol 2, Number 2, 1998
Definition and characteristics of indigenous peoples in light of U.N. documents and practice - U.N. documents providing protection for indigenous peoples and minorities - Whether indigenous peoples possess a right to self-determination?
La protection des droits des peuples autochtones et de leurs membres dans les Amériques
Latest update: 28/01/2003 First published: 1996
Reference: (1996) 41 R.D. McGill 855
This article focuses on the Draft of the Inter-American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the first version of which was adopted on September 18, 1995 by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
Affirming Indigenous Rights: A Queensland Frieze
Latest update: 30/12/2002 First published: 1997
Reference: Volume 4 Number 1 (1997) Australian Journal of Human RIghts Law
This article points to the necessity of a re-examination of the current political and legal structures of contemporary Australia - Rights of indigenous peoples
An Australian Nunavut? A Comparison of Inuit and Aboriginal Rights Movements in Canada and Australia
Matthew MILLER
Latest update: 30/12/2002 First published: 1998
Reference: Volume 12 / Spring 1998 / Number 2 Emory International Law Review
Comparison between two of the most visible indigenous rights movements in the world from human rights perspective
Le droit des minorités canadiennes (l'exemple des Cris)
Latest update: 30/12/2002 First published: 5/2001
Reference: Les Cahiers Rémois, mai 2001, No. 3
The rights of the Crees as a Canadian minority. Minorities and peoples under international law – "Indigeneity" of the Crees – International and Canadian development of indigenous law.
Indigenous Peoples and TNC's pressure
Lorenzo NESTI
Latest update: 28/12/2002 First published: 20/7/2002
Reference: Centro Interdipartimentale di Studi sull'America Latina
The topic dealt with in this article is the "struggle" of many indigenous peoples to preserve their land and environment and the need to give them a legal instrument to enhance their rights to an effective and culturally appropriate participation
Articulating Self-Determination in the Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Caroline FOSTER
Latest update: 18/12/2002 First published: 2001
Reference: Vol. 12 (2001) EJIL 141
Report on the negotiations on the draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Languages: English
Over 1000 documents, reports, and publications from indigenous nations available online. Documents organized by region - Tribal and Inter-tribal resolutions and papers - Internationally-focused documents - UN documents - Treaties and agreements.
Languages: English Spanish
Traditional Values and Cultures - Legal Framework and Indigenous Rights - Case studies – New Projects - Publications – News selection – Links – Information on various institutions and activities: workshops, conferences, meetings…
Languages: English French Spanish
Aims: to provide practical information, and access to resources (from articles and training tools to directories); to encourage indigenous peoples participation in decision-making; and to promote information exchange among indigenous organizations.
Languages: English Spanish
Draft Declaration - Urgent Actions - Upcoming events - Informative and interesting Website.
Languages: English Spanish
Indigenous issues - Indigenous peoples and Human Rights - Publications in several languages - Forums and UN documentation - Links to international and local indigenous organizations.
Languages: English French Spanish
Info on UN activities in the field of Indigenous rights, including the International Decade of the Worlds Indigenous People, Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Special Rapporteur, Working Group on Indigenous Populations, and Draft Declaration.
Languages: English
Joint initiative between University of Minnesota Human Rights Center and the International Indian Treaty Council - Brief background info - various case studies - economic situation - Role of the UN - Draft Declaration - Other non-specific instruments
Languages: English French Italian Spanish
Detailed information about 80 different tribes - News - Defending the rights of tribal peoples.
Languages: English
Info provided by the People's Movement for Human Rights Education. Lists rights particularly relevant to indigenous peoples and excerpts from various international instruments detailing governments' obligations and commitments.
Languages: English
Grassroots movement in South Dakota, USA, for protection of indigenous treaties and human rights. Info includes reports and recent events re: international rights in general, civil rights, native children and family rights, land and cultural rights.
Languages: English French Spanish
Calender of events, esp. UN - Quarterly review "Update" - Links to other indigenous resources - Information about doCip.
Selected Case Law
Francis Hopu and Tepoaitu Bessert v. France
Date: 29/12/1997
Decision-making body: Human Rights Committee
Legal reference: Communication No 549/1993 : France. 29/12/97. CCPR/C/60/D/549/1993/Rev.1
Dispossession by the State of the ancestral territory of members of an indigenous population - Violation of Articles 17(1) and 23(1) - Notion of family.
Ilmari Länsman et al v. Finland
Date: 8/11/1994
Decision-making body: Human Rights Committee
Legal reference: Communication No 511/1992 : Finland. 08/11/94. CCPR/C/52/D/511/1992
Reindeer farm run by members of the Sami people - Difficulties owing to the operation of a quarry on their territory - Communication based on Article 27 - No violation.
