22. Economic, social and cultural rights in general

          Several countries said that while there are international instruments -especially ILO Convention 169- that address these issues, some aspects should be included in the proposed instrument, such as those summarized below.

          Work and satisfactory working conditions

          Peru believes that, with their own organizations cooperating, indigenous workers should, by law, be accorded certain guarantees to ensure that national laws on hiring practices and employment contracts are enforced and that affirmative action will be taken to avoid de facto discrimination.  The indigenous workers' right of association must also be respected, so that they may engage freely in any lawful union activities; their right to enter into collective contracts must also be respected.  Guatemala points up the need for similar legislation.  Colombia reiterates the pertinent provisions of ILO Convention 169.

          Canada contends that some specific reference may be made to the right of indigenous people to practice their traditional occupations in pursuit them of their traditional lifestyles.  Some reference should be made to just, equitable and satisfactory working conditions and to respecting the right to organize for business purposes.  These rights apply with equal force to the rest of the population.

          The indigenous organizations agree that communal labor must be respected, as must the practice of traditional occupations.  The proposed instrument must recognize the right of workers to organize themselves -according to their customs- to defend their rights.  It must also ensure indigenous women the same right to work and a fair wage.  The instrument must guarantee that employers will fulfill all their obligations; the indigenous people's own vision of the cosmos must be respected here.

          Social security

          Costa Rica, Peru, Guatemala and Canada believe that the proposed instrument should provide that social security must be gradually extended to indigenous populations, with no discrimination of any kind.  Costa Rica underscores the importance of guaranteeing the social and legal security of the indigenous populations.


          Canada, Costa Rica, Colombia and Peru highlight community health services and the importance of combining traditional and modern medicine to reinforce each other.

          Peru notes that it is the duty of governments to safeguard the health of the people.  Governments must make certain that adequate health services are made available to the interested peoples or provide them with the means to organize and deliver those services on their own, the goal being to enable those peoples to enjoy the maximum possible level of physical and mental well-being. It argues that insofar as possible, health services should be organized at the community level.  These services should be planned and administered in cooperation with the interested peoples and take account of their economic, geographic, social and cultural circumstances and traditional preventive treatments, cures and medications.

          Where training and employment are concerned, the health care system should give preference to community health care personnel and focus on primary health care, while maintaining a close association with other levels of health care. 

          Costa Rica proposes some guidelines for improving indigenous health programs by building health posts, inter-institutional arrangements involving medical rounds or rural health outreach workers to avoid duplication of functions, focusing the common effort on a specific target; expanding coverage of rural health care programs and visits to conduct environmental sanitation activities:  health, hygiene, nutrition, food and drinking water for indigenous persons living in remote areas, and in-depth studies of malnutrition, mortality and morbidity.

          Colombia believes that the instrument should make express reference to appreciation of and respect for traditional remedial practices and to how these should be articulated and combined with western treatment methods to provide the most complete health care possible, especially since the communities are being exposed to new diseases that they do not have the knowledge to handle.

          In general, the indigenous organizations believe that respect for the practice of preventive and remedial medicine, using the traditional medications and methods of the community and culture must be guaranteed.  The proposed instrument should stipulate that government health programs are to be responsive to the indigenous populations' own priorities where health is concerned.

          Healthy environment

          Colombia notes that the instrument should mention respect for a healthy environment, guaranteed by mechanisms readily available to the indigenous populations and which the competent authorities can use to correct problems quickly. It maintains that this issue ties in closely with that of land tenure and the right to work and pass along ancestral lands.  Chile adds that this right should be included in the instrument because when polluting facilities are put into operation, the lives and health of indigenous communities are imperiled.  These communities do not have the same means that other private citizens enjoy to assert their rights.  Given the relationship between indigenous man and nature, this type of abusive exploitation of natural resources is detrimental to these communities' normal development.

          Canada believes the proposed instrument should recognize the right of the indigenous person and his/her community to a healthy environment.

