At FORUM-ASIA, we employ a range of strategies to effectively achieve our goals and create a lasting impact.

Through a diverse array of approaches, FORUM-ASIA is dedicated to achieving our objectives and leaving a lasting imprint on human rights advocacy.

Who we work with

Our interventions are meticulously crafted and ready to enact tangible change, addressing pressing issues and empowering communities.

Each statements, letters, and publications are meticulously tailored, poised to transform challenges into opportunities, and to empower communities towards sustainable progress.

Multimedia Stories

With a firm commitment to turning ideas into action, FORUM-ASIA strives to create lasting change that leaves a positive legacy for future generations.

Explore our dedicated sub-sites to witness firsthand how FORUM-ASIA turns ideas into action, striving to create a legacy of lasting positive change for future generations.

Subscribe our monthly e-newsletter

UN General Assembly Must Adopt the DRIP

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Indigenous Peoples consistently face marginalisation and discrimination. FORUM-ASIA calls for the United Nations Generally Assembly to adopt the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

(Bangkok) On this International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, FORUM-ASIA wishes to extend solidarity to Indigenous Peoples, nations and organisations in Asia and throughout the world. We would like to emphasise the urgent need for the United Nations General Assembly (GA) to adopt the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (DRIP) before the end of its 61st session in September 2007.

The DRIP is a significant contribution to human rights standard setting made by the Sub-Commission and the Commission on Human Rights, which will serve to further strengthen the measures to promote and protect their rights. The UN’s work on the question of discrimination of minorities is the result of a historical imperative; the Sub-Commission on the Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, set up in 1947, began a wide and informed engagement with issues concerning the deep and widespread discrimination Indigenous Peoples have faced for centuries.

In its own words, the DRIP presents “minimum standards for the survival, dignity and well being of the indigenous people of the world” (article 42). It has been in the drafting process for over twenty years and has included more consultation and input from states, individuals and organisations than any other UN declaration. In November 2006 the DRIP was put to vote by the GA and stalled by a non-action resolution on technical grounds. As a commitment made by states, the GA must again vote for the adoption of DRIP again before the end of the 61st session in September 2007. The declaration, when adopted, will represent a major step towards confronting the widespread discrimination and human rights violations that are faced by millions of Indigenous Peoples. The DRIP is not legally binding but is a set of path-breaking minimum human rights standards.

Although Indigenous Peoples are represented in all levels of society, overwhelmingly, they are over-represented among the poorest of the poor in every country in which they live, facing an array of challenges. In Asia, Indigenous Peoples continue to be displaced by development projects that have consistently failed to adequately consult with the people and improve standards of living. They live without nationality, citizenship and identification cards, remaining non-existent in the eyes of government, excluded from political processes and institutions. Children from Indigenous groups have little access to primary education—let alone education in their own language—and basic healthcare services. Indigenous women and children remain the most abused in every country where they reside.

The United Nations and the states of the world are now undertaking a review, set for 2009, of the Declaration and Programme of Action of the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance that took place in Durban, South Africa in 2001. This review is significant for Indigenous Peoples as it recognises the multiple and aggravated forms of discrimination they face individually and as a group in all spheres of life—civil, political, economic, social and cultural.

The Durban Programme of Action urges states to adopt or continue to apply constitutional, administrative, legislative, judicial and all necessary measures to promote, protect and ensure Indigenous Peoples rights, guarantee their fundamental freedoms on the basis of equality, non-discrimination and full and free participation in all areas of society, particularly in matters affecting or concerning their interests.

It is, therefore, a matter of high priority for the United Nations and all its member states at the outset of the third millennium to live up to the commitments made to the world’s Indigenous Peoples, affirmed in Durban, to make every effort to eliminate such discrimination through the initiation of innovative and holistic approaches and the strengthening and enhancement of practical and effective measures. The DRIP will establish the most appropriate and applicable international instrument to give concrete direction towards the adoption of appropriate measures at the national and regional levels.

There cannot be a more appropriate step in seeing this commitment set into practice than the successful passage of the DRIP during the 61st GA. The GA must now adopt the DRIP in its current language as adopted by the Human Rights Council in 2006. Indigenous Peoples of the world have waited long enough to be recognised as worthy of possessing human rights. The path to remedy is long and difficult but great steps will be achieved when the international community recognises that Indigenous Peoples’ rights are human rights.

For more information, please contact:

Anselmo Lee, Executive Director, +66 (02) 391 8801 (ext 502), [email protected] or
Laura McLennan, Ethnic Minorities in Southeast Asia Programme, +66 (02) 391 8801 (ext 204), [email protected]

See also: FA Open Letter to the United Nations General Assembly (in .pdf).