Ominayak and the Lubicon Lake Band v. Canada
Date: 10/5/1990
Decision-making body: Human Rights Committee
Legal reference: CCPR/C/38/D/167/1984
Claim of cultural expropriation based on private exploitation of indigenous lands (in the province of Alberta) authorized by Canada - Inadmissible based on Article 1 (self-determination) - Violation of article 27.
Ivan Kitok v. Sweden
Date: 10/8/1988
Decision-making body: Human Rights Committee
Legal reference: CCPR/C/33/D/197/1985
Legal restrictions on the rights of members of the Sami indigenous community - Communication inadmissible based on Article 1 (self-determination) - Violation of Article 27.
Mikmaq Tribal Society (AD) v. Canada
Date: 29/7/1984
Decision-making body: Human Rights Committee
Legal reference: CCPR/C/22/D/78/1980
Claim for recognition of the right to self-determination of an autonomous people -Individual communication based on Article 1 - Question of representation of indigenous people - Concept of victim - Inadmissible based on Articles 1, 23 and 27.
Sandra Lovelace v. Canada
Date: 30/7/1981
Decision-making body: Human Rights Committee
Legal reference: CCPR/C/13/D/24/1977
Loss of membership status of a woman belonging to an indigenous minority following marriage to a non-indigenous man - Legislation found to be discriminatory on the basis of sex - Violation of Article 27.
Case Law Websites
Commonwealth Human Rights Case Law Database (The)
Languages: English
Allows you to browse or search for summaries of recent human rights decisions from national courts in Commonwealth jurisdictions.
Council of Europe - Human Rights Web
Languages: English French
Search the case-law of the European Convention on Human Rights control bodies.
International Human Rights Law Database (The)
Languages: English
A resource for those seeking summaries and commentaries on international human rights case law, the database allows searches by text, 47 subjects, 81 states, 9 treaties, 9 decisionmaking bodies, and date. A powerful and quick database.
Repertorio de Jurisprudencia del Sistema Interamericano de Derechos Humanos
Languages: Spanish
Directory of the case law of the Inter-American Court 1980 - 1997.
The Indigenous World
International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA) Date: 7/2003
Reference: contact: iwgia@iwgia.org
Source: IWGIA
Published annually in July - State of affairs - Indigenous peoples - Global view - Recent editions available in English PDF.
Durban Declaration and Programme of Action
HCNUDH / OHCHR Date: 8/9/2001
Reference: HCNUDH / OHCHR
Source: Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Reference material gives researchers and human rights law practitioners access to key human rights instruments and other essential information. The Declaration and the Programme of Action adopted at the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance.
Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance - Report of the Special Rapporteur
Maurice Glèlè-Ahanhanzo (Rapporteur spécial sur les formes contemporaines de racisme, de discrimination raciale, de xénophobie et de l'intolérance qui y est associée / Special Rapporteur on Contemporary forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, ...) Date: 6/2/2001
Reference: Distr. GENERAL, E/CN.4/2001/21, 6 February 2001
Source: United Nations Commission on Human Rights
A highlight of this report is the Cuban Government's analysis of the origin and persistence of racism and racial discrimination, as well as of the measures intended to combat these scourges in the context of the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance. The Special Rapporteur has drawn attention to the manifestations of anti-Semitism which have occurred in Australia, Austria, Germany, Russia, Ukraine and the United Kingdom. He also deals with racist violence and the activities of far-right and neo-Nazi organizations in Austria and Norway. He also discusses racial discrimination in the application of the death penalty in the United States of America, environmental racism and racial discrimination in efforts to curb the drug traffic in that country and presents information on the situation of the Dalits in India. The allegations examined by the Special Rapporteur concern Austria, Canada, Colombia and Israel.
United Nations Guide for Indigenous Peoples
- Date: 2001
Reference: ISSN 1020-9352
Source: Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, United Nations Office at Geneva
"...Designed to provide indigenous peoples with practical information on the operations and procedures of the UN and its various agencies related to human rights and development.... This information set outlines the way in which these organizations and agencies are working to improve the situation of indigenous peoples around the world and discusses how indigenous peoples can participate in such activities.... (It is) divided into different leaflets, each focusing on a particular topic, so you can explore specific issues of concern ... The first part of this set provides background information on human rights within the UN system. The second part outlines how the UN system is addressing issues of major concern to indigenous peoples, including human rights, the environment, development, health and education." (From Introduction)
United Nations Guide for Indigenous Peoples
HCDH / OHCHR Date: 2001
Reference: United Nations Guide Series, No. 1
Source: Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
The United Nations Guide series is published by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, United Nations Office at Geneva. Training and educational material - an information set for indigenous peoples on UN operations and procedures.