          The indigenous organizations agree that the new instrument should recognize indigenous populations as one of the sectors most interested in and concerned with the rational use of natural resources and preservation of the natural habitat in general; therefore, indiscriminate deforestation, pollution of rivers and other spaces and the extinction of wildlife must be regarded as  violations of the human rights of indigenous populations.  The instrument should list specific obligations in respect of nature as man's habitat and penalize their violation.


          Some countries have responded to this point in their answers about children's rights and the right to preserve and develop one's culture, including language.  Costa Rica regards this as one of the most important points that the future instrument  should target.  It believes that education should be interpreted in the broadest possible sense (civic, political, social, etc.).  Canada believes that the indigenous population should have the same right to education as the rest of the population and access to education in indigenous tongues.  It also believes that education should be reflective of indigenous culture and traditions.

          A number of indigenous organizations contend that the history of the indigenous populations and their present circumstance should be taught, without the distortions and misrepresentation that bring about prejudice; the content and methods should be tailored to the regions inhabited by the indigenous populations and their customs.  Any punishment for using one's own language should be avoided at all costs, and special care must be taken to make allowance for the demands posed by the indigenous economy and culture.

          Protection of the elderly

          Given the prominent place that the elderly have in indigenous cultures, Peru believes their rights and benefits must be guaranteed as much as those of the rest of the population, and be realized through special programs for the elderly.

          The benefits of culture

          Chile believes this right must be included, since respect for a people's culture and its right to participate in it are principles that inform many other provisions.  Canada also believes this right must be mentioned specifically, given the suppression of indigenous cultures in the past.

          Diet and food

          Canada believes this right must be afforded in a way that does not interfere with the indigenous people's right to practice their traditional lifestyle.

          The indigenous organizations in general contend that the right to food should not be applied in a way that would infringe upon the rights of indigenous people to practice their own way of life.

          Means of protecting the economic, social and cultural rights

          Chile maintains that what was said concerning special procedural rules would apply here as well.

          Canada, on the other hand, believes that specific references must be made to ensure that the rights of the indigenous people are respected.

          The indigenous organizations agree that under the new instrument, States must agree to protect indigenous populations because they have for so long been socially excluded; their methods of production and lifestyles must be respected, as must their beliefs and faith; national and international financial institutions should provide direct assistance to indigenous communities, ever mindful of the indigenous populations' idiosyncrasies. 

          23. Correlation between duties and rights and the limitations of a democratic society

          Peru, Colombia and Mexico mention the reciprocity of rights and duties as a relevant consideration for the instrument; in other words, having one's individual rights observed carries with it the obligation to respect the rights of others.

          Peru notes that the institutions of indigenous populations and their decisions, like those of States, must honor internationally accepted collective and individual human rights.  Accordingly, any cruel or degrading punishment or treatment that traditional systems of justice still practice must be outlawed.

          Colombia is of the view that to accord specific rights to indigenous populations based on the fact that they are a unique minority that has had to contend with various kinds of limitations, means that they, too, must accord that same rights to other groups or individuals.  This reciprocity of rights and duties becomes particularly significant in countries with a wide ethnic diversity.

          Colombia also mentions the fact that certain legal exemptions to duties incumbent upon the rest of society, such as taxes or military service, cannot be regarded as detrimental to the general interest.

          Chile, for its part, believes that some consideration must be given to the cultural differences that make it more difficult for indigenous populations to discharge the duties that reciprocity entails.

          Canada notes that some reference to this could be made when the special needs of indigenous populations are considered.

          The indigenous organizations agree that the reciprocity of rights and duties must obtain not only between the State and the indigenous community, but also from one indigenous community to the other, given each people's cultural values.  Any paternalistic and ethnocidal concept that would argue the contrary in respect of the indigenous populations' freedom to grow must be rejected.

24.          Right to a fair trial

          Chile believes that this right must be included and that indigenous populations must be assured access to justice through mechanisms and procedures that are tailored to their specific needs and culture.  The new instrument should stipulate that the national laws must establish a procedure that indigenous persons can avail themselves of.

          Canada believes that a new instrument might refer to measures to provide for understanding of the procedures, and a consideration of customary practices might be included in a new instrument on indigenous rights.

