Ratifying international conventions on indigenous peoples
Implementing international conventions on indigenous communities Adopting United Nations declaration on indigenous rights
This strategy features in the framework of Agenda 21 as formulated at UNCED (Rio de Janeiro, 1992), now coordinated by the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development and implemented through national and local authorities. Agenda 21 recommends that states should consider the ratification and application of existing international conventions relevant to indigenous people and their communities (where not yet done) and provide support for the adoption by the General Assembly of a declaration on indigenous rights.
At the end of 1998, a working group set up by the United Nations (UN) Commission on Human Rights ended another annual period of sessions without approving a single clause of the 45-point draft declaration under discussion. The UN Declaration on the Rights of the World's Indigenous Peoples, drawn up by a commission of experts, has the unanimous support of the indigenous representatives participating in the working group. But a few governments, such as those of the United States, France, Japan and Brazil, have problems with the draft declaration's articles on peoples, self-determination and collective rights.
The deadlock into which the negotiations have run shows that those who hold political power in our states are still far from understanding the true spirit of the demands of indigenous peoples. Governments are concerned about sovereignty, the unity of the state and national territory, which they see as fundamental issues, while the indigenous people see recognition of the right to self-determination as essential.
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