For the Record 2001: The United Nations Human Rights System
Human Rights Internet Date: 2001
Reference: Human Rights Internet, 2001
Source: Human Rights Internet
FTR is an electronic annual report that provides summaries of relevant human rights information generated within the UN system. An important reference tool for those active in national and international social justice movements, the report also aids in simplifying the human rights work of the UN for the uninitiated, members of national legislative assemblies, journalists, students, teachers and the general public. Produced with the support of the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade since 1997, the report is organized thematically as well as by country and covers all relevant UN documentation over a full calendar year. These include: State reports prepared for the six human rights treaty bodies and the concluding observations of the experts who review those reports; documentation, resolutions and decisions by various UN system bodies.
The Rights of Indigenous Peoples
HCDH / OHCHR Date: 7/1997
Reference: Fact Sheet No.9 (Rev.1)
Source: Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
The human rights Fact Sheet Series is published by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Geneva.
Indigenous Peoples in International Law
Reference: Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1996
Languages: English
Development of international law and its employment to justify the colonization and dispossession of indigenous peoples - Development of the norm of self-determination; different definitions – Monitoring and complaint procedures available.
International Law and the Rights of Minorities
Reference: Oxford, Clare Press, 1991
Languages: English
This book is an in-depth study of modern international law applicable to minorities. Definition of minority in legal terms – Minority protection under modern international law – Specific minority rights – The idea of "special treatment"…
Treaties and Indigenous Peoples
Reference: Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1992
Languages: English
The book essentially revolves around the Treaty of Waitangi (1840) which was made by the Queen of England and the Confederation of chiefs and subtribes of New Zealand (about the recognition of group rights within a colonial framework).
Human Rights and Indigenous Peoples
Reference: Delhi, A.P.H. Publishing Corporation, 2001
Languages: English
Indigenous Peoples- Evolution of international law- Domestic and international- Domestic institutions and procedures in India.
Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights
Reference: New York, Juris Publishing Inc, 2002
Languages: English
Indigenous peoples - Various regions - Historical, cultural and legal background - Economic, social and cultural rights - National and international instruments - Relevance of human rights to indigenous society.
Human Rights and Indigenous Peoples: A Handbook on the UN System
International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs Ed.
Reference: -, http://www.iwgia.org, International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs, 1999
Languages: English French Spanish
Indigenous Human Rights - International mechanisms - Possibilities and limitations of UN action.
Peoples' Rights
Philip Alston Ed.
Reference: Oxford, Collected Courses of the Academy of European Law, Oxford University Press, 2001
Languages: English
"In this volume, a group of leading experts examines the current status of the various rights [the so-called 'third generation solidarity rights'] and reflects upon their likely significance in the twenty-first century".
Indigenous Human Rights
Sam GARKAWE, Loretta KELLY and Warwick FISHER Ed.
Reference: New South Wales, Australia, Sydney Monograph Series, Federation Press, 2001
Languages: English
Racial Discrimination- Removal of children- Cultural rights- Self-government- Access to the UN - International law - International perspective - Indigenous and non-indigenous contributors.
Indigenous Peoples, the United Nations and Human Rights
Sarah Pritchard Ed.
Reference: Annandale, Australia, Federation Press, 1998
Languages: English
This book is designed as a practical and well-organized manual for individuals and organizations unfamiliar with using UN human rights standards and procedures to safeguard indigenous human rights.
Ethnies: Droits de l'Homme et Peuples Autochtones
Reference: Paris, Survival International, France
Contact: ethnies@survivalfrance.org http://catalogue.survivalfrance.org/produits/eth.html
Languages: French
Discussion of a wide variety of indigenous issues- Produced by "Peuples autochtones et développement" research group - Contributions from specialists in indigenous affairs and indigenous representatives - Available on subscription.
Human Rights Tribune
Reference: Ottawa, Human Rights Internet
Contact: hri@hri.ca http://www.hri.ca/cftribune/
Languages: English
A tri-yearly publication of HRI (Human Rights Internet). Addresses all areas of human rights from a non-governmental perspective world-wide. Articles about important events - NGO reports - Analysis of the work of human rights organizations.
Indigenous Affairs
Reference: -, International Work Group on Indigenous Affairs
Contact: iwgia@iwgia.org http://www.iwgia.org/sw161.asp
Languages: English Spanish
Quarterly journal- Indigenous peoples- In-depth coverage and discussion- Thematically focused issues - Available for sale or by subscription.