          Peru is of the view that the legal proceedings must be acceptable to both parties.  Any legal proceeding that does not have the consent of the indigenous nations or groups should be stopped and a new proceeding -one consistent with the new instrument- instituted.

          Guatemala mentions that because these guarantees are already recognized in other international instruments, they need not be duplicated in the proposed instrument.

          Colombia notes that judges and courts must be acquainted with the customs of the indigenous populations so that they have the information needed to ensure that justice is done when the accused is an indigenous person.

          The indigenous organizations believe that the proposed instrument should make express reference to this right.  They maintain that indigenous populations must have special courts of their own to ensure that justice is administered in accordance with the laws of the State and the ancestral customs and practices of the indigenous populations; when one of the parties in a case is an indigenous person, the courts should use his/her language.  Where that party is concerned, the customary law of his/her respective community should be applied.  Accordingly, there must be a well documented report on the culture and an expert in anthropology should participate.  The indigenous organizations also believe that the individual and family rights of indigenous prisoners must be protected.  They point out that the confinement of an individual who is a member of an ethnic group must be under circumstances that do not constitute an abrupt departure from his/her natural lifestyle, though the punitive nature of the confinement should be preserved.


          25.          General observations

          Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama and Saint Lucia have some general observations on collective rights.  Colombia points out that the political, economic, social and cultural rights upheld in its Constitution emanate from an appreciation of the value of what ethnic peoples bring to the national identity.

          Guatemala states that though the economic and political rights are the same as those enjoyed by all inhabitants of the country, the social and cultural rights warrant special treatment.  Saint Lucia says that its indigenous people have no special traits that would distinguish them from the rest of society so that their rights as a group need not be defined.

          Panama contends that the indigenous populations' most important demands fall under the heading of collective rights, which must be expressly guaranteed.  They must be classified as collective rights and mechanisms must be established to enable the indigenous populations to invoke the new legal instrument.  Consequently, it is vital that the OAS establish the guidelines for guaranteeing collective rights in the Americas.

          Mexico maintains that the instrument on the rights of indigenous populations should recognize only those rights whose full meaning is realized only in collective life.  The individual rights of the members of those communities must not be subordinate to the collective rights.  It contends that the rights recognized in the American Declaration and the Pact of San Jose protect all individuals, without distinction, and together constitute an established framework whose legal effect must be reaffirmed.

          Mexico states that the 20 points raised in this section represent the indigenous populations' historical demands that have to some extent materialized in the form of norms in positive law and national legal systems.  The 20 points represent the indigenous populations most pressing needs.  Once this first survey is conducted, the 20 points are to be combined in a regional instrument, representing the economic, political and social rights of indigenous populations.

          Mexico states that Convention 169 of the International Labour Organisation would also have to be considered.  The view is that as part of the International Year of the Indigenous Peoples of the World (1993), the member states of the OAS could issue a declaration affirming the region's commitment to upholding the rights of indigenous populations in the hemisphere.  Proposals can also be examined, such as the one introduced at the "Amer-India 92" meeting, for creating regional mechanisms to safeguard and defend the rights of indigenous populations.

          The indigenous organizations in general indicate that the collective human rights of the indigenous population are essential if they are to enjoy their individual human rights to the fullest.   However, if the rights are not spelled out in sufficient detail, there will be no way to ascertain the natural rights of the indigenous populations.  Correspondingly, they are of the opinion that the collective rights of the indigenous populations must take precedence over the individual rights of their members.  They also believe that some thought should be given to the States' undertaking international obligations more rigorous than those contemplated in other international instruments vis-a-vis the peoples in their territories.  They point out that the instrument must emphasize that collective rights are not incompatible with individual rights; instead, they are mutually reinforcing.  They also believe that effective respect for human rights and the rights of indigenous populations calls for a proper instrument accepted by all the States and intended to safeguard those rights and penalize their violation.

          Both intergovernmental organizations noted that the rights in this section should be recognized.

          26.          The right to peaceful coexistence in national society

          The countries answered the question on this issue by pointing to the existence of multi-cultural societies and the right that the cultures in such societies have to survive and flourish.

