Patrick Thornberry
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The Proposed American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
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Following a resolution of the Organisation of American States General Assembly—itself prompted by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR)—the IACHR began consultations in 1992–93 ‘Concerning the Future Inter-American Legal Instrument on Indigenous Rights’, having recognised the need for such an instrument from the late 1980s. The consultations eventuated in a ‘Draft of the Inter-American declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People’, approved by the IACHR on 18 September 1995, revised to a ‘Proposed American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples’, approved by the Commission on 26 February 1997. This brief description of an emerging instrument suggests that the final text may differ considerably in form and content from the UN draft. In particular, the text appears to be more integrationist than the draft Declaration, focusing on cultural integrity rather than self-determination.

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