UNESCO Social and Human Sciences
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Draft American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

The Draft American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was approved by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on February 26 1997 at its 1333rd session, 95th regular session.

Article II 

    2. Indigenous peoples have the collective rights that are indispensable to the enjoyment of the individual human rights of their members. Accordingly the states recognize inter alia the right of the indigenous peoples to collective action, to their cultures, to profess and practice their spiritual beliefs, and to use their languages.

Article VII 

    3. The states shall recognize and respect indigenous ways of life, customs, traditions, forms of social, economic and political organization, institutions, practices, beliefs and values, use of dress, and languages.

Article VIII 

    1. Indigenous peoples have the right to indigenous languages, philosophy and outlook as a component of national and universal culture, and as such, shall respect them and facilitate their dissemination.

    2. The states shall take measures and ensure that broadcast radio and television programs are broadcast in the indigenous languages in the regions where there is a strong indigenous presence, and to support the creation of indigenous radio stations and other media.

    3. The states shall take effective measures to enable indigenous peoples to understand dministrative, legal and political rules and procedures, and to be understood in relation to these matters. In areas where indigenous languages are predominant, states shall endeavor to establish the pertinent languages as official languages and to give them the same status that is given to non-indigenous official languages.

Article IX  

    2. When indigenous peoples so decide, educational systems shall be conducted in the indigenous languages and incorporate indigenous content, and they shall also be provided with the necessary training and means for complete mastery of the official language or languages.

Article XVI 

    3. In the jurisdiction of any state, procedures concerning indigenous peoples or their interests shall be conducted in such a way as to ensure the right of indigenous peoples to full representation with dignity and equality before the law. This shall include observance of indigenous law and custom and, where necessary, use of their language.

Source: The full text version of the Draft Declaration can be found at the Internet site of the Organization of American States.

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