eBook | “Know Your Rights!”: A publication for Indigenous Adolescents by the UNICEF’s Human Rights Unit – United Nations

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The text for this publication – written for adolescent boys and girls, aged 13 –18 years – was prepared by Dr. Cindy Blackstock, a member of the Gitksan First Nation (Executive Director, First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada and Associate Professor for the University of Alberta) in collaboration with UNICEF, the Secretariat of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (SPFII) and the Global Indigenous Youth Caucus. This project was coordinated by Nicola Brandt with technical support from Beatrice Duncan, both from UNICEF’s Human Rights Unit.

What is a declaration?

A declaration is an agreement among countries about a specific issue that requires urgent action. It tells us what governments must do or not do around such an issue.

Who are indigenous peoples?

Indigenous peoples are descendants of the original people or occupants of lands before these lands were taken over or conquered by others. Many indigenous peoples have maintained their traditional cultures and identities (e.g., way of dressing, language and the cultivation of land). Therefore they
have a strong and deep connection with their ancestral territories, cultures and identities.

What is the United Nations

The United Nations (UN) is an international organization founded in 1945 after the Second World War by 51 countries, with headquarters in New York in the United States of America. Today this number has increased to 193 countries.

The UN is a platform for countries to discuss and take decisions on a number of important issues. It plays a key role in keeping peace throughout the world and helping governments work together to improve the lives of people who live in their countries.

Countries that form part of the UN are called ‘Member States’ and take decisions through the United Nations General Assembly, which is very similar to a world parliament. Sometimes these decisions are documented as declarations.

In this publication you will learn about an important international document called the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP or Declaration).

The Declaration explains how the rights of indigenous peoples – including indigenous young people – are to be protected by governments around the world. It applies to indigenous peoples as individuals and as a group.

Indigenous young people were actively involved in the development of UNDRIP and they are working hard to make sure governments implement it. This text provides a summary of some of the important language, themes and articles of the document so that young people can continue to play an important role in ensuring the Declaration is fully implemented around the world.

At the end of the publication you will find a list of words (‘Word Bank’) and what they mean. The list will help you understand words that may be new to you.

Source: HRBAP_UN_Rights_Indig_Peoples.pdf
Address: http://www.unicef.org/policyanalysis/rights/files/HRBAP_UN_Rights_Indig_Peoples.pdf
Date Visited: Sun Jun 28 2015 18:59:18 GMT+0200 (CEST)

The 13th of September 2007 will be remembered as a day when the United Nations and its Member States, together with Indigenous Peoples, reconciled with past painful histories and decided to march into the future on the path of human rights …

This Declaration has the distinction of being the only Declaration in the UN which was drafted with the rights-holders, themselves, the Indigenous Peoples. We see this as a strong Declaration which embodies the most important rights we and our ancestors have long fought for; … This is a Declaration which makes the opening phrase of the UN Charter, “We the Peoples…” meaningful for the more than 370 million indigenous persons all over the world. …

I call on governments, the UN system, Indigenous
 Peoples and civil society at large to rise to the historic task before us and make the UN Declaration on the
Rights of Indigenous Peoples a living document for the common future of humanity.

– Statement by Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, Former Chairperson of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, to the United Nations General Assembly, on the occasion of the adoption by the United Nations General Assembly of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples on 13 September 2007.

  • The National Human Right Commission (NHRC) describes “crimes like rape, molestation, torture, fake encounter in police custody as manifestations of a systemic failure to protect human rights”;
  • It reports that “rights of the people were violated or negligence was shown by a public servant in the prevention of such violations”; NHRC concludes:
  • “Atrocities against vulnerable sections of society – women, children, disabled and the elderly – are often compounded when they belong to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes”; and therefore demands:
  • India must ratify the International Convention against Torture.

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