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Human Rights Declaration Reaches 60

Human Rights Declaration Reaches 60 – But Only 20 Countries Have Signed Tribal Peoples’ Law

The 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights will be celebrated tomorrow, 10 December – but only 20 countries have signed up to the international law on tribal peoples, whose rights are routinely violated.

The very existence of many tribal peoples is under increasing threat. In Paraguay, the last uncontacted Ayoreo-Totobiegosode are running for their lives as bulldozers rapidly raze their forest.

In India, the Jarawa tribe came into fatal conflict last month with poachers invading their land, leaving one Jarawa and one poacher dead.

In Botswana, the Kalahari Bushmen are being destroyed by a government which denies them access to water but is forging ahead with plans to mine diamonds on their land.

International Labour Organisation Convention 169 (ILO 169) is the strongest international legal instrument safeguarding tribal peoples’ rights. It recognises their rights to own their land and to make decisions about projects that affect them, and it is legally binding on governments that sign it.

Survival is campaigning for all governments to ratify ILO 169, strengthening it and giving tribal peoples the best chance of a future.

Survival’s director Stephen Corry said today, ‘Sixty years after the world acknowledged the sanctity of human rights, entire tribes are facing extinction. There is no excuse for this. Every government must take responsibility and ratify the law to help ensure their survival.’


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