IACHR WELCOMES ADOPTION OF THE
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) welcomes the adoption on June 29, 2006, of the Universal Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by the United Nations Human Rights Council.
This instrument recognizes the right of the indigenous peoples to self-determination, establishes that they must give their consent to the exploitation of natural resources on their lands, and limits military activities in their territories. Further, it recognizes the collective rights of indigenous peoples, such as the preservation of their cultural values and their ethnic identity, and the protection of any attempt to expel them from their ancestral lands.
At the inter-American level, in 1989 the OAS General Assembly asked the IACHR to draw up a legal instrument on the rights of indigenous peoples–an instrument that was adopted by the Inter-American Commission in 1997 and is now under consideration by the Working Group to Prepare the Draft American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
The Special Rapporteurship on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples of the IACHR is continuing to give advice to the Working Group and believes that the Declaration adopted by the United Nations Human Rights Council will enrich the debate within the OAS and set a minimum standard for its reflections.
The Commission trusts that the United Nations instrument will facilitate prompt adoption of the Declaration by the OAS, so as to help protect the rights of the indigenous peoples of the Americas.
Washington, D.C., July 3, 2006