Article II.  Full observance of human rights  

        1.     Indigenous peoples have the right to the full and effective enjoyment of the human rights and fundamental freedoms recognized in the Charter of the OAS, the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man, the American Convention on Human Rights, and other international human rights law; and nothing in this Declaration shall be construed as in any way limiting or denying those rights or authorizing any action not in accordance with the instruments of international law including human rights law.  

        2.     Indigenous peoples have the collective rights that are  indispensable to the enjoyment of the individual human rights of their members.  Accordingly the states recognize inter alia the right of the indigenous peoples to collective action, to their cultures, to profess and practice their spiritual beliefs, and to use their languages.  

        3.     The states shall ensure for indigenous peoples the full exercise of all rights, and shall adopt in accordance with their constitutional processes such legislative or other measures as may be necessary to give effect to the rights recognized in this Declaration.




1.         Draft United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UN 1994)  

Article 1: "Indigenous peoples have the right to the full and effective enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms recognized in the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international human rights law."


Article 6: "Indigenous peoples have the collective right to live in freedom, peace and security..."


Article 7: "Indigenous peoples have the collective and individual right not to be subjected to enthocide."


Art 8: "Indigenous peoples have the collective and individual right to maintain and develop their distinct identities and characteristics, including the right to identify themselves as indigenous and to be recognized as such."  

                    On indigenous peoples' participation:  

Article 37: "States shall take effective and appropriate measures, in consultation with the indigenous peoples concerned, to give full effect to the provisions of this Declaration. The rights recognized herein shall be adopted and included in national legislation in such a manner that indigenous peoples can avail themselves of such rights in practice."  

Article 38: "Indigenous peoples have the right to have access to adequate financial and technical assistance, from States and through international cooperation, to pursue freely their political, economic, social, cultural and spiritual development and for the enjoyment of the rights and freedoms recognized in this Declaration."


Article 40: "The organs and specialized agencies of the United Nations system and other intergovernmental organizations shall contribute to the full realization of the provisions of this Declaration through the mobilization, inter alia, of financial cooperation and technical assistance. Ways and means of ensuring participation of indigenous peoples on issues affecting them shall be established."


Article 41: "The United Nations shall take the necessary steps to ensure the implementation of this Declaration including the creation of a body at the highest level with special competence in this field and with the direct participation of indigenous peoples. All United Nations bodies shall promote respect for and full application of the provisions of this Declaration."         

2.         C 169, Convention on Indigenous and Tribal People (ILO Convention 1989)  

Article 2:


1.         "Governments shall have the responsibility for developing, with the participation of the peoples concerned, co-ordinated and systematic action to protect the rights of these peoples and to guarantee respect for their integrity.


2.         Such action shall include measures for:


(a)        ensuring that members of these peoples benefit on an equal footing from the rights and opportunities which national laws and regulations grant to other members of the population; (b) promoting the full realization of the social, economic and cultural rights of these peoples with respect for their social and cultural identity, their customs and traditions and their institutions; (c) assisting the members of the peoples concerned to eliminate socio-economic gaps that may exist between indigenous and other members of the national community, in a manner compatible with their aspirations and ways of life."


Article 4:


1.         "Special measures shall be adopted as appropriate for safeguarding the persons, institutions, property, labor, cultures and environment of the peoples concerned.


2.         Such special measures shall not be contrary to the freely-expressed wishes of the peoples concerned.


3.         Enjoyment of the general rights of citizenship, without discrimination, shall not be prejudiced in any way by such special measures."


Article 6:


1.         "In applying the provisions of this Convention, governments shall:


(a)        consult the peoples concerned, through appropriate and in particular through their representative institutions whenever consideration is being given to legislative or administrative measures which may affect them directly;


(b)        establish means by which these peoples can freely participate to at least the same extent as other sectors of the population, at all levels of decision-making in elective institutions and administrative and other bodies responsible for policies and programs which concern them;


(c)        establish means for the full development of these peoples' own institutions and initiatives, and in appropriate cases provide the resources necessary for this purpose.

2)         The consultations carried out in application of this Convention shall be undertaken, in good faith and in a form appropriate to the circumstances, with the objective of achieving agreement or consent to the proposed measures."


Article 33:


1.         "The governmental authority responsible for the matters covered in this Convention shall ensure that agencies or other appropriate mechanisms exist to administer the programs affecting the peoples concerned, and shall ensure that they have the means necessary for the proper fulfillment of the functions assigned to them.


2.         These programs shall include:


(a)        the planning, co-ordination, execution and evaluation, in co-operation with the peoples concerned, of the measures provided for in this Convention; (b) the proposing of legislative and other measures to the competent authorities and supervision of the application of the measures taken, in co-operation with the peoples concerned."  

