Section One: Scope of Application

Article I.

1. This Declaration applies to the indigenous peoples of the Americas and their members, who within the national States descend from a native culture that predates European colonization and who conserve their fundamental distinctive features, such as their language, normative systems, usages and customs, artistic expressions, beliefs, and social, economic, cultural, and political institutions.

2. Self-identification as indigenous peoples will be a fundamental criterion for determining to whom this Declaration applies. The States shall ensure respect for self-identification as indigenous, individually and collectively, in keeping with the institutions of each indigenous people.

Article II.

The States recognize the multiethnic and multicultural character of their societies.

Article III.

Within the States, the right to self-determination of the indigenous peoples is recognized, pursuant to which they can define their forms of organization and promote their economic, social, and cultural development.



Recommends that Article III be replaced with the following:

Indigenous peoples have the right of self- determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.


Darwin Hill
Seneca Nation
November 10, 2003 - Second Session

I am a citizen of the Seneca Nation and will address this forum today on behalf of the Haudenosaunee.

Thank you very much, Mr. Ambassador for this opportunity to speak today.

We offer the following consideration: in Article III, The Right to Self-Determination we fully concur with the Indigenous Peoples' Caucus Opening Statement as well as other Indigenous Peoples, and most recently the delegations from Canada, Guatemala, Nicaragua and possibly others that supported this statement.

That is, this Article must be articulated as in the UN Draft Declaration, Article 3 and the UN Covenants, Articles 1. Mr. Chairman, Section One of the Draft American Declaration does not describe any rights. It's merely how the Declaration relates to Indigenous Peoples of the Americas. But this Article on the Rights of Self-Determination serves as a fundamental principle that establishes a foundational element that all Indigenous Peoples' rights flow through.

Indeed the enjoyment of this right is a necessary pre-condition for the enjoyment of other freedoms and rights. This principle must then be elaborated in the initial operative section of the Declaration, Section Two: Human Rights.

Mr. Chairman, the proposal hereby presented is, as follows:

Section Two, Human Rights, Article IV: The Right to Self- Determination and then the elaboration as described in the Indigenous text and in the UN documents.

Thank you for this opportunity to address this body today.


Tonya Gonnella Frichner
American Indian Law Alliance
November 10, 2003

Mr. Chairman, on behalf of the American Indian Law Alliance, the Grand Council of the Cree, the Teton Sioux Nation Treaty Council and Colonial Hawaii we strongly support the Indigenous Peoples' Caucus recommendations regarding Article III. I think we would all agree that this language is global and universal in its perspective than for Indigenous Peoples there has been no derogation around this language. Going back to the wording of the Chair's Consolidated Text, we would respectfully support that Article III be prominently placed under Section Two: Human Rights. This article must be fully consistent and reflect the wording in Article 1 of the International Human Rights Covenants. Mr. Chairman, the proposed Article III would run counter to the existing affirmative obligations of States under the Charter of the United Nations, Articles 1, 2 and 55c, which is to promote universal respect for and observance of human rights and freedoms based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples.

States would also fail to honour their legal obligations in Article I, paragraph 3 of the two international human rights Covenants. To quote "promote the realization of the right of self-determination and respect that right in conformity with the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations."

Mr. Chairman, I would like to speak (thanks) and make special reference to the Declaration of the Indigenous Peoples of Guatemala dated October 15, 2003. Paragraph 6 specifically reads, and I quote, "upon carefully analyzing the text adopted by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights as well as the Proposals made by the Indigenous organizations and the Consolidated Text of the Working Group's Chairman, we declare that:

a) with respect to the text of the Chairman of the Working Group, it is noted by the organizations of Indigenous Peoples, that said proposal restricts and limits the fundamental rights and freedoms of the Indigenous Peoples, especially the right to self-determination. The restriction of this right has a cross-cutting affect on all other collective rights.

Mr. Chairman, we will have more to say when we reach the proposed revisions to Section Two: Human Rights, and we respectfully ask your permission to address Article IV a little bit later.

In closing, Mr. Chairman, we would be happy to receive a copy of Canada's proposed language and would respond accordingly.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Article IV.

Nothing in this Declaration shall be construed so as to authorize or foster any action aimed at breaking up or diminishing, fully or in part, the territorial integrity, sovereignty, and political independence of the States, or other principles contained in the Charter of the Organization of American States.

Tony Belcourt
Metis Nation
November 10, 2003 - Second Session

Thank you, Mr. Chair. My intervention is on the behalf of the Metis National Council, the Haudenosaunee, the Navajo Nation, the Assembly of First Nations, the Inuit Circumpolar Conference, the National Congress of American Indians, Native American Rights Fund and the Indian Law Resource Center.

We make our intervention at this point because -we have something we are going to propose to you ---- now being translated into Spanish and unfortunately didn't have time to have this considered by the entire caucus because we got caught short on the discussion that is taking place now.

Where we clearly see the discussion surrounding the notion that there is a link between Article III and Article IV - or some States are making that link. And so we felt it's important to make our intervention now with the provision that we are now sharing this with the rest of our colleagues in Spanish for their consideration as well.

We do not see, as I said, III and IV as being linked, and that was previously stated by our colleague Darwin Hill, who proposed that Article III be moved to a different section. Accordingly we propose that Article IV be moved to Section Four under General Provisions, rather than having it in Section One under the Scope of Application.

We acknowledge the role that the principle of territorial integrity plays within the framework of international law. The OAS Charter, the Inter-American Democratic Charter and the recent Declaration on Security in the Americas each affirms this principle. However the principle of territorial integrity must be conditioned on respect for the rights of peoples, both indigenous and non-indigenous to self-determination.

Our proposal, proposed language, adopted by the states of the Americas and the rest of the members of the UN General Assembly in the 1970 Declaration on Friendly Relations, the 1993 Vienna Declaration and the 1995 Declaration on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the UN, that respects the fact that the principle of territorial integrity cannot be used to violate the rights of peoples to self-determination.

Therefore we propose this text for an article, for a new article for Section Four. In our opinion "this Declaration shall be construed so as to authorize or foster any action aimed at breaking up or diminishing fully or in part the territorial integrity, sovereignty and political independence of the States conducting themselves in compliance with the principle of equal rights and self-determination of people and thus, possessed of a government representing the peoples belonging to the territory without distinction of any kind."

That's from the Declaration on Principles of International Law Concerning Friendly Relations and Co-Operation Among States in Accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, General Assembly Resolution, Vienna Declaration 1993, in UN (papers)



Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

As we mentioned before we wanted to address Article IV as well and just to put a point to it, we very much support the intervention made by those Indigenous Peoples' representatives stating that it is necessary to expand, when we talk about nothing shall be construed as authorizing or encouraging any action which would dismember or impair totally or in part the territorial integrity of political unity of sovereign and independent states, as is mentioned by those Indigenous groups as read out by Mr. Belcourt. It is absolutely essential that such an article go further to talk about States conducting themselves in compliance with the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples and thus possessed of a government representing the peoples belonging to the territory without distinction of any kind.

That's the type of language Canada would be prepared to support. We are encouraged that something along those lines has been put forward by Indigenous Peoples representatives and we hope that this can be considered by the Indigenous Caucus and that we could perhaps reach some consensus around similar types of language.

Thank you.

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