Report of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations
of the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination
and Protection of Minorities

Commission on Human Rights resolution 1996/40


The Commission on Human Rights,

Recalling Economic and Social Council resolution 1982/34 of 7 May 1982, in which the Council authorized the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities to establish annually a working group on indigenous populations with the mandate to review developments pertaining to the promotion and protection of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous people, giving special attention to the evolution of standards concerning the rights of indigenous people,

Recalling also its resolution 1988/44 of 8 March 1988, in which it urged the Working Group on Indigenous Populations to intensify its efforts in carrying out its plan of action,

Noting General Assembly resolution 50/157 of 21 December 1995 in which the Assembly adopted the programme of activities for the International Decade of the World's Indigenous People,

Having examined the report of the Working Group on its thirteenth session (E/CN.4/Sub.2/1995/24),

Conscious that, in various situations, indigenous people are unable to enjoy their inalienable human rights and fundamental freedoms,

Determined to do everything possible to promote the enjoyment of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous people,

Bearing in mind that international standards must be developed on the basis of the diverse situations and aspirations of the world's indigenous people,

1. Takes note of the report of the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities on its forty-seventh session (E/CN.4/1996/2-E/CN.4/Sub.2/1996/51);

2. Expresses its appreciation and satisfaction to the Working Group on Indigenous Populations of the Sub-Commission for its valuable work;

3. Also expresses its appreciation to observers who participated in the thirteenth session of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations for their active and constructive participation in its work;

4. Recommends to the Economic and Social Council that the Working Group be authorized to meet for five working days prior to the forty-eighth session of the Sub-Commission;

5. Invites the Working Group to take into account in its deliberations on developments pertaining to the promotion and protection of the human rights of indigenous people the work, within the framework of their respective mandates, of all thematic special rapporteurs, special representatives, independent experts, working groups and expert seminars as it pertains to the situation of indigenous people;

6. Urges the Working Group to continue its comprehensive review of developments and of the diverse situations and aspirations of the world's indigenous people, and welcomes its proposal to highlight at its fourteenth session, under a sub-item of the item dealing with review of developments, the question of indigenous people and health;

7. Takes note of the recommendation of the Working Group that the Chairperson-Rapporteur address the concept of indigenous people, notes that any work should take into account the views of Governments and organizations of indigenous people, and requests that discussion of this issue take place during the fourteenth session of the Working Group under the existing agenda item on standard-setting and that the report of the Working Group be transmitted to Governments and organizations of indigenous people prior to the next session of the open-ended inter-sessional working group of the Commission on Human Rights established in accordance with resolution 1995/32;

8. Invites the Working Group to continue its consideration as to whether there are ways in which the contribution of expertise from indigenous people to the work of the Working Group might be enhanced;

9. Also invites the Working Group to include in its future work the review of international activities undertaken during the International Decade of the World's Indigenous People and to receive information from Governments on the implementation of the goals of the Decade in their respective countries, in accordance with paragraph 16 of the annex to General Assembly resolution 50/157 of 21 December 1995;

10. Requests the Working Group to include in the agenda of its fourteenth session the question of how it will contribute to the Secretary-General's review of existing mechanisms, procedures and programmes concerning indigenous people, providing information in that regard on its mandate and current work programme of the Working Group;

11. Requests the Secretary-General to give adequate resources and assistance, from within existing resources, to the Working Group in discharging its tasks, including adequate dissemination of information about the activities of the Working Group to Governments, specialized agencies, non-governmental organizations and organizations of indigenous people, in order to encourage the widest possible participation in its work;

12. Also requests the Secretary-General, from within existing resources:

(a) To transmit the reports of the Working Group to Governments, organizations of indigenous people and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, as soon as possible, for specific comments and suggestions;

(b) To ensure that all meetings of the Working Group at its fourteenth session are provided with interpretation and documentation;

13. Expresses its gratitude and appreciation to the Governments and organizations that have made contributions to the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Populations;

14. Appeals to all Governments, organizations and individuals in a position to do so to consider requests for further contributions to the Fund;

15. Encourages all the initiatives that can be taken by Governments, organizations of indigenous people and non-governmental organizations to ensure the full participation of indigenous people in the activities related to the tasks of the Working Group.

52nd meeting 19 April 1996
[Adopted without a vote]


HOME | SITE MAP | SEARCH | INDEX | DOCUMENTS | TREATIES | MEETINGS | PRESS | STATEMENTS



Copyright 1996-2000
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Geneva, Switzerland