3.      American Convention on Human Rights (OAS 1969)  

Article 1(1): “The States Parties to this Convention undertake to respect the rights and freedoms recognized herein and to ensure to all persons subject to their jurisdiction the free and full exercise of those rights and freedoms, without any discrimination for reasons of race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, economic status, birth, or any other social condition.”  

4.         International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (UN 1966)  

Article 2(1): “Each State Party to the present Covenant undertakes to respect and to ensure to all individuals within its territory and subject to its jurisdiction the rights recognized in the present Covenant, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.”


Article 2(2): “Where not already provided for by existing legislative or other measures, each State Party to the present Covenant undertakes to take the necessary steps, in accordance with its constitutional processes and with the provisions of the present Covenant, to adopt such legislative or other measures as may be necessary to give effect to the rights recognized in the present Covenant.”


Article 27: “In those States in which ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities exist, persons belonging to such minorities shall not be denied the right in community with the other members of their group, to enjoy their own culture, to profess and practice their own religion, or to use their own language.”


Article 40(1): “The State Parties to the present Covenant undertake to submit reports on the measures they have adopted which give effect to the rights recognized herein...”  

5.         International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (UN 1966)  

Article 2(1): “Each State Party to the present Covent undertakes to take steps, individually and through international assistance and co-operation, especially economic and technical, to the maximum of its available resources, with a view to achieving progressively the full realization of the rights recognized in the present Covenant by all appropriate means, including particularly the adoption of legislative measures.”


Article 16(1): “The States Parties to the present Covenant undertake to submit in conformity with this part of the Covenant reports on the measures which they have adopted and the progress made in achieving the observance of the rights recognized herein."


Article 23: “The State Parties to the present Covenant agree that international action for the achievement of the rights recognized in the present Covenant includes such methods as the conclusion of conventions, the adoption of recommendations, the furnishing of technical assistance and the holding of regional meetings and technical meetings for the purpose of consultation and study organized in conjunction with the Governments concerned."  

6.        International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination (UN 1965) 

Article 5: “States Parties undertake to prohibit and to eliminate racial discrimination in all its forms and to guarantee the right of everyone,...(d)(v) The right to own property alone as well as in association with others."


Article 7: “State Parties undertake to adopt immediate and effective measures, particularly in the fields of teaching, education, culture and information, with a view to combating prejudices which lead to racial discrimination and to promoting understanding, tolerance and friendship among nations and racial or ethnical groups, as well as propagating the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, and this Convention.”


Article 9(1): “State Parties undertake to submit to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, ...a report on the legislative, judicial, administrative or other measures which they have adopted and which give effect to the provisions of this Convention."

         7.         Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UN 1948) 

Article 1: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights...”


Article 2: “Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this declaration, without discrimination of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.”


Article 17(1): “Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.”


Article 29(1): “Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible”  

8.        Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic Religious or Linguistic Minorities (UN 1990) 

Article 3(1): “Persons belonging to minorities may exercise their rights including those set forth in this Declaration, individually as well as in community with other members of their group, without any discrimination.”


Article 4(2): “States shall take measures to create favorable conditions to enable persons belonging to minorities to express their characteristics and to develop their culture, language, religion, traditions and customs, except where specific practices are in violation of national law and contrary to international standards.”  

         9.         Charter of Civil Society (CARICOM) 

Article XI: Rights of Indigenous Peoples


"The State  recognizes the contribution of the indigenous peoples to the development process and undertake to continue to protect their historical rights and respect the culture and way of life of these peoples."  

          10.       African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Banjul Charter 1981) 

Article 2: “Every individual shall be entitled to the enjoyment of the rights and freedoms recognized and guaranteed in the present Charter without distinction of any kind such as race, ethnic group, color, sex, language, religion, political or any other opinion, national and social origin, fortune, birth or other status.”


Article 25: “States parties to the present Charter shall have the duty to promote and ensure through teaching, education, and publication, the respect of the rights and freedoms contained in the present Charter and to see to it that these freedoms and rights as well as corresponding obligations and duties are understood.”

Article 26: “States parties to the present Charter shall have the duty to guarantee the independence of the Courts and shall allow the establishment and improvement of appropriate national institutions entrusted with the promotion and protection of the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the present Charter.”  

11.      Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties.  (1969)  

“The State Parties to the present Convention...[H]aving in mind the principles of international law embodied in the Charter of the United Nations, such as the principles of equal rights and self-determination of peoples of universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all.”  

