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Rights of Indigenous People

Page history last edited by Moritz 14 years, 6 months ago



Rights of Indigenous People 



This site is about the rights of Indigenous people and how they are violated. But first of all – who are indigenous people??


“People who inhabited a land before it was conquered by colonial societies and consider themselves as distinct from the societies currently governing those territories are called Indigenous People.”


Worldwide there are about 300 to 500 million indigenous people. They make up over 80% of the world’s cultural and biological diversity and occupy around 20% of the world’s land surface. They are from region to region different but all of them have one thing in common - They share a history of injustice!


The problem began when the “civilized” world started to conquer and colonize foreign countries.

Indigenous people were killed slaughtered, raided, banished, moved, oppressed and discriminated. It happened because the conqueres wanted their land, treasures, resources or just because they looked different, had “strange” rituals, were not Christians or not “civilized”. This not only happened in the 16th and 17th century it happened until the recent past and is happening now.




The most well known case of Human Rights violations against Indigenous people took place in North America.

The Native Americans were slaughtered and banished because the conquers wanted their land or just wanted to get rid of them. These were wars of extermination. In the end they were moved into reservations where they were “jailed” in a fraction of their original land. But the oppression did not end in this stage. Even today they are held out of well paid jobs.


Another case which is not so well known took place in Australia. I think it was one of the crudest cases especially because it happened until far into the 20th century. It is called the “Lost Generation” case.

After the Australian “Protection board for Aborigines” (how ironic!) realized that the Australian natives would not die off by their own, what the protection board expected. They started to split up all Aboriginal communities, took away all rights from them and made reserves.

These reserves changed fast into training ground for Aboriginal children to become servants for the rich white society. The protection board planned to remove Aboriginal children from their families in the reserves and place them under the control of white employers. These children were never allowed to return home. The white society thought that this would be in the best interest of the child.

Aboriginal girls were sent to foster homes and trained to become servants. In this time there did not exist any rules or regulations for the treatment of Aboriginal children. Most removed Aboriginal girls ended up in Sydney working for the middle class white people.

This separation started around 1885 and was not stopped in some states until the 1970s. Nearly every Aboriginal family has been affected in some way by this.


Other cases took place in South Africa and India in the last century during the “Apartheit”. The white minority oppressed the “black” majority. They were denied to take part in the government or have well paid jobs. They had to travel in special sections of buses and trains, had to eat in special sections of restaurants and bars and were not allowed to use the same sidewalks as the whites.

Even today banishment and murder of indigenous people takes place. Nowadays it happens mostly in “3rd world” countries.


The rights which were and are violated according to the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights” are:


Article 1: “All human beings are born free and equal […] . […] should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”


Article 2: “Everyone is entitled to all rights and freedoms […]without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, […], birth or other status. […]”


Article 3: “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person”


Article 4: “ No[body] shall be held in slavery or servitude; […]”


Article 21: “Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, […]”


Article 25: “Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, […], shall enjoy the same social protection.”


Article 26: “Everyone has the right to education. […]. Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.”

(Universal Declaration of Human Rights)


In 2003 the United Nations founded a permanent forum for Indigenous people, it’s name is UNPFII.

In general the UN has a liberal stance and works to improve the conditions. They are holding conferences and work focused on finding a solution through legal and diplomatic channels.








Sources used:


   1.Welcome to Indigenous Peoples Issues & Resources. Retrieved 9.22.09 from http://indigenouspeoplesissues.com/

  2. Human Rights and Indigenous Peoples. Retrieved 9.20.09 from http://www.pdhre.org/rights/indigenous.html

  3. Shah, Anup. Rights of Indigenous People. Retrieved 9.18.09 from http://www.globalissues.org/article/693/rights-of-indigenous-people

  4. The Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Retrieved 9.17.09 from http://www.earlham.edu/~pols/17Fall97/indigenous/index.html

  5. The Problem. Retrieved 9.17.09 from http://www.earlham.edu/~pols/17Fall97/indigenous/the_problem.html

  6. The Politics of the Problem. Retrieved 9.18.09 from http://www.earlham.edu/~pols/17Fall97/indigenous/the_politics.html

  7. Prescriptions for the Problem. Retrieved 9.18.09 from http://www.earlham.edu/~pols/17Fall97/indigenous/the_solutions.html

  8. About us. Retrieved 9.15.09 from http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/unpfii/en/about_us.html

  9. About UNPFII and a brief history of indigenous peoples and the international system. Retrieved 9.15.09 from http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/unpfii/en/history.html

  10. Study Guide: The Rights of indigenous people. Retrieved 9.22.09 from http://www1.umn.edu/humanrts/edumat/studyguides/indigenous.html

  11. Rebecca Burke, Tracy Lay. Aboriginal Children: A “Lost Generation”. Retrieved 9.14.09 from http://iearn.org/hgp/aeti/aeti-1998-no-frames/aboriginal-children.htm

 Picture: Retrieved from http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/unpfii/en/history.html




Comments (2)

Kori Atwood said

at 12:13 pm on Sep 25, 2009

Good start - make sure you are using your own words, or using quotation marks.

Kori Atwood said

at 3:00 pm on Sep 28, 2009

I would include a little more about what is happening now with the UN and indigenous people if you can find it. Check spelling and add citations in the text when you use statistics, etc. Good work.

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