[MLE] Progress report: Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Dear MLE Interest group,
Several of you are involved in advocacy for indigenous people groups. In such cases it is nice to have the back-up of international high level documents. Be encouraged with the below.

Karsten van Riezen
Education Consultant, SIL Int.
SIL, South Asia Group.

From: Dave_Pearson@sil.org [mailto:Dave_Pearson@sil.org]
Sent: 17 October 2006 15:25
Subject: Progress report: Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

The draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples continues to work its way through the UN system. In June 2006 it was approved by the UN Human Rights Council. Today it is being debated by the Third Committee of the General Assembly. It will probably be submitted for adoption by the current session of the General Assembly, i.e. before 4 December 2006.
If adopted, the Declaration will not be legally binding for Member States. Nevertheless, it will have a major effect on indigenous peoples worldwide in regards to their rights. It is a comprehensive statement addressing issues such as collective rights, cultural rights and identity in addition to rights to education, health, employment and language among others. The Declaration emphasizes the right of indigenous peoples to maintain and strengthen their own institutions, cultures and traditions and to pursue their development in accordance with their aspirations and needs.
The full text of the draft declaration is attached. It includes the following articles that relate to indigenous languages:
Article 13

1. Indigenous peoples have the right to revitalize, use, develop and transmit to future
generations their histories, languages, oral traditions, philosophies, writing systems and
literatures, and to designate and retain their own names for communities, places and persons.

2. States shall take effective measures to ensure this right is protected and also to
ensure that indigenous peoples can understand and be understood in political, legal and
administrative proceedings, where necessary through the provision of interpretation or by other
appropriate means.

Article 14

1. Indigenous peoples have the right to establish and control their educational
systems and institutions providing education in their own languages, in a manner appropriate to
their cultural methods of teaching and learning.

2. Indigenous individuals, particularly children, have the right to all levels and forms
of education of the State without discrimination.

3. States shall, in conjunction with indigenous peoples, take effective measures, in
order for indigenous individuals, particularly children, including those living outside their
communities, to have access, when possible, to an education in their own culture and provided in
their own language.

Article 15

1. Indigenous peoples have the right to the dignity and diversity of their cultures,
traditions, histories and aspirations which shall be appropriately reflected in education and public

2. States shall take effective measures, in consultation and cooperation with the
indigenous peoples concerned, to combat prejudice and eliminate discrimination and to promote
tolerance, understanding and good relations among indigenous peoples and all other segments of

Article 16

1. Indigenous peoples have the right to establish their own media in their own
languages and to have access to all forms of non-indigenous media without discrimination.

2. States shall take effective measures to ensure that State-owned media duly
reflect indigenous cultural diversity. States, without prejudice to ensuring full freedom of
expression, should encourage privately-owned media to adequately reflect indigenous cultural

Dave Pearson
Permanent Representative to UNESCO
SIL International

Tel:        +44 1604 583693
Mob:        +44 7985 256581
Web:        www.sil.org
E-mail:        dave_pearson@sil.org