          Mexico points out that its Constitution establishes that it is a multi-cultural nation and affirms the indigenous populations' right to their own cultural life and to protection and promotion of their languages, customs and own forms of social organization from whence come many of the distinctive features of their identity.

           Peru points out that the instrument should uphold the collective right to exist and to be protected against genocide, and express reference should be made to the rights to life, to humane treatment, to personal liberty and the security of one's person; that indigenous populations consist of nations and peoples that are collective entities with the right of self- determination, and that every indigenous people has the right to decide the shape, structure and authority of its institutions, based on equality and nondiscrimination.

          Peru asserts that ethnodevelopment is the inalienable right of indigenous groups.  It means that the diverse cultural milieux can expand and survive by strengthening a culturally diverse society's ability to make decisions that steer its development and exercise its right to self-determination, regardless of the level. It implies an equitable power structure, which in turn means that an ethnic group is a political-administrative unit with authority over its own territory and able to make decisions on issues relevant to its development, as part of a process of growing autonomy and self-management.

          Colombia states that a worthwhile precedent at the international level are articles 26, 27, 28 and 29 of ILO Convention 169.  It cites the clause of its Constitution where this right is established:

          Article 7.  The State recognizes and protects the ethnic and cultural diversity of the Nation.

          Article 68.  Paragraph 5.  Members of ethnic groups shall be entitled to an education that respects and develops their cultural identity.

          Colombia believes that a specific provision on this right is very much needed, especially given the forced assimilation efforts that indigenous communities have sometimes been compelled to undergo.

          One precedent would be Article 3, paragraph 2 of ILO Convention 169 (1989) and the reference made in Article 31 to the role of education in making every community tolerant.

          In a reference to land rights as they pertain to peaceful coexistence, Costa Rica asserts that the reservation should not isolate indigenous populations.  Instead, with the peace that is gained by definitively acknowledging their tenure of the land, they are being given a real opportunity for self-development.

          Chile believes that this type of right must be mentioned.  It argues that racism is still present among large sectors of the community; because of it indigenous persons are regarded as second-class citizens.  Their rights are violated and their way of life attacked.

          Canada believes that this right must be strongly supported in the proposed instrument.  Given the historical experience of indigenous people, particular reference might be made to the prohibition of genocide,  as defined by the United Nations.

          The indigenous organizations agree that States must recognize the existence of the indigenous populations and tribes, with all attendant rights and obligations.  This in itself would do much to contribute to peaceful coexistence between indigenous populations and the other inhabitants of the State.  The States have an obligation, and private citizens a duty, to respect this coexistence.  The guarantees that a State ensures should also include one ethnic group's mutual acceptance, tolerance and respect of the other.

          27.          Right to have differences accepted

          Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico and Peru believe that this issue should be included.  Venezuela, on the other hand, does not consider it acceptable inasmuch as it does not have a corollary in the national legal system.

          Mexico states that the instrument should also provide for the right to cultural diversity and to one's own language; it also believes the proposed instrument should uphold the indigenous populations' right to participate actively in community life, according to their specific forms of social organization, without creating a special law code for indigenous populations.

          Peru notes that this right is protected under the broad language of Article 11 of the American Convention.  Nevertheless, it still believes that the new instrument should specifically mention that customs are to be respected and that judges shall take them into account when ruling on violations of those legal rights.

          Chile is of the view that the instrument must recognize that the populations of the countries of this region are multi-ethnic and pluri-cultural.

          Canada believes that the wording of the question is unclear and that mutual acceptance, peace and tolerance could be subsumed under the notion of peaceful coexistence.

          The indigenous organizations in general maintain that States must recognize that their people are pluri-national and pluri-cultural in nature by recognizing that each indigenous people in their respective territories has a national and cultural identity of its own.  They should regard them as subjects in law within the society as a whole, and guarantee that indigenous populations will never again be the victim of genocide or ethnocide.

          Both intergovernmental organizations are of the view that every indigenous people has the right to be recognized as a culturally and socially distinct people.

