The Role of International Human Rights Law in Indigenous Land Rights

November 28th, 2023

International human rights law plays a significant role in protecting and promoting the land rights of indigenous peoples. Indigenous land rights are recognized and safeguarded under various international instruments and declarations.

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2007, is a crucial document that affirms the rights of indigenous peoples, including their land rights . It recognizes that indigenous peoples have the right to own, use, develop, and control the lands, territories, and resources that they have traditionally owned, occupied, or otherwise used The declaration also emphasizes the importance of respecting indigenous peoples’ laws, traditions, customs, and land tenure systems .

International human rights mechanisms and treaties, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, also contribute to the protection of indigenous land rights . These instruments establish a framework for the promotion and protection of human rights, including the rights of indigenous peoples .

Furthermore, the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) plays a central role in addressing indigenous issues related to land rights, economic and social development, culture, the environment, education, health, and human rights . The UNPFII was established in 2000 and serves as a platform for dialogue and collaboration between indigenous peoples, UN member states, and other stakeholders.