United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

The United Nations General Assembly adopted a Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in September 2007. It was described by the UN as “a landmark declaration that brought to an end nearly 25 years of contentious negotiations over the rights of native people to protect their lands and resources, and to maintain their unique cultures and traditions.”

The Declaration sets out a universal framework of minimum standards for the survival, dignity, well-being and rights of the world’s indigenous peoples. The Declaration addresses both individual and collective rights; cultural rights and identity; rights to education, health, employment, language, and others. It declares discrimination against indigenous peoples unlawful and promotes their full and effective participation in all matters that concern them. It also affirms their right to remain distinct and to pursue their own priorities in economic, social and cultural development. The Declaration explicitly encourages harmonious and cooperative relations between States and indigenous peoples.

The Preamble proclaims the Declaration to be “a standard of achievement to be pursued in a spirit of partnership and mutual respect”. It is an aspirational document, whose text is not legally binding on States.

  • Click here to read a summary of the Declaration in English (PDF 275kb)
  • Click here to read the Declaration in English (PDF 248kb)
  • Click here to read the Declaration in Maori (PDF 230kb)
  • Click here for a bilingual version of the Declaration in both English and Maori (PDF 660kb)


Watch a preview trailer of the Asia Pacific Forum’s video on National Human Rights Institutes and UNDRIP:

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