          28. The right to participate, as a people, in the governance of their affairs

          The countries that replied to the Commission's survey all agree that this right should be upheld.  However, their ideas as to its scope and the form it should take vary.  Venezuela asserts that all citizens can take part in national politics.

          Costa Rica believes that the answer to indigenous problems should be in their hands; hence, the instrument should establish this right.

          While Guatemala believes the instrument should recognize this right, it should do so with a proviso to the effect that this participation must be within the political-administrative framework established under each country's constitution.  Because of the type of political-administrative organization Guatemala has (departments, municipalities, cities, towns, villages, hamlets), this particular right is not relevant.

          Mexico believes that the instrument should establish the indigenous populations' right to govern their own affairs and to have their own authorities and institutions to represent them.  It argues that the instrument must recognize the right of indigenous populations to govern their social affairs by their own rules, insofar as possible.

          Peru notes that the ethnic group is a political administrative unit with authority over its own territory; these peoples' systems of internal organization are part of their culture and legal system, have held them together and helped preserve their sociocultural tradition. It believes that when Article 15 is applied, the following should be the objective:

          a) Enlist the cooperation of these peoples and their representatives;

          b) Give these peoples every opportunity to realize their initiatives to the fullest;

          c) Foster, by every means possible among those populations, civic freedoms and the establishment of elective institutions or participation in such institutions.

          Peru also contends that indigenous nations and peoples that want to confine themselves to the exercise of internal self-determination should be free to do so.  The rights to free self-determination should include (though not be limited to) the following:

          a) the right to control their own economy;

          b) the right to pursue freely an economic, social and cultural development that is commensurate with their traditional customs and social practices;         

          c) the right to maintain relations and trade abroad if they so desire;

          d) the right to restore and practice their cultures, languages, traditions and lifestyles and to educate their children in them;

          e) the right to ownership of the land as the indigenous populations' territorial base. 

          It argues that these are peoples with the right to self-determination; in other words, on their own lands they are free to enjoy however much autonomous government they choose to have; they have the right to move about freely and reside there, without prejudice to the rights that the law accords to the other inhabitants.

          Peru also states that every indigenous people has the right to decide the type, structure and authority of its institutions.  These decisions, customs and practices of the indigenous populations will be recognized by national and international law, on the basis of equality and nondiscrimination. When an indigenous people exercises its right of self-determination within one or more States and that State or States has some jurisdiction over the indigenous people or over the individuals who belong to that indigenous people:

          a)          The persons who belong to the indigenous people have the right to participate in the political life of the State or States, in the same way as citizens of that State or States;

          b)          The indigenous people has the right to be represented in the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government and in the civil service.  The State has the obligation to promote that participation actively;

          c)          The indigenous people should have a national organization or organizations, chosen and structured by them, independently of the organs of the State.  In cases where the indigenous people are poor or scattered over a wide geographic area and hence unable to create that organization or organizations, the State should provide them with funds to establish and maintain such an organization or organizations.

          Quoting from the relevant articles of its Constitution, Colombia states that the instrument should contain a specific clause recognizing indigenous populations and their members as persons before the law since by so doing it is guaranteeing that they will be able to take direct action to defend their interests vis-a-vis the State and other social sectors.

          Colombia explains that this ties in closely with the possibility of concluding treaties and other types of agreement between the State and the indigenous populations, a matter raised in points 18 and 20 of the second part of the questionnaire.  If legal status is not recognized, it is because these peoples are not regarded as valid interlocutors or cannot lawfully undertake commitments.  Their chance to participate in decisions on matters that either directly or indirectly affect them is at stake.

          Colombia also contends that recognition is based on the freedom of these groups to decide their own development style, according to their needs and traditions.  Recognition as persons before the law should mean that these groups are able to make known their priorities to State and non-State sectors when decisions that will affect them are to be made.

          Colombia believes that the language of Article 23 of the Convention is all-inclusive.  However, because indigenous populations are more vulnerable, there should be some provision to adopt mechanisms to protect and guarantee the exercise of this set of rights, a concrete manifestation of these peoples' autonomy.