12.      Summit of the Americas Declaration of Principles, Partnership for Development and Prosperity: Democracy, Free Trade and Sustainable Development in the Americas signed by 34 heads of State in Miami, Florida (1994)  

"...Our ultimate goal is to better meet the needs of the population, especially the needs of women and the most vulnerable groups, including indigenous people, the disabled, children, the aged, and minorities."


"In observance of the International Decade of the World's Indigenous People, we will focus our energies on improving the exercise of democratic rights and the access to social services by indigenous people and their communities."  

13.      Summit of the Americas: Plan of Action, signed by 34 heads of state participating in the Summit of the Americas (Miami, Florida 1994)  

I.          "Preserving and Strengthening the Community of Democracies of the Americas.  

2.         Promoting and Protecting Human Rights.


Governments will: Review and strengthen laws for the protection of the rights of minority groups and indigenous people and communities to ensure freedom from discrimination, to guarantee full and equal protection under the law, and to facilitate active civic participation. Support a process to review and enhance the protection of indigenous rights in OAS member states and to develop promptly an effective United Nations declaration on indigenous rights."     

14.      Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Report on the Situation of Human Rights of a Segment of the Nicaraguan Population of Miskito Origin and Resolution on the Friendly Settlement Procedure Regarding the Human Rights Situation of a Segment of the Nicaraguan Population of Miskito Origin  Case No. 7964 (Nicaragua 1984)  

                    Second Part. B. Special Protectionof Miskitos as ethnic group.  

14.        “En concepto de la Comisión, para que un grupo étnico pueda subsistir preservando sus valores culturales, es fundamental que sus componentes puedan gozar de todos los derechos reconocidos por la Convención Americana de Derechos Humanos, pues de esta forma se garantiza su efectivo funcionamiento como grupo, lo cual incluye la preservación de una identidad cultural propia. De esta manera se vinculan a esta situación los derechos a la protección de la honra y la dignidad; a la libertad de pensamiento y de expresión: y el derecho de reunión y asociación; el derecho de circulación y de residencia y el derecho elegir sus autoridades...“


15.        “...A ellos deben agregarse los aspectos vinculados con la organización productiva lo cual incluye entre otros el problema de las tierras ancestrales y comunales. No respetar estos derechos y valores culturales conduce a una asimilación forzosa con resultados que pueden ser desastrosos.”  


15.       Argentina  

- Ley No. 23.302 de 1985 (Ley Nacional del Indígena)  

Artículo 1. “Declárase de interés nacional la atención y apoyo a los aborígenes y a las comunidades indígenas existentes en el país, y su defensa y desarrollo... A este fin, se implementarán planes que permitan ... la preservación de sus pautas culturales en los planes de enseñanza... "  

- Constitución de la Nación Argentina (1994)  

Artículo 75(19): "... Dictar leyes que protejan la identidad y pluralidad cultural, la libre creación y circulación de las obras de autor, el patrimonio artístico y los espacios culturales y audiovisuales”.  

16.      Bolivia  

                   - Decreto 7765 de 1966 (Ley de Colonización)  

Artículo 93: "... se deben respetar en forma "... irrestrictamente las áreas de explotación colectiva o individual de los grupos étnicos marginales”.

          - Ley  1.700 de 1996 (Ley General Forestal)  

Artículo 39: "importancia del área para la subsistencia de tribus selvícolas”.

Artículo 120: "...el Centro de Desarrollo Forestal tiene la obligación de delimitar...las áreas del territorio nacional apropiadas para la supervivencia de las tribus selvícolas garantizando y protegiendo sus fuentes de caza y pesca”.  

          - Ley 201 de 1962  

Artículo1: "se deberá reconocer el derecho de propiedad, colectivo o individual, en favor de los miembros de las poblaciones indígenas, sobre las tierras tradicionalmente ocupadas por ellos..”.  

          - Resolución Suprema No. 205862 de 1989  

Artículo 1: "Se declara la necesidad social y nacional, el reconocimiento, asignación y tenencia de áreas territoriales en favor de grupos selvícolas y comunidades indígenas originarias del Oriente y la Amazonia para garantizar su sobrevivencia y pleno desarrollo socioeconómico y cultural”.  

Artículo 3: "Espacio socioeconómico indígena es una determinada área geográfica, tradicionalmente ocupada y poseída por los grupos étnicos originarios, que constituye un factor básico para su sobrevivencia y desarrollo económico, social y cultural, tomando en cuenta sus patrones tradicionales de asentamiento, sus propios sistemas productivos, y en el que se realicen actividades de aprovechamiento integral de los recursos naturales, manteniendo el equilibrio de la naturaleza y conservando su ecosistema”.


Artículo 4: "prohibir absolutamente toda dotación agraria de colonización, ganadería, contrato de aprovechamiento forestal u otras especies de derechos sobre las tierras y recursos naturales”.  

