NAM Stresses the Importance of UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People

United Nations Declaration on the Rights to Indigenous people, adopted in the 107th Plenary Meeting on 13th September 2007, recognises the need to to respect and promote the inherent rights of indigenous peoples which derive from their political, economic and social structures and from their cultures, spiritual traditions, histories and philosophies, especially their rights to their lands, territories and resources.

The Declaration encourages the State to comply with and effectively implement all their obligations as they apply to indigenous peoples under international instruments, in particular those related to human rights, and reaffirms that that indigenous individuals are entitled without discrimination to all human rights recognized in international law, and that indigenous peoples possess collective rights which are indispensable for their existence, well-being and integral development as peoples. The Declaration also recognises Indigenous peoples’ collective rights to lands and other natural resources, and requires fair and adequate compensation for wrongful dispossession.

Non-Aligned Movement has stressed the importance of all UN mechanisms dealing with the issues relating to the rights of indigenous peoples to undertake their respective work in accordance with the UN Charter, relevant international human rights instruments, including the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as well as with their respective mandates. NAM has also appreciated the adoption of Human Rights Council resolution 6/36 of 14 December 2007 that established the expert mechanism on the rights of indigenous peoples to provide the Council with thematic expertise on the rights of indigenous peoples.

Non-Aligned Movement attaches significance to the protection of the economic, cultural, and political rights of the indigenous people and believes that special efforts should be made at the national and multilateral levels in order to improve their living conditions through civil participation. At the 17th NAM Summit in Venezuela in 2016, NAM Member States agreed to protect the traditional knowledge of the indigenous people and preventing their unauthorized or inappropriate use by third parties through promoting the bio- cultural collective heritage and allow indigenous peoples to have appropriate legal instruments on intellectual property.

In consonance with the spirit of the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous people, a majority of the NAM Member States have established at the national level an impartial, open and transparent processes to acknowledge, advance and adjudicate the rights of indigenous peoples pertaining to lands, territories and resources. India, one of the founding members of NAM, has consistently favoured the promotion and protection of indigenous peoples’ rights. Indian constitution provides autonomy to tribal areas in matters of governance under the Fifth and Sixth Schedules. Article 46 of the Constitution of India states that, The State shall promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people and in particular, the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, and shall protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation. Under Article 275(i) of the Constitution of India the Centre Government is required to give grants-in-aid to the State Government for approved Tribal Welfare Schemes.

NAM has acknowledged the right of the Andean and Amazonian indigenous peoples to fully enjoy their traditional and millenarian rights. In this context, NAM has appreciated the efforts of Bolivia towards protecting the rights of indigenous people. The efforts of and Bolivia along with Ecuador, towards implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of the indigenous people, was also appreciated by the Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, the U.N. special rapporteur on the rights of Indigenous peoples, who pointed out that these two countries are unique in their efforts to enshrine the principles of the declaration in their respective constitutions. NAM Member States have thus adhered to the principles stated in the UN Declaration on the Rights of the indigenous people and the Movement’s principle that all cultures have the right to exist and to preserve their traditional knowledge and practices that are inherent to their identity.

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