The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) does not create new rights or privileges for indigenous peoples, but is a reflection of universal human rights as they pertain to indigenous peoples. This is a basic argument, which is emphasized by indigenous peoples and legal specialists, including the previous Special Rapporteur, James Anaya (See for example UN Doc. A/68/317, paragraph 70).

Hence, UNDRIP mirrors universally applicable human rights and contextualizes these to the situation of indigenous peoples. It means that UNDRIP is complementary to – and underpinned by - the full range of human rights instruments.

This “mirror effect” between UNDRIP and other human rights instruments means that by monitoring the implementation of UNDRIP, the Indigenous Navigator also monitors key elements of other human rights instruments.

The implications of this “mirror effect” between UNDRIP and other human rights instruments of general application are multiple:

  • The argument that UNDRIP is only aspirational - with no legal implications for states - is wrong. States’ duties to respect, protect and fulfill indigenous peoples’ rights, do not only arise on the basis of UNDRIP, but is an integral element of States’ duties under other generally applicable human rights instruments.

  • Treaty monitoring bodies, ILO supervisory bodies, UN Special Rapporteurs, regional human rights bodies and other mandate holders already (and increasingly) examine the situation of indigenous peoples under other generally applicable human rights instruments, interpreted with due regards to the collective aspects of their rights. Hence, these mechanisms contribute to providing quantitative and qualitative information on the progressive applications of UNDRIP in many countries.

  • Indigenous peoples can make use of existing monitoring mechanisms to hold states accountable for their human rights obligations vis-à-vis indigenous peoples.

Moreover, highlighting that the provisions of UNDRIP are reflections of provisions of general human rights instruments is politically important, particularly in countries that do not yet recognize indigenous peoples’ rights as such.

In order to show how UNDRIP links to the specific provisions of other human rights instruments, the Indigenous Navigator has developed a comparative matrix (see under "Tools"), which links the articles of UNDRIP to the following instruments:

  • The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)
  • The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)
  • The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, (ICCPR)
  • The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD)
  • The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)
  • The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)
  • The Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT)
  • The International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (ICCPED)
  • ILO Convention No. 169
  • Fundamental labour conventions concerning discrimination, child labour and forced labour