Developments And Challenges To The UN Declaration On The Rights Of Indigenous Peoples Five Years On: Insights On Biodiversity And Case Studies In Bangladesh, Brazil, Japan And Uganda: An Introduction To The Special Issue


  • Claire Wright Facultad de Ciencias Políticas y Administración Pública, Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León
  • Alexandra Tomaselli Institute for Minority Rights, European Academy of Bolzano (EURAC)
  • Silvia Ordóñez Ganoza Cátedra Unesco Universidad de Deusto


After many years of drafts and negotiations, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (hereafter ‘UNDRIP’) was adopted on the 13th of September 2007. Building on the scope offered by other international instruments such as the ILO Convention Nº 169, the Declaration enshrines both the individual and collective rights of indigenous peoples: including the right to self-determination, the right to education, the right to development, land and natural resource rights, intellectual property rights, cultural rights, and the right to treaty recognition (Allen & Xanthaki, 2009). The adoption of the Declaration undoubtedly constitutes an important victory for indigenous peoples around the world and a result of years of efforts to gain recognition and respect for their rights as peoples. UNDRIP has been met with both high expectations over its potential impact and considerable concern over some States’ initial reticence to ratify it and implement in practice. In order to be meaningful, the resulting debate should be fueled by theoretical considerations, real-life experiences, practical guidelines, and – most importantly – the participation of indigenous peoples themselves.

In this special issue, we hope to contribute to this important debate.