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“All Citizens are Equal before Law and are Entitled to Equal Protection of Law”-Article 27 of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh

Issue No: 250
August 12, 2006

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Human Rights Advocacy

Indigenous peoples land and life under threat

“Indigenous peoples the world over continue to be among the most marginalized and dispossessed sectors of society, the victims of perennial prejudice and discrimination”-- Louise Arbour, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

An estimated 370 million Indigenous women, men and children worldwide face racism, discriminatory laws and eviction from lands central to their cultures and livelihoods. After more than two decades of negotiation and debate, the United Nations is moving forward with global human rights standards to protect the rights of Indigenous peoples.

The draft UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was adopted by the UN Human Rights Council at its historic first meeting in June. The Declaration must now be adopted by the UN General Assembly in order to become part of the body of international human rights standards.

The draft Declaration is intended to inspire and inform measures to address the widespread discrimination and deeply entrenched racism faced by Indigenous peoples in every region of the world. The Declaration affirms the right of Indigenous peoples to have meaningful control over their own lives, to maintain their distinct cultural identities for future generations, and to have secure access to the lands and natural resources essential to their ways of life.

Canada, United States, Russia, New Zealand and Australia have opposed the adoption of the Declaration. It's feared that the small group of states that have opposed the Declaration will put pressure on other governments to join them in voting against the Declaration when it comes before the General Assembly later this year.

We cannot really say that we are fully implementing human rights if we find groups of people… who are systematically denied these human rights.” Rodolfo Stavenhagan, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous people

On this year's International Day of the World's Indigenous People (9 August), we're calling on states around the world to support the adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples at the UN General Assembly in 2006.


Source: Amnesty International.


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