          Canada asserts that indigenous populations should be consulted on decisions which affect them directly; they should be allowed to govern themselves in the sense of deciding what their priorities are and controlling their own development as much as possible.

          The indigenous organizations believe that the right to self determination is essential to the future of indigenous populations, and should be reinforced at the regional and communal levels.  They also contend that indigenous populations have the right to organize themselves politically; this means creating their own national organizations that will guarantee, by means of legal instruments and the people's representation, their presence on the national and international scenes along with similar organizations with the same economic, political and social conditions; they also have the right to participate in national elections and not just in the decisions that affect them.  They should express their own thoughts and needs.  The indigenous organizations also point out that a State must legally recognize the indigenous organization and its political, social, cultural and economic institutions. 

          The intergovernmental organizations note that indigenous populations should have a right to share decision-making power and participate in approving, rejecting or amending any decision that may affect them.

          29. Right to have their characteristics reflected in public institutions

          Guatemala maintains that while this right should be included, it should apply only to those public institutions that have direct contact with indigenous communities, operate therein or are integrated with them.  An across-the-board provision on this issue would necessitate a radical restructuring of State institutions in the countries of the hemisphere, making it difficult for the States to sign the legal instrument.

          Venezuela reports that in keeping with its Constitution, legislation has already been enacted that creates the institutions and provides the laws considered necessary in this regard.  Venezuela believes that the characteristics and needs of indigenous populations should be reflected in the machinery of the State by establishing institutions charged with defending the indigenous populations in each country.

          Colombia believes that the instrument should make reference to the fact that indigenous community has its own idea of family, which is created, organized and dissolved according to each group's customs.  For example, the age at which one can marry may not be a factor at all or may vary from one group to the next.

          Another issue related to point 4 under Section Two of this questionnaire (how or whether the traits of the indigenous populations are reflected in public institutions) is the fact that agencies in charge of programs for the family and the child must conduct programs that ensure an indigenous people's next generation and thus its survival as an autonomous social group, and that create the conditions that put them in a balanced relationship with the environment.

          Chile, for its part, maintains that the agencies that in some way concern themselves with indigenous affairs should be careful to preserve certain features of democracy and organized indigenous participation.

          Canada points out that particular rights, which are required for the distinctive characteristics of indigenous people to be reflected in public institutions, are not readily identifiable at the present time, particularly when there are many indigenous groups.  As an example one might cite the ability to organize and express their views.

          In general, the indigenous organizations believe that the new instrument must provide for an arrangement whereby both the State and the organizations representing the indigenous populations participate in these institutions; the State should permit and encourage indigenous persons to participate, and thus bring all their special qualities to the nature of these public institutions.

          30. Right to preserve and develop their traditional economic structures, institutions and lifestyles

          Colombia believes that an objective assessment must be made of the unremunerated collective labor practices that many groups have and that serve to pull the group together.  The new instrument must prevent violation of this right: outside these communities, certain activities may disregard, demean, misrepresent or adversely affect their way of life by projecting negative images or voicing opinions that are disrespectful of their unique character.

          Chile believes that these rights should be included, which have been overtaken somewhat by the concepts of "development" and "modern living".  

          Canada maintains that if traditional institutions, lifestyles and economies can be an option, then development must also be an option that enables indigenous communities to participate in the broader society to the extent they deem appropriate, and to receive  the benefits of that participation.  

          Peru believes that no indigenous people should be the target of actions that could lead to their physical, cultural or political destruction.  Like the rest of humanity, they have the right to life and to live free of any form of oppression, discrimination and aggression.  Peru adds that indigenous populations should be allowed free and equal participation in the country's economic, social and political development.

          Guatemala agrees that this right should be included in the instrument.

          As to preserving the lifestyle, Costa Rica points out that when designing housing for indigenous communities, for example, the new houses should be built with modern materials but preserve each community's traditional architecture.  It again notes that indigenous populations must be the ones to decide how to resolve their problems; new lifestyles that involve a radical and inappropriate departure from their traditional way of life or attempted assimilation cannot be forced upon them.  The values, culture, beliefs, etc. of the indigenous communities must be respected when promoting their development.