Human Rights Actors
Center for World Indigenous Studies (CWIS)
http://www.cwis.org Type:Research / Education
An independent, non-profit research and education organization dedicated to wider understanding and appreciation of the ideas and knowledge of indigenous peoples and the social, economic and political realities of indigenous nations.
Confederación de Pueblos Indígenas de Bolivia (CIDOB)
http://www.cidob-bo.org/ Type:Other
Its main goal is to formulate a strategy to combat poverty from the Bolivian indian perspective.
European Network for Indigenous Australian Rights (ENIAR)
http://www.eniar.org Type:NGO (Non-Governmental Organization)
Promotes awareness on indigenous issues- Informs indigenous Australians about Europe and relevant international organisations.
Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (Australia) (HREOC)
http://www.humanrights.gov.au/ Type:National Human Rights Institution
A national independent statutory government body. Conducts inquiries into alleged discrimination on the grounds of race, colour or ethnic origin, racial vilification, sex, sexual harassment, marital status, pregnancy, or disability. HR education.
Human Rights and Human Diversity Initiative (University of Nebraska-Lincoln) ()
http://www.unl.edu/HumanR/index.html Type:Research / Education
Goal: to examine issues related to human rights in an international perspective. Relationship between cultural diversity and human rights. Universality of HR. Minorities: refugees, voluntary migrants, and indigenous peoples. Human rights protectors.
Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Centre, The (ITP-Centre)
http://www.itpcentre.org Type:Research / Education
The aim of ITP-Centre is to share information, views, knowledge, recommendations and results related to the issue of indigenous and tribal peoples.
Indigenous Peoples' Center for Documentation, Research and Information (doCip)
http://www.docip.org Type:NGO (Non-Governmental Organization)
A Swiss NGO linking Indigenous Peoples and the United Nations established in 1978. It is a service organisation supporting indigenous representatives whilst working within the UN system. Offers an exclusively technical support.
International Movement against All forms of Discrimination and Racism (IMADR)
http://www.imadr.org/ Type:NGO (Non-Governmental Organization)
An international non-profit, human rights NGO devoted to eliminating all forms of discrimination around the world, forging international solidarity among discriminated minorities and advancing the international regime of human rights.
International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA)
http://www.iwgia.org Type:NGO (Non-Governmental Organization)
Consultative status with UN Economic and Social Council and Artic Council - Research, human rights work, political lobbying and specific projects - Collaboration with indigenous organisations - Publishes books, a journal and a yearbook.
Minority Rights Group International (MRG)
http://www.minorityrights.org/ Type:NGO (Non-Governmental Organization)
International NGO, bases in London, that promotes the rights of ethnic, linguistic and religious minorities.
Rights & Democracy (International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development) ()
http://www.ichrdd.ca/ Type:Other
An independent Canadian institution with an international mandate to promote, advocate and defend democratic and human rights. Four thematic priorities: democratic development, women's rights, the rights of indigenous peoples, globalization and HR.
Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance ()
http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu2/7/b/mrad.htm Type:United Nations System
Mandate established in 1993...
Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous people ()
http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu2/7/b/mindp.htm Type:United Nations System
Gathers, requests, receives and exchanges information; formulates recommendations and proposals on appropriate measures and activities to prevent and remedy violations of the human rights of indigenous people; Works closely with other UN bodies.
Survival International (Survival)
http://www.survival-international.org/ Type:NGO (Non-Governmental Organization)
Survival is a worldwide organisation supporting tribal peoples. It stands for their right to decide their own future and helps them protect their lives, lands and human rights.
The International Indian Treaty Council (IITC)
http://www.treatycouncil.org/home.htm Type:NGO (Non-Governmental Organization)
Organization of Indigenous Peoples from North, Central, South America and the Pacific working for the Sovereignty and Self-Determination of Indigenous Peoples and the recognition and protection of Indigenous Rights, Traditional Cultures and Lands.
UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues ()
http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/pfii Type:United Nations System
Advisory body to UN Economic and Social Council- Indigenous issues concerning economic and social development, culture, environment, education, health and human rights- Established in July 2000.
Working Group on Indigenous Populations ()
http://www.unhchr.ch/indigenous/ind_wgip.htm Type:United Nations System
A subsidiary organ of the Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights. review developments pertaining to the human rights of indigenous peoples; follows the evolution of international standards concerning indigenous rights.
World Amazigh Action Coalition (WAAC)
http://www.waac.org/amazigh/index.html Type:NGO (Non-Governmental Organization)
"...an outreach and human rights organization, dedicated to raising international awareness of the Amazigh people and their struggle for survival." Focus on issues dealing with the native identity of north Africa(Amazigh a.k.a. Berber).