17.      Canada  

- Constitution Act of 1982  

Part II: "Rights of Aborginial Peoples of Canada

Section 35. (1) and (2)


Article 35.1: The government of Canada and the provincial governments are committed to the principal that, before any amendment is made to Class 24 of section 91 [giving the "exclusive Legislative Authority of the Parliament of Canada" over matters related to "Indians, and Lands reserved for the Indians"] of the "Constitution Act, 1867", to section 25 of this Act or to this Part, ...(b) the Prime Minister of Canada will invite representatives of the aboriginal peoples of Canada to participate in the discussions on that item."  

- Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples  

Volume 2 Recommendations  

“The right of self-determination is vested in all the Aboriginal peoples of Canada, including First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. The right finds its foundation in emerging norms of international law and basic principles of public morality.”




“The government of Canada take the following actions:


Enact legislation affirming the obligations it has assumed under international human rights instruments to which it is a signatory in so far as these obligations pertain to the Aboriginal peoples of Canada;


Expressly provide in such legislation that resort may be had in Canada’s courts to international human rights instruments as an aid to the interpretation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and other Canadian law affecting Aboriginal peoples.”  

18.      Colombia  

                   Decreto No. 715 de 1992  

Artículo 1: Créase como organismo coordinador para la defensa, protección y promoción de los derechos humanos de las comunidades indígenas y de sus miembros, el Comité Nacional de Derechos Indígenas”. 

Artículo 4: "Para el desarrollo de su objeto, el Comité [Nacional de Derechos Indígenas] ejercerá las siguientes funciones: 4. Efectuar el seguimiento de las actuaciones judiciales y administrativas correspondientes a violaciones de los derechos mencionados”.  

19.      Chile  

Ley 19.253 de 1993  

Artículo 1, inc. 3: “Es deber de la sociedad en general y del Estado en particular, a través de sus instituciones respetar, proteger y promover el desarrollo de los indígenas, sus culturas, familias y comunidades, adoptando las medidas adecuadas para tales fines y proteger las tierras indígenas, velar por su adecuada explotación, por su equilibrio ecológico y propender a su ampliación”.  

20.     Ecuador  

Constitución Política del Estado Ecuatoriano  

Artículo 1: “El Ecuador es un estado social de derecho, soberano, unitario, independiente, democrático, pluricultural y multiétnico. Su gobierno es republicano, presidencial, electivo, representativo, responsable, alternativo, participativo y de administración descentralizada.  

La soberanía radica en el pueblo, cuya voluntad es la base de la autoridad, que ejerce a través de los órganos del poder público y de los medios democráticos previstos en esta Constitución”.


Artículo 85: “... El Estado reconocerá y garantizará a los pueblos negros o afroecuatorianos, los derechos determinados en el artículo anterior, en todo aquello que les sea aplicable”.  

21.       Guatemala  

           -Constitución Política de la República de Guatemala  

”Sección Tercera. Comunidades Indígenas”.  

Artículo 70. "Ley específica. Una ley regulará lo relativo a las materias de esta sección”.  

Agreement on identity and rights of indigenous peoples  

Article II. ”C. International instruments. International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.


1.         The Government undertakes to promote, in the Guatemalan Congress, a bill incorporating the provisions of the Convention in the Penal Code.


2.         Since Guatemala is a party to the Convention it undertakes to use all available means aiming at recognition of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, as provided in article 14 of that Convention.

Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention, 1989 (ILO Convention No. 169)


3.         The Government has transmitted to the Guatemalan Congress, for its

approval, Convention No. 169 of the International Labour Organization and will accordingly promote approval of that Convention by the Congress. The parties urge the political parties to facilitate approval of the Convention.


Draft declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples


4.         The Government shall promote approval of the draft declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples in the appropriate forums of the United Nations, in consultation with the indigenous peoples of Guatemala.”  

22.      Honduras  

Constitución de la República de Honduras  

Artículo 346: "Es deber del estado dictar medidas de protección de los derechos e intereses de las comunidades indígenas existentes en el país, especialmente de las tierras y bosques donde estuvieren asentadas”.  

23.       Nicaragua  

Constitution of Nicaragua  

Article 89: “The Communities of the Atlantic Coast are indivisible parts of the Nicaraguan people, enjoy the same rights and have the same obligations as all Nicaraguans.”  

24.      Panama  

                    Decreto de Gabinete No. 53 (26-JJ-71 )  

Artículo 4: "Los Estados al aplicar el derecho interno deben tomar las siguientes consideraciones: los valores culturales, religiones, las formas de control de las poblaciones"


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