30, April, 2014

ELLA Learning Alliance on Human Rights – Module 3: Collective and Ethnic Minority Rights

Practitioners from Africa, Asia and Latin American reflected on ways to respect and protect collective and ethnic minority rights.

This document reports the outcome of an online learning programme on Latin American experiences of promoting and protecting human rights, including, in this third module, lessons on collective and ethnic minority rights. Sincemany of these groups live in countries in the global South, participants agreed that innovative mechanisms used in the Latin American region to strengthen rights and public policies so that they take these groups’ worldviews, beliefs and cultural traditionsinto account, are crucial to ensure the realisation of collective rights.

During this module, participants from Latin America, Africa and Asia discussed and reflected on strategies implemented by Latin American countries to protect collective and ethnic minority rights. Themes covered included formal acknowledgement of indigenous jurisdiction by the state,recognition of participation and consultation rights and the implementation of intercultural public policy.

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Key Conclusions:

  • The adoption of the legally bringing ILO Convention 169 has been fundamental for securing official recognition of collective indigenous and ethnic minority rights as a key element of society.
  • Factors such as the influence of colonialism, migration and international support for indigenous peoples and ethnic minorities all affect whether and to what degree the state integrates collective rights into legal frameworks and public policy.
  • Reconciling traditional practices with relatively modern legal systems (i.e. collective versus individual rights) poses a significant challenge to integrating indigenous jurisdiction into legal frameworks.
  • Signatory states of ILO Convention 169 have the legal obligation to guarantee the right to consultation as a key mechanism for protecting collective rights, in particular concerning access to land and natural resources.
  • Opening up debate in Africa, Asia and Latin America regarding specific elements of culturally acceptable public health services is key to understanding the specific needs and views of indigenous peoples and ethnic minorities.

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Other ELLA knowledge materials relating to Indigenous and Ethnic Minority Rights:





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