Statement on Self-Determination by the Participants at the Indigenous Peoples Preparatory Meeting, prior to the '87 UNWGIP Session
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DOCUMENT: SLF-DTRM.TXT


          STATEMENT ON SELF-DETERMINATION BY THE PARTICIPANTS 
             AT THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLES PREPARATORY MEETING 

          At the 1985 session of the Working Group, a draft 
     Declaration of Principles was submitted by the indigenous 
     NGO's and more than seventeen other indigenous organizations. 
     That Declaration includes principles relating to self-
     determination. 

          In order to contribute to the understanding of this 
     complex issue and to the understanding of the draft 
     principles, and recalling the legal and moral duty of all 
     governments to respect fundamental human rights, the 
     participants at the indigenous people's preparatory meeting 
     preceding the 1987 Working Group session submit the 
     following statements. 

     1. The right to self-determination is fundamental to the 
        enjoyment of all human rights. From the right to self-
        determination flow the right to permanent sovereignty 
        over land -- including aboriginal, ancestral and 
        historical lands -- and other natural resources, the 
        right to develop and maintain governing institutions, the 
        right to life, health and physical integrity, and the 
        rights to culture, way of life and religion. 

     2. The right to self-determination includes the absolute 
        right of indigenous peoples to exist as communities, 
        tribes, nations or other entities according to their own 
        wishes and to define their own membership. 
        
     3. The most fundamental element of the right to self-
        determination is the freedom of choice on the part of 
        indigenous peoples. The relationships between indigenous 
        peoples and states must be based on the free and informed 
        consent of indigenous peoples. 
        
     4. Self-determination encompasses the freedom of indigenous 
        peoples to determine the extent of and the institutions 
        of their self-governance, their political status and 
        associations with the state(s) in which they are located, 
        and the extent and nature of their participation within 
        the political process of such state(s). 
        
     5. The right to self-determination may be realized in many 
        ways ranging from the choice of full independence to 
        various forms of autonomy, self-government and 
        participation in the political processes of the state. 
        
     6. Self-determination is dependent upon the right of each 
        indigenous people to a land and resource base necessary 
        to sustain an appropriate and sufficient economy as well 
        as the right to exercise its authority and jurisdiction 
        over the corresponding territory. 

     7. Any state action that terminates, undermines or replaces 
        indigenous societies, or their governments or 
        organizations, without their consent, is a violation of 
        the right to self-determination. 

     8. State imposition of governmental or organizational 
        systems and forms without consent by the indigenous 
        people concerned violates the right to self-
        determination, even where the ostensible purpose is to 
        provide a measure of self-rule or autonomy. 

     9. The existence of international or other legal boundaries 
        must not be permitted to derogate from the right to self-
        determination of indigenous peoples. 
        
    10. Where there is a treaty, it shall be interpreted and 
        complied with in accordance with the principles of self-
        determination.           

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