Indigenous Peoples' Preparatory Meeting Declaration of Principles submitted to the UNWGIP 5th Session, July 1987
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INDIGENOUS PEOPLES' PREPARATORY MEETING
Palais des Nations
27 July - 31 July 1987
DECLARATION OF PRINCIPLES
(Submitted to the United Nations Working Group on Indigenous
Populations - Fifth Session, by the Indigenous Peoples'
1. Indigenous Nations and peoples have, in common with all
humanity, the right to life, and to freedom from
oppression, discrimination, and aggression.
2. 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.
3. No State shall assert any jurisdiction over an
Indigenous Nation and people, or its territory, except
in accordance with the freely expressed wishes of the
Nation and people concerned
4. Indigenous Nations and peoples are entitled to the
permanent control and enjoyment of their aboriginal
ancestral-historical territories. This includes air
space, surface and subsurface rights, inland and
coastal waters, sea ice, renewable and non-renewable
resources, and the economies based on these resources.
5. Rights to share and use land, subject to the underlying
and inalienable title of the Indigenous Nation or
people, may be granted by their free and informed
consent, as evidenced in a valid treaty or agreement.
6. Discovery, conquest, settlement on a theory of terra
nullius and unilateral legislation are never legitimate
basis for States to claim or retain the territories of
Indigenous Nations or peoples.
7. In cases where lands taken in violation of these
principles have already been settled, the Indigenous
Nation or people concerned is entitled to immediate
restitution, including compensation for the loss of
use, without extinction [sic] of original title.
Indigenous peoples' right to regain possession and
control of sacred sites must always be respected.
8. No State shall participate financially or militarily in
the involuntary displacement of indigenous populations,
or in the subsequent economic exploitation or military
use of their territory.
9. The laws and customs of Indigenous Nations and peoples
must be recognized by States' legislative,
administrative and judicial institutions and, in case
of conflicts with State lasts, shall take precedence.
10. No State shall deny an Indigenous Nation, community, or
people residing within its borders the right to
participate in the life of the State in whatever manner
and to whatever degree they may choose. This includes
the right to participate in other form of collective
action and expression.
11. Indigenous Nations and peoples continue to awn and
control their material culture including
archaeological, historical and sacred sites, artifacts,
designs, knowledge, and works of art. They have the
right to regain items of major cultural significance
and, in an cases, to the return of the human remains of
their ancestors for burial according with [sic] their
12. Indigenous Nations and peoples have the right to
education, and the control of education, and to conduct
business with States in their own languages, and lo
establish their own educational institutions.
13. No technical, scientific or social investigations,
including archaeological excavations, shall take place
in relation to Indigenous Nations or peoples, or their
lands, without their prior authorization, and their
continuing ownership and control.
14. The religious practices of Indigenous Nations and
peoples shall be fully respected and protected by the
laws of States and by international law. Indigenous
Nations and peoples shall always enjoy unrestricted
access to, and enjoyment of sacred sites in accordance
with their own laws and customs, including the right of
15. Indigenous Nations and peoples are subjects of
16. Treaties and other agreements freely made with
Indigenous Nations or peoples shall be recognized and
applied in the same manner and according to the same
international laws and principles as treaties and
agreement[s] entered into with other States.
17. Disputes regarding the jurisdiction, territories and
institutions of an Indigenous Nation or peoples are a
proper concern of international law, and must be
resolved by mutual agreement or valid treaty.
18. Indigenous Nations and peoples may engage in self-
defense against State actions in conflict with their
right to self-determination.
19. Indigenous Nations and peoples have the right freely to
travel, and to maintain economic, social, cultural and
religious relations with each other across State
20. In addition to these rights, Indigenous Nations and
peoples are entitled to the enjoyment of all the human
rights and fundamental freedoms enumerated in the
International Bill of Human Rights and other United
Nations instruments. In no circumstances shall they be
subjected to adverse discrimination.
21. All Indigenous Nations and peoples have the right to
their awn traditional medicine, including the right to
the protection of vital medicinal plants, animals and
minerals. Indigenous Nations and peoples also have the
right to benefit from modern medical techniques and
services on a basis equal to that of the general
population of the States within which they are located.
Furthermore, all Indigenous Nations and peoples have
the right to determine, plan, implement, and control
the resources respecting health, housing, and other
social services affecting them.
22. According to the right of self-determination, all
Indigenous Nations and peoples shall not be obligated
lo participate in State military services, including
armies, paramilitary or "civil" organizations with
military structure, within the country or in
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