          In general, the indigenous organizations maintain that the State must help preserve and develop their traditional economic structures, their institutions and their lifestyles because they are inherent parts of their culture.  To do anything else would be a violation of their human rights.

          31.          Right to their own economic development

          Chile maintains that some reference should be made to developing the indigenous populations' prospects, understood as the corollary to sustainable development and the opposite of degradation of natural resources.

          On another note, Canada believes that indigenous people have a right to autonomous economic development on their own lands, and decisions on autonomous development should aim for community's self-sufficiency and not involve continuous financial support from other governments.  It adds that indigenous people must be given the opportunity to pursue their traditional economy.

          Guatemala believes this right must be included.

          For their part, the indigenous organizations agree that indigenous populations have a right to autonomous economic development; to that end, the State and the appropriate agencies must provide economic support in the form of financing for social, economic and productive projects and must help open up national and international markets for the products produced by indigenous populations.

          32. Right  to control and manage any development plans and projects being conducted on their own territory

          Chile believes this should be one form of social participation.  The State's administrative organs would hear the views of the indigenous people before making decisions on any plans, programs and projects that will have some effect or bearing on issues that concern them.

          Canada believes that this should be phrased as an objective, and not as a right to control those public services.

          Guatemala maintains that even though it does not have territories set aside for its indigenous population, it can still discuss community-targeted development plans.  The indigenous populations should participate in designing and managing those plans.

          In general the indigenous organizations contend that indigenous populations have sufficient wherewithal to manage and control development plans and the delivery of public services on their territories.  Some also contend that the only thing needed is to teach the members of the group the techniques that the development plan approved for each zone or region calls for.

          The intergovernmental organizations are of the view that the indigenous populations should have the right to autonomy vis-a-vis their internal affairs and to control and manage their territories, observing national federal statutes.  They add that this means having their own authorities and traditional systems of local and even ethnic government, ethnic being understood as a group of discrete communities with the same roots.  Those authorities and systems are not to outrank State authorities and institutions at the same level.

          33.     Rights relative to their own cultural development

          Guatemala believes that these rights should be mentioned in the instrument.

          Colombia maintains that the instrument must mention the preservation, development and dissemination of the indigenous populations' science, culture and art.  It adds that indigenous populations must be given an opportunity to express their feelings and solve their problems according to their own belief systems.  This is an essential part of the identity and development of the group as a whole and each member individually.

          Chile maintains that the instrument should include provisions to preserve the archeological, historic and cultural heritage of indigenous populations.  It adds that indigenous languages should be given the same official status that Spanish enjoys and that the national system of education should have a unit that enables students to learn and appreciate indigenous cultures.  Chile also believes that the inviolability of cemeteries and other sacred sites must be guaranteed and crafts, jewelry, books, manuscripts and other objects that have historical significance for the indigenous populations must not be allowed to leave the national territory.

          Canada notes that the United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Populations has identified several aspects here, such as restitution of property taken without their consent, the right to relive and practice their own cultural identity and traditions, the right to maintain, develop and protect manifestations of their cultures, such as archeological and historical sites, artifacts, designs, ceremonies, technology and works of art.

          Peru mentions that the indigenous populations' experiences, knowledge and achievements in the cultural, social, political, judicial, scientific and technological realms are a vital part of their heritage.  They should therefore have the right to enjoy, disseminate and transmit that heritage, without this impairing their right to partake in mankind's cultural heritage.

          Costa Rica believes that safeguards must be taken to ensure that any existing or future legal provision to protect the indigenous cultural heritage is observed, in cooperation with the institutions so charged.

          The indigenous organizations in general maintain that through the corresponding institutions, States must guarantee and protect the cultural assets of the indigenous populations.  States must also ensure that the commercial exploitation of indigenous crafts and arts is fair and equitable.  They specifically mention that indiscriminate exploitation of that heritage by non-indigenous middlemen and the States' failure to protect against such exploitation via proper legal means must be regarded as violations of the indigenous populations' human rights.          

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