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Indigenous Rights

The term indigenous peoples covers more than 5,000 distinct groups. spread across 90 countries, with a population of 367 million people.  These peoples are part of the wonderous diversity of human life on our planet and international efforts to ensure that their cultures, languages, art forms, human rights, and knowledges are preserved and flourish enriches us all.

A cornerstone of the UN's advocacy for human rights is the 2007 UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). 

On November 13, 2012, the program "Indigenous Peoples' Rights: A Historical and Contemporary Global Movement" was held in the Pennsylvania State University Libraries.  The presentation was co-sponsored by the Centre County Chapter United Nations Association, the University Libraries, Penn State Office of Global Programs, the Penn State Center for Global Studies, and the Penn State Interinstitutional Center for Indigenous Knowledge (ICIK)


The joint presentation by Julie Rowland and Judy Bertonazzi described the circumstances leading to the adoption of UNDRIP and highlighted some of the legal issues and conflicts that are involved in the implementation of a UN Declaration that is supported by the executive branch of the U.S. government, but has not been ratified by Congress. 


The Rowland and Bertonazzi papers were then published and were reprinted, with other materials on UNDRIP, as a special issues of the ICIK Newsletter.  





Since the 2012 Program


The UN has continued to advocate for indigenous rights.  In September 2014, the UN held the First World Conference on Indigenous Peoples was held in New York.  In addition the UN's Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues continues to work with the UN to ensure respect for indigenous rights

Learn more about Indigenous Peoples at the UN

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