World Council of Indigenous Peoples Declaration of Principles (circa 1984)

This document was adopted by the General Assembly of the WCIP at a gathering at Panama City, Panama, 1984.


Declaration of Principles


Principle 1. All indigenous peoples have the right of self-determination.  By virtue of this right they may freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social, religious, and cultural development.


Principle 2. All States within which an indigenous people live shall recognize the population, territory, and institutions of the indigenous people.


Principle 3. The cultures of the indigenous peoples are part of the cultural heritage of mankind.


Principle 4. The traditions and customs of indigenous people must be respected by the States, and recognized as a fundamental source of law.


Principle 5. All indigenous peoples have the right to determine the person or group of persons who are included within its population.


Principle 6. Each indigenous people has the right to determine the form, structure and authority of its institutions.


Principle 7. The institutions of indigenous peoples and their decisions, like those of States, must be in conformity with internationally accepted human rights both collective and individual.


Principle 8. Indigenous peoples and their members are entitled to participate in the political life of the State.


Principle 9. Indigenous people shall have exclusive rights to their traditional lands and its resources, where the lands and resources of the indigenous peoples have been taken away without their free and informed consent such lands and resources shall be returned.


Principle 10. The land rights of an indigenous people include surface and subsurface rights, full rights to interior and coastal waters and rights to adequate and exclusive coastal economic zones within the limits of international law.


Principle 11. All indigenous peoples may, for their own needs, freely use their natural wealth and resources in accordance with Principles 9 and 10.


Principle 12. No action or course of conduct may be undertaken which, directly or indirectly, may result in the destruction of land, air, water, sea ice, wildlife, habitat or natural resources without the free and informed consent of the indigenous peoples affected.


Principle 13. The original rights to their material culture, including archaeological sites, artifacts, designs, technology and works of art, lie with the indigenous people.


Principle 14. The indigenous peoples have the right to receive education in their own language or to establish their own educational institutions.  The languages of the indigenous peoples are to be respected by the States in all dealings between the indigenous people and the State on the basis of equality and non-discrimination.


Principle 15. Indigenous peoples have the right, in accordance with their traditions, to move and conduct traditional activities and maintain friendship relations across international boundaries.


Principle 16. The indigenous peoples and their authorities have the right to be previously consulted and to authorize the realization of all technological and scientific investigations to be conducted within their territories and to have full access to the results of the investigation.


Principle 17. Treaties between indigenous nations or peoples and representatives of States freely entered into, shall be given full effect under national and international law.


These principles constitute the minimum standards which States shall respect and implement.


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One thought on “World Council of Indigenous Peoples Declaration of Principles (circa 1984)

  1. Erwin says:

    I listened to your story on Thom Hartmann and enjoyed it very much. I did not know the true history of Hawaii. Keep up the good work.

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