EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen expressed satisfaction over the decision of the UN Human Rights Council to adopt the Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. “The Declaration will strengthen the international human rights system and will promote mutual respect between indigenous peoples and states”, he said.
The Human Rights Council adopted the Draft Declaration with 30 votes in favour, two against and 12 abstentions, while three countries were absent during the vote. The General Assembly is expected to adopt the text at its next session.
The Draft Declaration will fill the gap in existing international human rights law in relation to the protection of individual and collective rights of indigenous peoples. It also recognizes the right to self-determination, the right to develop and preserve their political, economic and social systems or institutions.
The text of the Draft Declaration affirms indigenous peoples’ rights to language and their collective and individual rights to live in freedom. Indigenous peoples should now enjoy all human rights as defined in the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international human rights law.
EI and its affiliates will work together to guarantee the implementation of the Declaration in the communities.