Indigenous Peoples are the
descendants of the original habitants of a region prior to colonization.
These groups have maintained some or all of their linguistic, cultural
and organizational characteristics and consider themselves distinct from
the societies currently governing those territories. Throughout the world,
Indigenous Peoples have struggled to co-exist with immigrant peoples who
have established settlements in their territories. History reflects that
in many instances, non-Indigenous Peoples (settler populations and their
governments) have not adequately respected or supported the sovereignty
or cultural values of Indigenous Peoples, which has threatened the survival
of these groups.
All indigenous nations and peoples have the right to self-determination, by virtue of which they have the right to whatever degree of autonomy or self-government they choose. This includes the right to freely determine their political status, freely pursue their own economic, social, religious and cultural development, and determine their own membership and/or citizenship, without external interference.
with its myriad of mainstream and indigenous languages poses a great challenge
in the field of communication. Although communication costs have been
considerably cut with internet access for most indigenous peoples organizations,
there are still many who cannot afford the technology or do not have access
to good facilities. The main problem remains: language of communication.
Indigenous peoples organizations have found over this decade the need
to respond to many issues relating to civil and political rights, economic
and social rights, sustainable development, environment and gender. In
particular, women leaders have been overloaded with work if they have
to respond to regional and international commitments apart from their
own local struggles.
Each Indigenous Nation possesses the collective right to exist in peace and security as a distinct people and to be protected against any type of genocide. In addition, the individuals of each Nation have rights to life, physical and mental integrity, liberty and security of person.