H.85 - Indigenous peoples rights

H.85 - Indigenous peoples rights
Respect and implement the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, as well as Convention No. 169 of the International Labour Organization on indigenous and tribal peoples —and call on those countries that have not already done so to sign it and ratify it— adapting legal frameworks and formulating the policies necessary for their implementation, with the full participation of these peoples, including indigenous peoples that live in cities.
Priority measure number


This priority measure covers all the dimensions of political, social, economic, social and cultural rights of indigenous peoples, a diversity of spheres that far exceeds the scope of monitoring under the Montevideo Consensus on Population and Development. Nevertheless, some objectives contained both in the Declaration and in Convention 169 are addressed specifically in this chapter, and in a cross-cutting manner throughout this guide. It is important, then, to note:

̶ The recognition of free determination for indigenous peoples goes hand-in-hand with growing demands for autonomy, and consequently States must respect the self-government institutions and systems of indigenous peoples, by strengthening their political, economic, social, cultural and spiritual institutions, promoting organizational and technical capacities for their internal governance and their relationships to State institutions.̶ It is necessary to achieve full participation by indigenous peoples in State institutions, overcoming existing limitations such as access to information, economic capacity, and linguistic barriers.̶ Consultation mechanisms are needed, in accordance with international standards, to obtain the free, prior and informed consent of indigenous peoples. Through consultation, States must reach agreements and decisions that will guarantee the rights of indigenous peoples, seeking mutual understanding and consensus in the adoption of decisions.̶ Although the Montevideo Consensus on Population and Development focuses on indigenous peoples’ right to health (priority measure 87), attention should also be afforded to their right to education, taking into account intercultural bilingual education; as well as economic rights, especially as regards employment.

Related instruments, forums and mechanisms

There are three mechanisms within the United Nations system that monitor the rights of indigenous peoples. These are the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, and the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (the latter two established under the auspices of the Human Rights Council).

ILO has a system for overseeing the conventions ratified by the States, in order to ensure that States fulfil the respective provisions, which are binding in nature. Convention 169 has been ratified by 14 Latin American countries.

In addition, the outcome of the high-level plenary meeting of the General Assembly known as the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, held in New York, in September 2014, in which States reaffirmed their commitments to the provisions of the Declaration and Convention 169. Article 31 of that document declares: “We request the Secretary-General, in consultation and cooperation with indigenous peoples, the Inter-Agency Support Group on Indigenous Peoples’ Issues and Member States, to begin the development, within existing resources, of a system-wide action plan to ensure a coherent approach to achieving the ends of the Declaration and to report to the General Assembly at its seventieth session, through the Economic and Social Council, on progress made. We invite the Secretary-General to accord, by the end of the seventieth session of the Assembly, an existing senior official of the United Nations system, with access to the highest levels of decision-making within the system, responsibility for coordinating the action plan, raising awareness of the rights of indigenous peoples at the highest possible level and increasing the coherence of the activities of the system in this regard.” This senior official has been appointed and is currently working on an action plan.

Lastly, it is important to consider the Alta Outcome Document from the Global Indigenous Preparatory Conference for the United Nations World Conference on Indigenous Peoples (held in Alta, Norway June 2013), representing the outcome of a global consultation process involving representatives of the indigenous peoples and nations of the seven global geopolitical regions, and which includes recommendations for the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples.

H. Indigenous people