The Member States of the Organization of American States (hereinafter “the States”),

RECOGNIZING that the rights of indigenous peoples constitute a fundamental and historically significance issue for the present and future of the Americas;

RECOGNIZING, moreover, the importance for humankind of preserving the indigenous cultures of the Americas;

1. Indigenous Peoples and National Strengthening

Recognizing that indigenous peoples are foundational societies that form an integral part of the Americas and that their values and cultures are inextricably linked to the identity both of the countries they live in and of the region as a whole.

Aware that the indigenous peoples of the Americas play a special role in strengthening the institutions of the State and in achieving national unity based on democratic principles.

Recalling that some of the democratic institutions and concepts embodied in the constitutions of the American States have their origins in institutions of the indigenous peoples, and that many of their present participatory systems for decision-making and for authority contribute to the improvement of the democracies in the Americas.

Mindful of the cultural wealth and diversity of the indigenous peoples of the Americas, the variety of national situations, and the varying degrees of indigenous presence in the States.

Recalling the need to develop and strengthen national legal frameworks and policies to respect the cultural diversity of our societies.

2. The Eradication of Poverty

Recognizing that eradicating poverty is a common and shared responsibility of the States, and concerned about the severe impoverishment and vulnerability of the indigenous peoples in various regions of the Hemisphere.

Reiterating that the Charter of the Organization of American States establishes as one of its essential purposes eradicating extreme poverty, indicating that constitutes an obstacle to the full democratic development of the peoples of the Hemisphere.

Mindful of the importance the Inter-American Democratic Charter accords to the relationship among democracy, integral development, and fighting poverty.

Recalling the commitments assumed by the Heads of State and Government at the Third Summit of the Americas with respect to the indigenous peoples regarding the need to adopt special measures so that said peoples can attain their full potential, and the importance of their inclusion to strengthen our democracies and economies.

Reaffirming the right of indigenous peoples to develop in accordance with their own traditions, needs, and interests.

3. Indigenous Culture and Ecology

Recognizing the respect the indigenous peoples of the Americas have for the environment and ecology.

Recognizing, moreover, the value of the cultures, knowledge, and practices of the indigenous peoples for maintaining sustainable development and for living in harmony with nature.

4. Lands, Territories, and Resources

Recognizing the special relationship that the indigenous peoples maintain with their lands, territories, and resources.

Recognizing, that for the indigenous peoples their traditional collective forms of ownership and use of lands, territories, resources, waters, and coastal zones are a necessary conditions for their survival, social organization, development, spirituality, and individual and collective well-being.

5. Harmonious Relations, Respect, and Non-Discrimination

Considering the importance of eliminating the various forms of de facto and de jure discrimination that still affect indigenous peoples.

Mindful of the responsibility of the States to combat racial and ethnic discrimination, xenophobia, and other related forms of intolerance.

6. Human Rights Instruments and Other Legal Advances

Reiterating the universality, indivisibility, and interdependence of the human rights and fundamental freedoms recognized by the international community.

Noting the progress made at international level in recognizing the rights of indigenous peoples, and, in particular, the Convention concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries (Convention No. 169) of the International Labor Organization.

Recalling the importance that the Inter-American Democratic Charter assigns to the promotion and protection of the human rights of indigenous peoples, and to respect for ethnic and cultural diversity in the Americas.

Considering the national constitutional, legislative, and jurisprudential progress made in the Americas to guarantee, promote, and protect the rights and institutions of indigenous peoples, as well as the political will of the States to continue moving forward in recognizing the rights of indigenous peoples in the Americas.

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Index of Draft American Declaration | History | Proposed American Declaration | Working Document Comparing Proposed Declaration | Dialogue 2001 | Journey to the Summit | Third Summit of the Americas 2001 | Dialogue 2002 | Dialogue 2003 | Negotiations with Indigenous Representatives 2003 | Second Meeting of Negotiations 2004 | Third Meeting of Negotiations 2004 | Consolidated Text of Draft Declaration | Interactive Version of Consolidated Text

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